Letters to
We get a lot of letters, and publish some of them in this column, "Backtalk," edited by Sam Koritz. Please send your letters to backtalk@antiwar.com. Letters may be edited for length (and coherence). Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.

Posted January 28, 2002

Lean and Mean

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 23, "The War Against the Saudis":]

Lots of truth in this piece. Saudi-Aramco is huge now. Everyone and their cousin is on the payroll and expenses are out of control. The word on the street for a couple three years has been that the Al Saud was going to open bidding on the new Shaybah fields and that they intended those operations to be lean and mean like the small Aramco camps that developed the Ghawar and Safaniya fields 50 years ago.

~ Sheri R.


Justin Raimondo's latest diatribe against Noam Chomsky is hardly proof that his fate is more important than the average Bangladeshi.

What a shame that the editor of Antiwar.com holds the same deep-seated paternalism as a rabid war-hawk.

~ David C.


[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 23, "The War Against the Saudis":]

The bottom line is that we are addicted to oil. We are in a "codependent relationship" with a country that treats women like chattel and funds terrorists, not to mention the Taliban. The Israelis are also destructive, as is our own US Government. Let's just stop the oil dependency thing, use alternative fuels, stop selling weapons, and get the hell out of the Middle East, and last but not least, stop manipulating the rest of the world and our own population for the benefit of the Bush dynasty.

~ Eric A.


On Justin Raimondo's article, note this sequence of events:

  1. reports that Saudi Arabia wants to kick out the U.S.
  2. denials from the US that Saudi Arabia has talked about the issue
  3. US decision to allow women to disregard traditional Muslim dress code

Sounds to me like a way to blame the U.S.'s expected eviction on Saudi Arabia's anti-women attitudes, rather than on the general resentment for US bellicosity against Arab countries. "They just kicked us out because they're backward," rather than "they kicked us out because we're bullies."

~ Kelly B.

Bastion of Press Freedom

It's good to see my stuff once again in English, which is a rarity [these days] ... given the dire state of the public relations machine once known as the news media! Who would've ever thought of Asia as a bastion of press freedom?

~ Yoichi Shimatsu, Japan


[Regarding Sasha M.'s letter of January 24:]

Oh, this particular paragraph on your Backtalk page is a real nuisance.

"Macedonians were never 'a myth' – just an ignored reality in their own country for a long time.... They have tried to invent different people (Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks – even a salad?!), but never acknowledged the real indigenous people – Macedonians (I have enclosed the scientific proof of these thesis in the previous letter to you). [...] Believe me, the future for Macedonians then (not to mention numerous times before) looked much more bleak comparing to today. But our ancestors survived that and this state was born later on. We will definitely survive this. Please, there is no need for cataclysmic predictions.... Even if we lose (God forbid) this state, we will found another one."

There is a name for statements that start with "believe me" and end up containing tons of emotionally charged, largely unsubstantiated claims -- it's called mythomania. Although the author of this passage claims to be original in what he is saying, he does not differ substantially from what other mythomaniacs -- Bulgarian, Greek or other -- say on the same subject. Everyone is "original" and the oldest. Now I see Macedonians have contracted the same disease. Ahh, it never ends. Vanity can do miracles.

~ F.O.

'What If' Question

Thank you for [Ran HaCohen's] ... wonderful essays found in the Antiwar.com website. In the last 2 weeks I have read about 10 of your essays and find myself educated and in full agreement with your point of view. Please keep up the good work. I have always asked the "what if" question, to open the hearts and minds of my American friends.

What if the Palestinians were led by Martin Luther King Jr.?

By the end of the conversation, with Martin Luther King Jr., as the Palestinians' imaginary leader, every one of my friends and acquaintances, suddenly, and for the first time, see the issue for what it really is: Israeli occupation and declassification of a group of human beings into 2nd-class status. Mr. HaCohen, you write far better than I, so perhaps you can find the time to write such a imaginary scenario.... I promise I shall pass your essay around like candy for the ten years ... [during which] American officials continue their "peace process" scam over and over again. Perhaps when enough Americans see the issues differently, American politicians will be forced to reflect this change too.

~ Mr. Treg L., Arizona

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