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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 Unless otherwise indicated, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 February 2, 2002

Prisoner Status

Living in Alexandria, Virginia, I sure hope I am never called to sit in the jury for the show trials of any of the accused terrorists, especially John Walker. I really enjoyed your article and agree with you on the substance of the threat: people like Ashcroft and Cheney would never get up off their asses, carry a gun, and do it based on principle.

This issue of prisoner status makes me very nervous. We actually have some case law that could have been used – had Ashcroft and Rumsfeld bothered to follow the law. After World War II, we treated the SS as a criminal organization, prosecuting them in tribunals (for status) and then in civilian courts, the only soldiers to be so treated. Since the SS constituted 25 percent of the German Army that was quite a stretch. What many miss is that Eisenhower most assuredly violated the Geneva Convention when he decided to call, well after the war, regular German soldiers as "disarmed enemy forces" (DEFs). He refused to feed them and left them out in the elements.

I believe the best account of this is the book Other Losses.

~ David M.


Chomsky

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 18, "Manufacturing Dissent":]

...I am a big fan and supporter of Justin Raimondo and Antiwar.com. Iím wrong, sometimes. And so is he.

I would love to hop in a time machine with Raimondo, and watch him stand in front of the White House in 1942 and demand that the US allow Nazi Germany to engulf Europe and aim its cannons towards us. Yes, I read Day of Deceit, and I believe it 100%, and it upsets me a great deal. The thought of a Cold War with Adolf Hitler also upsets me. Itís also funny to me that Raimondo proposes that we "Get in, and then get the hell out," of Afghanistan, knowing full well weíll never get the hell out. But isnít "getting in" Afghanistan another tentacle of Empire reaching forth? According to Raimondo, we should hunt down Osama Bin Ladin for knocking down the WTC – and "come right back home" but never have raised a hand against Adolph Hilter!? I agree with Raimondo that ceding any sovereignty to the UN is unconscionable. However, I also feel that, in a moment of calm, introspective reflection ... you may realize that Chomsky has much in common with Antiwar.com, so much so that turning the guns on genuine critics of US Empire should be last on the list of ways Raimondo spends his evenings....

~ Jon D.


Freedom Corps

I didn't watch The Great Leader's speech the night of January 29, 2001. I just couldn't take the sycophantic applause from the audience and media, nor could I handle watching the Leader's facial contortions. So I read it in the New York Times the following morning along with the reaction from Congress. It was worse than I'd expected. These men and women have lost it. Their easy victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan has convinced them more than ever that they and their military forces are invincible. Consequently, in their minds, the world is theirs for the taking and anyone who gets in their way is dead meat. Indeed, the Great Leader even mentioned specific targets he had in mind.

...The Great Leader has warned us that there are still thousands of evil terrorists out there to go after, too. Hell, one might even be working in that cubicle next to yours. Since we can never be sure, our Great Leader is encouraging us to join his Freedom Corps and defend the Homeland.

As for our kids, don't worry. They'll be taught the Pledge of Allegiance from the first day of preschool. We'll make certain of that. Our youngest Freedom Corps volunteers will report any adults who don't encourage blind obedience to the State and its wars. Only through such vigilance will our children be safe. Safe from freedom and safe from the dangers that freedom can present. See you at the Freedom Rally. Heil Freedom!

~ Ron J., Vermont


Victories

I am sad, glad, and grateful to have the information which you publish. Please publish information about victories of the common people over our oppressors so that we can learn how to be more victorious over tyranny. Please teach us the lessons of winning freedom. Please display the link to your archives of victory articles up front. We need to know what victories are, and how to become victorious.

~ Jon S., Arizona


McSally

[Regarding Justin Raimondo's column of January 25, "PC Imperialism":]

It probably galls a lot of Christian servicemen that they are restricted (I confess, I'm not sure what the restrictions are: no crucifixes I bet, maybe no crosses, can they have church services?). The McSally case may blow up on the imperialists. People might ask "Why put US soldiers in such a place?" She may cause the Saudis to ask us to leave – and I can't see us invading because they asked us to leave. Only if US women are arrested and mistreated can we be sucked into an invasion. If ol' Saddam were smart, he'd provide a place on the Iraqi side of the border for US Christians to hold church services, maybe even supply Iraqi clergy, and next Christmas he'd have small area radio broadcasts of religious carols.

~ Jim M.


Administration's Approval

In case anyone missed it, Martha McSally was in the audience at president Bush's "State of the Union" address. She was not singled out to take a bow, but she was there. This makes it obvious that she is suing the Pentagon for the right to not have to wear the traditional Arabian women's garb with the Bush administration's approval. Why would this administration want to provoke the animosity of the Saudi Arabian "man on the street"?

~ Lloyd G.


Political Figures

Would be interesting to compare a number of our original political figures in early American history with those gutless wonders over the past 20-30 years who keep advocating we send our young men off to create wars for the monetary benefit of a few select individuals. I noticed on Antiwar.com site today that "Mr. Great," himself, Tom Daschle is waving the war flag. He and his kind get me sick. He and other members of his family have probably never been even close to the death zones which he advocates creating.

~ Wes B.

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