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Please send your letters to Backtalk editor Sam Koritz. Letters become the property of Antiwar.com and may be edited before posting. Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Antiwar.com.

Posted January 7, 2003

Regarding 'Operation Provoke War' by Maria Tomchick:

Well said. I cannot believe the gullibility of the American people.

Apparently they feel they are in danger from Iraq's 600-800 mile range missiles. I believe the only Iraqi enemy within danger is Israel and of course they have incredible influence in Washington. The only other excuse for this ridiculous war is the lure of easy oil money. It is, of course, no mystery that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons – we gave them to the Iraqis to fight Iran. Those that weren't expended on the Kurds or Iranians must still be about. Of course Iraq's intentions aren't known. Saddam has had those weapons for many years without using them but they must be very unsettling to the Israelis.

One factor I haven't heard addressed is the resolve that bombing tends to foster in target populations. I would think Blair would remember World War II sentiment amongst the British people after the Germans bombed them and the similar stiffening of German resolve after the allies began bombing Germany. German wartime production actually increased till raw material shortages began to pinch it off. Why would the Iraqi people be any different; because of a propaganda campaign? Absolute nonsense. One thing is certain, Bush is apparently not concerned about world opinion and could care less about the moral high ground that will be lost when he makes a preemptory attack. He is being more open about his intentions than Hitler was upon attacking Austria or Poland or Japan's attack at Pearl Harbor. But he will squander almost a century of international good will earned with a lot of American blood spilled during World War II.

One other factor that is apparently little known in this country is Arab intensity. Arabs have very long memories. How else to explain that Sunni's and Shiites are still killing each other 1400 years after Mohammad's death in an argument over how his successor should have been chosen? The Shiites felt it should have been determined by blood succession while the Sunnis said the "church" should have made the choice (which was what happened). But 1400 years after his demise they are still squabbling over it. In any event, I guess there is not much that can be done. Bush has studiously ignored any and all criticism from both foreign and domestic sources so I don't imagine he will give any credence to one more old Vietnam vet. But it can't hurt to try to vector him back to a common sense course – at least until combat commences.

~ Grese O.

I am French and my English is not very good but I want to remind you that on a special day called September 11th 2001, more than 3000 World citizens died. I am proud to be European but I am also a US citizen in my heart and want to tell you that I agree with President Bush. Iraq needs to be disarmed, and If we do not do now what will happened in the next future? You probably wait for an Iraqi nuclear bomb in Israel or Kuwait? Remember in World War II if the Europeans didn’t wait so long to attack the Germans, maybe the war would have changed face? So don’t be innocent and kind, the world and especially the Muslims hate us and want to kill us, attack us; they hurt us, and we have to attack and destroy them. For an eye, two eyes, for a tooth, all the face.

~ Laurent Lathoud, France

Regarding Justin Raimondo on MSNBC:

Great job on MSNBC today! I derived great joy from pointing out to my family that you guys were/are one of my primary sources when doing my editorial duties, first for Free-market.net and now for Rational Review News Digest. I was equally proud to tell them that even I have had articles on the front page of Antiwar.com in the past (just recently as a matter of fact). I find your writing in particular enjoyable, informative and very worthwhile.

I am proud to occupy the same foxhole with you in the fight for greater freedom and a war-free world.

~ R. Lee Wrights, Editor-in-chief, Libertyforall.net; At-large Representative, Libertarian National Committee; Vice-Chairman, Libertarian Party of North Carolina; Chairman, Libertarian Party of Forsyth County; Editor, Free-market.net; Contributing Editor, Rational Review

I, personally, would appreciate if in the future your columnists would refrain from using the word 'Americans' when quoting what Americans want. I resent having someone on the television telling the world what I want, when it is clearly not the case, and I would have been happy to let someone know, had they bothered to ask. Instead, maybe, it would be more accurate, and less arrogant, to say 'xx% of Americans want...' instead of grouping all of us behind your opinions for your own personal gain.

I am not a rich man, I work hard every day swinging a hammer to provide for my own family. I also had the great honor to serve my country as a United States Marine during the last Persian Gulf conflict. And while I may not agree with all of the policies of our Federal Government, at least I am patriotic enough not to go out in a worldwide forum and criticize our President and his policies. I love my country, though it be flawed, it is mine. I will fight for her when called, even to protect the rights of people like your columnists to keep on writing their opinionated articles which I hardly agree with.

All I would ask is that you use your right of free speech responsibly. People are tired of seeing activists on television, telling them what they think, and respond better to someone speaking from a position of intelligence, and not emotion. I would love to hear more of what your columnists have to say, and I support your right to say it, but I will not be listening if your policy continues to be to blanket all Americans together to rally support behind your respective agendas. Give the rest of us Americans the respect we also deserve, and find some other way to express yourselves in the world arena. Even the term 'most Americans', though not accurate according to poles that I have been reading, would be more accurate than implying that all Americans believe as you do.

~ Dale Blankenship

I've been a daily reader of Antiwar.com for over a year and just got my first opportunity to see Justin Raimondo live and in person. Justin, you've always been that Bogey-like character depicted in the picture you have on the site. Now that I've seen and heard you, I don't have that image at all anymore. Get a new picture, Justin! And, great job on Buchanan and Press. I know you love Buchanan. I only wish Press had been on the ask you a few questions also.

~ Pat F.

I hate to dispute Justin's opinion on the the upcoming war, but people that I know, whether student or business pros, we all favor a war with Iraq. I live in the Northeast, just outside NYC and these are the opinions of many of my friends and colleagues-it isn't that we are looking forward to war, but this something that we feel has to be done to preserve the future for our children. If there is someway around a confrontation, we are all for it, but if we must use force, and that's the way it looks now, we are in favor of it and support our chief commander – just thought you would want to know how people in this area feel. Maybe Justin better take a more careful look at how the public, the populace really feels about this, and not just students, who unfortunately, could be chosen to go. I was a student too, during the Vietnam days, and was against our involvement over there, but it seems as I got older, my views changed.

~ Footman T.

Regarding 'Do Neocons Exist?' by Justin Raimondo:

I have read your material for years, beginning with Reclaiming the American Right, and am a donor to CLS. I believe this is the best column of yours that I have ever read. The neocons are hoping to eliminate the label "neocon." They are adept at labeling others, but hate it for themselves.

~ Tim Green

"When Buchananites toss around 'neoconservative' – and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen – it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is 'Jewish conservative.' This is a malicious slur on two levels. First, many of the leading neocons aren't Jewish; Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett, Father John Neuhaus and Michael Novak aren't exactly menorah lighters. Second, support for Israel – a key tenet of neoconservatism – is hardly confined to Jews; its strongest constituency in America happens to be among evangelical Christians."

Typical. I, for one, always thought that, while the flamboyant ex-Trots got all the press, the overall tone of the neconservative movement was set by Arthur Schlesinger's "vital center" of Cold War liberals. The movement was originally defined by all those waspy (or Straussian Catholic) New Deal Democrats that Boot enumerates. And I would consider those people he lists, if anything, to exonerate paleos from the charge of using "neocon" as a code-word for "Jew." What is it, Max? Is neoconservativism a Jewish movement or not? You can't have it both ways.

If anybody is responsible for tagging neoconservativsm with the "Jewish" label, it is people like Max Boot who play the Jew card every time anybody makes a negative comment about neocons. It's ironic that David Horowitz (rightly) denounces shakedown artists like Jesse Jackson for playing the race card whenever they're criticized, and calling anyone who disagrees with them either a "racist" or an "oreo." But Horowitz himself regularly responds to the neocon label with the rejoinder: "Neocon? You mean 'Jew," don't you?" And anyone who takes a negative view of Israel is either an anti-Semite or a "self-hating Jew." And Horowitz, by the way, at one point said he thought neocons were Scoop Jackson Democrats like Jeane Kirkpatrick. So like Boot, he likes to have it both ways.

The neocon fixation on Israel doesn't help, either. They remind me of the 1930s Stalinists whose central purpose in American politics was to defend the Socialist Motherland at all costs. Today, it's a case of "same principle, different motherland." I can imagine the Daily Worker in July 1941 taking up a collection to save Soviet Russia from fascist aggression, in almost exactly the same terms as Horowitz's "help defend Israel" ad on FrontPage. The neocons rub our noses in Israel every day of the week, and then squeal like stuck pigs when Buchanan refers to the "amen corner."

~ Kevin A. Carson

Empire vs. Republic

I think it is essential that all Americans recognize the major distinctions between the ideals of empire and the ideals of Republic and the consequences of these ideals.

Both may be driven by a sort of patriotism that believes their nation has achieved something valuable that needs protected or expanded. In fact both may hope for an expansion into other lands of what we value. But the means differ greatly with very different consequences.

The neocon believes America should use its military and economic power to dominate foreign peoples. Perhaps they believe this will result in a tendency to Americanize the rest of the world. But what happens is usually very different. Empires succeed on the basis of establishing beachheads into foreign lands. Few foreigners ask for American or any other Imperial domination. The Empire seeks out a constituency group it can count on and uses them to achieve domination. The examples of this are multitude. Britain built an empire this way. The American reader knows that we have taken over Afghanistan (at least in theory) by using the northern tribal warlords to attack the Taliban We are presently trying to piece together anti-Saddam forces to help us in Iraq.

But what happens when the war is done? Then one has to show favoritism to some of the people to induce them to remain somewhat loyal to America. We do that by having something to offer. Perhaps we increase the number of people who may come to American universities The Empire cannot grow by taking over lands where technology is greater than its own. It grows by entering poor and third world countries. We open our universities and workplaces to a number of people from those we conquer. But, then we open ourselves to the possibility that some people flowing in from the lands of the provinces of the Empire may actually turn out to be themselves enemies of the empire. This is indeed what took place on 9-11. The incoming terrorists were generally connected to the favored classes of Saudis. They were the very type of people we count on in controlling our empire. But, they had never really been converted to any sort of "Americanism." They were angry about American policy and had the means to enter America, because they were members of classes essential to the American Empire in the Middle East.

Those favoring Republic over empire often want to influence the rest of the world. But their method is far different. They purposefully attempt to respect other national boundaries. They believe that more can be accomplished by setting a good example, of building a superior economy, by showing the results of freedom in practice rather than of exchanging the power of example for the power of conquest.

Foreigners who are impressed by the accomplishments of the Republic can only attempt to do one of two things. They choose either to attempt to import aspects of the American way of life into their own land, or choose to emigrate into other lands. But since the America of the Republic perspective has not intervened into foreign affairs, the incoming immigrants come not out of malicious intent but bonafide desire to enjoy the prospects of what has proved to be a peaceful but better society. This was the way of the nineteenth century immigrant. They came as believers in the American way of life. Today's immigrants come to a nation perceived as having obtained its wealth through conquest and foreign domination of others, so immigrants often tend to have less belief in America and more trust in taking advantage of the advantaged. I say this while recognizing that most immigrants come to America wanting to live peacefully, work for a living and have good lives. The point is, that as America has attempted to use its power to "Americanize" the world our immigrants have come with a less pronounced belief in our American way of life. Meanwhile, our enemies come using their ties to an American empire to destroy our way of life.

The truth about 9-11 is that we have many enemies because we have chosen to project American influence through our military and economic capacities to dominate other lands in the world. We are producing opportunists who make alignments with our power structures. But we are producing far less enthusiastic converts to our basic ideals. There is a tremendous irony involved in all of this. While our empire grows steadily, belief in the American way of life erodes worldwide.

In the nineteenth century, America became idealized by the Statue of liberty. Millions came to America wanting to become Americans even if it meant ceasing to be Germans, Lithuanians, Poles, or whatever. In the twentieth century America became powerful, but often still longed to be simply America. But, today it has appeared that America wants to govern the earth's affairs. Today, many are willing to gain power as American vassals in foreign lands, but no one wants to be Americans, and even immigrants often have no desire to become American. The Empire must maintain its power by granting special benefits to members of the lands it dominates. In so doing the ability of the Empire to have its own way of life is compromised, and its inherent security is weakened. Our influence is like fresh water. As long as it flows in a river through a lake and on towards the mouth of an ocean it remains fresh. But, when it empties out into an ocean it becomes indistinguishable from the ocean and takes on the mineral content of the sea. What was once fresh water by flowing into the ocean has become salt water.

~ Dan McDonald

Regarding "The Unresolved Problem of the United Nations" by Joseph Stromberg:

Mr. Stromberg's piece on the UN is cogent. While I am not a John Birchite, their prescient warning about the UN was on the money. But, I have a question regarding Israel's free pass. Presently the US is preparing to once again hammer this small third rate country, Iraq for not having complied with a UN resolution. When I research the topic of UN resolutions I find the nation that has violated more UN resolutions than any other country is Israel! That nation, in contrast to Iraq, had ignored and/or violated every single UN resolution since it was formed in 1948. Those various UN condemnations are too many to even count. But, unlike Iraq, Israel thumbs her nose at the UN and gets away with it. No boycotts, no embargoes, and certainly no use of armed force to compel Israel into compliance with UN dictates. Is there a double standard in play here? Do you suppose the Muslims of the world may have noted the unequal quality of UN justice? Perhaps it may even fuel Muslim anger towards the superpower that shields Israel from compliance/punishment.

~ Neil R. Huff

Regarding Gary Pike's letter of January 3:

This was my first time visiting this site, but I was compelled to reply to the man who wrote "Case Not Made." I honestly believe your case is not made. No one doubts that the Saddam is an evil man and no one is saying that the people of Iraq are not oppressed. I believe what people are trying to say is "Why all of a sudden is Iraq a threat to the US?" As much as the government wants people to believe this is a strategic move against the so called "war on terrorism, it clearly is not. There are some definite underlying and personal interests in this whole operation. I what I feel is this is pointless. We as Americans are "free", we have our rights. This is not a battle for the rights of the Iraqi people this is a battle for control. What this administration has to realize is that not every country is going to be a democracy and it is not our best interest in making sure democracy is accomplished across the board.

The Bush Administration is showing no signs of support for the UN inspections. So far the inspectors reported nothing incriminating, but yet thousands of military personnel are being sent to the region. Why? And no one is even mentioning war against North Korea who has admitted to a nuclear program that they are not stopping. Too many double standards are going on.

All people are saying is there is a better way than war. The war will not only risk the lives of US and other foreign military, but the lives of the Iraqi people (just like the lives of the Afghan people who were bombed and killed during "Enduring Freedom). In this case we are being the rogue nation and what the consequences are will be more than what anyone could imagine.

Peace can be achieved!

~ Natalie Anderson

Regarding "Ethnic Cleansing: Past, Present and Future" by Ran HaCohen:

It's such a shame you can't get this printed in the mainstream press. I lived in Gaza and traveled the West Bank long enough to know this letter doesn't even touch on all the devastating aspects of 'incremental' ethnic cleansing. The question is how long silence on this issue will prevail.

~ Jennifer Loewenstein

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