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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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 10, 2003

Regarding "Can Exile Solve the Saddam Problem?" by Alan Bock:

Why not use exile to solve the Bush problem? The man – and his dubiously legitimate regime, and increasingly harsh, arbitrary and racist internal repression – is plainly far more of a threat to the human race.

~ Ben Cosin

Regarding Footman T's letter of January 7:

Given your feelings on the issue, I appreciate that you wrote a letter to be posted here. Your position dismays me. You are not eager for war, might even prefer to avoid it if possible, but you will be loyal to your commander in chief and support a war on Iraq if it is necessary. It sounds pretty noble, but it's not.

You, as a member of a democracy, are one of the people in charge. Making war is the most important decision a community can make. While the hired help (by which I mean the President) can advise, you must not abandon your responsibility. If you decide to kill Iraqis, know that for yourself it is really the right thing to do.

The president and his associates do not seem to share your view that war should be avoided if it can. They crave this war. If they have to tell you white lies to get you to go along with each step, they are OK with that. They are nothing if not pragmatic. But turning to them to determine whether or not war is necessary is absurd.

For the sake of your children's futures, and for you own soul's peace, don't take lives frivolously. Don't kill on someone else's say-so, or out of loyalty to a politician. Be certain yourself.

~ Doug Barrett, Edmonton, Canada

Regarding "Nuclear balance tilts in India's favor" (Daily Times):

Why does AntiWar.com repeatedly engage in exaggeration to selectively serve the Islamist cause? Support for the Palestinian cause does not require that you exaggerate and broadcast all Islamist claims without scrutiny.

The latest instance is your posting (on January 8) a highly speculative article from a Pakistani source Daily Times titled "Nuclear balance to tilt in India's favor". The original article merely speculates (based on postings on yet another website) on what might happen at an upcoming US - India meeting. Yet you published it by changing the title to "Nuclear balance tilts in favor of India" making it appear like a done deal!

You could very well have posted another article in the very same Pakistani website titled "Indo US defence meeting may focus on the Arrow missile" that was far more fact-based.

If you had any familiarity or understanding of the US role in the ongoing India - Pakistan conflict you would have realized that in the 55 years since its formation by violent separation from India, Pakistan has always tried to entice or corner US with its geo-strategic advantages regarding access to Central Asia and the US has glossed over Pakistani infractions including clandestine acquisition of nuclear weapons and fostering of Islamic terrorism as a prop to its failed nationhood and supplied it with sophisticated weapons free. What's more, the US has tried to defend its tilt towards seldom-democratic Pakistan by exaggerating India's resulting dependence on the Soviets for defensive weapons.

Since 9/11, as the need to access Afghanistan through Pakistan became the overwhelming priority for the Bush administration, the US tilt towards Pakistan has become even more pronounced and has allowed Pakistan to go scot-free in spite of its record of sponsoring the Taliban in the first place or passing uranium enrichment technology to N. Korea.

Given the still dicey situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan's cunning manipulation of the Bush Administration by allowing it access and at the same time harboring the Taliban and Al Qaeda bigwigs (while practicing plausible deniability in the best style of Tricky Dick and Heinrich K.) as bargaining chips to prolong US dependence on their cooperation, it is inconceivable that George W. will antagonize Pakistan by supplying India with antiballistic missiles to counter Pakistan's well publicized doctrine of 'first use'. ...

~ Radom X.

Regarding "Giving the Boot to History" by Lee McCracken:

Fact is, Neo-cons are not traditionalist nor are they realists: they adhere to what could be termed "economic determinism." In their liberal, flag-waving world, culture follows the money and guess why? Because the people with the money control what we are allowed to believe. Neo-cons surrounding the President, are nothing more than Marxists with a capitalistic face. Remember that even in traditional Marxism, the party leaders got rich. There is no contradiction.

~ S. Senica

Regarding 'Korean Ghosts' by Justin Raimondo:

You just don't get it. Ask yourself simple questions, like why doesn't South Korea feed North Korea – the cost would be trivial to them. They won't because the kids in the street demonstrating are really the only people (and very few people) who care about their own people. Let America pay for it. Otherwise we'll strike if you charge us anything.

I was there in the war, in the trenches (they ran for hundreds of miles) and I never heard a Korean officer once indicate his sorrow for the suffering of Northern Koreans (this was in 1952). Indeed I never saw or heard of NK in the opposite trenches it always seemed to be Chinese. Indeed the NK army which invaded SK in 1950 had mostly been in the Chinese Red army in the '40s. ...

If the SK people really wanted to help their own people in NK it would only take a tiny percentage of their national income. Read some statistics.

Now my attitude toward our Army (and I spent 6 years in it) ordinarily would be that they hate to leave any place they've built country clubs, PXs and indoor pools.... That's why they're still in SK, but logic tells me it much more sinister. America, never having finished the war off (thank God. No doubt I'm alive because we quit) have been held as hostages by SK ever since 1958 or so.

The truth is atomic bombs are really 65-year-old technology, anybody can build them and they are a great equalizer – it makes Saddam or SK or a dozen other countries and punks ten foot high and America doesn't realize that yet and still thinks a few Marines can straighten out everything the way they took care or Bin Laden – what a joke, on us.

~ John Puttre

I think the article misses the bigger story, which is the rampant anti-Americanism in South Korea. This seems to be blacked out by our media, except for several websites, such as http://www.geocities.com/usinkorea2/ and http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/uglykorea/. They appear to both be set up by GI's stationed in Korea.

The case against an interventionist foreign policy needs to be framed in terms of America's interests, not what is good for the rest of the world. The objective should be to extricate the US from our foreign entanglements. As the old proverb states "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." We need to start somewhere, and the greatest advantage would be a withdraw from Korea. The anti-American protesters also provide abundant ammunition if the case is stated in terms of supporting our troops (visualize a "Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home" bumper sticker).

The protesters have provided a wealth of visual imagery that can be used to appeal to emotion in America:

Our being burned http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/uglykorea/flagfire1.html

The hit Korean Song "F*cking USA"

Praise for Osama Bin Laden

World Trade Center Humor

In addition there is the abuse of our troops in South Korea by the people of South Korean

Why not use the protesters who hate us to serve our national interests? Let them function as useful idiots for our cause. The timing could not be better in view of the developments with the north. The president elect of South Korea wants us to sign a nonaggression pact with North Korea, when viewed from the perspective of our national interests (avoiding foreign entanglements) rather than the obsolete containment posture of the cold war. Give them what they want, on our terms.

  1. A simple pledge of mutual nonaggression, the DPRK will not attack the US or her military forces, and visa versa. In no way should we guarantee the security of North or South Korea.
  2. North Korea will not possess weapons capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction to North America (including Alaska and Hawaii).
  3. Withdraw all US forces in Korea by the 50th anniversary of the Korean armistice.
  4. Not one dime of aid or any other concession given by the US.

If this agreement compromises the security of South Korea it is not our concern. If they don't like it what will they do, burn our flag, attack our embassy, insult, assault and spit on Americans? In any event I do not feel that China will want Kim Jong Il making too much of a mess in their neighborhood and will assume the role of South Korea's protector. I image the relationship may not be the present sugar daddy/teat suckling status quo the south enjoys at our expense, probably more akin to vassalage. Again their problem, not ours.

In the worst case the North invades, Seoul probably will be devastated and perhaps the north will conquer the south. It would be interesting to see if the Molotov cocktail throwing students from the universities will attack Kim Jong Il's tanks with the same fervor they have when attacking our embassy. Certainly not one GI should be risked for this. Korea is not worth the life of one more American any more than the Balkans were worth the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. If they fall we need not worry about being milked for another IMF bailout, and may gain manufacturing jobs as Korean goods no longer invade our markets.

~ Mark Hartley


...Tonight, the news on the BBC is about the chemical 'weapon' Ricin, which has conveniently been discovered at the home of 7 North Africans in London on the same day that Foreign Minister Jack Straw tries to cite Iraq as a 'rogue state' which will (or has) supplied weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. And, surprise, surprise – Iraq is reported as working on producing supplies of Ricin! And all on the same day Straw and Tony Blair are addressing all the British envoys gathered from all over the globe who are here to talk about the 'terrorist threat'. The discovery of Ricin today of all days is almost as good as discovering Mohammed Atta's passport in the WTC inferno just a few hours afterwards on September 11: convenient, just so convenient. And just as blatant, and manipulative. How stupid do they think we are? (Don't answer that.) If it's true, then so be it, but don't withhold information until it's expedient to release it – what if the Ricin terrorists had decided to release their 'WMD' on a day previous to today, which so facilitated government propaganda purposes? How would the Foreign Office have explained it then? Or would they even have told us?

~ Jeanne Brady

Are we fools?

The politicians and pundits tell us that the United States will bring order to the Earth through war and threats. Hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions must die to fulfill this "manifest destiny"?

Please look around at the United States today. A small group of very wealthy and greedy people own over 90% of the assets of the country even as millions are unemployed, tens of millions are without health care, and over a hundred million have paid for a "Social Security" the "trust" assets of which have been looted.

Is the United States truly demonstrative of a progressive and enlightened social and economic philosophy that we, and the rest of the world, must embrace or die? Are we fools?

~ Jake S.

Link Added

I enjoy your site very much, and as a courtesy I wanted to let you know that I've added a link to your site, off my new site. I appreciate all of your hard work.

~ Lloyd the Riddle, www.ideas-evolved.com


...It seems to me that people who kill others without proof of their guilt – or even without being sure who they're killing – are terrorists themselves! They're just highly paid assassins, using hi-tech weaponry.

Well, I don't fault the people who did it as much as I do the ones who told them to, who seem to be pretty devoid of conscience. That too is a sign of the Last Days, the "latter times," that some would "speak lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1Timothy 4:2). In other words, their conscience is so numb, so hardened and dead, that they no longer hear the voice of God speaking to them anymore. And such people often "speak lies in hypocrisy," accusing others of the very things which they themselves are guilty of.

It's a sick and perverted society that develops such disgusting weapons to maim, mutilate and disable people so horribly! But that's what war does to people. Politicians and the military figure they need to be ready to do unto others before they do something equally bad unto them. And it seems like scientists are willing to work on almost anything if the pay is right – doctors to work on biological warfare, chemists on chemical warfare, physicists on nuclear warfare, and engineers on conventional warfare. I'm sure they all have their excuses or justifications, but one day they'll have to stand before the Lord and see how far their excuses go with Him.

~ Ted Rudow III, MA, Menlo Park, California

Peace Proposal

Will we ever have peace on earth? Here are some thoughts that might make it possible.

Every year, or in case of a major conflict, a worldwide televised symposium should be held with world leaders, scientists, philosophers and those with name, fame and fortune.

Unlike any other ‘sterile’ meeting place, this symposium should be held in a place of natural beauty and wonder with pictures of inner and outer space. Provisions should be made to view, on screens, mankind’s accomplishments, as well as the atrocities of war and other miseries as well as the destructive forces of nature: earthquakes, floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes as humanities only real enemy, besides pests and diseases.

Such a setting will create a sense of awe, wonder, humility and respect for all life, and will change minds forever, for good.

No honest and sincere world leader could possibly refuse to attend such a symposium, which would only cost a fraction of what a war would, and with no loss of human lives and environmental damage. Please, let’s try it, for the sake of all of us.

~ Gunther Ostermann, Canada

Foreign Energy Dependence Undermines Peace

As more and more peace activists and environmentalists are pointing out, our huge dependence on foreign energy is pushing us towards ever growing conflicts to secure said energy and making enemies around the globe through both the procurement and consumption of these dwindling resources. It is time to get a massive grass roots effort to support renewable energy, in the name of peace and future prosperity .

Those who remember the shock of the oil embargo on the early 1970s will realize with dread that we have squandered the decades since by not demanding more efforts towards a renewable energy industry. Rather than continue to make the sacrifices we were forced to make during that difficult time, we went right back to the pumps when the crises faded.

In the ensuing years an ever larger military budget has been consuming more and more of our economic pie. Lets estimate the portion of the military budget necessary to protect our “interests” read “ fossil fuels” is in the neighborhood of 40%. If one counts the annual cost to service the debt of previous military spending with annual spending that would be in the neighborhood of $400,000,000,000 annually. (www.warresistorsleague)

If we assign half that to protecting our supply of cheap gas and divide by the number of gallons of gasoline consumed in the US per year 131,765,000,000 gallons per day. Are we not indirectly paying an additional $1.50 or so every gallon of gasoline? This in addition to all the other energy subsidies already in place. A case could be made that we are really driving with $4.00 per gallon fuel. The real cost of that fuel in terms of our military involvement designed to protect its source is probably impossible to quantify.

Oil production is expected to peak within the next decade and then start a fairly rapid decline. This while developing nations thirst for ever more energy. US corporations need and want these emerging markets for their products. The upward pressure on supply will soon become very destabilizing as every aspect of our modern life is touched by energy derived from fossil fuels. (See Center for Research on

Rather than build a strong renewable energy industry, politicians have continued to be beholden to the behemoths of big oil and industry. There has been very little political leadership for clean renewable energy. Creating significant change through the political system and bringing in energy policies that will enhance our political, economic and physical security evades us year after year, while the known reserves of fossil fuel shrink.

What if we, the people, were to petition for a voluntary surtax on every gallon of gasoline sold in the country. Something as paltry as $0.10 per gallon. Lets say the funds are guaranteed to go into the research and development of alternative energy capacity. Using the same consumption numbers that would represent approximately $13 billion per year dedicated to building the infrastructure to provide clean energy to Americans. There is a good chance, given the current environment that groundswell of public support for such a measure would occur. If the funds were administered by an NGO that was fully accountable to the public there is a good chance that we would see energy savings for certain aspects of our economy in a very short time.

People are aware that clean renewable energy would end our enslavement to the volatile sources of much of our imported fuel, would slow global warming and improve our environment. Energy self sufficiency would also greatly reduce the risk of “blow back” from our involvement in military actions across the globe, or maintaining garrisons in parts of the globe where we are not wanted. Ultimately military budgets could shrink.

Showing leadership in renewable energy would build an industry from which the US can profit domestically and through exports. Every nation will need renewable technology in the future. The potential benefits in regards to the environment are immeasurable but urgently needed.

It is apparent that fixing the political system in order to achieve these goals will be too stubborn a problem to be achieved in time for the coming energy shortages. If private citizens take the initiative by volunteering a surcharge on gas at the pump, perhaps we can shame our elected representatives to follow suit with a more sensible allocation of our tax dollars as well.

Fighting for freedom can be done in more creative ways than behind the barrel of a gun, or from the cockpit of a military bomber. A citizens push for renewable energy is patriotic, peaceful, and necessary.

An initiative to get a voluntary energy tax on the ballot can start at local levels and then to State. Affiliation with other nonprofit renewable organizations could quickly create a solid infrastructure for such an effort.

~ F.E.D.-U.P.

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