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Posted January 11, 2003

Regarding "Hail Caesar?" by Justin Raimondo:

Bravo on a strongly worded rebuttal of this frightening, sickening New York Times Magazine piece. It is one of the few responses to this article I've seen anywhere. In a blurb near the table of contents, the author, Michael Ignatieff, trumpets his occupation as 'teaching human rights', then proceeds to laud his own cowardice. 'When I hear bullets, I reverse the Jeep.' I'm not surprised, as like most of these warmongering draft-dodgers (W, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, et al) he surely cannot face the type of situation his intellectual slime creates.

One other, mostly implied, point in the article is the notion that American-style democracy should be exported to all corners of the globe, as if it is some shining example of Utopia. The reality is we have a lesser of two evils system in which one party consistently works to disenfranchise voters and discourage political involvement and civic values, preferring to lead the country by stacking elections with its own super-active voter base and working to instill fear in the heart of the average person, while the 'opposition' party has collapsed in a miserable identity crisis, having found out it really doesn't oppose anything at all. Any true 'opposition' party is chased or priced out of elections so there is no realistic representation of the voter base in our 'representative democracy.' We have a president who took office by machination of the courts, even though he lost the popular vote (a basic tenet of 'democratic' principles), and a political system that, while it may not work by 'bribe' per se, still flows where the pool of money is deepest. (When conservative members of Congress like John McCain admit the situation by introducing legislation designed to reform this system, it is not paranoid imagination that leads one to believe our system is deeply flawed.) Voter apathy has never been greater; people simply refuse to participate in this 'democratic republic' because they know no one is listening. And this is a system that we have some sort of divine mission to bring to the world?

Anyone who suggests we have an obligation to 'liberate' people overseas to our way of thinking, as if the current American system is some shining ideal that never fails to work for liberty and justice for all, is a charlatan. As was pointed out repeatedly after the last election, if the same scenario had played out in an African nation, the US and UN would have been all over it like ants on a picnic table. Yet when it happens here, it's no big deal, because 'everyone knows' we are a bastion of democracy!

Funny that this professor of 'human rights' didn't bother to mention the home situation at all. People still go homeless and starve in America; people are still turned away from voting; people are still incarcerated without due process; millions live without health care, and as a May 2002 Kaiser Foundation study pointed out, there is a direct relationship between lack of insurance and reduced lifespan, so we effectively sentence 15 percent of the population to early death by pricing basic health care out of their range. Whatever the solution to these problems, they are a matter of domestic civil injustice and need to be addressed first instead of pouring money into overseas wars to teach others about our shiny democratic ideals.

Did I hear something about 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' somewhere in my impressionable teenage years? What would happen if we simply fixed our own situation and then held it up as an example, instead of blinding ourselves with PR and then launching missiles when the world doesn't agree?

~ Susan Shropshire, Maine

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

Notwithstanding all of Saddam Hussein's crimes, he is the only one who can hold Iraq together today. The United States is not interested in deposing him, but in obtaining control of Iraq's oil. Hence, his abdication would do Iraq no good, for it would simply allow the United States to dominate it more easily. See my own article in these pages ["After the War"] for some relevant details.

~ Michael Doliner

Regarding "Liberman's Supreme Soviet" by Uri Avnery:

Israel is in a dilemma: with suicide bombers going off all over the place, it's hard to be a moderate, I'm sure. Still, I feel that unless Israel's rulers plan to kill every Palestinian, that the left's views are more realistic. There must be some kind of an agreement to give up land for real peace and a war against Hamas and Islamic Jihad must be waged by Israel and Palestine as allies. Oh, those settlements are the biggest thorn in the Arab/Israeli relationship. They must all be dismantled. What the Likud people don't realize is how many people have gone from supporting Israel to a kind of uncertain ambiguous feeling. Nobody likes a bully, and despite the fact that the bully is truly provoked, it's hard to be 100% in his corner. ...

~ Allan Birmantas

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

Any article on ethnic cleansing, especially one that mostly talks of rumored shadows of imagined intentions, that ignores the ethnic cleansing that Jordan and the west bank Arabs practiced on the Jews who lived there in 1949 is morally and ethically corrupt.

We will never know the causes of each Arab that left in in 1947-49. Current rethinking estimates that 100,000 were driven out, but doesn't say how many of those were combatants or how many of the total were willing to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors as UN 194 calls for.

Selective memory – how convenient.

~ Gene Warech

Readers' Responses

I appreciate that Antiwar.com does such a good job of allowing dissenting opinions in the readers' response. This site does a great job of allowing all opinions to be expressed. With that said, all I can say to the number of respondents who said that Antiwar.com shouldn't be criticizing the president, we should support our commander in chief, that Iraq is a dangerous threat to the US, etc. is: do you guys actually read the articles? I really have to wonder! The links between oil, Israel and imperialism are clearly shown in the articles and opinion pieces in relation to an Iraq War. If you are going to criticize Antiwar.com at least write something countering the specific points raised in the editorials and news releases.

~ B.K., Portland, Oregon

America is Great Because

There is no doubt in my mind that this will not be published on your site, but I however; have the right to be heard just as surely as those that are published.

To all of those that take the position that war is never justified, read your history book! The greatest ambition of the American people is to be free; freedom comes at a high and sometimes incredibly gruesome cost. Throughout the history of this great nation we have been at war with either some iealistic [sic] country or a tyrant run government. I know that war is a terrible thing, the cost in human life and the property destruction is grievous; the cost of rebuilding postwar is tremendous. I have come to realize in the latter part of my life that the very governments that we have helped rebuild and financially carried after a war are rattling sabers again after 30 or more years of peace; it is evident that what we built for them has decayed from lack of care and now they will risk war so we can do it again.

As an American and a war veteran, I know what price I have paid for my freedom, I for one very much in favor of the current administrations viewpoints on Iraq, either we will stop them now or we will pay for it in American life and destruction on our own soil. I am a firm believer that when you are struck, you must retaliate to keep your position in the proverbial pecking order.

Understand that there is only one solution to world peace, that is one world government, this is the action that seems to be favored; it is also the solution that will plummet ninety-five percent of the population of this United States into deep poverty as are most of the peoples throughout the rest of the globe. This is not an acceptable solution for me and mine. We have worked too hard for what we have to give it all up just to pacify those that lack the backbone to stand up and retaliate against those who would kick them in the gonads.

~ Tom C.

Making the World a Better Place, or Not

The United States tops the world in production and sales of arms and weapons of mass destruction. As an American citizen deeply concerned about my country's economic keystone and moral constitution, I wonder: to what people, organizations, and networks are these lethal items being sold? For some reason researching this topic was difficult, but I was able to get my hands on some valuable data, albeit from year 2000 and not exactly pinpointing details of the items in question being sold.

In 2000, the United States led the world in exportation of arms with $18.6 billion in sales, according to the Congressional Research Service. My first guess was that these weapons were being sold to Britain and other governments of the United Nations. Oh how wrong could one have been? Nearly 70% of the armaments were sold to the developing world, also known as "Third World" countries. My goodness, this means the US knowingly sells arms to countries that have dire social and economic problems. By doing this whether consciously or not, it conveys to them the wrong message: when in trouble, arm yourselves and all problems will be solved.

Epitomizing supply and demand to the maximum, the US fulfilled a substantial portion of global demand for missiles, machine guns, and who knows what else. When all was said and done it had accomplished supplying arms or military technology to parties in 39 of the 42 of the active conflicts worldwide, more than 92%. This figure remains relatively unchanged today, three years later. Making a profit from fueling others' conflict seems like a ruthless way to make a buck. However, since the US is spending close to $380 billion annually to design and manufacture these products, it is only logical to think the seller will try to offset cost somehow. Although this still leaves $361 billion dollars of "defense expenditure" unaccounted for.

All the countries of the European Union (EU) collectively spend about $150 billion on weapons and defense each year – $230 billion less than the United States. ...

~ B. Rourkacha, San Francisco, California

A Father's Thoughts

As we enter a New Year a major storm is brewing outside. The howling winds are picking up out of the west and dark ominous clouds are piling up on the horizon. The high seas are turbulent and the mighty waves are crashing on shore. People are preparing for what seems to be the inevitable and the unpredictable. They are stockpiling supplies, battening down the hatches and spending time with loved ones. Those that are far away from their loved ones are reflecting on memories of times past, thoughts of the present and the uncertainty of the future.

The forecasters are projecting when and where the storm will hit or if it will blow over. The experts are predicting the damage to property and the number of casualties. Planners are making educated guesses of what will be needed as the storm gains in strength and the amount of havoc it will raise when and if it strikes land. Officials are posturing, spewing propaganda, preparing the masses, not trying to alarm but reassure. Yet uncertainty abounds. What will become of this fierce storm, will it spawn other storms or will it fizzle out?

The storm I am describing is the looming war in Iraq and the rumors of other wars around the globe, not to mention the couple dozen of wars already raging around the planet. Too often we only look at war in this abstract way, we ignore the human element, especially when the war is thousands of miles away and our lives remain relatively unchanged. But those amassing on the battlefields, those awaiting orders to deploy and those with members of their own family in harms way, know the realities of warfare or are about to whether they want to or not.

My son, Jeremy has received his orders to deploy to Kuwait sometime before the first of February, along with his entire unit. Jeremy and my daughter-in-law, Nicole, are only two of the millions of young men and women proudly serving their country in uniform. These young men and women have much in common with others that serve their country. They stand by the ideals of what their country stands for and have chosen to defend their country from enemy attack, laying their lives on the line if need be. Jeremy is a Captain in the U.S. Army, a command helicopter pilot in his Medical Company. Nicole is presently in the National Guard after having completed her enlistment in the regular Army last year. Nicole is also deployable.

Jeremy is working on his Masters degree and Nicole is part way through the nursing program at Columbus State University. They would also like to start thinking about having a child. But uncertainty hangs in the air, my daughter-in-law will sign-up for classes next semester, my son will not and any plans for a child have to be put on hold. They have two large dogs which I will care for if they are both deployed.

The passing and approaching storms have swept me into action. While I love the US and everyone knows I love Jeremy and Nicole, I am strongly opposed to a war with Iraq and the Bush administration policies. A war in Iraq has nothing to do with defending our shores. It has everything to do with a settling an old grudge, with the interests of major corporations and controlling Iraq's oil reserves. Our leaders use those in uniform as pawns in a giant chess game, in order to amass more power and wealth.

The Bush administration and its policies are moving us into a dangerous new game of brinkmanship. Bush has put the whole world on notice that "either you are with us or against us." He has also singled out several countries as being part of his so-called "axis of evil." Our policy of defending our soil is being scrapped and replaced with a policy of aggression. The US is flagrantly ignoring international laws and arm-twisting allies and enemies alike to gain support, while openly saying it will go it alone if it has to.

In response I have joined millions around the world who are patriots for peace and our ranks continue to grow. Last year while attending SUNY Brockport I was a founding member of Brockport Students Against War. About a month ago, I decided to reach out to other military families that oppose a war in Iraq. We are in the process of forming Military Families Speak Out (against war with Iraq), visit our Yahoo site at: "http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MilitaryFamiliesSpeakOut." If you have a relative in the military and are questioning the current tide – or know someone else who might be in this position, please have them contact us. MFSO will be holding a meeting January 18 in Washington, DC.

So President Bush, Congress and the American people (those who support this war or sit idly by) I will hold you responsible should my son or daughter-in-law or anyone else wearing the uniform die while serving in Iraq under current administration policies. I will not accept an attack on Iraq and the deaths of those Iraqis defending their country against an aggressor nation. I will not accept the loss of more innocent children, women or men, the damage and destruction of their homes, their infrastructure and their livelihoods. I call upon the US, Britain and the UN to lift the sanctions already in place against Iraq because they are only drastically affecting the downtrodden and neglected. The sanctions are responsible for the deaths of over a million innocent people in Iraq.

God does not bless America's death, destruction and global domination policies. Christ weeps, while Satan gloats. Open your eyes and see, war can not bring about peace. Terrorism can not be defeated by using terror tactics. We must call for an end to this spiraling cycle of violence that only assures we will be caught into it, before it is too late.

Realize we are all part of the same human family. We share the same planet, breathe the same air, drink the same water and what we eat comes from the same ground. War is devastating to all of us, it contaminates: our water, the air and the soil that we all need to survive. War kills or maims members of our own family. Supporting the Bush administration's foreign policies or by sitting idly by, we become part of the evil in the world.

As a father my emotions and feelings are really torn. I love my son, who in so many ways is like a brother and my best friend. Our relationship has always been close but especially after his mom died as the result of a car accident when he was only ten. We shared much together as he grew up, traveling all over the states, to Israel and Egypt and for a time living among the Mennonites and Amish. Jeremy played soccer while I coached. Together we joined Civil Air Patrol (an auxiliary of the US Air Force); I was Deputy Commander of Cadets, while Jeremy progressed to the point that he became Cadet of the Year for all of NY State.

So as my son prepares to deploy in Kuwait, I will let him know I love him. I will tell him I am proud of him and what he does because his task is to fly a medical ambulance to pick up the wounded no matter what side they serve on. But I can not tell him I agree with his deployment or the orders of his commander and chief- I do not and I strongly oppose both. God knows I want my son to return safely but I wish that for all of God's children, be they American, Iraqi, Afghani, Iranian, Palestinian, Israeli, Korean, etc. and I am referring to all people, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

So I ask that throughout the year you pray for peace, work for peace and love those around you- be they yellow, brown, red, white or black. Love those both young and old, far away and near. Please join with me and the millions of others saying "no" to a war in Iraq, "not in our name." It is time we taught our children not to wage war but to make peace. ...

~ Jeffrey A. McKenzie, New York, Military Families Speak Out

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