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Posted January 14, 2003

Stunning Facts to Contemplate

Some facts being buried by the mainstream media (links to relevent articles follow):

  1. US VP Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld personally met with Hussein and personally closed the deals that gave Iraq its former biological, chemical and nuke warfare stockpiles. (See Chicago Sun-Times: "Following Iraq's bioweapons trail," September 26, 2002, by Robert Novak.)
  2. VP Cheney arranged black market oil deals with Hussein (San Francisco Bay Guardian, "Reality Bites" by Martin A. Lee).
  3. The CIA says the White House is lying about Iraq's threat (and that attacking Iraq may be the only thing that could provoke an attack on Americans).
  4. The American Bureau of Atomic Scientists says the White House is lying about Iraq's threat.
  5. The International Atomic Energy Agency says the White House is lying about Iraq's threat (Washington Times, "Agency Disavows Report on Iraq Arms," by Joseph Curl September 27, 2002).
  6. The former UN weapons inspector (who inspected Iraq's weapons) says the White House is lying about Iraq's threat (and that Iraq is not a threat to America and attacking would be a "historical mistake").
  7. Bush and his cabinet members (Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.) – currently all multimillionaire oil and weapons indutry magnates (yes, that's right, all of them), will become multi-billionaires if Hussein is toppled.
  8. Saddam Hussein never threw out weapons inpectors – the UN withdrew them.
  9. Those pushing hardest for this war never served themselves.
  10. George Bush, Jr. was a military deserter during the Viet Nam War.
  11. Last month "AWOL Bush" personally cut off American disabled veterans' benefits, leaving them out in the cold.
  12. Bush appointed weapons company CEOs to the top Pentagon and cabinet posts.

I urge you, if you've got the slightest doubt as to the truth of any of these stunning facts, to check the links....

~ Mike Nesmith

No Right-Wing Antiwar Movement

Reading most of the "Behind the Headlines" editorials over time has progressively pushed me farther and farther in the direction of two solid conclusions: one, Justin Raimondo is not really anti-war in any sense of the term, and, two, that there is really no such thing as a right-wing movement which is consistently opposed to war. Allow me to elaborate. Mr. Raimondo has written articles in which he praises, among others, Colin Powell, Dick Armey and George W. Bush for their ostensible opposition to the US war on Iraq. In essence, Raimondo tells us in these articles that the drive to war will be stopped not by great numbers of informed, politically involved ordinary people, but by died-in-the-wool members of the Washington establishment.

The (I believe intentional) central political effect of what Raimondo writes is to "sooth" the minds of those people who happen to read his columns. That is, he suggests in his columns that the governing elite in this country, or some substantial section of it, can be relied upon to pursue peaceful, just policies. This is not very different from what the Stalinists have always maintained: instead of struggling directly for socialism, they always encouraged the rank-and-file members of unions and the Stalinist-dominated "Communist" Parties to support some bourgeois movement which supposedly had a "progressive" ideological orientation. With respect to war, Raimondo does the same thing, though he claims that the people should rest assured because some (usually) right-wing establishment politician will somehow slow the drive of the military machine. In the last article which he wrote, Raimondo advanced the absurd argument that, because Bush is supposedly not so "gung-ho" for it, a US war with Iraq is unlikely. As is evident from the intensification of bombings in the "no-fly zones," the Security Council's unanimous adoption of Washington's recent resolutions on Iraq, and the ongoing buildup of forces in the region, a US-led war with Iraq, barring a socialist-style revolution in the next few weeks, is a 100% certainty. ....

The outgoing right-wing Texan House member as a potential leader of the anti-war movement? Raimondo also made the faulty prediction that, because of his supposed decency and aversion to the oppression of the Palestinians, Bush would break politically with Ariel Sharon. Instead, Bush, the hard-core right-wing warmonger, continues to prop up the right-wing warmongering regime of Ariel Sharon; indeed, the Israeli state remains, today as yesterday, as the loyal client of Washington. In short, these gross errors of prediction flow from the very fact that it is impossible to seriously understand geopolitics and economics through the use of a right-wing analytical framework. In short, it is my considered opinion that the only way to stop these international wars is for the working people to organize themselves independently into genuinely socialist (that is Trotskyist) political movements for the purpose of overthrowing all the capitalist governments in the world.

~ AW

Regarding "Musharraf's Speech Raises the Nuclear Danger" by Praful Bidwai:

"In January and end-May/early-June, India drew up elaborate military plans for a conventional attack across the border. It called off these plans essentially under US (and to an extent, British) pressure."

Thanks for keeping us posted about what goes on around us using our hard-earned tax dollars.

I read with interest the article and have to disagree with the above extract.

In my book India and Pakistan played out this drama for the benefit of the US and to ensure that the people of Pakistan did not have time to worry about Musharraf selling out to the highest bidder/the strongest arm-twister.

When Kargil never led to a full-blown war between the two countries I do not for a moment believe India would have dared to attack Pakistan knowing fully well US forces fighting the WOT were operating out of Pakistan.

Vajpayee and Advani may be grumpy old men but they are not stupid.

I have lived in Pakistan and know this for certain from personal experience, hatred for India could make even the worst enemies amongst the Pakistanis friends.

~ Imran Ahmed

Please stop your own paternalising rhetoric. You cannot equate an offender with a victim. The world community came to realise belatedly that the Pakistani leadership (not the people) is the problem. ... Sustained tension with India is in their interest. Peace with India and the resulting prosperity in the subcontinent will strengthen democratic forces in Pakistan which is totally against the interest of the Pakistani army and the leadership.

~ PNR Nair

Want war protest in home town

Where is a protest scheduled in my home town?

You guys have thousands of people hitting your web page looking for schedules of war protests, yet I find nothing there.

We don't need more articles against war. Your visitors are already against the war. What your visitors want to know is where and protests are scheduled in their home towns, so they can join in.

~ Tim Sinnott, Beaverton, Oregon

The Backtalk editor replies:

Actually, as the letters in (and especially out of) Backtalk indicate, many visitors are not against the war.

Links to protest schedules can be found by clicking the button on Antiwar.com's home page.

Christian right wing

President George W. Bush and his right wing supporters, who are anxious to start a war with Iraq, should have a close look at the bible. Christ did not say "Blessed are the warmongers" he said "Blessed are the peacemakers they shall be called sons of God."

There is a part in the bible that describes these Christian right wing warmongers "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing."

~ Kenneth D. Curry, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

There's Still Time to Stop a U.S.-Led War on Iraq

The Bush administration has sought a U.N. mandate for war, due in large part to mounting domestic and international pressure. Despite U.S. pessimism, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has agreed to U.N. weapons inspections, which haven't found anything significant so far. It's thus still possible that war on Iraq can be averted.

In response to the threat of war, the global peace movement continues to grow. Massive demonstrations continue to be held around the world. Some activists have traveled to Iraq to act as observers and human shields. A peace group in Canada has even committed to sending a group of citizen weapons inspectors to the U.S., holding the country accountable for it's double standards about weapons of mass destruction.

According to a recent poll by the Los Angeles Times, most Americans don't believe that a war on Iraq is justified. The poll concluded that "72 percent of respondents, including 60 percent of Republicans, said Bush has not provided enough evidence to justify starting a war with Iraq, " and "63 percent of respondents said war would be justified only if the United Nations finds a pattern of serious violations by Iraq, while just 22 percent agreed with the administration's position."

Many major U.S. cities are signing resolutions opposing war on Iraq. For a list of cities that have passed resolutions, and more information on the campaigns behind them, see: http://www.citiesforpeace.org.

The U.S. peace movement is far more diverse and technologically savvy than past peace movements. Perhaps the best news is that massive demonstrations have already been held before any U.S. soldiers begin dying in Iraq, while in Vietnam, it took many American deaths to begin fueling opposition.

The antiwar movement in the U.S. has made the leap from the left to the mainstream. The work of groups such as MoveOn has helped make this happen. (Note: This article is Salon premium content, meaning that unless you're already a member, you'll need to sign up and pay to read it.)

~ Patt Haring

Regarding "War Party in Retreat" by Justin Raimondo:

I enjoy Mr. Raimondo's commentaries and share his disdain for America's war party; unfortunately, I don't share his belief that the War Party is in retreat. In the last two days Rumsfeld has signed orders sending over 97,000 US troops to the gulf. That doesn't sound like a party in retreat. ... After a year of belligerency and threats along with the build up of troops Bushie cannot back down without making "America" look weak. (As if Bushie and the War Party are America.)

War with Iraq is inevitable. It will mercifully be short war with lots of Iraqi dead and wounded. It will be followed by a long military occupation with a European civilian as it's figurehead. We will exploit Iraq's oil reserves to "defray" the cost of the occupation and it will prove to the world that this war was all about oil.

~ Dana Minor

Regarding "Ethnic Cleansing" by Ran HaCohen:

Your writers should point out, as well, the circumstances that have led the IDF to strategically conduct a program of "transfer" and or "relocation" of enemy civilians. Yes, enemy. In case it has escaped your notice, Israel has been engaged in a war against extinction from manical, suicidal pan-Arab factions since her inception as an independent state. War is not fair; war is not pretty nor surgically clean. It is a struggle for survival and many innocents fall along with the guilty and evil. Stop encouraging left-wing resistance to this simple fact; demand that Arafat and his dispicable hordes of assassins cease to clammer for the whole pie when a generous slice would do. He and his are responsible for delaying a just settlement, hoping to destroy a viable state – obviously buying time – awaiting the Muslim seige to begin anew, probably with an Iraqi barrage of missiles aimed at population centers in Israel. Ask them why they turned down Barak's offer at the Clinton-sponsored Wye Accords. Ask them why they continue to dilly-dally and balk at every peace inititative.

(I am not a Jew; I am a liberal by choice, pro-Israel by conviction.)

~ Marilyn Frith

Ran HaCohen replies:

Indeed: war is neither fair nor pretty nor surgically clean; this is what all war criminals claim. My view is that war crimes, like ethnic cleansing or killing of civilians (by Israeli missiles or by Palestinian suicide bombers), are beyond the pale; international law happened to be on my side.

At any rate, the way to peace and reconciliation is not by defending and repeating the crimes of the past, but by confessing and repenting them.

Regarding John Puttre's letter of January 10:

As an American who has visited South Korea often and have some understanding of the history and sentiments in that area, I will disagree with some of Mr. Puttre's and Mr. Hartley's more pointed assessments, concerning "anti-American sentiments" in South Korea.

Mr. Puttre is being somewhat deceptive to insinuate that S Korea forces the U.S. to shoulder the entire burden of aid to N Korea. In fact, Japan, South Korea, and China are the main countries providing the vast bulk of food aid to famine victims in North Korea, and the US provides only a fraction of the total aid.

As for inter-Korean fraternity, during the Korean war, you can just fugged-about-it. You don't just naively expect those lovey-dovey feelings in a time of war, after so much bloodshed (4 million total Korean dead 10% of peninsular population). Regardless, it was a war orchestrated between two puppet governments and their militaries, waged at a time when there no visceral hatred between the Korean civilian populations, such as racial or religious animosity, existed and ideological division was imposed by the two superpowers.

To say that S. Korea is taking the U.S. GI's hostage is laughable, in light of the fact that the US government is holding both S. Korea and our US servicemen hostages to an ongoing war that never ended. The Korean War armistice was signed between the UN and North Korean government , and was never S. Korea's call to end the longest running Cold War battle.

As for Mr. Hartley's illustrations of "anti-American" hatred among South Koreans, I had trouble accessing these websites that were possibly setup by American GI's. But even if I take it as an article of faith that these websites prove the existence of some vast reservoir of anti-American hatred in S. Korea, it fails to address:

  1. Why and when did these sentiments arise in the first place? Ex vacuo? Why were they triggered?
  2. Are these sentiments justified to some extent? How exemplary are Americans in similar circumstances?
  3. Are they really directed at all Americans? Or American culture? Or just American foreign policy, media, or government (which as insidious and separate entities from the American people has done more damage to this country's constitution and prestige)?
  4. Is the degree of these sentiments any greater or more prevalent than what you already find in Europe, Latin America, other parts of Asia, Middle East, or Africa?

As recently as when I visited S Korea during the World Cup Season, there was no evidence of hostility or xenophobia on part of the hosts towards Americans. The exact opposite: I was greeted with such enthusiasm, hospitality, and fun, unmatched anywhere else in the world I've traveled. The travel anecdotes of most other Americans bear out the same pattern, with exceptions, of course (if you belong in the latter category, sorry, better luck next time!). I find most Koreans still admire and love American culture and values such as charity, volunteerism, patriotism, and civic duty. The older generation still appreciate the aid Americans gave Koreans during the post-Korean War period and worship general MacArthur, but the younger generation would argue these benefits are nullified by the US complicity in trading Korea to be colonized by Japan for the Philippines, by proposing the division of Korea at Yalta, entrenching Japanese collaborators in the S Korean regime, supporting military dictatorships, and 120,000 ROKs who bled alongside American GI's in fighting the Vietcong. Regardless, the American media has done a terrible job in its usual amnesiac pattern of forgetting why Korean outrage was triggered in the first place: by the simple fact that two Korean girls were run over by US armored vehicle and no one was found guilty or responsible. How the hell would you feel if that was your daughter or sister squashed?

"Anti-Americanism" is becoming a loaded term, a popular catchall phrase directed at anybody who expresses the slightest displeasure at American foreign or economic policy and doesn't prostrate himself before the US government , aka Big Brother. If we as American citizens don't like the injustices perpetrated by our Big Government against us, how can we expect any less of other people?

I do agree with Mr. Hartley on one point, however, minus the patronizing, malicious diatribe against the S Koreans and wishing their demise by N Korean invasion. It would be to S Korea and the US 's interests to withdraw our servicemen the sooner the better. At the very least, their contingent number should be decreased drastically from the present 37,000, and moved out of urban areas. To blame the S. Koreans for deployment of these servicemen is crude and idiotic, for it was the choice of our previous administrations of the US government to intervene and create this mess. Condescension and threats will get us nowhere, if we truly wish peace between the US and the world.

~ Joseph Hines

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