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Posted January 16, 2003

Regarding "Conscription Is Slavery" by Rep. Ron Paul:

My only question is: Why is this guy a Republican?

~ Sam C. Cown

Webmaster Editor Eric Garris (Republican since 1983) replies:

Traditionally, Republicans have been opponents of big government and intervention. And look who is proposing the draft now -- Democrats.

The real broadening of the antiwar movement in the '60s came when Republicans started resisting the draft. Huge splits in organizations like Young Americans for Freedom fueled the movement. It was conservative opposition that finally killed off the draft in the early '70s.

"Conscription equals slavery"? Not so. Slavery does not have an ending date. Conscription does. Unfortunately it is the poor, those without jobs, no chance at a college education to prepare them for a career and no wealthy or powerful relatives to bankroll a conscript out of the military.

With conscription in place without the loopholes, each young person would be obliged to participate in the protection of the rights of a democratic nation. Think again, Representative Paul.

~ Millie Seewald, Silver City, New Mexico

Although I am in agreement with Representative Paul on many issues, I cannot agree with his position on the draft.

A universal draft assures that all citizens be made to sacrifice, and be willing to pay the ultimate price, for military adventures. This in turn guarantees a greater national debate that raises the most salient question: "Is this war so necessary that it is worth the sacrifice of my son, daughter, wife, or husband? " With this question in mind I guarantee that any support for an invasion of Iraq would evaporate. This is why the Pentagon and the administration reject conscription.

Furthermore, it is a disgrace that members of Congress and their families are so poorly represented in the military; as is the situation in the White House where all those clamoring for war ran for the high grass when their time to serve came.

If nothing else a universal draft will avoid another generation of chickenhawks. Those unwilling to sacrifice should never be in a position to demand the ultimate sacrifice from others.

~ John Dente

Regarding "War Party in Retreat" by Justin Raimondo:

Mr. Raimondo's interview [with Barry Farber] revealed that he's incredibly patient and polite, besides extremely lucid. Hope he's also clairvoyant and the war plans are set aside. Wouldn't we all be pleasantly surprised.

If possible, please make more interviews and/or lectures available on line for people who don't live in the States. Thank you very much.

~ Maria Cerritelli, Lima, Peru

Regarding Susan Shropshire's letter of January 11:

Right on, Susan.

The basic hypocrisy of the whole situation is so blinking obvious – it's like our state of Montana having drive-up windows at liquor stores and allowing people to drink while driving (no joke – it's legal as long as the driver isn't "drunk"), then decrying the loss of life on the highways.

But projecting problems to outsiders is much easier than dealing with them at home – and the more remote the outsider the better. Just like bombing Afghanis and Iraqis, then moving on to the next target of opportunity is much easier than, say, actually doing the things our leaders said they would do if we allowed them the use of force (make us safer, capture bin Laden, liberate the Afghani people, etc.).

I'm reminded of "hunters" who shoot anything that moves, let it lie, and move on to shoot something else.

Give these guys some tin cans to shoot at instead, or better yet take their guns away until they prove they can and will behave themselves as responsible human beings.

~ John McGill, East Glacier, Montana

There Is More Than One Solution

I would like to respond to one writer's letter to Balktalk specifically. In that letter, he talked about how the United States had always fought for Liberty and Freedom and how he was proud of that as a veteran. I am sure that in his view, the United States has always fought for that which is right. I really don't want to talk about wars that may be of his generation (for which some information may be hurtful to his own memory of the situation – as we all know that we aren't told everything when history is actually happening), so let me just bring up a war that most people don't know anything about – the Mexican/American War of the 1840s. The Mexicans had only won their freedom and liberty from the Spanish in the very early 1820s (some say because they watched and admired us). But, we wanted their land.

We were settling their land and decided that settling that land constituted ownership of that land (do you think this argument would or should fly today?). At any rate, we fought them for the land and took half of what was Mexico then as our own. We said that those who lived there could either leave or become United States citizens (this included entire Mexican villages scattered over thousands of square miles of land). That was the choice – or be killed. So, we aren't imperialists historically? Bet you never learned this ugly little story in your US history classes in school (I didn't in the Midwest, that's for sure). We were imperialists, just like all the ugly European powers we supposedly weren't like at all. And we have never been different from them. Why? Because we are all humans. We are mostly self-interested and self-motivated. And the history of the world (as far as anyone knows through documented history) reveals little else. We bask in the glory of miracles of selflessness because they are miracles! Don't flatter yourself that an entire country is somehow so superior and righteous that it deserves glorification (like many countries claim they deserve – sickly so).

Please, try to be honest with yourself. With your nation. We all must change our attitudes and in order to change our attitudes, we have to admit fault – as countries and individuals. If we don't admit these faults, then we will keep committing them ad nauseum.

~ Yana Hylton

U.S. Taxpayers Get Screwed Again!

Thanks to the powerful military industrial complex and their willing dupes in Washington, the US taxpayer will fork over 3.8 billion dollars straight out of the US treasury to give to Poland so they can purchase 48 F-16 fighting Falcon jets.

Lockheed-Martin corporation gets their money right away and without risk, Poland gets the F-16s ASAP, while Bush and Company sit back and lick their chops over the great deal they made. Because they know in the next election Lockheed will make a big fat campaign contribution to Bush's reelection.

The American taxpayer will be the loser if Poland's unstable economy crashes and is not able to repay the debt. Let's make a long story short. Once again the corrupt politicians reward the wealthy and betray the working class. And by the way this deal went down over the Christmas holiday when no one was looking.

~ Leon Fisher, Woodbridge New Jersey

Public Opinion

In the past, world opinion reigned in base behavior to some extent in the civilized world. For example, as unhappy as Gorbachev was with the breakup of the Soviet Empire, he was reluctant to use bombs and order mass executions. When Soviet soldiers did fire on innocent people in Lithuania, Gorbachev was quick to place the blame on local commanders and distance himself from the violence. After all, he was a statesman and a world leader and above brutality and violence. Only African despots and South American dictators resorted to those tactics. But that is in the past now. It is perfectly all right now to bomb, target, take out, and mow down people in the name of democracy. World opinion is of no consequence any more. It seems the only deterrent to brutality is one's personal conscience.

~ Rick O.

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