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Posted January 17, 2003

Regarding 'Ethnic Cleansing: Some Common Reactions' by Ran HaCohen:

Though one may appreciate your stand of moral outrage against ethnic cleansing, and your attempt to defend yourself against negative criticism of your position, one cannot overlook some fundamental problems with your defense. I do not know what your general position is on the matter of Palestine/Israel, but I do know that your understanding of nationalism is wanting. To argue that it is true that Palestinian nationalism is young, and, in fact, younger than Zionism is unacceptable. It assumes that nationalism is derived from the nation-state rather than the nation-state being a derivative of nationalism. A nation and its ethnocentric identity are not subject to the existence of either political sovereignty or internationally acknowledged boundaries. Nationalism is a people's definition of socially viable relations which tie them together in their history, their predicament and their destiny. Palestine existed under the Mandate and prior to that under Ottoman domination. If you want to know when Palestinian nationalism emerged, I suggest you check their folklore and that of their neighbors. Long before Zionism, song, dance, poetry, visual arts, rituals, family names, and the like were identified as Palestinian, as opposed to Syrian or Iraqi or Bedouin, etc. Palestine was not born with Zionism. It preceded it and will probably endure long after it.

~ Faith T. Zeadey, Department of Sociology, Worcester State College, Massachusetts

Ran HaCohen replies:

Of course Nationalism can precede the nation state: this was the case of Zionism. But you seem to confuse folklore and customs with Nationalism, which is a very different, modern phenomenon (see its great theoreticians: B. Anderson, E. Hobsbawm, E. Gellner). As Said Aburish beautifully demonstrates in his Children of Bethany, farmers before World War I had no national concept of "the Palestinians"; their identity was focused around their clan, village, religion etc. Their nationalism developed later, under the British Mandate. This does not make it better nor worse than any other nationalism, including the Jewish one, born just about two generations earlier. Attempts to project Palestinian nationalism into earlier times (even back to the Canaanites or Philistines) are as unserious as similar attempts to draw a direct line from biblical Israelites to modern Zionism. Which nationalism will endure? I personally would be happy if we get rid of both.

I'm part of that dreaded "Christian Zionist" section of America. I was brought up with a special love for the Jews, and for Israel. I've simply been unaware of much of the history that you've related in your two articles on ethnic cleansing. (Except for an article in the Journal of Libertarian Studies which established that Jews had not, before 1948, "redeemed" but a small percentage of the land that ended up in Israel after 1948). So thanks for the important history lesson you are giving. Most of your readers were not around at the time. We only know what we've been told about these events. And what we've been told in my circles is that the Jews have, gloriously, returned to Israel and only anti-Semites have any complaints about how that return was accomplished.

~ Stephen W. Carson

Regarding 'Going Crazy' by Justin Raimondo:

As a regular reader of your column (OK only over the last three months) on Etherzone, I have since made Antiwar.com a regular stop on my daily media binge. So first, some compliments: the site is an excellent resource and I hope your readership numbers continue to grow.

However, I must take issue with the points you make about hybrids, environmentalism, Saudi oil, etc. I know that many people touting renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation often have their own private axes to grind. However, the bottom line remains that until we can domestically produce at least most of the energy we consume on a daily basis – without literally destroying life as we know it on this planet – than wars over the steadily declining supply of oil can only continue.

Lots of people take these arguments way too far. Many of their suggestions are impractical and some are down right silly, but the underlying logic is still sound:

If we are going to avoid extincting ourselves and still maintain a semblance of our standard of living, than we need plenty of cheap, clean energy. In addition, even if some amazing technological developments were created tomorrow, it still would take at minimum of a decade to make the transition. Therefore, we need to stop wasting the fossil fuels we do have and start using energy more efficiently. Hybrid cars, etc. are a big step in the right direction. Getting Americans to think about the larger implications of poor fuel economy can't hurt either.

~ Eric Hopkins, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I generally like your site, and I even make a monthly contribution, but frankly for this particular day, I think you were the one drinking the funny water.

Look, I am sick of cowardly politicians, and Rangel was on the right path when he called for chicken hawk sacrifice, unfortunately I don't think it will happen. It will probably be as classist as always, but it was nothing but smart rhetoric on Rangel's part, since it just won't happen, but it will put most garden variety armchair hawks on the defensive. Particularly, uninformed college students.

Furthermore not all evangelicals are dispensationalist, and these particular evangelicals are more social gospel types, who are critical of Christian Coalition types for their alliances with the plutocracy, or Mammon. You simply misread that completely.

I agree that the Saudis have been demonized, but if we are going to run Bill Bennet rhetorical jabs at drug users, for being unpatriotic, asking why SUV people should be indulged is perfectly appropriate. I am pretty sure Osama what ever his connections to the Saudi government gets more income from oil then from pot. I am actually more concerned that we are enriching George Bush than the Saudis.

I really think it is a legitimate question why my country should be dependent on a region that I can't control for an energy source when it doesn't have to be. If we are dependent, then the Ws of the world will naturally try and control the region, and that will lead to empire, because of the industry/government revolving door. That doesn't make me or any of the PC types you mention pro-empire, or anti-Arab. That is not demonizing the Saudis. It is common sense. I also believe, if hybrid cars become more popular the technology will refine, and they won't be so clunky. It will also save our planet from global warming, which I realize you right wing anarchist dismiss, but I am a liberal ultimately; not a neocon, not a paleocon, but a liberal.

~ Jennifer L Brice

While I generally agree with your column, including the ones about the Israeli foreknowledge of the terrorist attacks, I think you are way off in your characterization of the Detroit Project. I don't know anything about the personal motives of the sponsors (and I doubt that you do either) but I don't see how anyone can question the direct connection between this country's dependence on Middle Eastern oil and the terrorist attacks.

The people in that part of the world resent us because we have turned it into one big armed camp, because have troops occupying their countries and because we support the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Is this not a direct result of our dependency upon their oil? U.S. Presidents at least since Eisenhower have justified their support for Israel by saying we need a proxy state in the region to ensure a stable oil supply. Is it a coincidence that Saddam Hussein was suckered into invading Kuwait just after the collapse of Soviet Communism threatened the raison d'etre of our huge Cold War Military Industrial Complex? Is it also a coincidence that at that very time the first Bush Administration was using taxpayer money to buy advertisements in Car and Driver and other similar publications to successfully lobby against stricter fuel efficiency standards that were then pending in Congress? This paved the way for the ascendancy of the SUV and the increase in our dependency upon Middle Eastern oil throughout the '90s

The oil industry has become the marketing division of the Military Industrial Complex. The Bush family is heavily invested in both. Cheney made his fortune in both. The Likkudnics in our government are well aware that our support for their militarism depends upon our oil addiction. American Imperialism will continue as long as American oil addition does. If Saddam Hussein goes away they will just find some other excuse.

Asceticism is patriotic. The fact that is it beginning to be espoused by trendy Hollywood types does not invalidate it. Also, since you mentioned it, if people knew that their oil-consumption choices might result in a loved one being drafted to fight in an oil war, they might have second thoughts. ...

~ Robert Anglin

The Arianna Huffington Detroit Project ads are interesting for another reason. When listening to them you may notice a strange familiarity, this is due to their being virtual rip-offs of anti-drug ads put our by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and others. The montage of faces and voices talking about "helping fly planes into buildings" is just like the anti-drug "today I killed a family in Columbia" spot and the one with the music box music in the background is identical to the "This is Stacey's Dime Bag" ad. If you listen to those two back-to-back you'll swear the same person did the little girl's voice.

It will be interesting to see how those that would oppose the SUV links to terrorist while endorsing drug/terror links will reconcile their contradictory thinking. Oops, sorry, I forgot cognitive dissonance is the thought process du jour.

~ Mark Thomas Seiler, Bessemer City, North Carolina

Rangel should not be just focusing on the Washington elites at needing waking up. For it is the sociopathic young Americans, 18-34 years old, who lust for war by a 3:1 margin. So, yes 'enslaving' the nation with universal conscription, sadly is probably necessary to wake them up from their detached Playstation/SuperBowl war hypnosis, so that they have an increased sense of the risk of death, dismemberment, disfigurement, poisoning, and mental destruction. They then can not only ask themselves if they are willing to do some remote control killing for the Empire and Suburban Sprawl, but then they can ask if they're willing to die for it.

I think that the assumption of the Eco-Zionist that less reliance on Middle East oil will help Israel is 180 degrees off. If oil was less needed, then so too would Israel be less needed as the regional gendarme of the US Empire. (By the wary, lest you side with Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily on the question of ANWR oil drilling, it is important to note that at current elevated oil prices there is not even enough economically viable oil – 6 Bbls – in ANWR to supply the US for one year – 20 Mbls /day.)

Similarly, the joint fantasies of the Zionists and the Oilies for fragmenting Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria while designed to destroy OPEC and declaw the various regimes, raise the likelihood of both the annihilation of Israel by even less negotiable and retaliable groups, and the possibilities of extreme volatility of oil availability for long after the formal invasion and occupation commence. Basically, the policy of Divide and Conquer more resembles the Sorcerers' Apprentice.

~ DR

Crazy, or just paranoid? Postwar Iraq becomes a UN Protectorate, thus giving the UN a source of income (oil) that is independent of international charity. Bill Clinton succeeds Kofi Annan as UN Secretary General and colludes with POTUS Rodham to institute the New World Order dreamed of by Bush 41.

~ Paul B. (Dr. Mongo) Garrison

Regarding "Slouching into Iraq?" by Alan Bock:

I thought it was prophetic that you mentioned the US would have to occupy Iraq for 30 years. I read a recent article by an expert geologist concerning how much crude oil the Earth actually has left to be extracted. He wrote that if the level of consumption does not increase from this point forward (which it naturally will), oil supplies will be gone in 35 years. The Middle East is predicted to be the last supplier – as everyone else has now past peak supply levels. I believe that this best explains what is going on.

~ David Sorensen

Regarding all of Alan Bock's columns:

Are you crazy? We're close enough to being a police state now and you might want to remember that. Georgie Porgie isn't going to like you.

Keep up the thought-provoking work.

~ John Noonan, Savannah, Georgia

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

I am so thankful that we have we have one member of Congress that understands the spirit and intent of our Constitution. I wish he were my president.

~ Jonathan Goble

Regarding Kenneth D. Curry's letter of January 14:

Kenneth D. Curry is unfair to equate the right wing Bush party with the Christian right wing. The US is not Christian, the right wing is not Christian, and a Christian understanding does not, apparently, inform any decisions of the Bush administration. Although it may be true that many or most of the Christian right did vote for Bush, and that he courts this group, other minority groups – those who truly hope for a smaller government, for example – have cast their lot with Bush in a similarly foolish hope. The Christian right was (and probably still is) stupid to put their hope in Bush, but that does not make Bush or his party Christian, nor does this particular stupidity especially distinguish us in the field.

~ Jonathan Nichols, an evangelical Christian who didn't vote for Bush

US Policy on Iraq is Wrong

...I cannot accept that Iraq is a threat to the world in general. If they ever used WMD the consequences for them would be devastating. For example If Israel was attacked they would respond with atomic weapons without hesitation.

If the USA attacks Iraq without a UN mandate or without clear evidence of WMD the frustration of those opposed to US power and dominance in the world will increase and further acts of terrorism will result. Why is it OK for the USA to have WMD but dangerous when other countries do? The consequences after a 'successful' war have not been made clear. The US says they do not want to treat Iraq as a colony, however a General will be put in charge until a more acceptable government can be formed. Who will decide what form this government takes and who takes part? The number of groups presently jockeying for power could result in chaos. If another 'unacceptable' regime takes over then what?

What will happen if the Iraqi population does not cooperate, and reacts as the Palestinians have to Israeli incursions? How will the occupying force react? – blow up local houses as the Israelis do?

The USA seems to need a threat to impose its power in the world. In the past they had an exaggerated fear of communism and had an unnecessary war in Korea and Vietnam. It is not clear whom the US fears now but a war with Iraq will result in many unnecessary Iraqi and American deaths and could cause chaos in the area and possibly the world.

~ Ron Drinkwater, Sutton, Surrey, UK

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