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Posted January 23, 2003

Regarding 'Listen Up, Soldier' by Justin Raimondo:

You are right on the money about the real reason for Bush’s zeal to attack Iraq.

As has been said before Israel is the elephant in the middle of the room that no one dares mention. Israel is the reason so few congressmen have come out against this war. They realize that the pro-Israel lobby considers being antiwar a subtle form of being anti-Israel.

Unfortunately, the mindless American masses have been so brainwashed into believing America’s interest is the same as Israel’s that it is going to take either massive American casualties or a huge increase in hardship for the typical American before they come to there senses and end support for Israel. I know it will happen one day. ...

~ Dan D.

It is also worth pointing out that most members of the us armed forces can expect to live (assuming they survive this war) until say 2050, when the world will be a very different place. The long arm of justice has almost fifty years to identify, try and convict those American services personnel involved in the death of Iraqi and other civilians. Jet and helicopter pilots, tank crews, infantry: beware, you will go to jail if you kill civilians. Think about it.

~ Nicole Ross

While I usually agree with much of your commentary regarding the possible new war in the Middle East, as well as what you call Israel's amen-corner in the US, I disagree with the idea that Sharon is urging Bush to launch this war.

All the signs indicate that Sharon and most of Israel's leadership are not at all keen on this potential disaster. Iraq is known to be virtually helpless, and has not threatened Israel since 1991. The enemy Sharon & Co. would like America to trounce is Iran – much stronger, much more united, and much more threatening.

Moreover, a look through the Israeli press reveals that the public too is apprehensive rather than gleeful. The Middle East is a very volatile region, and even the hard-bitten right-wingers in Israel know that another war might set off repercussions that would not be in Israel's favour.

So I think you're rather off the mark when you tell young soldiers that they may be fighting a war for Israel. It remains very clearly an issue of oil, and the US Administration wanting to control as much of it as possible, as well as showing the Muslim/Arab world who is boss.

~ Yael Lotan

I just read Justin's latest column and agree. But I thought he should be aware of one thing that might aid his case. I wonder if he saw Pat Robertson on Ted Koppel's Nightline a couple of months ago. On it, Pat told Ted that he, Pat, opposed Bush's war on Iraq because such a war would hurt Israel. Pat said any destruction of Iraqi power would only bolster its archenemy, Iran. And that would be bad for Israel because Iran is the main supporter of Hezbollah. So, if Justin could explore this division on the Christian right it might substantially weaken the pro-war forces in the U.S.

~ Richard Hill

You neglected to mention Rumsfeld's unconscionable comment that the draftee of the Vietnam war "did not add value" to our war effort. In other words according to this narcissistic blowhard – they did die in vain.

~ Mike Shannon

I am not a General, only a 77-year-old former World War II US Marine Corps Combat machine gunner who spent 2 1/2 years in the Pacific jungles fighting Japanese soldiers (not children, women and non combatants like Bush does), to protect our Constitutional Liberties. Bush and the war(chicken hawks) think war is a child's game-like on TV Americans should give Bush an opportunity to "step down", instead of Saddam. Justin, your comments are 100% correct in your article titled "Listen Up Soldier." Finally young soldiers, I ask you, are Iraqi children less precious than American kids?

~ Albert C. Mezzetti, Former Marine Corp Sgt.

"You're an American GI, and you signed up because you love your country, you want to defend it, and you also want to improve the quality of your own life in a dead economy. You're willing to fight anywhere they send you, obey orders like a good soldier, and you think the antiwar movement is completely full of it."

Wow! If that is true, then this nation-state has done a far better job of breeding its lock-stepping minions through its propaganda institutions than I ever thought.

My own experiences in the military tell me that most (I'd guess about 80+%) took their military jobs out of necessity for work. Most (an even higher percentage) don't have a clue about political theory, economics, power games, foreign relations or the conspiratorial power trips that are always a part of it all.

Anyone, who would trek over to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Somalia, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq, Lebanon, Korea, Vietnam, and all that are yet to come, to kill or be killed, is an unfortunate simpleton who hasn't learned, yet, to properly manage his life, liberty and property.

I believe that your opening paragraph is grandly patronising and erroneous, though I'm sure you didn't mean it that way.

God save our liberty!

~ Richard Storey

This was an outstanding commentary/article!

Thanks for the great work you do with Antiwar.com. I will be making a financial donation as soon as I get some extra cash.

You provide an invaluable contribution to your readers and to your country and give us some damn fine writing into the bargain.

Keep up the excellent work!

~ Donna Volatile, Truchas, New Mexico

I agree with Justin on many points of his January 20th column, it is necessary to get the active military to support (or at least sympathize) with the current antiwar movement. This task may be a bit easier than Justin supposes. It is correct that military officers are on the whole better educated and are allowed more independent thought than the majority of the enlisted soldiers. However, in times such as these, when the economy is in the tank, I believe you will find many, many freethinking enlisted men and women. The temptation of $30,000 to $50,000 for college is often too hard to resist for highly intelligent kids living in the slums and trailer parks. Combine this with a lack of job opportunities and you are almost always guaranteed a large group of bright kids in the ranks. I am aware of this from my experience (1992-96) on active duty. The average ASVAB score, which has a quotient similar to the IQ test, was about 125 for the ten or so cohorts I hung around with in my Signal unit. Yes, many of us sold-out our core beliefs for a little college money, but my active-duty brothers and sisters still need to be reminded that it is not too late for them to follow their hearts, especially when they are the ones fighting and dying.

~ Chris Snively, Saint Louis, Formerly of the 440th Signal Battalion, Darmstadt, Germany

Regarding 'So Many Fronts, So Little Sense' by Christopher Deliso:

Iraq is a condemned nation and there is nothing the world could do to stop America from further punishing the already punished nation. What America is going to do to Iraq is unjustified because America is going to cause a suffering to the whole Iraq people for the sin of one ambitious Iraq leader. Saddam Hussein can never have enough time to live in this world to grow a formidable mass destruction force to even give a credible challenge to Israel without being checked. Iraq is no match to Israel even if combined with the surrounding Arab nations and Israel alone can manage war superbly on multiple fronts against simultaneous threats from all its borders. The mighty former USSR did not even dare to confront America whilst on almost equal combat strength value. So what is Iraq to the almighty America plus all its powerful allies and NATO and the UN? It's going to be a simple act of invasion by a giant Caterpillar bulldozer in modern day history. President Bush can never be proud of it because the invasion will be looked by the whole world as to represent America a confused world power who has to resort to burning the mosquito nets in order to kill the mosquitoes and Iraq will be the testbed for all the weapons that America wanted to test them legally with promising and real test results.

I don't believe there is any limit to US power. All I can see it is ever growing and limitless because America is the modern day gifted nation of god and all Americans are proud to be its citizen. Just how nice if the whole world is America and every human being is American so we can enjoy the eternal peace and let only aliens from outer space be the threats. That will be the virtual limits of US power and that is where I expect an American President to lead the battle for "Independence Day."

~ Fauzi Z.

Christopher Deliso writes:

"There are two nightmare scenarios for Ankara: first, that an independent Kurdistan gain support from Turkish Kurds, and second, that American 'peacekeepers' would then decide to set up shop there – a move which would strip Turkey of its sovereignty, and decidedly limit its regional influence."

I consider the following scenario to be far more likely: The US will appease the "nice" Iraqi Kurds by putting them under the "protection" of Turkey who will then gain access to the oil of northern Iraq. The Turks will try to "resettle" "bad" Turkish Kurds into this region; sort of a Kurdish West Bank. The "good" Kurds will have orders to control the "bad" Kurds. If they perform well, then they will enjoy the trappings of autonomy (e.g. multiple overlapping security forces, national flag, seat at the UN for a newly-created "Kurdish Authority", photo opportunities at the White House, etc.) If not, they will be assisted by a combination of Turkish, US and Israeli military forces. US and Turkey can pretend to be peacemakers and will claim to have solved the "Kurdish problem". Turkey's entry into the EU will be assured. The NWPO (New World Pecking Order) will be, from the bottom up, bad Kurds, good Kurds, Turks, USA (and last but not least) Israel. In effect, Turkey will assume the role of US-Israeli foreign policy enforcer in the "Iraqi-Kurdish" sector.

It's certainly a vision that would warm another Christopher's (i.e. Hitchens') heart.

~ Steven V., Bermuda

The mere criticism of one proposed solution, without offering meaningful alternative courses of action, is like masturbation: it feels good, but it does not accomplish much. Chistopher Deliso's article does not raise any proposed solutions. Should the United States of America withdraw its forces from the Middle East? From the world? Would those who now shout "Death to America" leave us be if we did? How would it be accomplished?

I'm not for the war in Iraq and, at this point, a majority of the voters in America are not either, now that their anger from the 9/11 attacks is more diffuse. If we want peace, politicians will deliver, as long as we make it manifest that their political careers (as well as the future of their party) will depend on it; a rant for full disarmament at this time does nothing but alienate us from those people whom we seek to take into our ranks. Write to your representatives; attend a protest; act uppity. Encourage a friend to do so, too. The tide already has begun to turn in our favor. Our politicians understand that, even the stupid ones. Make peace happen by using the same realistic, effective methods that work in all situations, whether in dealing with an elected official or a two-year old, i.e. by making your aim a part of their self-interest, instead of a direct threat. In time, we can make a huge difference in policy instead of just congratulating ourselves on being more antiwar hip than others.

~ Thomas Parker, Hagatna, Guam

The Administration Vs. the Ancients

George W. Bush claims to have a Yale B.A. in history. Karl Rove claims to be a history buff.

Perhaps both claims are true. But before these and other noncombatants take us into Iraq, allow me to call their attention to "Metamorphosis." Ovid knew — and named — such greed.

~ Phyllis Guest, Dallas, Texas

Difference of Opinion

I appreciated your links to editorials concerning the dangerous hypocrisy of the Bush administration concerning reluctance to participate personally in war but calling for others to fight today. Your group and others are using the very principles of democracy that your anarchism seems to undermine. Oh, well, we are on the same page in the fight to stop Bush and his militaristic cronies. In this instance, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

~ Brandon Murphy

Vital Statistics

The following tells it all as to why our country is in the shape it is in. Feel free to verify the following chilling statistics about our leaders.

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

29 have been accused of spousal abuse
7 have been arrested for fraud
19 have been accused of writing bad checks
117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 have done time for assault
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is? Give up yet? It's the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group of idiots that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line. God help us all!

~ PJC, New Jersey

Murder Report

Last Friday night a Jew was murdered in his home in front of his family. You did not report this on your website. You did, however, report that during his funeral "Jewish settlers rampage[d] throughout Palestinian Hebron."

This begs the question: if his funeral had not turned into a riot, would your readers ever know that Netanel Ozeri was murdered last Friday? Why do you report the facts selectively?

~ Joel Benjamin

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

We did report on the murder, and in fact put the story higher up on our front page than we put the riot report. If you look at our Sunday page, you will see that the story is just to the left of our cover photo: http://www.antiwar.com/sunday.html.

Sorry you missed it.

The Draft

It's interesting that all these supporters for a draft pass on these bromides of a citizens army etc. However, in my opinion these people are historically challenged, for example the draft didn't prevent Napoleon from rampaging through most of Europe.

Also, one brings up Washington's preference for a citizen's army but fails to mention that he was opposed to conscription and actually, intended a militia.

But, beneath all this is the fact that the draft is slavery or at best involuntary servitude.

~ Robin Adair

Nebojsa's Return

I read your site on a regular basis but have not seen Nebojsa Malic for some time now. Is he with you guys or has he left. God forbid, I hope he is fine.

Keep up the good work folks and all the best to Justin. No, I have not made a contribution yet as I am presently visiting Germany for a period of some three months but when I return to Canada, you will hear from me again.

~ Mladen Davidovic

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

He has been on vacation, his column will return this Thursday.

Edmonton Demonstration

For your information: On Saturday, January 8, an antiwar demonstration was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Organised by the Edmonton Committee Against War and Racism, the march and rally attracted more than 2500 people of all ages, political philosophies and "walks of life".

The crowd assembled outside Corbett Hall at the University of Alberta and marched 3/4 of a mile east on Whyte Avenue to the Gazebo Park in the historic Old Strathcona district of the city. In spite of the overcast skies and lightly falling snow, the demonstrators were in high spirits and were greeted by supportive honking of horns from westbound traffic. The two eastbound lanes of the boulevard were completely occupied by the march for a distance of several blocks.

The majority of the signs and banners were homemade, expressing such sentiments as "I am Canadian – I oppose the war!" and "Islam is not our enemy" and "War kills kids!" One banner, carried by two female university students, was made from a shower curtain supported by two hockey sticks. It read: "'One cannot simultaneously prepare for war and peace' – A. Einstein."

Notable also were two signs which simply said, www.antiwar.com and another which said, "Peace Now; socialism never!" Older protesters, especially veterans of the anti-NATO campaign (during the recent war against Serbia) were pleased to see that at least a third of the marchers were high school and post-secondary school students.

The march, which was the largest antiwar protest in Edmonton in 30 years, finished with speeches by representatives of several groups.

~ Manuel M.

Hussein = Hitler

I agree with you. We have no business in Iraq. I don't care how many people Saddam Hussein orders executed, those people don't count because they are all the way over on the other side of the world. It's none of our business. Just like when we sent so many of our men to die in other wars to stop the likes of Adolf Hitler or other ruthless dictators. So long as they leave us alone why should we care? I mean we can't believe everything the media tells us. I'm sure that when Saddam's forces invaded Kuwait that they didn't really take babies out of incubators and spike them football style on to the floor. I'm sure they didn't really rape and kill and plunder. And hey, even if they did, why should we care? [Irony ends here.]

Sounds pretty stupid to me. I say some things are worth fighting for.

~ Bryan M.

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

As a matter of fact, the incubator story turned out to be false. The 14-year-old girl who testified before Congress turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador who was in Washington, DC at the time of the Iraqi invasion.

But no matter. If the US were to invade every country that violated the rights of their people or their neighbors, we would be invading dozens of countries every month. Then we will truly be an empire, no longer a republic.

Regarding "The Dalai Lama's Politics of Race" by Bevin Chu:

I am not a Buddhist nor a stanch supporter of the Dalai Lama. I am just trying to gather unbiased information about the Tibet Question. You stated the the Dalai Lama was a racist. What factual basis do you have to make this assumption? I would enjoy being directed to actual statements or actions that would lead one to this assumption. I have read the Dalai Lama's web site and have found no mention of racism.

Would you also state that China was racist by trying to weed out Tibetan culture, religion and language form Tibet itself?

Also, in your article you mention military action taken by Tibet in 1951. Could you please direct my to the source you used to gather that information. All the sources that I have read indicate that the only action taken was in 1950. On October 7, 1950 the People's Liberation Army (PLA) marched to the border of Tibet. A short skirmish ensued in which the entire ten thousand person Tibetan Chamdo army was captured and dismantled by China. This allowed China to call on Tibet to sign the "Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" without allowing Tibet the strength to object. This show of force by China officially ended the Tibet Question until 1987. In this version on history, Tibet was trying to defend its borders from China with the goal of remaining sovereign.

In your opinion what is the answer to the Tibetan Question?

Thank you for you time.

~ Marissa Kessler

Bevin Chu replies:

Let me answer Ms. Kessler indirectly by suggesting that she visit Journey East (http://members.tripod.com/~journeyeast/tibet.html) as well as Pamela Logan's "Politically Incorrect" webpage (http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~pamlogan/unpc.html). The background information provided there addresses some if not all of Ms. Kessler's concerns.

Regarding "The War and Its Discontents" by Joseph Stromberg:

I admired your article, though I noticed one mistake [now fixed]. You mentioned the Christmas fraternization of 1915. It did in fact happen in 1914. Sorry to be "that guy." Take care.

~ Dave Potocnik

Joseph Stromberg replies:

Thanks for the comments – and the correction.

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

The US has got to get out of this mess because its just to complicated and you need a computer just to figure out the objectives of the Israelis and the Palestinians; however, even as a Jew born in the USA, Israel does look and act like a fascist state – however I can understand why it does and if I lived there I might be persuaded to approve of its acts of brutal retaliation.

~ Bad Mike, New York City

Regarding Nateman's letter of January 20:

Nateman wants written proof, here it is: "The world's collective amnesia" by Joseph Farah: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=28988.

~ Junior LaRoc

Regarding Janine Clark's letter of January 20:

You blame your brother's dying in Vietnam on the antiwar protests of that era. With all due respect, madam, your brother died as a result of his government's sending him to Vietnam, not because a bunch of hippies back home were protesting. In fact, if those protesters had been more organized and more vocal earlier on, your brother might be alive today. ...

So far as protesters showing disrespect for this country and its soldiers goes, there are a lot of veterans – and people on active duty – who love this country and oppose Bush's stupid war. I was in the US Army (active duty) for 4 years myself and I was out marching on Saturday, showing off my homemade"Educate Yourself. Go To: Antiwar.com" sign.

~ Lloyd G.

Regarding David Brand's letter of January 20:

I have very little time lately, but I could not resist the temptation to respond to this remark by a reader:

"Why don't you wake up and smell the coffee! It is coming down to the West vs. Muslim fundamentalists, and Saddam backs them. There will be a war (it is foretold in the Bible), they will attempt to obliterate Israel as a state but Christ will come again and defeat all who are against Israel and God's Kingdom. As long as we support Israel we are OK; if we go against them then we will be destroyed as well."

Point Number 1 (which is the less important point): I live much closer to the east than the author of this paragraph, but I feel less threatened by "Moslem fundamentalism" than him. Intriguing. Is it because the Moslem world is no virtual world for me and my country? But I do feel threatened by the US. I do feel that the US government will do anything to blackmail my country into giving its support (and airspace) for an attack on Iraq. It will be another way of saying "do things my way if ye wanna have something to eat". Oh, of course, we are talking about financial aid and economies in transition (guided from outside for the benefit of outside parties). Cheers!

Point Number 2 The author says there will be a war (as written in the Bible). Through the centuries there have been many people who have been trying to read the Bible – God knows why, many have not succeeded. Especially if they looked at things through this kind of determinism which, as a level of consciousness, belongs to the earliest stages of human development. Once we have grown out of the determinism, we may actually start understanding something from the Bible. For example, understand that things written in the Bible may or may not happen, depending on how our consciousness develops. In more contemporary, non-deterministic terms, if you say "there will be a war", you add to the possibility that this really happens and you create more work for people like me who say "God, may it be your will and may there be no war". I would suggest, you straighten your thoughts first, then you may be able to do something for the world better than repeating misunderstood formulas as an excuse that you do nothing.

Point Number 3: This is my favorite. Everyone who goes against Israel will be defeated – as long as we are with it, be are okay. Ayayay, using your distorted interpretations of the Bible in order to clear your conscience? Christ spoke about freedom of choice as lying in the basis of true faith – that has nothing to do with your conscience-clearing schemata. Every situation is a test and an opportunity to choose. There are no ready answers and there is no fixed way of behavior that leads you to paradise. Let's make it clear.

The word Israel is obviously not mentioned in its direct meaning in the Bible (that is, in the sense of a political state). You can reach this conclusion very easily: God told the Jews they should be dispersed among the many and will have to live in peace with other peoples for centuries and that they should not try to form a state of their own through violence or other means, but that they should wait until His Kingdom comes on earth, upon His will. God's Kingdom has nothing to do with a political state – it is an abstract concept in the Bible which some of us yet have to understand. Israel is a quite physical entity, formed on the physical plane (that on which you should never allow your divine spirit to depend, according to Christianity), God's Kingdom is something else, including, but not restricted to the materialistic world. It is only after you have understood this concept, that you can start really reading the Bible.

In this sense, here is wishing you a nice and fruitful reading.

~ Eva F.

Regarding "Reap the Whirlwind" by Bevin Chu:

I usually enjoy your columns which are insightful and witty. But I have to admit I was disappointed with the one you wrote after 9/11. I do believe America may have made mistakes in dealing with Yugoslavia, North Korea, Iraq, and Palestine as you have said. But the way you wrote about the issues was so one sided and biased against the US You seem to be forgetting the huge roles that Slobodan Milosevic, Kim Il Jung, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat played in each of these trouble spots. I thought this was unfair. But the real reason I wanted to write to you was that do you agree with China's newfound position on world issues that line up with America's. The Chinese seem to be backing the US hard-line opinion on Iraq and is helping to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula by pressuring the North Koreans to stop misbehaving (It is alleged that both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao loathe Kim IL Jung almost as much as George W. Bush does). Do you agree with China's new pragmatic foreign policy which has replaced its original foreign policy that supported Third World revolutionary movements and governments by aligning itself more closely to the United States?

~ Albert C.

Bevin Chu replies:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Although we disagree, I am happy to see that we can "disagree without being disagreeable".

You wrote: "You seem to be forgetting the huge roles that Slobodan Milosevic, Kim IL Jung, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat played in each of these trouble spots. I thought this was unfair."

Antiwar.com's many other contributors have covered the Balkans and the Middle East in far greater detail than I have. In any given week, one need only browse through the dozens of articles posted under "Viewpoints" to get the real story "Behind the Headlines". I don't think I really need to get into this one.

Beijing's "new" foreign policy is anything but new. It is old. It is only "new" to the western media establishment, which has clung to long obsolete impressions formed during the early days of the Cold War. Western analysts now agree, in retrospect, that Beijing's alleged Cold War era "aggression" was never all that energetic, that Moscow was the real offender when it came to fomenting global Marxist Leninist insurgency. Besides Beijing's foreign and domestic economic policies were completely overhauled when Deng Xiaoping took over. This is old news. Very old news.

Beijing is not really endorsing Bush's unwarranted aggression against Iraq, it is merely not actively opposing it. The Bush administration knows this. The reason should be obvious. Prior to 9-11 China was being set up by Washington as the the greatest threat to America's future in the post Cold War world. Now that the muzzle of Dubya's gun is pointed at somebody else head, Beijing is understandably not eager to attract attention back to itself. That hardly constitutes endorsement of Bush's megalomaniacal policies.

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