Posted January 25, 2003
Regarding 'Target: Scott Ritter' by Justin Raimondo:
Keep up the good work, Justin. We can and must stop this madness that the U.S. government is involved in. The war against Iraq must be stopped and those who have the courage to speak up must continue to get the word out. Scott Ritter needs to know that his efforts have not been in vain.
My reaction exactly. I hope you can let Scott Ritter know that this sleaze attack on him isn't washing everywhere and that people like me support him; now more than ever.
It's instructive that I first heard of this rot on the Drudge Report (I like to keep an eye on the opposition). I guess that says it all.
That has to be the most absurd accusation I've heard in a long time. First, it was Ritter's second arrest for this. Second, if it was a bad setup and they were hiding it, why would you fire the ADA who settled it, thereby making her a disgruntled employee who is more likely to spill the beans? It seems much more likely that they settled it because it was Scott Ritter, Mr. UN himself. Third and finally, if you are naive enough to accept Scott Ritter's opinions now then I ask why his opinion changed 180 degrees since the day he resigned -- his resignation letter pointed out that the job was far from finished and Iraq was still well-armed. Is it coincidental that he received $400,000 from an Iraqi to "document" the country in a movie that has never been made? There are many solid arguments to be made against war in Iraq but referencing Scott Ritter and his character should not be one of them.
Awesome job, dude. Thanks for sticking up for Ritter so quickly while the liberals cowered.
Excellent article on a very heroic man. I would like to see Justin Raimondo go after the Enron CEO Baxter "suicide" story eventually. Does anyone question whether Cheney would have been exposed the next day by Baxter's testimony? There are obvious questions such as this which were completely ignored (the story was 'cut off' almost immediately after Baxter's death) by all the media. I hope Raimondo can sink his teeth into this one. In the meantime, the last three Raimondo essays are just what was and is needed.
Thank you Mr. Raimondo you are doing so much.
Interesting to see Justin Raimondo's piece on the smearing of Scott Ritter. Certain pro-war elements in the Evangelical community, some of the same ones that were willing to cast aside their pro-life bona fides to back Bush at the time of his stem-cell apostasy in 2001, have done their best for some time now to paint Ritter as daft. I'm reminded of a radio interview that took place within the last two months on Janet Parshall's America. In it, Ritter was smeared egregiously by a former armed services translator who had been accused by his superiors of too aggressively promoting his faith to an Iraqi with whom he was working during the Gulf War. Parshall tried to paint this man as a kind of martyr, but martyrs typically don't offer negative personal assessments of former associates on public media. These people practice a very strange brand of Christianity.
Raimondo is off base, at least partially, on this one. Ritter was not particularly targeted by a sting operation in April and June 2001. He was not busy exposing our government's lies and trying to avoid a war with Iraq at that time. Also, the police in those sting operations do not target individuals, but visit chat rooms and pose as minors with no idea who might take the bait. However, the following facts are clear. It was a minor offense, only a charge of a B misdemeanor, the most minor level of crime in NY which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days jail and almost always would result in an ACD adjournment in contemplation of dismissal for a first time offender in his thirties. Of course, the leaking of details of a sealed file against Ritter now is what Raimondo should be upset about. That is the smear targeting the man who so tirelessly and fearlessly is trying to stop the war. Also, the sealing was not meant to protect the people who supposedly set him up, but Ritter himself. You don't do us any favors by misinterpreting the facts, Justin. You correctly smelled a rat, but incorrectly analyzed the situation.
Let me get this straight, you are outraged that the state and their minions, who have been perfecting the art of manipulating public opinion, since, well, since society was society, would dare to stoop to one of the tried and true tricks of the trade. Did you think the guys who pulled, or had to deal with, the old DWI on GWB a few days prior to the 2000 election would forget the tactic? Sure it is despicable, sure it is irrelevant to Ritter's views on the subject, and sure a thinking person is likely to see through the game but we aren't talking about the minds of the thinking people but the minds of the masses. If I was in his shoes, I think I would have been a little more wary of what I was saying on the 'net. Don't get me wrong here, the Pope is not wasting any time pondering my canonization. What I'm saying is that if I was going to become the poster child for the Antiwar movement, I would make the skeletons known and opt for some "clean living" while playing the game. Yes, it is unfair that those with access to money can more easily hide their pasts but the game of public opinion is what it is. Knowing your enemy and their preferred strategies is the key to winning any War.
~ Dave Lewis, Chaos-onomics.com
I think that the recent New York Times interview with Mr. Ritter is a much more damning expose of his equivocations and admitted uncertainty over his alleged change of views regarding Iraq's weaponry than his non-conviction on a charge of liking teenage girls; hardly an unusual taste among adult men.
Great article Justin. To add to that, today, the day everything started breaking, Scott was leaving for Iraq to do some work that I believe could make the war utterly unjustifiable for Bush. I know about this because I had just booked him as a speaker and had the opportunity to spend an hour speaking with him several days ago about his plan. The timing of this, as you've noted, has smear written all over it. I'm going to circulate your article, hope you don't mind.
I appreciate the logic, time, and research that you put into your responses. However I do find fault with several of your statements. Namely, I asserted that innocent people will continue to die if we sit idly by and do nothing.
The people that I was referring to were mainly Americans, though overthrowing the Iraq regime would certainly help curtail terrorist activity in other nations. I am concerned for the safety of Americans because of Sept 11 and it's aftermath. I would like to remind you that while America has had numerous discreet dealings with foreign governments, and even aided people whom were fighting for justice and freedom, we largely have attempted to retain a neutral position. Our neutrality was rewarded on Sept 11, when over 3,000 Americans were killed. That was what I was referring to.
I have no doubt that a invasion of Iraq would cause heavy casualties for Iraq and modest casualties for America. But at least during a invasion mainly soldiers will perish, though unfortunately I know some civvies would also perish. I wish there was a way to guarantee only soldiers would die, but there isn't. Soldiers, whether they be conscripts or volunteers know the danger inherent in what they do and accept that danger. Whereas the Americans who perished on 9/11 did not know they were in danger that day. If Hussein were to procure WOMD I fear he would use them or more likely sell them to terrorists regimes. Imagine what would happen if a terrorist snuck a nuke into the super bowl. That is why his threat must be neutralized. He also must be stopped, and all other terrorist must be stopped for this reason, that he can and will break the American dream and way of life.
Every major event now has to have months of security planning and hundreds of guards to ensure people's safety. What will America be like if we had to live with the fear of suicide bombings every day? I understand your point of view. That if we go to war we only increase the terrorists desire to strike at us. But what's to stop them from attacking us if we don't go to war? Nothing. They attacked us for little to no reason on 9/11. What would stop them from trying that again? What about a bus? Imagine if a terrorist stole a bus, loaded it with explosives and drove it into a random building. What about a Cessna? A nuke is not that big anymore they could buy a small plane fly it over a major city and detonate the bomb. What about the subway? A little nerve gas in a enclosed concrete tube 50 below the surface with minimal air circulation.
The point is, if we are on the defensive they get to pick where and when and we have to respond. At least with a concentrated military action we have a chance to stop terrorists before they kill more people. Or at least keep the pressure on and force them to be on the move all the time. Run them ragged. Use our size to our advantage and chase them to the ends of the Earth. Iraq is a nation that is know to harbor and support terrorists as well as having a tyrannical regime in place. Take the battle to them and save lives. It's really as simple as that. If you value and hold dear innocent lives as well as the American way of life, then there is only one choice that provides a modicum of safety. Maybe after we clean house in Iraq a new government can be supported. A government that educates its children and teaches them to be valuable members of a global society. Instead of religious fanatics who declare jihad and condemn innocent people to death. Maybe through education our children will not have to deal with what we did.
I am sure that I could provide a great counter-argument to your counter-arguments, but the only issue that really matters is the preservation of human lives. Innocent human lives. A culture that breeds fanatics is not innocent.
Kenneth Sterling's letter was a great example of the poor logic used by supporters of this so-called war (in reality massacre). I'm glad he took pains to say how intelligent he is. This just shows that intelligent people are even more susceptible to propaganda, especially in their youth. The Backtalk editor did a great job of responding, but I wanted to add the following points:
Appeasement. This is the great stick used by the pro-war camp as a justification for taking on every "Hitler" that comes along. The lesson is supposed to be that Britain and France "appeased" Germany prior to World War II and it was a huge mistake. The (usually unstated) idea, I suppose, is that these nations should have invaded Germany at the first pretext, with the attendant massacre of German civilians. In other words, they should have acted like Germany, before Germany had a chance to act! The correct lesson, of course, should have been that Britain and France should have capitalized on their advantages in manpower and wealth and never allowed Germany to so outstrip them in military technology and buildup that Hitler would even think he could win. Germany may have attacked anyway, I suppose; but an alert and ready allied force would have crushed Germany in the first month, instead of falling apart, as they did. Peace through strength.
The Madman. The madman has already used WMDs on his own people. Therefore, he can't be allowed to have these and more powerful weapons. This argument is used pretty effectively on uninformed people as a scare tactic. In reality, the leader of Iraq has generally been more guilty of stupidity and miscalculation than madness. He invaded Iran, when he thought he could win.
He invaded Kuwait because they were aggravating him by slant-drilling into Iraq and only when he was told the US had no opinion on the matter. He is a violent man; but he's not crazy. As long as he knows he'll be vaporized if he steps wrong, he'll be careful. Some people would say, well we can't take the chance. This argument uses logic similar to the following: we know most violent crime is committed by young men. If we therefore throw all young men, say ages 16 to 30, in prison there would be a great reduction in crime. What about all the innocent ones? Well, sometimes you have to break a few eggs. The unfairness of this logical argument is clear; however, we're supposed to be ready to kill an awful lot of innocent civilians on the very unlikely chance that their leader may be stupid enough to attack us.
The price for peace. Mr. Sterling says he's not willing to allow the loss of one more life "be they Americans or not" for a utopian idea like peace. The UN recently estimated that 500,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, would die in an armed conflict. Apparently these people do not towards the "one more life" standard. Remember the Golden Rule, "do unto others ..."
Switzerland. Many have forgotten that the Swiss used to be the best professional soldiers in Europe. Approximately two hundred years ago, they decided to come back home, mind their own business, develop a very strong civilian defense corps (every male citizen is a member of the militia), adopt strict neutrality as their country's official position, and generally become known for helping others, rather than vying for domination. In other words, be conservative in the best sense of that word. Ever since that time, they have been left alone by the rest of the world. Even Hitler did not invade Switzerland they were not a threat and they were a tough nut to crack anyway. Now, the US is not Switzerland. But it does seem that nations that meddle in the affairs of others tend to get their noses bloodied a lot more frequently. A conservative patriot follows the advice of the our first and best president. Trade and good relations with all, favoritism towards none.
IM Fletcher: When I first read Antiwar.com it was interesting and offered a different view but now I see the exact same propaganda that Antiwar.com accuses our US Government of using.
1) The Nazis tried to actually take over the world while it's obvious the US only wants to police the world.
Backtalk Editor Sam Koritz: Mr. Sterling wrote that "The British tried this [appeasement] before World War II and the results there were pretty dismal." I listed several examples of inter-war allied intervention in Germany's internal affairs, my point being that Britain and Britain's allies did not follow a consistently noninterventionist policy.
Since Mr. Sterling used the Nazis eastward conquest as an example of unacceptable aggression, I added that one of the US hawks' primary justifications for invading Iraq preemptive defense resembles one of the Nazis' primary justifications for invading the Soviet Union.
Your objection doesn't appear to refute either of these points.
IMF: When we have countries like Libya (and Sudan) heading the UN Human Rights, then it's time for somebody like the US to stand up and be accountable. The key point here is in your reply "Iraq hasn't invaded anyone in over 10 years" Yes it's true, but Iraq did invade over 10 years ago proving them as the aggressor and a dangerous country if allowed to possess WMD.
Sam Koritz: Again, you've decontextualized my comment. Mr. Sterling (by implication) compared Britain's refusal to stop Germany's seizing of the Sudetenland with the current US/Iraq situation. I pointed out why, in my view, this comparison is specious.
IMF: 2) "Who is the aggressor?" This one is easy. The aggressor (Iraq) is the last country to actively invade another country (Kuwait) without support from even just one ally. The aggressor is the country who has consistently defied it's obligations under the United Nations agreements. The aggressor is the country of whom which it's leader (Saddam) is willing to and has killed his own people in cold blood who tried to stand up to his oppressive regime and ideas. Boy, if the US did this, Antiwar.com wouldn't even exist and neither would any of you. Ever think of this one "editor"?
SK: Context again: What you're quoting is my reply to Mr. Sterling's comment that nations should not "give in to an aggressor's demands." The US has made a series of demands on the Iraqi government, is threatening to invade Iraq, and (with the UK) has bombed Iraq on a regular basis for over a decade. On the other hand, Iraq is making no demands on the US government, has not threatened to invade the United States, has not attacked the United States, and has not attacked any country at all in over a decade. Kuwait in the '80s, UN agreement violations, and domestic oppression may (or may not) justify the US government's demands and aggression, but they don't, in my view, make Iraq an aggressor issuing demands. (Parenthetically, the US was the last country to attack a foreign country without even one ally: Clinton-era Afghanistan, Sudan and Haiti.)
IMF: 3) "War is a dynamic force that changes the world" is an accurate statement despite your trying to insert words/ideas in the original poster's mouth. Intelligent Americans can see right past Antiwar.com 's attempted ruse here. Very weak.
SK: In my one-sentence reply I pointed out an apparent contradiction: Mr. Sterling calls himself a conservative defined as someone with "a disposition in politics to preserve what is established" but seems to approve of the world-changing dynamism of war.
IMF: 4) "Assuming that it's true"? Pleeeaaaasseeee, there are witnesses and pictures to this atrocity by Saddam. More propaganda spewed forth by Antiwar.com.
SK: Influential Republican economist Jude Wanniski ("Did Saddam gas his own people?," WorldNetDaily, October 17, 2001) sites a Pentagon report by Stephen C. Pelletiere, Douglas V. Johnson II, and Leif R. Rosenberger, of the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. War College regarding this subject. This report states that claims of poison gas attacks by Iraq against Kurds were "impossible to confirm."
IMF: Your argument of "the US did killed Japanese with the bomb" absolutely sucks. The Bomb effectively ended the war with Japan and incidentally saved many American lives including likely my grandfather's, who's military group was going to be the next one to invade Japan (after he had already fought in Korea). Harry S. Truman saved many more lives with his decision, one just needs to look at the deaths of Japanese soldiers in the war. Japan's soldiers would rather die in this war (with honor according to Japanese lore) than live, and Japan's soldiers would always take an American soldier with them if possible. The Bomb dropped ended all of this and actually saved more lives than it killed.
SK: You've misquoted me. What I wrote was: "even the high estimates [of the numbers of Kurds killed in the chemical weapons attacks] put the number of casualties at a small fraction of, say, the number of Japanese civilians killed by US nuclear weapons." I'm glad your grandfather missed having to invade Japan, but this statement is accurate. At best, nuking Japan killed civilians to save soldiers. Incidentally, Iraq could have "justified" chemical attacks on rebel Kurd villages using your reasoning: doing so ultimately saved lives by decisively defeating the enemy.
IMF: On the part of the US continuing to help Iraq, haven't you ever made a mistake in your life in choosing the lesser of two evils (Iran/Iraq)? I'll bet you have and maybe the US government missed with this one as we did by not continuing forward into Baghdad in 1990 to remove Saddam then (as we were just appeasers to the Arab world then).
5) "Jews aren't treated any worse by the Iraqi government"? Again, pleeeeaaaassseee. First off, how do you know this? Have you seen this, have you been to Iraq to witness your claim? Well I can tell you that both the US and Iraq (along with all other countries) agree that Iraq supplies money to Palestinian suicide bombers' families. But no, Iraq doesn't treat the "Jews" any worse, do they? (By the way, I'm not Jewish, just an American mutt.)
The full sentence was: "Jews aren't treated any worse by the Iraqi
government than by some of America's Mideast allies." You've tried
to refute this by citing Iraq's funding of Palestinian suicide bombers'
families. Yet, as I wrote, "America's Mideast allies" do the
same thing. See for example "Saudi
Telethon Aids Palestinian 'Martyrs'," Newsday, April 12, 2002.
IMF: 6) Your comments here are purely speculative. Other than the US helping Iraq during the Iran war (the lesser of two evils response is under response to 4.)
7) Touché one (finally) for Antiwar.com.
8) Where's your proof? I say your statements are inaccurate, when you offer your proof, then I'll offer mine. Otherwise we can just agree to disagree here since you offer no proof to your statements.
SK: Take your pick of encyclopedias: Switzerland has not been "invaded and occupied more than any other country in the world." Switzerland first adopted their policy of neutrality in the 16th Century; since then they've been invaded and occupied once, and the occupation lasted less than two decades.
Encourage the French Government
Here is some contact info for the French government. Encourage them to continue to oppose the war with Iraq, using their security council veto if necessary.
Embassy of France in the US Contact; Web-based email directly to the Embassy of France: http://www.info-france-usa.org/contactus.asp.
Contact central information link for France; quick access from a pull-down menu to French consulates around the world; good place to find one near you: http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/adresses/infopra.html.
Google French Government index; links to embassies, consulates, ministries, etc.: http://directory.google.com/Top/Regional/Europe/France/Government/.
Email the French Foreign Ministry; Web-based email directly to the French Foreign Ministry: http://www.diplomatie.fr/courrier/default.asp?lang=gb.
French Foreign Ministry addresses, links, and other contact info: http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/adresses/index.gb.html.
Some specific email addresses:
French consul-San Francisco: firstname.lastname@example.org.
French consul-Boston: email@example.com.
French consul-Chicago: firstname.lastname@example.org.
French consul-New York: email@example.com.
French consul-Washington: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I must have missed something here. What is all this talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction? If Iraq was to use one there would be a giant hole where Baghdad is with radioactive smoke curling out. Is Bush so stupid he actually thinks Saddam wants to commit suicide? Or does he think everybody else is that stupid?
At least in 1991 Saddam did something. (Tried to take back Kuwait. And the Crown's oil wells.) I guess when your the Big Bully on the block no one dare call you an idiot. Especially when you are one.
Repeal War Resolution
This is a story about a move by Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex to repeal the war resolution: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12145-2003Jan18.html ...
I urge everyone to support Rep. Lee by writing or calling your own congressmen. Be aware that many in congress have turned off their e-mail inboxes and that e-mail is usually disregarded anyway.
Contact information for your senators can be found here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Information about your congressmen can be found here: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
In addition, you can call the White House comment line and voice your strong opposition to the war: 202-456-1111
Writing your congressmen is old news but since the issue is being reintroduced again and since congress surely must realize the depths of American opposition to this war after the massive protests on January 18th, this gives us yet one more way to try and stop this war before it starts.
Tune Out the State of the Union
Antiwar.com should lobby its readers of which there are surely tens of thousands not to watch the state of the union address. There, Bush is likely to lobby the nation for war, with standing ovation and applause I am sure. This could take the wind out of our sails. If a critical mass does not watch it, it will take the wind out of his.
Why Do They Hate Us?
Why do they hate us? Try this: last week President George Bush declared Sunday 19th January 'National Sanctity of Human Life Day'. He went on to specify that by this (of course) he meant "American lives." This speech was made in the context of the abortion debate. The only thing more astonishing than the irony of this declaration is that, apparently, Mr. Bush does not see it! Mr. Bush and many like him do not appreciate the truth that all humans have an equal right to life.
Here's another gritty truth for Mr. Bush and his 'gang' : no matter how you try and justify it, there is only one right side in a war, and that, tragically, is the one that bears the first hit.
I'm a school teacher located in the greater Phoenix AZ area. I have some memories of American History class I want to share.
Read The Tea Leaves No More Family Monopoly in American Government
American History Lesson #1
The Boston Tea Party was held to send a message to a family that held a monopoly in government and wanted to impose an economic monopoly in selling tea to colonists the message? Read Your Tea Leaves No More Family Monopoly Nor Economic Monopoly In Government.
American History Lesson #2
The Declaration of Independence was produced to send a message to King George the message? Read Our Declaration No More Family Monopoly In Government.
American History Lesson #3
The US Constitution was created with three branches to prevent any political monopoly in any one single branch of government so that no one branch could rule over and monopolize another. The message? Read Our Constitution No More Political Nor Family Monopoly In American Government.
American History Lesson #4
The Sherman Anti Trust Laws were developed to protect consumers from monopoly in commerce as is in keeping with the spirit and structure of the US Constitution. I contend that the citizens and taxpayers of America should be reminded that anti monopoly is the name of the game in American government. It is our national tradition and it is how we came to be as a nation. Along that line there is a two term limit imposed for a president to prevent personal political monopoly. That idea appears to have been somewhat sidestepped as of late. I also contend that it is time for Americans to be rallied to their history and all that is sacred in American history and to do what is most American of all go back to the Constitution again and create a new constitutional amendment that will provide for a limit on the number of family members who can participate in top levels of government. Read Our Amendments No More Monopoly In Government.
The name of the movement is CAAPM (pronounced cap 'em) an acronym for Constitutional Amendment Against Personal Monopoly.
Please consider your political future and encourage your organization join in a truly historic moment and help this nation remember those men who served under General Washington for the purpose of putting an end to family monopoly in government once and for all.
Regarding "Listen Up, Soldier" by Justin Raimondo:
I'm an 18-year-old from the state of Iowa and I am writing to thank the writers and editors at Antiwar.com. In a time when few people are willing to step up to the tyrannical regime that is the Bush administration, you have. Please keep up the good work and help inform the general public of what's really going on in our nations capital.
Regarding "War Party in Retreat" by Justin Raimondo:
Very good article, it had one thing in it I did not think about that this possible war in Iraq could be having a strong pushing hand from Israel. I spent 6 months in Israel and have a very favorable opinion of the people there and the country itself. But if this is true I am really disappointed in the Israelis and have lost some of my support for them.
It truly sickens me that these cowardly bastards are the ones most for war. The lousy chickensh*ts! I am referring to Dick Cheney, George Bush, Tom Delaly, Rush Limbaugh, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and others. All of these sonsabitches watched as others went to die in a war they supported but did not have the balls to fight in. Now they are old men and still lacking any gonads they are in a mid life crisis they think can be solved by living vicariously from the dying of others meaning young soldiers who may fight and kill in Iraq soon.
Not that little old me has any influence whatsoever but I have told my senators and congressman I am flat out against this war on Iraq from what I currently know which is nothing about weapons of mass destruction. I am not perhaps as dedicated to anti war efforts as you sometimes there are wars that do have some sense to them though none of them is ever right. I refer to the Civil War, Revolutionary War and World War II. From the perspective of the North, the Colonies, and the Allies these wars were permissible in my mind from a defensive view. On the other hand each war was reprehensible from the vantage of the aggressor Great Britain, the Axis, and the South who while not exactly being the aggressor was defending the indefensible horror of slavery. Well keep up the good work.
Regarding "Watch Your Back" by Justin Raimondo:
At a talk a couple months ago at UC Berkeley, Raimondo expressed his comfort with the assassination of an alleged terrorist in Yemen by a remote-controlled unmanned CIA plane, and said he thought this was an acceptable way to deal with terrorists. It is inconsistent to then complain about the Mossad engaging in similar acts on US soil. Either one respects civil liberties, due process, and sovereignty, or one doesn't. The CIA tells us the target in Yemen was a terrorist. Certainly the Mossad, when it will admit responsibility for a "targeted killing," can equally claim that the victim was a terrorist. There are absolutely no mechanisms in either case needed to prove this alleged status to the outside world.
Alexander Cockburn in a talk in Oakland referred to the Yemen assassination as the beginning of the "West Bank-ization of the world." I think this is the correct way to look at the issue: the act is wrong on many levels, and the US is following the precedents Israel has set in Palestine.
~ Martin B.