Letters to
Please send your letters to Backtalk editor Sam Koritz. Letters become the property of Antiwar.com and may be edited before posting. Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Antiwar.com.

Posted February 11, 2003

Regarding 'Yugoslavia's End' by Nebojsa Malic:

Exceptional commentary and epitaph to Yugoslavia! I look forward to Mr. Malich's commentaries and analysis. I laugh and cry at the same time. What does Mr. Malic think could happen to Kosovo if the Muslim hornet's nest is stirred up by America's attack on Iraq?

~ Amaks

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I'd be more worried about Bosnia. Albanians may be largely Muslim, but their religion/ideology is first and foremost Albanian. They also fanatically worship the United States – which they see as 'liberators' – the same way they worshipped the Third Reich, Austria-Hungary or the Ottoman Empire. In Bosnia, however, militant Islam has made significant inroads since the early 1990s, and not a few Bosnian Muslim youths have been going off to jihads in Chechnya and even Afghanistan. Many in Bosnia sympathize with Iraq not because it is a country unfairly targeted for conquest, but because it's a Muslim country. And while the official Muslim leaders will do nothing to antagonize the U.S., I would be surprised if the invasion of Iraq doesn't cause a spike in clandestine recruitment for jihad.

Headline of the century:

"It Took 90 Years, But We Won!" ~ Bill and Franz J.

"Not a mouse could stir in Europe without our permission" ~ Wilhelm II and Edward VII (1910) (Barbara Tuchman, 1962: 192. The Guns of August. New York: Dell.).

~ Professor J. P. Maher, Chicago, Illinois

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Yes, it does appear that old Emperors Wilhelm Hohenzollern and Franz Joseph von Hapsburg are laughing from their graves. But I somehow doubt, dark though these days are, that they will have the last laugh.

Los Angeles Protests

I stumbled upon your website and I was wondering if you do any antiwar protesting in the Los Angeles area. I would like to become more active in this fight against war. And if you don't could you recommend other groups.

~ Toi M.

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

Antiwar.com doesn't organize protests but clicking the button on AWC's homepage will take you to a protest information page.

Regarding ' You Don't Have To Be Brave To Be French' by Christopher Montgomery:

Reading the international press in these days with all its Hun-bashing doesn't give me such a hard time, believe me.

We Germans are used to getting confronted with the old stereotypes of the Blitzkrieg-Sauerkraut-Jawoll-Mein-Fuehrer-stuff as long as I can remember, and now we see a paradigm-shift towards the wimp-coward-peacenik-thing. I can live with that.

But I feel in the end we might be alone. Especially if our French neighbours come to the conclusion that participation in a war could secure the interests of la grande nation better than peace. And don't underestimate the lobbying power of Fina-Elf-Aquitaine.

~ Rolf Karepin, Mannheim, Germany

Christopher Montgomery replies:

I fear very much that you're right, and that France will join in the 'coalition' (or 'the United Nations', or, even more preposterously, 'the Allies') in time to take part in the shooting. Poor old Germany – and again, I think you're right to favour the new stereotype over the old one, inaccurate as both were and are – will be left as the non-shooting star in all of this. After all, if, for example, the Russians and the French wanted to forestall US military action in Iraq, all they have to do is convince Saddam to let them station token troops in the country. I doubt that would be too difficult an ask at the moment, but they won't.

Regarding 'The Lying Game' by Justin Raimondo:

Splendid article and bravo to Justin Raimondo for his eloquence and courage in unmasking the fraudulent nature and nauseating immorality of this War on terror and/or New World Order, with their blatant double standards (ignoring Israel's real WMD whilst inventing their existence in Iraq), predatory objectives (Bush and his cronies want to control the oil resources of Iraq whereas Israel continues to grab Palestinian lands in the occupied territories whilst inflicting death and devastation on Palestinian life and infrastructure there).

Unless these criminal policies are vigorously opposed and hopefully stopped by the American people, they can only produce more despair and eventually lead to catastrophic consequences for humanity and the planet.

God bless you and bless the true and beautiful America that you represent.

~ Anthony Joseph Geha Yuja, Florence, Italy

The Internet is amazing. Writers as good as those at Antiwar.com are able to put together all of the perspective on Powell's speech within forty-eight hours of its completion. Analysis includes information from British television about the falsified report Powell hailed at the U.N. on Wednesday, calls into question the "fact" that Kurds in northern Iraq are harboring terrorists (even if true, which is unlikely, Powell at least got the city/town for the terrorist camp wrong in his presentation) and synthesizes the work of Thomas Freidman and the New York Sun to help put everything in its proper perspective. It is too bad that the New York Times and other media news outlets don't have the resources to do the same kind of work. By resources I mean, of course, the will to do so.

~ Kirk Tofte, Des Moines, Iowa

Regarding 'Free Taki' by Justin Raimondo:

I am an avid reader of Justin Raimondo's and agree with a great many of his viewpoints and his antiwar stance. However as a Brit I think that Justin's last column on Taki misrepresents the political situation of Britain with a number of slightly hysterical overstatements.

Starting with the hyperbolic suggestion that the fuel 'crisis' of 2000 nearly brought down the government, Justin goes on to intimate that the investigation of Taki is in some way a conspiracy by the Blair government, when in fact their role in the matter is minimal if not nonexistent. The complaint came from a member of the police force and is being investigated by the police force; as a mature democracy, the executive and judiciary of Britain are separate – the government rarely intervenes in individual cases, and appears not to be intervening here. The Public Order Act which is presented as a Blairite control device is in fact a hangover from the Thatcher government, a draconian, enveloping piece of legislation forced through against great opposition as a reactionary response to large-scale raves (among other things) and whatever the general lack of merits of this law, and for better or worse it's up to the police to enforce the laws of democratically elected governments past and present.

Also, the presentation of Blair as relentlessly left-wing, let alone neo-Stalinist, is at odds with the facts. Blair exists on the rightward wing of the Labour party, and though there are a couple of traditional Leftists in the cabinet they do not hold prominent positions. In contrast to the beliefs of many socialist grassroots Labour party members (now renouncing their membership in droves and leaving a huge hole in the party's finances) the New Labour government has taken a generally pro-market, pro-American position, avoiding tax and spend policies, and generally adopting a more friendly relationship with employers' groups such as the CBI than with unions – it has gone against the wishes of the major unions of the country in part-privatising the health service and is currently trying to crush a firefighter's strike to such an extent that it vetoed an agreement reached between the union and its employers in open negotiation, as too generous. Socialists and unions are disillusioned with Blair's government; left-wing governments are generally considered unelectable in Britain still. The press isn't as left-wing as suggested either, in fact it is not on the whole left-wing at all; The Mail and The Telegraph both assume an unremittingly rightist position, The Sun (our biggest selling tabloid) is centre-right, the only prominent left-of-centre production is The Guardian, which is vaguely liberal at best and not exactly a hotbed of workers revolution. Socialist Worker is a minority newspaper and not carried in most newsagents.

Feel free to email the guy in question if you like; like Justin I believe in absolute freedom of speech, but the reality is that most people in this country don't, and as a democracy laws reflect this. But I'd just like to say to American readers: there is no Blairite conspiracy, and there is no Leftist totalitarian state; indeed, there is very little high-level representation of traditional Leftism here at all.

~ Rob M.

"But in Merrie Olde England, whose libertarian revolution was crushed beneath the weight of empire, they don't have a Bill of Rights..."

Actually, there is indeed a 1689 English Bill of Rights; see: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/england.htm.

~ Andy P., New Orleans, Louisiana

Regarding 'New York City Blocks Feb. 15 Antiwar March' (originally titled 'N.Y. Antiwar March Blocked'), Washington Post:

This is in response to many of the articles today but mainly the one about how New York has moved to block peace activists. It made me propose a serious question: How can the government be representing us if they do not let us have a voice? In America it is the people, not the elected officials that are the power. I'm not an idealist this is supposed to be the way our government works.

The ones in office are there elected by us, to represent and push for what we the people want. They are not there to manage us and push and "sell" their own agenda to us. It is our will, our wishes, our country and our future that this push to war is jeopardizing. How can we support them when they won't do what they are supposed to do and listen to us?

~ Ryan Erickson

I was stunned when I read the headline on Antiwar.com about NYC banning the antiwar demonstration scheduled for that city on February 15th. I cannot believe they did that. The Patriot Act and the Homeland Security bill eroded our civil rights, but this is the first I've heard of a big city government interfering with the people's right to peaceably assemble and express their grievances. This is not just a NYC issue, this is a national issue. Our Constitution is the only thing that stands between the American people and the rule of tyrants. We simply cannot allow this sort of thing to happen without raising extreme protest that cannot be ignored by Washington. Whether people support a war against Iraq, or are against such a war, we must not allow any government to interfere with the people's right to be heard. What happened in NYC is the stuff of totalitarian dictatorships. We need to be very, very scared.

~ Mona Jerawski

Emergency Response

In case of attack on Iraq there will be (starting the weekend following if the attack is on a week day) an emergency action at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Vandenberg is located on Highway 1, six miles north of Lompoc, Santa Barbara County. It is the global command center where the satellite data is used to direct military operations against Iraq.

~ MacGregor Eddy, Military Globalization Project

Three Scenarios

...Iraq is paying the price for Osama, Hezbollah and the other lunatics projecting all their discontent on our shores. Some would argue it is a very small price, for even France will not shed a tear if their contracts are honored. Terrorism works in the shadows but it is not invisible. There are governments culpable and people to be held responsible. The "Arab street" will pay if none other. Unfortunate, but it is a fact of life. One good successful anthrax attack on a collegiate soccer game or in a suburban mall and this country will be ready to run the Arab street over with a lawnmower.

Today, you strap a bomb on you and blow up a bus in Jerusalem. A few people stop and take notice. Most are more interested in the football playoffs. Strap an anthrax filled canister on a remote control plane and dust a county fair in Iowa. The response to that is going to be ugly. And don't think for a second that the lack of a "fingerprint" is going to stop the retribution.

Iraq probably won't be the last regime change. As with the aftermath of Afghanistan, the roaches will scurry for a little while. But when they settle, whether in Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Georgia, or back to the mother ship in Saudi Arabia, the horror of Islamic terrorism is here to to stay until those countries stop priming the pump. It is an industry with too many sources of labor. I hope that they can extract themselves from this perceived cycle of violence. They are now playing with the big boys.

I leave you learned gentlemen to continue to pontificating on the righteousness of your own words. It is obvious you love to hear yourselves speak. Yet, as is so often the case, there is the way things should be and then there is the way things are. Right or wrong, Iraq suffers. Choose to believe whatever cause and effect relationship that fits your paradigm however never lose sight of who is actually perpetuating the violence. You've got three scenarios to choose from at this point:

  • Saddam doesn't go? Status quo, the horror continues. Our time will be better spent on a lottery of where, how and when the next horrific attack comes.
  • Saddam goes and terrorism stops? Then the US military packs it in and we all live happily ever after. Not very likely.
  • Saddam goes and terrorism continues although somewhat abated? Sounds like a winner? We will have taken one of the candystores of terror off of the market. It will at least remove Saddam's temptation to utilize the efforts at which he has worked so hard.

Will Americans die? Yes. Will Iraqis die? Of course. Hopefully, the rest of the Arab and Islamic world will read this writing on the wall.

~ David Steinberg, Tampa, Florida

Iraq War Walkout

Join the youth of America in protest of the war in Iraq, at 10 AM on April 16th by participating in a Countrywide School Walkout and local demonstrations to tell our nation and our government that we as the youth of this country do not support war with Iraq!

Our objective: To have a country wide walkout and local nonviolent demonstrations of students in high schools and colleges in protest of war, specifically war in Iraq, and promoting non violent alternatives, on April 16th at 10 in the morning in each time zone, that means it will be a rolling walkout that will start on the east coast, and roll over the US as the clock hits ten. We want to show our administration and our entire nation that our generation is not going to sit idly by and watch as our peers are sent off to war to take the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi bystanders.

We should not be at the war with Iraq, especially without the support of many nations around the world. There are other nonviolent alternatives to war and we demand that our government, elected by the people and for the people look at those alternatives and use its powers to stop this war and act nonviolently to solve this conflict.

... At 10 in the morning, local time, explain why you are walking out of class and do so. The explanation doesn't need to be complicated or elaborate – just something like: "I am walking out of class to show that I am against the war on Iraq. I want to show our administration and our entire nation that our generation is not going to sit idly by and watch as our peers are sent off to war to take the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi bystanders."

Once you are out of class, the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Go to a park, or downtown area, and start up conversations with people, strangers or friends, about war. Ask others what their views are, be respectful, but don't be afraid to share your own views also.
  • Make signs with (positive) antiwar slogans, get groups together, and head to an area where there are many people around, hold up the signs and talk to passersby.
  • Print out flyers or make leaflets and hand them out or put them up on phone posts, etc.
  • Do a mass mailing. Bring pencils, pens and paper, stamps, and write letters to the president or your local representatives, and flood their mailboxes – remember that these are people elected to represent you, and your input does matter.
  • If you and your friends have cell phones, do a mass call to the White House and clog up their phone lines with calls.
  • Go home and get on the Internet, or go to your local library and find information on Iraq. Many people don't event know where in the Middle East it is located, or how big of a population Baghdad for example has (it is a city of 5 million people).
  • Call your school radio station, or write a letter to a local paper explaining why you participated in the walkout and what you think about this war.
  • Contact local antiwar groups (they exist in every state) and ask what you can do to help their cause.
  • Bring flowers to the graves of people who have died in past wars (Vietnam, World War II, etc.).
  • Get a bullhorn or microphone and have a public reading of facts on Iraq, the draft, and the US military budget, as well as anything else you find valuable to share with the public.
  • Make silk-screen prints that you can apply to peoples' clothes. Many people would wear antiwar garb if they had it.
  • Take photographs of others who have participated in the walkout. Send them to local papers or straight to the white house.
  • Start a petition and circulate it.
  • If you are in a capital city, go to the capital building, or go to the town hall or city hall. Picket.

Most importantly: Spread the word! ...

~ Liv R., IraqWarWalkout.com

Farewell Paris

Rather sudden to read that the historic joint Franco-American national history has now been instantly brought to an end with one sentence from the "enlightened" Mr. Richard Perle, that leading neo-conservative lobbyist for all manner of military interventions (as long as someone else does the fighting!), who doesn't hold any official US government position, by the way. ("Aide: France No Longer An Ally", UPI news story)

And check out what German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder has been found guilty of by this One Man Nuremburg Trial: "inciting pacifism." Sounds like one for the Oxymoron Police to me!

Sometimes I wonder: Was Orwell psychic about the neo-cons, or do they all secretly meet to scheme up their wacky language just to have a laugh on us?! Have they any idea how foolish they sound?! Alas, I think not. Like most imperialists, their imbalanced views leaves them suffering from a critical lack of sense of humor.

~ John Mohan, New York


Here are some of the reasons I heard recently as to why countries should join the USA in their war on Iraq:

It would be bad policy for countries not to be on the side of the only superpower. Germany and France should join because if they don't the USA will insult, intimidate them and not give them a share of Iraqi oil after it's defeat it would also be anti-American. The former east European nations should join because the USA will give them financial aid and it would be anti-American not to. Russia should join because they will not get a share of Iraq's oil if they don't and it would be anti-American. Canada should join because we are their closest neighbor and their biggest trading partner they would have bad relations with us if we don't plus it would be anti-American. ...

Here are some reasons why they should not: It is wrong immoral and illegal. Whatever happened to the human moral fiber and courage?

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

Fighting in Cities

As a schoolboy in New York I attended the meeting at the old Madison Square Garden on 30 Nov. 1941 held by the noninterventionist American First Committee. All the heavy hitters of that group were present: Col. Charles Lindberg, authors Mary Roberts Rhinehart and Kathleen Windsor, Senators Wheeler, Borah, Nye, Champ Clark of Missouri. Because of the crowd some of us had to stand outside to listen to the speakers who later came out to greet us. Best remembered by me that night was Senator Clark, whose father had been a leading antiwar senator before World War I.

Clark looking down upon us in the huge crowd from the podium above said, "With support such as this how do our enemies ever hope to defeat us?" Actually it proved quite easy for FDR and his pro-war cabal because the Japanese navy was already at sea preparing for the attack which would change our world forever. Today the pro-war party has even more going for them than FDR had in 1941. There was a great deal of opposition with a reported 80% of Congress opposed to entering another European War after the dreadful experience suffered from the war two decades earlier.

Today there is not a single major news paper that could be considered to be antiwar In 1941 there was the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News owned by Col. McCormick in opposition. Television was not around but the radio had Walter Winchell devoting a few minutes each Sunday night stirring up the audience at the behest of FDR who had personally enlisted him earlier. Today we saw the entire TV news media inundated with all the pro-war gang of thugs, Perle, Condi, Powell, Gaffney and the same crowd which gave us the original war twelve years ago. They never seem to suffer from a lack of air time thanks to a cooperative media far surpassing anything Dr. Goebbels ever hoped to achieve.

There is no way that this war can be avoided because of the forces arrayed against us. The end will only come when this turns into the disaster which will happen when our troops enter the major cities of Iraq. Saddam is said to fear his people but I wonder if this is so why he has armed the entire nation? They will be shooting at our troops from any vantage point. Stalingrad, Manila, Berlin come to mind when fighting in cities.

Bush will pay a price and perhaps in the process we can end this anachronistic electoral college in which he sneaked into office.

~ Stephen B.

War by Remote Control

We (and I mean, the 'Royal' we), are about to go to war with Iraq. To over throw a despot dictator in order to allow the people of Iraq to lead a democratic and fair life. TOSH!

There are so many erroneous facets to this action that I hardly know where to begin. First of all, Saddam is not a good man, his actions are probably not very beneficial to his own people, and I do actually think it a good idea for him to be removed from his post. So why in the hell is it not possible for crack military men to infiltrate and take control of this man and his team? I think that the reason is simple. The Americans, the British and (hmm, Australians?), are just too afraid.

That course of action would be far less spectacular, far less covered in the media (by nature of it's activity), and quite honestly, would not leave the devastation required for the US to take control of the oil fields for the 18 months or so that they claim they are going to do.

The alternative is to remotely control a bunch of radar elusive aircraft over the area, bombing friends and enemy's alike in order to create spectacular video footage, to bolster the public (look, aren't we really clever with our spanking new technology!), and to take control of the oil fields.

There is, from my last examination, about 80% of the population of most countries against the war. This may be because we are either under fed with proper facts, or simply because in this the 21st century, we have, as people of compassion, risen above the idea that we can maim, rip apart, and otherwise blast away at a country just because it is managed in ways that are not economically viable. War has serious consequences, not only for the people who live directly underneath the bombs, but even more so, for those who live on the periphery. These poor souls will have unimaginable injuries, the like of which I hope never to have to feel. But! And this is a serious but, it's possible that I might. Mr Blair is taking the UK into war that not many people, of all cultures, want, and yet, he seems unable to comprehend the retribution that is likely, and possibly just.

I am 100% certain that a crack team going into Iraq to remove Mr. Hussein would be backed by better than 90% of the worlds population. The toll on humanity would certainly be less. Hand over the Iraqi regime to those who know the country best, within days, then get the hell out of it. Don't take control of the oil, don't kill, maim and otherwise destroy the livelihood of the people of Iraq and just make the world a little better for those for whom it will be bettered.

This obvious course of action seems to me, to be the best option in what is, a difficult time. Is Bush, Blair and, hmm, are there others? prepared to be a little grown up and adult about this? I so doubt it very much, but one can live in the hope that humanity will prevail.

~ Adrian Flaherty, London, UK

Make Bush Pay The Price For War

One thing no one in the antiwar movement is doing is to mount a high profile campaign in which people who oppose war in Iraq pledge to vote against Bush in '04 and to work hard to convince their friends and family to do likewise. The reason need not limited to the Iraq War alone – Bush is so out of touch that he's willing to let the stock market and the economy go down the tubes to succeed in getting his war. All those poor souls who have lost their jobs during the Bush Recession should be anxious to sign up.

Antiwar.com could be a central clearing house keeping track of all those citizens who pledge to vote against Bush and publicize the results. It's time to raise the ante in the fight to avoid war

~ Steve Jensen, Palmerton, Pennsylvania

Regarding Backtalk editor Sam Koritz's replies to IM Fletcher's letter of January 25:

Sam Koritz quote: "...[O]ne of the US hawks' primary justifications for invading Iraq – preemptive defense – resembles one of the Nazis' primary justifications for invading the Soviet Union."

IM Fletcher's comment: Resembles? I don't remember the Soviets threatening the world's oil supply by invading Kuwait and amassing troups on the Saudi border or something of the like within the 10 years before the Nazi invasion? I also don't recall Nazi Germany attempting to find support with the rest of the world before taking it's action, as the US is currently attempting to do through the United Nations.

Sam Koritz's reply: The claim that Iraqi troops were amassing on the Saudi border during the Gulf War was refuted by satellite images. (See, for example, "In war, some facts less factual," Christian Science Moniter, September 06, 2002.) This fib may have played a role in al Qaeda's jihad against the United States. In 1990, Osama bin Laden offered to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq. King Fahd declined his offer and, apparently believing the US's bogus 'amassing on the border' claim, invited in American troops. Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, promised Fahd that US troops would leave after the war. Most left, but thousands stayed, and bin Laden declared war on the "infidel" "occupiers," and then later on all Americans. (See Council on Foreign Relations' "Causes of 9/11: US Troops in Saudi Arabia?.")

As Alan Bock has pointed out, the "defense" argument for the threatened invasion of Iraq should more accurately be described as a preventive, rather than preemptive defense argument. The latter is consistent with international norms, the former is not. If, for example, the Iraqi army was preparing for an invasion of Saudi, then an invasion of Iraq might be considered preemptive; it's not possible, though, to preempt an invasion now that might have occurred a decade ago.

(Regarding Operation Barbarossa, the German military, which included volunteers from all over continental Western Europe, led a coalition that included Finland, Norway, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Croatia. Japan had previous commitments and was unable to attend.)

SK quote: "...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 comment: Parenthetically (you like that one?), Iraq has attacked the US in response to shooting at US and British warplanes patrolling the no-fly zone per its UN agreements. When you attempt to shoot down a US military plane, you are attacking US.

SK reply: The no-fly zones were not authorized by the UN – see, for example, "No fly zones: The legal position," BBC News, February 19, 2001 – they were trilaterally imposed by the US/UK and France, then France dropped out.

IMF: Iraq is also guilty during this time of an assassination attempt of George Bush Sr. – American President. Iraq has most definitely been more of the aggressor of the two countries since its invasion of Kuwait.

By the way, US responses (yes responses) in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan were all a direct result of attacks on US interests, you know this even though you obviously failed to mention this – more Antiwar.com propaganda. You might feel somewhat differently if one of your family members had died in one of these overseas attacks in which the US responded to in these foreign countries.

Also, the US has had nuclear weapons and other WMD for over half a century, would you feel comfortable with Iraq/Saddam with their track record having them? We've kept it under pretty good control for half the century, could the same be said for Iraq/Saddam if the tables were reversed? You talk sometimes like we shouldn't have these weapons but they should.

SK reply: That's ridiculous, what you've quoted doesn't even mention weapons of mass destruction. And no, I don't think the US has kept nuclear weapons under pretty good control: several governments have enough nuclear weapons to destroy human civilization, while nuclear attack detection systems register numerous false alarms.

SK quote: "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 US War College regarding this subject. This report states that claims of poison gas attacks by Iraq against Kurds were 'impossible to confirm.'"

IMF comment: Four people? That's what you've got? One economist (out of how many?) and three Pentagon workers (out of how many?). I'll take the rest of the world's reports on this atrocity, including Kurd and Iraq nationals on the scene. Nothing beats actually being there when reporting on something, that's good advice for you.

SK reply: Your argument would be compelling if I had stated that the Iraqi military didn't attack the Kurds with chemical weapons, but all I stated was that there is some question about whether or not they did. Since neither you nor I were there, your point about firsthand reporting applies more to your confidence about what occurred than to my uncertainty.

SK quote: "...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: No, "At best" nuking Japan saved American lives, soldiers or not. I don't consider an American soldier's life any less than a civilians (do you?). They are both Americans, period. It also saved Japanese lives, soldiers or not. And equally important, it ended the war.

SK reply: Mass murder of civilians violates international "law" and every "just war" theory I've ever heard of. I don't see how someone can oppose terrorism and support nuking cities.

IMF: Now to your propaganda that Iraq was justified in its chemical attacks on the Kurds. First, we agree there is no possibility of coming anywhere close to the amount of casualties as the aforementioned war (World War II) in which you are comparing it (Kurds) to. There's reason #1 why there is no need for Iraq to use chemicals in "decisively defeating the enemy", there wasn't enough enemy in those little villages that Saddam bombed with chemicals. Everyone knows losses in the Iraq army going against the Kurds would be minimal, unlike American losses invading Japan. That is one big determining factor on whether WMD are used in war.

SK reply: Of course, I never wrote, and don't believe, that chemical attacks on the Kurds were justified – see my ironic quotes around justified above. I'm the one who is opposed to killing civilians.

SK quote: "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 comment: Allies are like friends and family members, we try to guide and direct them in the right direction when needed, even though it is not always possible. The point here is that Iraq funds Palestinian suicide bombers – America does not fund anything of the like. Your comparison is unfair, you are comparing two particular sects of people with allies of a country. Iraq has a direct financial pipeline to Palestinian bombers, America has no such direct payout (and don't tell me it supports Israel because America supports many countries financially that can be named equally).

Regarding "Democratic Presidential Contenders Jump on War Bandwagon" (originally titled "Democratic hopefuls line up behind case for war"):

Regarding your link to the Washington Times article pronouncing that Democrats like John Kerry are jumping on Bush's war bandwagon; I understand that you would reprint this Republican tripe for the just purpose of turning up the heat on Kerry, et al. But before anti-warriors and Democrats despair, please let us read what the Moonie Times actually quoted Kerry as saying.

It did not say there is no daylight between him and Bush. The only specific thing Kerry said is what he and the major opposition have always said, and that is that Bush needs to go multilateral. That would mean that Bush needs to get the approval of France, China, and Russia more than it would mean that Kerry is now on Bush's war bandwagon. And that split between Kerry and Bush seems to be the major one that could decide between war and peace.

Please, Antiwar.com, please point things like this out before reprinting distortions from the Moonie Times that might cause many Democrats and anti warriors to despair and possibly resign themselves to a presumably unavoidable fate. This is especially important in light of the upcoming demonstrations that could put more steel into Kerry's spine.

~ Richard Hill

Regarding "It Isn't About Oil" (originally titled "Being antiwar isn't about the oil") by Brendan O'Neill (Christian Science Monitor):

The facts indicate otherwise.

The Middle East contains 65% of the world's proven oil reserves.

The US State Department has described the Middle East as "one of the greatest material prizes in world history," "probably the richest economic prize in the world in the field of foreign investment."

President Eisenhower once described the Middle East as the most "strategically important area in the world."

Richard Nixon wrote that the Middle East's "oil is the lifeblood of modern industry, the Persian Gulf region is the heart that pumps it, and the sea routes around the Gulf are the jugular vein through which that lifeblood passes."

Nixon believed that, because the Middle East is likely to remain "the only source of significant exportable oil in the world for the next twenty-five years, we have no choice but to remain engaged in the area."

Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, explained the American rationale for a military presence in the Gulf:

"Given the enormous resources that exist in that part of the world, and given the fact that those resources are in decline elsewhere, the value of those resources is only going to rise in the years ahead, and the United States and our major partners cannot afford to have those resources controlled by somebody who is fundamentally hostile to our interests."

In 1992 the New York Times leaked excerpts from the Pentagon's "Defense Planning Guidelines for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999". The report stated that the overall US concern was to "remain the predominant outside power in the region and [to] preserve the US and Western access to the region's oil."

Anyone who tells you this is not fundamentally about oil is either delusional or a liar.

~ Steve d'Apollonia, Canada

Regarding "The Kook Factor" by Justin Raimondo:

I'm a Libertarian and a Christian. I love the ideals of The American Revolution (i.e. life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and individual property rights). I also believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. I also believe that His teachings are not incompatible with the concepts of moral republican government, individual liberty, happiness and peace.

As for the teaching of the "rapture" is concerned, there is sound biblical evidence (based in scripture) that it could be true. However, brothers, in Christ, can and do debate that teaching without acrimony.

Sir, when you seem to say that the Bush Administration is riddled with right-wing Christian "nutballs" who want to wage another holy crusade so that the "rapture" can finally occur, you do the cause of Christianity and peace a great disservice. First, Jesus, who was "The Prince of Peace", would never be in favor of such an abomination. Secondly, no true Christian would ever advocate aggressive wars in the name of fulfilling prophecy or for any other reason. God, if He wished to bring about the "rapture", and thus bring an end to man's dominance on Earth, most certainly does not need any help from anyone to accomplish that task. Thirdly, I personally know many so-called "right-wing" Christians (who, by the way, just happen to believe in the teaching of the "rapture") who absolutely abhor the idea of making aggressive war against Iraq or any other country.

Mr. Raimondo, I don't doubt that there may be some people in the Bush administration who claim to be Christians and who might believe, out of a wholly misguided and perverted understanding of the Holy Bible, that they have some sort of duty to help facilitate the coming of the kingdom by making aggressive war. If that is true, it is a very sad and evil prospect indeed. However, I don't think these folks have as much power to foment and wage war as you might think. In the worse case, they would simply be "useful idiots" of the ruling oligarchy.

Sir, the real truth, as God gives me light to see it, is simply this: The people who want to make aggressive war is the same old evil crowd as in the past. It is the same old evil crowd that controls every administration, be it Republican or Democratic. The real war mongers are; the amoral international corporations, the amoral international socialists, the amoral international politicians and the amoral international central bankers. They are, in the final analysis; ungodly people, doing ungodly things, for ungodly reasons.

Mr. Raimondo, I believe that you are a man of honor and good principles. I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will bless you with wisdom, strength, good health, long life and His everlasting peace.

Deo Vindice!

~ Henry Albert Clemens

Regarding David d'Apollonia's letter posted January 29:

Did you know Daniel was in Iraq when he got this vision? He was in Babylon which is in Iraq, they found the site where Babylon used to be not far away from the Tower of Babel. "What is described in Daniel chapter 11 does not bode very well for whoever is this "king of the south" nor the "glorious land" which shall be consumed. If the "king of the south" does prophetically represent the American Empire and its designs to militarily overthrow Iraq, then the Endtime that both Daniel and Christ alluded to may certainly be self-fulfilling, but not in the way the dispensationalists and the Amen Corner have imagined.

"God have mercy!" Says David d'Apollonia. In Daniel 11.27th verse: There are going to be two Kings now that are cooperating together, "And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed." Sound like Bush and Blair!

These world leaders are going to meet there at one table as they set up this worldwide government of the Antichrist and they're going to lie to people and make promises they're not going to fulfill. They're going to promise to keep it as the eternal capital of the World (Jerusalem) and everybody free and all religions acknowledge their freedom, etc., but they're not going to do it "for yet the end shall be at time appointed." They think they're going to have it forever, but God says it's going to come to an end, even the Antichrist kingdom is going to come to end. ...

~ Ted Rudow III, MA, Menlo Park, California

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