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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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 15, 2003

Regarding 'Misleading the Public' by Firas Al-Atraqchi:

So supposedly bin Laden recorded a message which was just released informing the public that he is not working with the Iraqi government – big deal. Does that mean what he said is true? Does that mean the voice on the tape was actually bin Laden's? Could it be possible that in order to avoid getting found out, Hussein and bin Laden made up this message? I think the US government knows a lot more about the issue than anyone at your silly website. And I look forward to bin Laden and Hussein being taken out – dead or alive.

~ Christopher DeLucia

Firas Al-Atraqchi replies:

Unfortunately, the U.S. government can't understand Arabic and hastily called this audio message a link between two jerks. They didn't even wait to get proper translation.

I wish you understood Arabic. Then you would have both laughed at the insane insinuations made by the Bush administration, and then cried that the US government had just low-balled itself.

You ask if the voice is actually his? When the US government initially thought the tape linked and incriminated the aforementioned jerk, it swore it was his voice.

When an informed public said 'hey wait a minute, bin Laden is calling for Saddam's ouster', the US government saw that it had shot itself in the foot, and backtracked saying that it might or might not be bin Laden.

Funny, eh!

Good on the Europeans who won't be "bought" by Bush's financial support of the likes of Turkey. Who is going to clean up the mess after he and his mob walk away with hundreds of thousands of refugees starving and wandering the desert looking for somewhere to live – not the USA! Bush is quite happy to slaughter whoever it takes to pay his debt to big business – and finance another campaign, remember his daddy botched the last one.

~ Lou Harrison-Smith, Christchurch. New Zealand

So what is the point of your article? As much as you Canadians (especially Muslim) hate America we really don't care. You take your shots at us and we will give them right back. When Osama terrorizes the US again I hope we nuke Mecca and Medina just as with our policy of MAD with Russia. Belligerent as I may sound,, I can assure you most Americans, myself include (Yes, I was a liberal once) had nothing against Islam before Sept. 11th – indeed we have been brainwashed all our lives into thinking it is a peaceful religion!

Your religion is one of hate, although you always keep your smile and say otherwise. In any event, you of the Islamic faith have only an inkling of what Americans will do in just revenge. The stage has been set and now the players are moving.

Also, what disgusts me most is the propaganda in Islamic countries against the US, yours included. The Arab street may fume but most Americans don't give a rat's ass anymore. The problems and disgraces of the religion of Islam were set from the outset set after a false prophet called Mohammed purposely created a religion of hate to counter the spread of Christianity in Arabia. Islam has nothing to offer to the world but jihad and hate. The Crusades were just as just in the year 1095 AD as they are now. Live with it sir. We are finally waking up to the reality of living with Islam. And I for one don't like it. And by the way, why are you living amongst us infidels anyway? Go back home and defend Iraq!

~ Kevin Mangan, Japan

Firas Al-Atraqchi replies:

It is sad to hear you speak such hatred when you know nothing about me, my values, whom I love or hate.

I will not answer your email in the ignorant fashion in which you address me, but I will surprise, and endeavor to enlighten you.

Contrary to what you believe, I do not hate the US nor do I hate Americans. In fact, I think the US is the greatest model of freedom and civil liberty that exists in modern human history. I admire the democratic institutions and principles upon which this great nation was founded.

As a Muslim, the democracy and freedoms of America appeal to me, as I am sure they appeal to most free-minded peoples of the world.

I would ask you to kindly refrain from insulting a religion you have been instructed to fear, misinterpret and loathe.

Islam does not teach hatred, nor did the Prophet Mohammed preach hatred of others.

As a true Muslim, I have prayed in churches across Europe. I prayed for peace between man and understanding between citizens of the world.

I pray now, and I hope you join me in doing so, that not a single life be lost. Not in the US, not in Mecca, not in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem, or London, or Kabul, or anywhere else for that matter. All life is precious as is ordained by God's laws.

It might surprise you, Denka, to know that I believe Osama bin Laden to be a charlatan, a bigot, a kafir (blasphemer) and a tyrant. I loathe him, not only for what he has done to innocent Americans, but for the hatred that he has caused to be dumped on a religion that is divorced of his ideas and principles.

In my mind, he is not a true Muslim, he is not even learned in Islam. He preaches out of context.

You speak ill of the Prophet. Allow me to show you some of his traditions:

"When a dying child was brought to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Prophet began to cry. A companion asked why he was crying, and the Prophet said: 'It is mercy which God has lodged in the hearts of His servants, and God is merciful only to those of His servants who are merciful (to others).'"

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 373

"The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'Who among you has fasted today?...Who among you followed [a funeral procession] today?...Who among you fed a poor man today?...Who among you visited an invalid today?...Anyone in whom (these good deeds) are combined will certainly enter Paradise.'"

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 505

"The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: '(O people!) Save yourselves from the Fire even if with one half of a date (given in charity), and if this is not available, then (save yourselves) by saying a friendly word.'"

You ask me what the purpose of my article is. The purpose is to provide the reader with the truth. As an Arabic speaker, I found some of the translation as aired on major networks to be grossly off the mark. Consequently, I wanted it to be known the amount of distaste Osama bin Laden declares for Saddam. In fact, in some cases, he expressed audacity in how little he thought of Saddam.

Why am I so against the war despite Saddam's brutal history? Because as a Muslim, and as someone from the region, I have remarked how over the years Iraq has moved from a secular state to an increasingly Islamic one.

They speak of liberating Iraq and instilling democracy.

Do you know that Iraq is 65% Shiite? Do you know what they will do if democratic elections were held? They would vote in a Shiite government that will ally itself with extremist, Shiite Iran. It will spell doom for true moderate Islam.

There are so many sides to this catastrophe that you may or may not be aware of. That is my mission. To enlighten, educate, and empower the reader with the capacity to make informed decisions.

I do not get paid. No one endorses me. I am all alone. I answer to no one but my conscience. And, I do not consider you, or anyone else, an infidel. I am not to judge.

As Jesus Christ taught all of humanity "judge not lest ye be judged" and "let he who hath no sin cast the first stone."

I hope this email finds you safe and well. God bless.

Regarding 'One Battlefield, Two Wars' by Justin Raimondo:

Good job on clarifying this important new info. While the Iraq issue is front and center, the Washington regime has profoundly alienated citizens on many fronts – war, Constitutionality, labor, women, civil liberties, human rights, etc. We need to take heed of the Filipino model and demand the resignation of the entire Bu**sh*team as having betrayed the interests of the people and blatantly violated the Constitution they have sworn to uphold. Bu**sh** is Nixon raised to the 5th exponential power. Filipinos got rid of Marcos and Estrada with massive permanent demonstrations that heavily impacted the economy. They got results. There's a lesson here.

~ Jon Olsen

Do you have the connections to nail MSNBC on this? This is the kind of story that just disappears, but obvious flaws like this should be pursued. I want an explanation of why MSNBC distanced itself from the truth.

I work for a top-20 market TV "news" station. Corporate media must change.

~ Jeff J.

As a leftist antiwar person, I don't always agree with Mr. Raimondo, but this article is right on: indeed, Bush and Bin Laden are practically allies at this point. Personally, I don't think they actually "conspired" together to bring down the WTC – but Bush's militaristic response has played into bin Laden's desire to overthrow secular dictators in the Middle East ever since it began.

Mr. Bush even finds himself allied with repressive Islamic theocracies when he goes to world conferences on women's rights and family planning, which has nothing to do with the war.

There is only one thing, really, that the American War Party and Al-Qaeda disagree on, and that is which cities must be "creatively destroyed" in order to "liberate" the Middle East (okay, two things; they disagree on who should get to install the governments afterwards, too). The American hawks think that Baghdad must be destroyed, whereas Al Qaida prefers to destroy New York.

~ Dave White

Bravo! Gonna make a donation the day the war begins.

~ KM

Justin Raimondo has earned my respect. I've long admired his remarkable industry, banging out finished work at a rate that I once attempted and soon concluded was impossible. But more than that, Raimondo's trademark and stock in trade is accurate and detailed political truthtelling – a journalist's journalist, which I gratefully acknowledge as "must read."

~ Wolf DeVoon

Regarding Backtalk editor Sam Koritz's replies to IM Fletcher's letter posted February 11:

R.E. Rex: Sam Koritz's statement indicating that it would have been just fine for American soldiers to die invading Japan, rather than the US dropping the A-bomb, thereby ending the war, is reprehensible! He apparently believes that soldiers are expendable. I guess Mr. Koritz didn't have a father, son or brother fighting in World War II.

Sam Koritz: I didn't write that "it would be just fine for American soldiers to die invading Japan," I wrote:

"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. ... 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."

As a matter of fact, I believe that a US invasion of Japan was unnecessary. But don't take my word for it:

"In order to assess the effects of strategic bombing on Germany and Japan, the American government constituted a Strategic Bombing Survey consisting of a staff of over 1,000 military and civilian experts, including Paul Nitze, George Ball and John Kenneth Galbraith. It produced 316 volumes-208 reports on Germany and 108 pertaining to the bombings on Japan. Paul Nitze supervised the detailed report on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and since then has been one of the most influential members of the American strategic community. It concluded, 'Certainly prior to December 31, 1945, and in all probability prior to November 1, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.'"
"Atomic Bombing Of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," Matin Zuberi, Strategic Analysis journal, August 2001

RE Rex: This kind of outrageous position is the reason behind my absolute conviction that the far left is doomed. Keep up the good work Sam. As long as the left has people like you, the rest of us will never have to worry about the peace freaks having any real credibility.

Sam Koritz: Distinguishing between civilians and combatants is consistent with "just war" theory and international agreements of which the United States is a signatory. Agreeing with this principle, as I've done, cannot accurately be described as "outrageous."

Finally, opposition to military aggression and/or nuclear attacks on civilians does not require a "far left" political orientation. See, for example, Antiwar.com's mission statement.

Thank you for printing my recent letters. I want to also congratulate you in your debate with I.M. Fletcher on your apt comparison between Bush and Hitler on the subject of preemptive war. You did a great job with the current situation, and your paragraph on World War II was good too.

But World War II is my specialty as a professor of history and author, and I therefore want to bolster you in your historical debate with Fletcher. You should ask him how Hitler actually justified his attack on Russia to the German people and the world, if it was not by the preemptive argument. You should ask if Fletcher has ever read any press from World War II, or indeed any history books on the subject.

As a specialist, I can tell you that the preemptive argument was the only argument Hitler ever offered publicly. You should ask Fletcher why he would question a Hitlerian preemptive justification when the entire west, the US included, fought a Cold War against the Soviets from 1918 to 1991, with only 1941-45 excepted. Hitler used the same preemptive justification against Soviet led Communism that the US used to justify its preemptive attacks against North Korea and North Vietnam, nations that had never attacked the US.

Not only has the US repeatedly used the preemptive justification against Soviet led Communism, but the US also used it against Hitler after Hitler's declaration of war in 1941. The US attacked Hitler before Hitler ever attacked the US, just as Hitler attacked Russia before it ever attacked him.

You should tell Fletcher that all the imperial powers have repeatedly used the preemptive justification. That was the major way they became imperial powers. Fletcher needs to simply read history, and stop diverting us with his blather about Middle East oil. That oil was not the point of your comparison between Hitler and Bush. It was, rather, preemptive aggressive war, a point that Fletcher chose to evade.

~ Richard Hill

Faxing Articles

Just wondering if it is okay to print your articles and fax them to my federal representatives.

~ Michael T.

Webmaster Eric Garris replies:


Bin Laden Tape

Believe me, I'm not paranoid and I'm definitely not a "conspiracy nut." However, I certainly can't be the only Antiwar.com reader and supporter who has noticed the number of times over the past year when the "war on terrorism" seems to lag or Dubya needs another push for his attack on Iraq, an Osama bin Laden tape suddenly shows up at the Al Jazeera studios. Maybe it's just been a coincidence. Or maybe not.

~ Harold C.


You may have seen the posting on LRC ["Take These Dollars, or Else!" by Ron Liebermann], regarding the oil-dollar linkage. That this has long been the linchpin in the international monetary system is well known, I think. What others in a position to know have not seemed to note is that the euro was introduced in a manner historically unprecedented: a common currency among sovereign nations. It seems clear that the euro is a defensive measure to the dollarization of the global economy, and poses a threat to the petrodollar and eurodollar markets. The seemingly sudden turn of American foreign policy to a belligerently "preemptive" doctrine is a logical and desperate extension of Robert Rubin's strong-dollar policy and "reverse mercantilism" beginning in 1996. And I'm afraid a necessary self-preserving consequence of a policy establishment that lost its way a long time ago, and is now about to lose its grip. Rubin remember is a former Goldman Sachs chairman, the folks who are responsible for the artificially low price of gold, achieved through forward short sales contracts based as far as anyone (like Soros) can tell on virtually nonexistent bullion assets. As I understand it, if the dollar tanks, Goldman Sachs may well go down with it, along with the banks.

This, "Washington" (i.e. the Bush faction) cannot allow to happen.

~ Jeff Lilly

Regarding Steve Jensen's letter posted February 11:

While so many of the experts list convoluted solutions for us to cease the war effort, this gentleman made many look stupid because the answer is so simple.

If there is anything that would strike fear into the President Select it is that he might be in a position to be selected again.

Mr. Jensen has, therefore, given us the ideal solution to the problem. There would be no deaths, ours nor Iraqi. There would be an end to enmity with our former allies. They might even become pro American again.

I am jealous. Why could I not have thought of this wonderful solution? The beauty is that we don't have to sign up with any group. We can start right now.

Thank you, Mr. Jensen.

~ Phil Schediwy, Apple Valley, California

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