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Posted March 5, 2003

Regarding "Libertarianism in the Age of Empire" by Justin Raimondo:

I read this article but am not convinced that noninterference is the way to go here. I am concerned that Iraq may not be as serious a threat as the administration asserts. But I think that removing Saddam from power will benefit the U.S. by providing additional stability in the region and the world. Other, perhaps more serious threats, can be dealt with next. I trust the President and his advisors even if they represent the "Establishment," or whatever else you want to call it. Isolationism may have been a viable option in 1919, but is dangerous with improved military technology. Unfortunately, we must be proactive, even if Iraq is the wrong place to start.

On the other hand, I've always thought of myself as a libertarian because I support your party's stance on domestic issues. I am a young officer in the military. What I'm getting at is that this vehement antiwar stance will alienate more potential party members/leaders than it will recruit. In my opinion, we (the US) should find a way to increase security on the homefront and be proactive on the world stage without losing our Jeffersonian/republican ideals. Maybe G.W. Bush isn't the right man, and I disagree with him on certain issues, such as immigration, but his policy towards potential threats abroad is a commendable, if not flawless, strategy. Your warning about crossing the Rubicon is interesting, but our transformation (or transition) to empire is not inevitable, as long as citizens like us preserve our cultural and political traditions.

~ John Morris

Justin Raimondo replies:

How do you preserve our republican traditions when the requirements of a massive military effort eat away remorselessly at the foundations of the Constitution, and drain the nation's resources? The tax bill alone would rule out the entire libertarian program.

The invasion and conquest of Iraq will not promote "stability," but quite the opposite. This war cannot be contained, once it breaks out: it will inevitably spread to Iran (the next target), Saudi Arabia, Syria, and beyond. This is Gulf War II: get ready for III, IV, and V in pretty rapid succession. If this is stability, give me chaos any day.

Furthermore, since libertarians want to limit state power, not only in scope but geographically, to advocate spreading that power all over the world is counterintuitive, from a libertarian perspective, to say the least.

Regarding "Is War Inevitable?" by Justin Raimondo:

Great article, I also hold out hope that war will be averted. Is there any way the Catholic community can urge the Pope to visit Iraq? I mean, something like a goodwill tour of just hospitals and orphanages and churches? He could shun meeting with Saddam to make sure Saddam doesn't try to spin it for his own purposes. Hey, I had an idea for something, but don't know where to go to get it off the ground. My idea is building up international pressure that would threaten to refuse entry to the United States into the Olympics (which, of course represents the peaceful competition among nations) if it did commit a preemptive war against Iraq. Unfortunately, it might mean more to the statists to miss out on seeing their flag represented at the Olympics than the statistics on dead Iraqi civilians or refugees. ...

~ Talha Rizvi

Blair's Moral Achille's Heel

However vacuous the basis of Blair's moral commitment to Anglo-American intervention in Iraq is, the sincerity of that moral commitment should not be questioned. To question it is to further entrench his conviction. Instead, opponents of war in Iraq should use this undeniable conviction as the starting point to deconstructing it, thereby exposing its ultimate irresponsibility in moral, political, geo-strategic and geopolitical terms.

Morally, Blair's action is irresponsible because it is inconsistent, ignoring the moral case for military intervention – albeit strictly under United Nations auspices – in equally corrupt regimes. This turns Blair into a pragmatic moral zealot devoid of political principle other than an irrational commitment to maintaining the increasingly defunct Anglo-American relationship above all else. Politically, his action is irresponsible because it reneges on his prime ministerial obligation to ultimately implement the tenets of representative democracy. For Blair to respond to this by defining himself as an advocate of delegated democracy, not representative democracy, immediately questions the moral basis of his first term of office when he governed on reflecting public opinion, a precept in complete harmony with representative democracy but totally opposed to the precepts of delegated democracy. Geo-strategically, Blair is irresponsible because his action turns not just Britain but also the whole European continent into a prime target for terrorist attack. The geopolitical consequences are manifest. Not only has Blair undermined Europe's emergent potential of providing a counterbalance to United States global hegemony. In doing so Blair has also undermined Europe's emergent moral standing, however hesitant, by enhancing Washington's ability to divide and rule Europe.

In the final analysis, moralism is only valid when based on the overwhelming grounds of realism. Blair's moralism is not. However undeniably sincere, Blair's moralism is based ultimately on fatuous outdated Anglo-Saxon ideals which must be confronted head on and faced down.

~ John Williams

Unification of Systems

The evolutionary trend of systems is unification of systems less complex and less informed into greater systems in terms of "complexity and contents of information."

Thus, it is that from small armies of aristocrats they consolidated into nationalities and kingdoms, and separate states of America became the United States of America. Unification of European nations in some aspects fulfills the same end: to achieve more effectiveness.

The United Nations concept took decades of extraordinary sacrifices, work and wisdom to crystallize into a system that stabilizes, benefits and protect the planet. To dislocate from such institution is to run against evolution and progress.

The present Bush administration would be better advised to place all its energy in to reinforced the UN and give it the "backbone" that it believes is weakening instead of violating the very foundation of it by breaking whatever "backbone" is there by acting unilaterally against Iraq. ...

Impatience, and even fear – founded or unfounded – I will say, are very bad advisers.

~ Maria D.


Attacking Iraq because they someday could pose a threat sounds a lot like the story of a biblical king who wanted to kill all of the newborn male children throughout the land because someday one of them would be a threat. Anybody remember that one?

~ Willie Watson, Prague, Czech Republic

Use SMS to Spread the Word

Last weekend I sent a short message to 10 people:

"Hi! Hope you are joining us at the student strike Wed March 5th – rally noon Parl house. Please forward this message on to all those u know." ...

This hopefully would have spread quickly round – it's even faster than email because people often hear when the message arrives and check it immediately – email might be checked only once a day or less. So it's an effective way of spreading info rapidly.

Antiwar campaigners have been using email to some degree, but there is not a lot of discussion here about SMS when people are planning publicity campaigns. It's fairly cheap to send to a "starting number" of mobiles – say 50 – and let people's motivation and personal networks take it from there.

In an informal survey of 60 people I did at the massive rally here on February 16th in Adelaide, South Australia, when asked: "How did you hear about the rally?" most answered "word of mouth." Next was "the Internet/email" – then other methods, like posters, came next. Clearly, SMS is also a "word of mouth" technology like email. It perfectly suits the task we have at hand – spreading info through personal networks. Let's use it and think of it whenever we are planning to advertise events and rallies (and always include the website at the end of the message!).

~ John Rice, Australia

Cash and Coercion are Wonderful Tools

According to my favorite information source, "Fox News," the "coalition of the willing" includes several eastern European "democracies" that agree with Mr. Bush and think war on Iraq is the only solution.

Obviously, cash and coercion are wonderful tools for governments and mafias.

Since many of the new democratic leaders were once members of the communist party, I wonder how many of those brave men and women eagerly supported the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Obviously, cash and coercion are wonderful tools for governments and mafias.

Since the Russians never really had much money maybe they offered vodka instead of cash.

Considering the direction and speed at which the US economy is headed into the toilet, there might come a day when a bottle of vodka is worth more than a billion dollars.

It must be a tough choice.

~ Rashid Miraj

Why Iraq

This may be a smoking gun on why US government policy is to get rid of Saddam Hussein. I have been surfing the Net a long time and "the Arab Common Market" is a well-kept secret. Especially the effect on the cheap Petrodollar. Iraq and Iran (partly) are demanding euros instead of petrodollars for their oil. If more OPEC members do the same the US will lose their freedom to print petrodollars. ...

With five out of six GCC currencies already pegged to the US dollar and Kuwait closely tracking the US dollar, it would be a simple matter to implement a common currency, which is currently planned for by 2010. “It’s a political rather than an economic decision,” Henry Azzam, chief economist at Jordan Investment Trust Group, told BBC News Online. “All it needs is for someone at a very senior level in Saudi Arabia to take the decision to push forward.”

~ Winny Bar

Regarding "Notes from the Margin" by Justin Raimondo:

You write:

"Democracy can no more take root in Iraq than palm trees can grow on the moon. The Enlightenment bypassed the Middle East completely, and to embark on a military crusade to impose liberty, property rights, and the rule of law is a fool's errand."

I think that you make too much of recent Arab fundamentalist bigotry and take too little account of a tradition of Arab tolerance in a more remote age. But more to the point George Bush cannot export democracy to the Middle East or plant it anywhere because he does not believe in it. He is practicing the "democracy" that he finds congenial, and there is nothing in it of toleration and respect.

~ Alan Bickley, Wisconsin

Regarding "Enjoy Your War" (originally titled "The Last One") by Charlie Reese:

I have followed Charlie Reese's column since 1990, and hailed him as a beacon in the fog during "Operation Desert Storm."

I also cursed him for endorsing G.W. Bush as a presidential candidate (along with the Orlando Sentinel). Well, Charlie, we reap what we sow. Your endorsement helped install a megalomaniac in the White House. To paraphrase Mr. Bush, this is like a bad rerun of Dallas that I'm not interested in watching, the ultimate "limbo contest." J.R. Ewing is at the helm, babe, we're in for a rough ride. Now I'd better shut up.

~ Rick O.

Blair and the Appeasers

Mr. Blair seems to have got things somewhat backwards. In the case of Hitler, he was considered the aggressor, therefore those who sided with him could be considered appeasers. ... In the case of Iraq, the aggressors will be Britain and USA, if the UN does not sanction a war against Iraq and they attack. Thus, by "giving in" to the various demands of Blair and Bush, the appeaser is Saddam Hussein.

Point two, both Blair and Bush claim that they know best what is good for the country and therefore will not listen to a "populist focus group". Check Hitler's speeches and you will find that he too claimed to protect the German people. The difference is that we live in a supposed democracy.

~ Paul Fritz-Nemeth, Canada

Boycott Oil for Peace

One way in which an effective antiwar statement might be made that the administration would understand is to boycott the individual use of petroleum products for a period of time. This would mean limiting the use of personal transportation by using mass transit, car pooling, walking, bicycling etc. Another way would be to reduce heating temperature in buildings to less than 70 degrees. This would not only send a message, but would have a beneficial environmental impact and might even help to reduce gas prices.

~ Timothy Lemke

Regarding "'Pro-War' Movement Springs Into Action," Fox News:

It would seem that the Citizens United campaign is directed primarily at the messengers and not the message. Just as war with Iraq will be proof of a failed US foreign policy, so attacking the messengers is proof that Citizens United cannot address the message.

It is also interesting that the Bush seems bent on dividing the United States in a manner that could easily spark homegrown terrorism from many sides – them against us. Over the years, there have been many examples of leaders, so desperate to hold onto a slim, or nonexistent, mandate that they have resorted to exhorting the most vile aspects of nationalism. This is a tragic time for the United States and if Osama is a chess player, he must surely have counted on the Bush administration to complete his plan.

Keep up the good work of getting out the messages.

~ Erich L. Gibbs, Ph.D.

Candleria for Peace

Are you familiar with a candleria display?

You take a (lunch size) white paper bag and fill it 1/4 full of sand, stick a candle in the sand and light it. This makes a candle / lantern that is windproof. Many of these makes a beautiful display and can line the street in front of peoples homes.

This would be a good way for people to declare their support for peace and a good display for T.V. cameras. It really is impressive when done by a whole city. Albuquerque used to do this once a year but I don't know if they still do.

Easter is coming up, this will make a good three day effort between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Peace is a good Easter message.

~ Messenger Owl

Regarding KV's letter posted February 28:

KV of South Africa says that Israel is not a democracy because Arabs are denied equal rights. This is a lie. Arabs who are Israeli citizens vote in every election and can hold any kind of office they desire. The Arabs who cannot vote are the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza who are not Israeli citizens. If this makes Israel a non-democratic apartheid nation, the United States is one as well. Puerto Ricans cannot vote in American elections. Why not? Why can't American Samoans vote in American elections? Racism! Apartheid!

Actually, the comparison between the West Bank and Puerto Rico is incorrect. The West Bank and Gaza became Israeli territory in a war of self-defense. The Arabs of the territories are more similar to West Germans under American occupation following World War II. Why didn't they have the right to vote in American elections?

~ Joel Benjamin, Massachusetts

Rules of Engagement

...I have observed the political landscape for over six decades, experienced the division in our country over many political issues, most recently in the presidential election of 2000. We appeared to come together in the aftermath of 9/11, which not only raised the specter of terrorism for us as Americans but also remained us how fragile life is and how quickly things can change. There was a temporary period of reaching out to each other and hugging our loved ones and trying to explain to ourselves and each other how it could be that so many people in the world hate us. We moved beyond that union last fall, and we are once again divided, we in America are now at war with each other – divided over the President’s apparent intention to: (1) make a preemptive strike and (2) overthrow an existing government (3) to engage in aggression (war) (4) possibly unilaterally. There are other issues that divide us, but I believe these four main issues are at the heart of the protest movements against the war and for the war. I do not intend to debate these issues at this time. The point of this stream of consciousness is to suggest that we all have more tolerance and respect for the opinions of each other. ...

  • It is permissible to surf the opponent’s website; on the other hand, Electric Storm is an excellent example of bad form. Good form would be to create a virtual march on another website. In other words, the idea, the principle involved, is to counter the opposition, not wipe it out. You are a "guest" when you visit a website, and it is always rude to offend the host.

  • Opposing war does not translate into embracing Saddam. An attempt to merge the two is known as a red herring and, again, it’s bad form. Those opposing the war are intelligent humans who recognize a despot when they see one. They simply believe there are alternatives to war.

  • It is not appropriate to insult an opponent’s mother, or question the size of their brain or the existence thereof. It’s bad form. It’s also inappropriate to suggest entire members of a political party are @#***. Generalizations are bad form, gross generalizations are – gross.

  • Those who support a peaceful solution are not wimps; and those who support war are not warmongers.

  • It is not appropriate to suggest God supports bombing Iraq and those who march for peace are going to burn in h—. In fact, it is not appropriate to bring God into the argument at all. Politics and the issues surrounding the question of a second war in Iraq and Mesopotamia are sufficiently convoluted with religion(s) — count ‘em — three.

  • Beliefs and facts are not the same.

  • It is not appropriate to tell one’s opponent to move to another country.

We could go on; point here is that tolerance is essential if we are going to coexist on this planet. Remember when you engage in discussion about war and peace, protesters are not a threat. Attempts to thwart protest are a threat to our democratic government. Free speech and a free press are vital to democracy.

~ Jo Ann England, Aiken, South Carolina

Regarding "'Who's next?' Chretien asks U.S." (Toronto Star):

I looked at that photo of the enormous Shell gas sign with the inflated price of $2.29 for regular gas and then read the article "'Who's Next?' Chretien Asks US", and the answer struck me: obviously us! Because California is a Democratic state which voted for Gore in the last election, Bush/Cheney are using the same vendetta tactics against them as they now use for the so-called "Axis of Evil." Currently I live in a good little Republican state where gas is $1.69 for regular but for ten years I lived in California and we were pressured by Enron to pay an extorted fee for natural gas. Enron collapsed but the culprits got away and their accomplices/allies now reside safely in the Beltway. Anyway, that inflated figure you saw on that Shell sign is a threat and a warning, the same sort of veiled threat that issues from Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz or Bolton to small countries, a sort of Soprano-style method of using gangster tactics to bully or browbeat or intimidate. Really, whether the victim is France or California, its all the same.

God bless Chretien and the Canadians for speaking the obvious. We are no longer the world's cop, but are quickly becoming the Global Capone.

~ A Disgusted Veteran

Regarding "Between Heaven and Hell" by Kathleen Kelly:

Thanks so much for standing up to the US government and saying no to the nonsense of war. If war is averted, you will have played a significant part in stopping it. Thank you for putting your life on the line for peace. Thanks for not only speaking the truth but living it.

~ Barb and Dave Corcoran, Illinois

Open Letter to Warmongers

Now, how do you seriously plan to control occupied country which population is hostile to you and split to thee different ethnic groups which loathe each other and struggle for postwar control and natural resources? Surrounded with countries that are your enemies or are about to be, with radicalized people that want your blood for killing fellow Muslims. And little farther, you have an almost talibanized country with nuclear weapons ready to topple it’s leaders for more radical ones. Which by the way is next to a country you just conquered and occupy.

Seems to me that if you want to keep it all in one piece you soon start to act like the SS in order to survive. So I ask you, does that suit your values well? Or should you rethink a little bit more is this the best way to get rid of terrorism.

~ AH, Finland

The Deaf Administration

Something to consider for your web site. Just suppose, we the people of the world start acting as though we're the legitimate government, by e-mailing in mass, the differing embassies, or the General Council Offices, or those countries directly, which this administration bribed to either to go to war, or to use their land bases to preemptively strike others. Money seems to attract a great amount of attention, however, the lack of it will also draw the same amount of attention, as to the wishes of the worlds people. If we tell Turkey and others, that if they do take bribe money from the Bush administration, then in all likelihood, we the people of the world will not be coming to spend our hard earned tourist money in their country for a long, long time. We will however go to other countries, that didn't cave in to the arm twisting, and spend and spend, and spend. This will certainly make those leaders think of where they want to go, and how far they think that they can trust this administration in its payments to them, if at all!

Your web site could have all of those countries embassies, general council office's e-mail addresses posted for immediate use for the people of the world, who are against a preemptive strike anywhere! It will be up to those countries to give thought to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who will not be spending their money in their country should they proceed with their war or war like actions.

~ Dennis Ely

Regarding "The Gulf Casualties Not Mentioned" by Stanley Heller:

I am a 20-year retired Air Force veteran. Although I can appreciate the stimulus of your article, I believe Mr. Heller, that you do not understand what we [active duty military personnel and veterans] are about. I also believe sir, that unless you are a veteran yourself, you have not earned the right to speak for us. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have willingly served. You see, this willingness to serve is the key to understanding the mindset of men and women of our armed forces. As I am sure you are aware, since the 1970's, no one is forced to join. One joins of his or her own free will. It's about servant-hood. We serve so that others might live. That may sound a bit idyllic, but I believe it to be the truth. Just as you and al-Awda-Unity are committed to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International law and United Nations resolutions, so are we. But we sir, take it one huge step further. We are willing to look beyond the shores of our homeland and take that servant-hood to the oppressed and downtrodden of other nations than just our own. ...

I do not pretend to downplay the impact that the Gulf War (and other wars) had and continues to have on both military personnel and civilians who were caught up in those events. It is tragic. But what is even more tragic and even obscene is to turn one's back on men, women and children who are being murdered, raped and tortured. Particularly, if you have the might and will to do something about it. I do not try to paint a picture of a world's policeman going about and defending life, liberty and the American way. That's not who we are. We are servant-hood and it goes far beyond this wonderful county. Desert Storm a failure? I think not. Ask those who were being brutalized by Saddam Hussein's army. Besides sir, it is not about us. It's about being willing to put the uniform on and die so that even one, just one, is spared suffering and death at the hands of a madman.

What your article is telling us is that there are suffering people out there who are just not worth the cost. Well sir, they are the true casualties not mentioned in your article.

~ Wes Teel, Orlando, Florida

Regarding IM Fletcher's letter posted February 24:

I just read your latest round in your ongoing debate with I.M. Fletcher... You linked back to your previous debate with him that included my letter supporting your argument. ...

Fletcher seems to imply that Hitler's justification was somehow lacking the substance inherent in Bush's. Fletcher, of course, would not comment on my point asserting that Hitler's justification was identical to the US Cold War justification against the USSR. US warhawks never do admit that, perhaps because they are "ignorant" of Hitler's exact complaints against Soviet aggression. Perhaps Mr. Fletcher also needs to be reminded of that history that was once so well known, even in the US.

Has Mr. Fletcher really forgotten Hitler's protestations against aggressive Soviet Communism, upon which Hitler built his entire career? What does Fletcher have to say about Soviet Comintern terrorism in the west in the 1920s and '30s? What about Soviet aggression and invasions of Poland in September 1939, and of Finland in 1939 and '40? What about Stalin's aggression and invasion of Rumania (Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) in 1940 that threatened Hitler's main source of oil? Why did most of Eastern and Central Europe side with Hitler's Axis against Stalin?

Mr. Fletcher seems very concerned about Saddam's aggressions and threats to the US supply of Mideast oil. But Fletcher will not allow to Hitler the same paranoid excuse trumpeted today by Bush. Mr. Fletcher says there is no comparison between Hitler's preemptive aggression and Bush's. I have just outlined the exact comparison. ...

~ Richard F. Hill

Regarding "A 'Toxic' Meme?" by Justin Raimondo:

Unless the American people are made aware that George Bush is attempting to go to war against Iraq to implement an elective Israeli security plan outlined by Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, I see almost no chance of stopping this insane rush to war. ...

Your own Justin Raimondo had the whole story in his February 19 column. If only it had gotten more exposure. The mainstream media have been very actively avoiding looking at any Israeli role in getting Bush to go to war in Iraq. You've got to find a way to get it into the mainstream media.

~ Steve Jense

Guard Against Protester Fatigue

I applaud your efforts at preventing what will largely be seen as a war of retribution against a homogenous Muslim enemy, Iraq being nothing but a convenient scapegoat. The Bush administration's fuzzy justification, zeal in the pursuit of war and shifting goals certainly suggest it.

I am a Muslim Egyptian national and a permanent lawful resident of the US. I am concerned about advocating or participating in civil disobedience in light of the administration's severe aversion for dissent and Ashcroft's fanatic efforts to "sanitize" America. I am sure you are aware of the recent suggestions to strip those who unknowingly contribute to terrorist organizations of citizenship. Regardless, I will do what I can so long as I don't put my family in harm's way.

I write to let you know that their are millions in my position who hope that this movement will not only prevent war but will also restores America's balance and her traditional neutral view of the world, two years after enduring the incessant religious undertones of crusader Bush. I urge you to exploit the true tenets of democracy, to the same extent that Bush has exploited the vacant term in pro-war rallying propaganda.

Here's my two cents. Guars against protester fatigue. This is of utmost importance once the war starts, since the protest measures intended have impact only if they are protracted, with their end securely bound to the termination of US aggression in the middle east. I think preparing people for an extended confrontation now and as an ongoing process increases the odds of a successful outcome.

~ Kareem E.


Craig M.: If we do not attack Iraq, as you want, and it turns out he uses his weapons against neighboring nations and kills millions more, will you admit we should have gone after him?

Managing Editor Eric Garris: Most of his neighbors don't think he is a threat. But even if they did, I would oppose the war. I am a conservative Republican. I don't believe the US should be an empire.

CM: OK, thanks for the reply.

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