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Posted March 7, 2003

Regarding "The Hapless Hegemon" by Justin Raimondo:

I have always enjoyed your articles and look forward to them like dessert. But you seem, in my humble opinion, to have begun to believe news headlines instead of relying on your intuitive big picture thought process that usually let’s you see so clearly through all the smoke and bull.

Our President and his team want a UN vote, expect to win it, and feel no one would dare to veto it. Truly they do. In any case they won’t withdraw the resolution, they are just threatening that; it makes the UN Security Council delegates feel insignificant. And the President’s hawks would accept a veto by France as proof that the UN isn’t worth anything, and then would take that as a mandate to make France and the UN insignificant in their future plans for this world. Russia is too shrewd to use their veto to help Iraq. Threaten it for concessions, yes, use it to help Iraq or France, never crossed their mind. And Turkey taking out the northern front actually frees up the possible attack date. They just have to airlift troops in to start the war.

It would have taken 2 weeks to unload and travel to the designated jump off points at minimum. Probably more like 3. Now they are out of the picture. No way will this war not be launched by first week of April the very latest. Last full moon and all. There are also so many other pressures pushing for a quicker than a later attack, but I’m sure you are well aware of that. That’s my 2 cents. Not a long wait to see how right or wrong I am, but it does seem so obvious to me. Looking forward to your future articles.

~ Michael Xifaras, Las Vegas, Nevada

Justin Raimondo replies:

I agree with you, as far as you go. But what about the Kim Jong Il factor? The North Koreans have already intercepted a U.S. spy plane. Next, they'll test a long-range missile, and start to churn out nukes. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assures us that the US is perfectly capable of fighting on two fronts at once, but this is just bluster.

The point is that the American President may feel omnipotent. But that is an illusion. The American Empire faces a number of strictures on its power, and the ability to wield it, and these could well come into play before a decision is made to go to war. However, as I write, I'm reading a headline that Bush is making that decision tonight [Wednesday], so I guess we'll see pretty shortly.....

I tip my hat to the insertion of a Mr. Mxyzptlkn reference in a would be serious editorial. Touché. Beyond that, the sarcastic and knowing tone – common to so much of the debate on this subject – gets us exactly knowhere. Focussing on Bush's serious flaws and failures of execution is easy. Much harder is proposing an alternative approach to the dilemma we are surely in. That dilemma is the existence of desperate and unstable regimes developing the ability to cause catastrophic damage to us or others via advanced technology. 9/11 did not create this problem but it brought it to the forefront.

So what do we do?

~ Eric Wertheim

Justin Raimondo replies:

The idea that we are facing something totally "new" is false. The Soviet Union was never "stable" – as the Great Revolution of 1989 demonstrated. In the long period of the Soviets' decomposition, their nuclear weapons might have fallen into the hands of just about anyone.

A number of unstable and/or potentially dangerous countries today had nuclear weapons prior to 9/11: Pakistan, India, and Israel come to mind. Add China, which went through the tumultuous convulsions of the "Cultural Revolution," to the list.

You point to "desperate" regimes that might be inclined to use nukes, and other weapons of mass destruction: but surely there is something in particular that is making them desperate. Perhaps being ringed by 300,000 American troops has something to do with it, in the case of Iraq. And adding North Korea to the "axis of evil" just for symmetry's sake is another provocation of the same order.

The policy of preemption is a mask for the quest for a world empire, and nothing more. It is hardly a solution to the problem you suggest – the cause of which is, in large part, the consequences of that quest.

As a registered Democrat I was heartened by James Zogby's recent column "Democrats Debate War," in which he contrasts the rapturous reception given to antiwar Democratic presidential candidates by participants at the recent DNC meeting to the cold reception given to Bush-appeasing candidates.

Looking for further cheer I scanned the NY Times archives for a report on that event. Since I don't buy articles from the archives, I was limited to items less than a week old. I found Adam Nagourney's "So Many Underdogs, So Much Time" from last Sunday, which is an overview of the Democratic field. The article completely dismisses, and disrespects, the candidates who got the warmest response from the party regulars. ...

I was struck by the complete dissonance between Zogby's column and Nagourney's article. If Nagourney is to be believed, "Democratic Party officials" are at complete odds with the "400 Party leaders from all 50 states" who, according to Zogby, applauded the antiwar candidates. Zogby also makes the point that polls show that the Democratic rank and file is strongly opposed to the war. Yet Nagourney describes as "top tier" those Bush-leaning candidates whose weaselly words about the war got a frigid reception at the conference.

~ Bruce Dodds, Newton, Massachusetts

The logic of our planned invasion of Iraq: If Iraq doesn't have WMD, then we are unjustified invading. If Iraq does have WMD, then we should should be deterred from invading.

This is not intended to sway opinion for or against the planned invasion of Iraq. Instead, it is meant to introduce the concept of a "poor man's MAD," and provide a link to a relevant article. We will probably cause what we are invading to prevent.

Unit 999 is the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Unit 999 is the Iraqi intelligence branch that deals with chemical and biological weapons, and according to a report published in The Herald, Saddam has established an Islamic militant network trained to deliver chemical and biological attacks outside Iraq. This network would constitute a poor man's MAD, where instead of the nuclear mutually assured destruction we had with the USSR, biological weapons would be used, also known as the poor man's nuclear bomb. Especially troubling is the report that Unit 999 has trained these terrorist to use influenza. Obviously, giving us the common flu isn't a useful military capability, but using recombinant DNA technology Iraq's advanced biological weapons program could produce a deadly influenza strain that would be both highly contagious and lethal. The last deadly outbreak of influenza in America was the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 which killed more Americans than all wars combined. We should believe the Bush administration when they say that Iraq and Al Qaeda are linked. It is incredibly reckless to invade a country that has an advanced biological weapons program.

~ Brad Arnold, Minnesota

...The US is going to kick the sh*t out of Iraq because – now get this – revenge, simple as that. Iraq f*cked around and now is going to pay the price. It is not about oil, weapons of mass destruction or any of the stated diplomatic reasons, just plain old fashioned revenge. You try to kill a US President and you're going to pay. I love it. ...

(I really don't give a sh*t about what the rest of the world thinks. F*ckem' – better to be the badass than some third world sh*thole. America first.)

~ Larry Wallace

Regarding "Top Ten Bogus Justifications for the Iraqi War," by Christopher Deliso:

I think there is also point #11. The simple fact that Donald Rumsfeld told Tariq Aziz in 1984 that "As with all nations, we respect Iraq's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity." In the same official document, he stated, "I noted that Iraq's oil exports were important." He then proceed to tell Tariq Aziz that to connect an oil pipeline to Saudi Arabia would be a good idea. But Tariq didn't think so. When I read that Donald Rumsfeld expressed to the Iraqi's the fact that, "...relations between our countries are important, and that there are more similarities than differences", I knew he was a genuine man of peace, and that the peaceniks don't understand him. His words, in all their glory, can be found at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/.

Make your own mind up regarding his position then and now.

~ Bean, New Zealand

Regarding "Israel's Amen Corner" by Justin Raimondo:

I am writing to compliment Mr. Justin Raimondo for an excellent article, "Israel's Amen Corner". His analysis of the forces involved, i.e. Neo-Cons and Conservative Christians, was clear and cogent and puts the situation in an understandable perspective.

However, in his article he declares that "The millennial spirit is endemic to Christian doctrine." This is not true. Despite millenarian views among sincere Christians, and in spite of their defense by prominent Fathers of the early Church, millenarianism was never held in the Catholic Church as an article of faith based on Apostolic traditions. By the 5th century A.D., these views had disappeared.

There is no trace of millenarianism in the Gospels or the letters of St. Paul. The roots of the belief in a glorious kingdom, partly natural, partly supernatural, are found in the hopes of the Jews for a temporal Messiah and in the Jewish apocalyptic, i.e. the Book of Henoch and the 4th Book of Esdras. The millenarianism Mr. Raimondo is referring to is endemic to Protestantism and it was the Protestant Revolt of the 16th century that ushered in a new epoch of millenarian doctrines. See St. Augustine, Civitate Dei, Book 20 for a fuller explanation.

Thanks for the fine expositions you are presenting. I wish you the best.

~ Jerry C. Meng

Justin Raimondo replies:

You are absolutely right, and I stand corrected. The Catholic tradition is far different from the dispensationalist heresy I was discussing in my piece, and we can see this is the pro-peace stance of the Vatican.

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

Justin Raimondo's remarks to the Libertarian Party of Illinois on March 1, 2003, just published at Antiwar.com, prove that he is the man who should be the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 2004. We need the radicalism back!

~ Steve Olivier


... This – http://www.agop.tv/chainreaction/index.html – is our very small resistance against USA's attack to Iraq. We wish more and more people should know about depleted uranium weapons. ... We should unite together for peace, all over the world. We can change the world, if we wish.

~ Daijiro Horikoshi/Toshikazu Bessho, Osaka, Japan

Political Science

I awoke this morning humming a tune. Rubbing away sleep, the words came to me, "...they all hate us anyhow, so let's drop the big one now." It all seemed eerily, hilariously, tragically apropos. I submit for your consideration the complete lyrics to Randy Newman's 'Political Science':

"No one likes us I don't know why. We may not be perfect but heaven knows we try. But all around even our old friends put us down. Let's drop the big one and see what happens.

"We give them money but are they grateful? No they're spiteful and they're hateful. They don't respect us so let's surprise them; we'll drop the big one and pulverize them.

"Now Asia's crowded and Europe's too old. Africa's far too hot, and Canada's too cold. And South America stole our name. Let's drop the big one; there'll be no one left to blame us.

"We'll save Australia; don't wanna hurt no kangaroo. We'll build an all-American amusement park there; they've got surfing, too. Well, boom goes London, and boom Paris. More room for you and more room for me. And every city the whole world round will just be another American town.

Oh, how peaceful it'll be; we'll set everybody free; you'll have Japanese kimonos, baby, there'll be Italian shoes for me. They all hate us anyhow, So let's drop the big one now. Let's drop the big one now."

~ Jean R. Sherrard

Iraq Question

... If Iraq, as President Bush claims, is in possession of WMD, but they admittedly do not include nuclear weapons, then they must be some nature of chemical and/or biological weapons. If this is the justification for a war which will almost certainly begin with bombing, then what are the consequences of releasing such killer chemical/biological material into the atmosphere (especially considering we can't control the way the wind blows – Chernobyl sadly springs to mind)?

Interesting, too, in this context is the fact that on 5 February Donald Rumsfeld announced to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that he would willingly use chemical agents against Iraq. He was referring, of course, to the toxic riot control agents CS gas and pepper spray, which, as reported in the Independent, Sunday, 2 March by Geoffrey Lean and Severin Carrell, are not only in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention, but the use of which has been rejected for British troops by the Ministry of Defence.

Of course, if such weapons are intended to be used by the US and subsequent contamination occurs, it would be all too convenient for the US to blame Iraq.

I hope you will use your good offices to flood the newsdesks of every broadcaster and newspaper to help bring this vital issue to wider public attention.

~ Beth Porter, UK

Regarding "What's the Real Key to Our Freedom?" by Alan Bock:

You write in your article:

"To be sure, during the latter stages of the Vietnam War there were instances of military people being treated rudely and more. Some Americans called military people 'baby killers' or worse, insulted them or spat upon them. I found that indefensible at the time, and I hope if it happens in the near future that I will be one of the first to criticize it."

According to Jerry Lembcke’s book Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam, there is no contemporaneous evidence of any antiwar activists spitting on returning veterans. And it wouldn’t surprise me if that “babykiller” line originated from Rambo.

~ Tomas E.

Regarding Eric Justice's letter posted March 3:

Eric Justice equates being antiwar with being anti-American. That's pathetic and idiotic. If he is so opposed to the idea of free speech maybe he should consider taking his own advice and pack his bags and leave. America would be better off without him and his ilk.

~ SD

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

When Charley Reese says:

"OK, this is my last antiwar column. The president's going to go, and I have a rule that when Americans go into combat, I don't criticize the war they're in. I'll raise hell trying to stop them from going to war, but once they're in it, I support them"

he loses me as a reader of his column. Permanently. During and after World War II, we feigned incomprehension at the pervasive lack of resistance of German citizens to the war machine. We poured blame and contempt on the hapless German citizen for not offering resistance. Of course, there were exceptions like the "White Rose" grouping. These young war resisters were heroes. Despite Charley Reese's sanctimony, I intend to remain steadfast in my opposition this immoral, illegal and unnecessary war. I don't support troops who obey illegal and immoral orders! ...

~ Matthew M.

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