Posted March 11, 2003
Regarding Wes Teel's letter posted February 5:
Wes Teel, USAF veteran from Orlando, mentions "servant-hood" as an underlying reason for entering the military, as he critiques Stanley Heller's pertinent piece, The Gulf Casualties Not Mentioned. As a USAF enlisted man during the Vietnam debacle I felt no such emotion. "Servitude" might be closer to what I felt, or suckered, or sh*t upon but hardly servant-hood. You see, even at the age of 18, I suddenly realized that the sonsabitches who invented the war hardly stepped upon the battlefield or suffered the wounds. Oh certainly I might have had a different perspective if I had been a fighter pilot high above the fray assuming that my colleague Mr. Teel was a pilot as I strafed or napalmed some village or jungle. But pilots never see the faces or scars or wounds or wrecked lives of their victims from high above the ground or from the safety of the officers club. Ironically I came to appreciate war protesters while I served from 1968-1972; I soon realized that these people were not trying to injure or kill me, but that they were trying to keep me from injuring or killing others, and perhaps injuring or killing myself. This ragtag army of protesters wasn't anti-soldier; they were antiwar. Really, these hippies and grandmas and burnt-out vets had my own personal good in mind, far better than Nixon or Kissinger ever did, even if I did not fully realize it at that time. Now that is "servant-hood." Something we all are trying to do with this antiwar site.
The United States and Britain say that they want to democratize Iraq and the middle east. In a democracy it is illegal to offer bribes to politicians. Therefore why is the United States bribing the politicians of poorer countries on the Security Council to vote for a war on Iraq? A majority of the people in these countries are against the war.
It appears that they are interested in democratic principles only if it suits their purpose.
Regarding "Why the French behave as they do" by Pat Buchanan (WorldNetDaily):
Americans speak American; the English speak English (from which American is derived) (but should be soon relegated in the dictionaries to the ranks of 'Old American' similar to 'Old English', 'Medieval French', and the like and one day we can only hope it will be like 'Latin'). I mean, like ya know, Pat, a person almost needs subtitles when listening to their vocal utterances and I have indeed seen an English movie that actually had subtitles, not because of the differences in terminology (the old, "Get a spanner from the boot by the tyre so we can fix our motor under the bonnet" sort of thing) but because the words were unintelligible, somewhat like English thinking overall.
And, besides, looking at the UN proceedings of the last few weeks, it is all too apparent that "English" is the language of war (it was interestingly funny to see Jack Straw barking his gutteralities while recalling it was this Right DisHonourable Minister who stated in the last year that it was the Britlandic imperialistic mistakes that has caused a lot of the problems we are experiencing now) (and Wilson's and Roosevelt's wanting to go to the Aisles to mind the "lap dog" kennels).
And, French? The obvious language of diplomacy.
I am a sixteen-year-old boy who wants to know why you people think the way you do. If you seriously think that war is not an option, then I do not know what to say. I respect you and all you have to contribute to the United States of America, but I want you, Antiwar.com, to ... tell me why. I personally think that you people really need to think things through thoroughly.
One last thing, peace is not the opposite of war, peace is the outcome of war.
Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:
For information about Antiwar.com, read this.
Every day Antiwar.com posts articles arguing against the threatened invasion of Iraq. You could read a few of them and then write to Backtalk with your comments or objections if you have any.
That would be more appropriate than your open-ended question, since the burden of proof or argument should be on the people who threaten to invade other countries, not on the people who oppose such threats. Still, here a few things to think about:
Invading Iraq under the current circumstances undermines the US Constitution, and the balance of powers in the US government. According to the Constitution, before the US military attacks another country, Congress should declare war. This hasn't happened.
Here's a link to an article by Senator Robert Byrd addressing this subject [apologies to regular Backtalk readers for the repetition]. It includes quotes by Abraham Lincoln and founding father James Madison, who argue that the power to order the military to attack a foreign country is appropriate for a king not a president, and that it threatens domestic liberty.
The Constitution also requires the US government to abide by its treaties. Invading another country without the approval of the UN Security Council violates one of these treaties, the UN Charter. (This has nothing to do with whether or not the USA should have ratified the UN Charter in the first place, or whether it should remain in the UN.)
The US government's preventive defense justification for invading Iraq sets a dangerous precedent. See Antiwar.com columnist Alan Bock on this subject. Carried to its logical conclusion, preventive defense implies world war until all governments that other governments feel potentially threatened by are eliminated.
Also, every profile I've read of the apparent leaders of the 9/11 terrorists mentions examples of US military intervention (troops in Saudi Arabia, war and sanctions against Iraq, and/or US funding of the Israeli military) as motivating factors. This would seem to suggest that further US military intervention in the Middle East is likely to encourage terrorist attacks.
So, invading Iraq would undermine American liberty and the rule of law, destabilize international relations and increase the likelihood of attacks on Americans. And there are lots of other antiwar arguments that you can read about on the site.
Would Israel Exist if Libertarian?
The ideal of defense and only defense is admirable. It was also possible before multiple sources of WMDs. It is regrettable we could not as a country, continue to practice this policy. I also regret Roosevelt (the second), though he died before I was born.
Regardless of who you would blame for it, weapons of mass destruction, available to those irresponsible enough to use them unprovoked, make libertarian foreign policy unpalatable. One world government is the only future of a surviving human race, the most free (and currently most powerful) can either lead/control the direction or be terrorized and subjugated.
I would also like you to reassess your practice of equating Israel with the other repressive theocracies in the region. There really is no comparison. (No, I am not Jewish.)
Regarding "The Myth of War Prosperity" by Rep. Ron Paul:
We elected the wrong guy from Texas, we just got the ass part of the state for president. Not the brain part that you are.
Your points are probably well taken, however, the world is getting smaller and it may be a serious mistake to leave these unstable power hungry ruthless tyrants in place. Once they acquire nuclear weapons they will be much more dangerous and costly to eradicate. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. One usually does not benefit by failing to face the ugly reality.
War is curse on humanity. War when fought for causes other than self-defense are wars for aggression. After the end of cold war we saw the USA emerging as leader of humanity. It had a choice before it to lead from the front for the cause of global welfare or start another era of imperialism under new hype.
Sept 11 was a sad day in the history of mankind. Our hearts bleed to see so much senseless destruction. Our condolences are with those who even were remotely effected. Sadder we are today as the present leadership of great nation called America seems to be hijacked by the war industry, look at the orders placed in next the few weeks post- that dreadful day.
Yes, there is a saying that the cost of peace is heavier to America and it prospers when it goes to war. But this time it will be very different. By going to war the great nation America will cause the following
1) That collusion with large corporations the duly elected governments can act undermining the very sentiments of those who chose them. So by going to war Democracy as a way of governance is under cloud in America as well as other nations.
2) That by marginalizing the UN it marks the beginning of decline and eventual death of the movement of collective wisdom of member nations.
3) That the civil liberties in the USA is as stake. Yesterday a man wearing peace shirt was arrested in a mall in USA. Giving credence to fact that the tenets on which the greatest and most prosperous nation was built are being destroyed by its own elected members.
4) That by carelessly and talking lightly of inclination of first use of Nukes is a grave error. Would it not spur nations to build nuclear deterrent and systems to deliver them to escape such threats from reckless governments?
5) Ultimately it seems the beginning of negation of democracy, free enterprise and freedom of expression.
6) Last but not the least, America is a multiethnic multiracial country. Its unjust wars will put extreme risk to its own society and social fibre.
7) Today what the American government is doing is re-engineering the actions which took place in Germany just prior to the second world war.
8) It is indeed sad that for very personal gains of a few humanity at large is under a cloud outside and in the great nation of America...
I strongly believe that humanity is supposed to progress, move from its primitive origins to civilized nature as a result of all the huge development that humanity has made so long. Seriously, there can never be any benefit from a war that is not fought to protect a country and its citizenry. One would accept that the war in 1991 had elements of protecting rather liberating a nation from foreign occupation. The current war does, and will never have any justifiable reason for it. Iraq can never manage to elude the advanced technology of the present world to produce any bomb without the world noticing. It is therefore unbelievable that Iraq poses any threat to the world.
From the mind of someone who has never done economics, I think that if ever war brings jobs, it is in at the expense of other great loses. For instance, the country may employ more health workers to help the soldiers who will suffer from different conditions from the war. One would then wonder if these are jobs that a country would be excited with. May be jobs are created because people feel the gaps left by people who lose their lives during the war, once again is this the moral way of creating jobs?
I strongly agree with the fact that war can never bring prosperity unless it is at the expense of other nation. For instance America charging money for being in Kuwait or getting the treasures of Iraq after defeating it. Once more is this what a civilized nation can do in the 21st century. War is naturally a barbaric, primitive act, only animals in the bush should fight.
What Happened to Declaring War?
This pending "war" with Iraq is no more a war than the Vietnam "conflict." There hasn't been a declared war since World War II. How does Bush get off going into another unsupported "conflict"? that is this time, obviously not what the people of the United States want. There is also little support for a war, worldwide. Since when do peaceful demonstrators wearing T-shirts get arrested for wearing their antiwar slogans? I thought this was America!
A president or administration that turns a deaf ear to it's own citizens is doomed. I watched in disbelief last night as 48 Hours interviewed the troops on the very front lines. Most of them were unsure why they were there, and many thought the officers above them were just "following orders." Several of them indicated they had little support for the Bush administration. They apparently think he is as lost as they are. What a message to send to the folks back home. We're counting on them to defend us and they don't even know if they should be there themselves. What a travesty!
Saddam has gone further toward disarming than ever before. There is also some open dialog this time. What is the rush to get us into a conflict with no apparent good outcome? Are we just going to take over Iraq and have them choose new leaders? There's no guarantee the same thing won't happen again, and this conflict will only bring more terrorism to the United States.
What about Bin Laden? Did we just lose interest in that and stop pursuing him? It's like that conflict has been forgotten. Even though they have one of his top henchmen in custody, does this mean the USA is safe? Hell no! This country will never be safe and hasn't been for years. 9-11 just brought it to everyone's attention. So, to protect us against future attacks we now have a color system that nobody can agree on. It has served well to panic the public into buying tons of duct tape and plastic sheeting though.
What about North Korea, the most aggressive of the now nuclear age? Do we just ignore them while they crash into our spy planes or buzz them with ordnance locked on? One would think that situation alone would be enough for the USA to handle at the moment. Would you rather have someone blow up a bus, or wipe half of the west coast off the map? Terrible choices, but let's get them into perspective!
To waste the lives of thousands is ungodly. That is exactly what will happen. In the end, what did we accomplish by killing them? We still have many choices in this set of circumstances. I say we use them all before wading in like our usual pompous selves only to learn we were wrong! We should be doing everything politically to avoid a conflict instead of inviting it. The North Vietnamese kicked our butts thousands died for absolutely nothing! I can't stand silent and watch this happen again. Bush and his administration should to the right thing before we don't have the option any longer. To ignore these opportunities is to bring on and end to life as we know it. Things are bad enough why force the issue to make them worse?
Regarding "The Hapless Hegemon" by Justin Raimondo:
You write "war in Eastasia is imminent," conjuring up the threat of a North Korea-inspired crisis that might yet result in a war that would dwarf the Iraq issue.
On the contrary, peace is on the way in Northeast Asia. But I think what we are seeing is the first installment of the costs that America will have to pay as the price for securing its vulnerable rear end in Asia while attacking Iraq. America is on the way to swallowing its pride and giving the pudgy, uncharismatic North Korean dictator most of what he demands.
There are many signs that a peaceful settlement, mostly on North Korea's terms, is on the way. The first sign was when Brent Scowcroft urged the US to engage in direct negotiations with the North. Then South Korea admitted that a top aide to the new South Korean president met with North Korean officials before Roh's inauguration and that a package solution to the N. Korean nuclear standoff may have been discussed. The South Korean media are now reporting that "The Bush administration has concluded that it probably cannot prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and is focusing on managing the geopolitical fallout."
Let us give the pudgy dictator some credit. Recent leaks of secret papers from the North documenting increasing domestic opposition have indicated that the regime's spectacular failures had upped his chance of losing his head in a coup. But when Kim Chong-Il saw the US gearing up to attack Iraq, he recognized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wring concessions out of the US. It looks like he will get a nonaggression pact from the US, quite possibly much more, and with the legitimacy and stability of his regime assured at least temporarily, the North will probably be able to wangle increased aid from Japan. After all, Japan benefits more from the presence of a divided Korea than it would from a united (nuclear-armed and anti-Japanese) Korea.
Who says that putting on a public act of unpredictability and belligerence doesn't pay richly?
Regarding Richard Hill's letter posted March 5:
"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."
Which is it? Make up your mind. Is it that Hitler's invasion/justification is identical to the current Iraq situation or is it identical to the '60s-'80s US/USSR Cold War? Or both? Better figure that one out before you state your case next time since both are completely different and contradictory to each other. The Cold War was handled using the containment theory while the Iraq appears to be headed for a military war.
"Mr. Fletcher says there is no comparison between Hitler's preemptive aggression and Bush's."
Show me where I stated this. I never said "no comparison" anywhere in my responses. My disagreement is with Backtalk editor Sam's use of the word "resembles" in comparison to the Nazi invasion of USSR and the possible US disarming of Iraq. The only resemblance is a preemptive strike. Since this is the case and since Nazi Germany is not the only, nor first country in history to use the preemptive defense, I found it offensive for Antiwar.com to use this comparison since it was only being done to promote a negative (Nazi-like) image of the United States to further promote Antiwar.com's position.
"Mr. Fletcher seems very concerned about Saddam's aggressions and threats to the US supply of Mideast oil."
Again, don't speak for me in your own words (not mine). I just pointed out facts and an opposing viewpoint since it was needed here.
"Why did most of Eastern and Central Europe side with Hitler's Axis against Stalin?"
A choice of the lesser of two evils would be the answer most of Europe would respond; fear would be the other.
I will end this discussion by listing the ways the Nazi invasion does not "resemble" our conflict with Iraq (since this is what you are after).
1) Leadership. Hitler and Stalin were two of the most infamous murderers in history. You cannot say the same for the American President. Two infamous dictators facing off versus a democracy and its allies and a dictator (who refuses to disarm per the UN) facing off is the way this breaks down.
2) Hitler having 6 or 7 countries on his side during this conflict does in no way compare to the US allies which currently stand well above 30 countries despite your claims.
3) The US has went to the international community in an attempt to win universal support as it did against Iraq during the Gulf War. Nazi Germany made no such attempt internationally.
4) Just over ten years ago Iraq made a move to control a high percentage (around 30%) of the world's oil supply by invading Kuwait. This was considered by many to be a power move, a potential future world takeover move by the world's third largest military at the time. Despite your claims, Nazi Germany was not in a similar oil situation with the USSR. If anything, the Nazi Germany's move was much more like Iraq's move against Kuwait.
5) Nazi Germany and Hitler were occupying forces who were there for the long haul. They took over and maintained control over the countries they invaded. The US has never been an unwanted permanent occupying force and never will be.
6) The US and its allies have given Iraq many opportunities to avoid this war by disarming per it's UN agreement. No such opportunity or discussions were given to the USSR in any similarity.
7) Nazi Germany had the goal of a master race all blonde hair and blue-eyed children. The US is probably the most tolerant country in the world with regards to different nationalities and peoples, even within it's own country.
8) Liberating the Iraqi people. The end result of this war will be the liberating of the Iraq population. As opposed to the attempted capture and control of USSR citizens.
Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:
Regarding "Top Ten Bogus Justifications for the Iraqi War" by Christopher Deliso:
Whew! That was quite the read and certainly took a little while to absorb and digest all of the detail. It's a truly sad situation when you realize how incredibly restricted most American's media experience is and the net result of this is clearly displayed in the Knight-Ridder and Pew polls.
Some additional points to consider here are how limited the mainstream coverage is of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. After all, we just finished instating democracy there, right? Shouldn't we be able to use that as an starting point for how a postwar Iraq will look like? Firing up Google and punching in "Afghanistan" in the news section results in a lot of stuff I certainly wasn't aware of with lovely titles like:
"Stress between warlords in Northern Afghanistan" ahh yes, all of the newly democratized players are getting along.
"U.S. forces defuse motorcycle bomb near Afghan base" everybody loves the US for freeing them right?
"Actions of US soldiers eyed in two deaths in Afghanistan" and the US is so squeaky clean they're ... the only ones allowed to play with WMDs!
"Key road in eastern Afghanistan reopens" Yup, closed for 5 days after being taken over by local militia.
"Pakistan probes ISI death" he was close to the border when he was killed.
Hekmatyar predicts destruction of America Still a pretty vocal anti-American group living and working in Afghanistan.
"Sporadic violence still possible in Afghanistan" Duh.
"Afghanistan retakes heroin crown" Ahh yes, and now the 'anti-terror' Bush regime is going to have to tap-dance around their anti-drug stance.
There are a number of large differences in the two situations, primarily in that Afghanistan was and still is a tribally oriented society and whatever may happen in Kabul is not necessarily going to be reflected everywhere in the country. Combined with a very territorial political system based on raw power makes a centralized government a bit of a joke (sadly). An excellent read below:
Iraq on the other hand has had a dictator running the show for a good long time, systematically destroying any internal opposition and his removal is going to result in a huge power vacuum. How will that play out? In my humble opinion, unless an equally draconian governing body is put in, the place is going to disintegrate into factional fighting over the oil resources among other things. Of course, the only ones in a position to do this are the 300,000 US troops in the area so expect to be staying for a good long time.
On the questionable thesis is that displacing Saddam will reduce terrorism, I suspect rather strongly that the US population had better start looking to Israel for some advice since they've been living with terrorism on their doorstep for a long time. The US populace is soft and completely unprepared for any long-term terrorism on it's home turf. In a situation where two guys, a car and rifle managed to put a stranglehold of fear on two states for almost a month, can you imagine any concerted efforts by any well-financed and trained terrorists? Can anyone imagine the economic impact? ...
Regarding Joel Benjamin's letter posted March 5:
Joel Benjamin says that the correct analogy for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza was that of the occupation of West Germany by America after World War II. Well, I don't recall Americans building settlements in the Rhineland and expelling the German people to Belgium and France. The analogy you tried to draw from both countries occupations is short on the important facts.
Mr. Benjamin forgot "the American Indians" argument as a justification for dispossessing the Palestinians today.
From the Other Side
You know there's an awful lot of people out there, including some high powered celebrities, who are going to great lengths to protest this war on Iraq in every and any way possible. Not everyone agrees. Nor will we ever agree on an issue like war. I think some of you are forgetting something though. You, or I should say we the American people voted George Bush the President of this Country to make these kinds of decisions for us. Who we go to war with, when, and for how long. There are good reasons for it, and there are bad, depending on your point of view. At this stage I think it's best we all bite our tongues and show some support. There's soon to be 200,000 US soldiers over there waiting on the word to go into battle. How do you think they feel? You back here complaining about war and all this. You're not going to be the ones fighting it. They are, and you don't see any of them complaining about it. Go ask any soldier over there about it, and they'll say "We're doing what we're called upon to do. Defend this nation." They're doing you a favor. Why don't you do what you're called up to do, an be united in the President's decision and show some support. If you don't want war, you run for President and you make that decision. You put a military uniform on and then you complain about war. None of them are.
Regarding "This War Is Treason" by Justin Raimondo:
The real treason is in other headlines today. American soldiers will be killed, maimed and wounded to help establish a large and permanent source of income for the United Nations. Turning over control of Iraq's oil to the Security Council will give the UN billions of dollars in non-tax revenue to spread global government. I fear this development far more than any putative advantage for Israel.
The Big Picture
I am a Desert Storm veteran and currently serving this country proudly. This country allows people like you to protest because of people like me. You should listen to the citizens who have escaped Iraq and heed their horror stories. Saddam is evil on earth.
This war is not about oil, let me remind you folks,we gave all the oil wells back after we put them out the first time.
You must all be Democrats looking for a hand out for yourself (what's in it for me). You need to look at the big picture, beyond your needs. I have a wife, small children, a cat, and two fish to leave behind if I get activated, I will go tomorrow and put my life on hold to preserve our way of life in the USA this includes your right to protest.
Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:
This "you must be Democrats" comment is really getting old anyway, read this.
Your statement that this country (government) "allows" us to protest is un-American and all too common. This country's founding fathers held this truth to be self-evident, that all citizens are born with the right to liberty government does not "allow" us liberty.
Political liberty in the United States has eroded since the 9/11 attacks. If the Gulf War, and its aftermath, motivated the terrorists to strike the USA, as apparently it did, then participating in Desert Storm is unlikely to have helped preserve our way of life.
Ask the Managing Editor
Let's get real 500,000 dead Iraqi's over the past 12 years versus a short war to cut out the Iraqi cancer? Are you advocating another 500,000 dead Iraqi's over the next 12 years? How moral is that?
Eric Garris replies:
Most of those Iraqis died from UN-imposed sanctions. And what about Africa? There are several governments who have been killing those kind of numbers for years.
Do you remember Sept. 11 2001? Do we let terrorism go on and on and on and on and on forever like the energizer bunny. When are you going to realize that there will never be peace as long as there are dictators like Saddam controlling and tormenting his country. Have you ever heard of Hitler? Should the world have let him proceed to carry on? He would have controlled the world. So to all you flower-sniffing, izod wearing, self-proclaiming, ignorant bastards, you can all kiss my big ol' hairy white ass. And furthermore, if peace is what you want, you all need to move to a deserted island and start your own gay community where you all can still kiss my f%@#ing ass.
Eric Garris replies:
Yes, I remember 9/11. But you are not going to succeed in perverting our American values with your terrorism. While some Americans may cower in fear of you and retreat into a nazi-like government, most good Americans remember what our country was founded on. If you remember your history class, most colonists felt as you do about the mother country, as did most Germans about the Fatherland under Hitler.
Regarding "The Libertarian Party and War" (Rational Review) by Thomas L. Knapp:
One lie Tom Knapp left out of his litany when describing the very substantial problem George Bush has with telling the truth was the one he told the Pope, Catholics and prolifers during the 2000 campaign: "I will not permit the use of public funds for studies that require the destruction of live embryos." Yet making public funds available for studies that require the destruction of live embryos is precisely what was achieved with the announcement of the Bush stem-cell compromise in August of 2001. Interesting that many of the same so-called "Christians" supportive of or beating the drum for war in Iraq at the moment were perfectly pleased to accept Bush's stem-cell compromise the night he made it in August of 2001. What sincere pro-lifer could ever forget the nauseating performance of James Dobson on Larry King Live or the servile duplicity of Charles Colson, himself no stranger at all to the art of the public lie, that evening? The odd theology which permits many Evangelicals to support war in Iraq, the expansion of provocative West Bank settlements and peace at any cost with the White House when it comes matters of bio-ethics can never be that of the sincere prolifer. Although touted as "moral ecumenism," serious Catholics should reject every initiative aimed at drawing them into the kind of Republican ecumenism supported by Colson and Fr. Richard Neuhaus.
My boyfriend is in the Army, stationed in ..., and recently got deployed to Iraq. I heard news from them from my friend whose husband is there that they get to eat one M.R.E. (meal ready to eat) a day and barely have enough water to drink in the desert. I saw on Good Morning America, March 7, 2003, that there were several of our American troops who were being fed well (steak and shrimp). Please tell me why that some troops have food and others don't. Why were they sent over early without the proper supplies needed to survive and how do they expect our boys to fight without the proper nutrition they need? It upsets me deeply that this is happening to our guys, sent over to fight for a supposedly wonderful United States of America and are treated so poorly. They deserve better than this!