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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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

Posted March 13, 2003

Regarding "Phony 'Antiwar Protesters' Trash 9/11 Memorial" by Jeremy Sapienza:

As a person who protests regularly in Whittier on Sundays, I find this incident highly suspect. We stand for peace and nonviolence, not destruction! No one I know would burn a flag nor destroy a memorial to the victims of this horrible tragedy. This is the total the opposite of what we believe in. But why would the police stand by when this was being done on private property? I believe that this was done by people trying to discredit the movement and stir rage and hatred against us. It is also very curious that this article was published the same day that an antiwar proposal is being discussed by the Whittier city council, when this incident took place on Saturday.

~ Debbie Pfeiffer

Yes it was the Boston Tea Party all over again. Man you really have it figured out. Say you don’t agree with it, condemn them for doing it, but don’t make up conspiracy theory that only makes a reader puke at how biased you are.

~ C. Ivers

Why am I not surprised? Fanatical right wing U.S. fundamentalists who would shoot their own president, invade numerous other nations including Vietnam, drop a- bombs on Japan, remove democratically elected governments (e.g. Chile) would certainly not hesitate to get a few McDonalds-chewing overweight Neanderthals to desecrate sites of grieving.

~ Gloria O.

You got it – classic COINTELPRO. The peace march that I participated in did not include any of these morons trying to throw a wrench in the works. Too bad the general American press and dumbed-down Americans don't see through this veil of deceit.

~ Greg Hurley

I cannot believe that it was antiwar protesters that did this. Especially after reading that the police were there and did nothing to stop it. Look at how the police have acted at other antiwar protest, mustard gas for "acting like they were going to break through the barrier" in Oregon, arrest for stepping on the sidewalk in Washington, blocked from joining a rally in NYC. Yet they stood by and watched as private property was being destroyed. This is a blow to the movement and believe me all the hate-mongers on radio and Fox News will be on it like flies on sh*t. Hopefully, someone will come out and denounce this action on national TV.

I want to say that I read Antiwar.com every day, sometimes twice a day and find your site to have the most up-to-date news and information around the world.

~ R. Dyer

I happened to tune into Dr. Laura Schlessinger's syndicated radio show a few hours ago as she recounted this story accompanied by her tongue-clucking and remarks of disapproval, implying that those who oppose our government's desire for war as less than patriotic.

My thoughts upon hearing it were the same as those in the article by Mr. Sapienza – why? If we apply the legal tenet of cui bono? to this event, the answer is obvious. A Reichstag fire on a very small stage?

~ Frank M. DePaul, New Fairfield, Connecticut

This sounds like the same kind of provocateuring that occurred at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, wherein disguised Chicago police started promoting violence in order to justify police "retaliation."

It's also like the Italian government's recent revelation that the "anarchists" who engaged in all the destructive acts at the Genoa Summit conference a while back were actually undercover Italian police officers trying to give opposition a bad name.

Anyone who, in the 21st century, is still dumb enough to be gulled by such tactics, will probably endorse anything the state does or says, no matter how implausible.

~ Butler Shaffer

Regarding "Mr. Dees Goes to War" by Matthew Barganier:

Thank you for this article ! The "dehumanization" of Arabs has been building up strong since 9/11. What a great point you made about the Marines. Thanks to your fine and vivid example of how the Japanese were dehumanized in World War Two, I can visualize the same events happening in a possible war with Iraq or any Arab nation. The United States Government has done an effective job portraying Arabs as nothing more than "Savage Animals" who want only to kill Americans. It seems that at least half of the American population think of Arabs as the "enemy," including women and children. It will make it easier to kill them. "Sick!"

~ Tom Davidson, America

The Bush Manifesto

Have you checked out this site?: NewAmericanCentury.org. It's like a horrifying blueprint for American world domination – and the authors are now all in the White House.

Keep up the good work.

~ Kay Bolden

Voices of Dissent

...Ariana Huffington, speaking against the war recently, on C-Span, made a great point, in response to a question from the audience about what we, as individuals, can do to protest this oncoming war? Her response was that, our current administration, and those forces backing this administration, are very well organized, and entirely capable, as Rumsfeld so openly stated, of waging multiple wars, simultaneously. And those multiple wars he was speaking of, are already being waged – on many fronts – including the Congress.

As for the voices of dissent, they may be heartfelt, but no one can say they are well-organized. In fact, they are splintered into hundreds of organizations – each with it’s own agenda. Where can a person look, to find their own voice? Lets not assume that it’s all on the Internet – a needle in the proverbial haystack, for those of us who are not willing, or able to go that route. At a time when the media is catering primarily to the voice of war, who has heard of so many of these activist organizations, or what they stand for?

Thus, my second suggestion, for the sake of furthering the cause of peace and exposing those who would disturb whatever world-order that my exist, is that all the splintered groups – including yours – should initiate a campaign to unite the voices of dissent via a dialogue with one another. Huffington is exactly right! What has been accomplished thus far, is very exciting, even amazing – but imagine what could be accomplished with a united voice! Surely an impending war is enough to bring more and more people together, even though it be under different focused groups, as never before has it been so important for us to be heard, and counted.

~ Richard F. Trupp, Colorado

Regarding "US ready to fight 'without UK'" (BBC News):

Just finished reading the article your site posted on March 11th, in which Rumsfeld states the US may go it alone. Wow, first we don't need the UN, or Nato, or allies, or even our favorite poodle. Now if we can convince Rumsfeld we don't need US forces we can just send him.

~ Jim Vinsel

Arab Democracy Myth

Despite what Bush, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz tell us about bringing about democracy for the Arab nations there is another goal. That real goal is to simply declaw the Arabs of any military might that countered Israel's arsenal. Would a democratic Iraq be allowed to build missiles for its defenses? Never. If the reformers in Iran were to come into power next year, would they be able to pursue a nuclear weapon? Nada. We don't see the administration going for regime change in Egypt or Jordan or anywhere the military is properly scaled down and the voice of the majority is kept in check.

~ BK, Portland, Oregon

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

I voted for GW Bush as I did his father. That said I am more and more disillusioned by the behavior of this administration.

Deliso's piece is superb and outlines exactly the problem(s) with this entire Iraqi phony war.

I think that GW is patterning his presidency on that of his considered mentor, Teddy Roosevelt, another president hell-bent on maneuvering for war here, there - anywhere...he wanted to be seen as a 'real guy'...a leader...'gung-ho'...always ready for the photo-op of himself in action.

GW understands that it is only the war presidents who are accorded more than a page in schoolhouse history books.

We the People will suffer the outcome of The Bush War for years to come even if this thing doesn't come off.

The Bush Foreign Policy appears to be just like TR's with one exception: 'Speak LOUDLY and belligerently and also carry a big stick'. We'll show 'em.

See, Dad, Me too!


Christopher Deliso replies:

Thank you very much. I appreciate the support of kind readers such as yourself.

Moab Superbomb

We now have a superbomb named MOAB, eh? I'm guessing the Islamic fundamentalists will have a field day with this one:

Numbers 25
17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Numbers 25
1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

~ Joe Hova

It must have been pretty big – I heard it here in St. Pete Beach, Florida. We are probably a good five or six hours away from Eglin AF Base.

Big antiwar rally has been called for this Saturday outside of MacDill AFB in Tampa, HQ of US Central Command. I went to the rally there in January. About two thousand protesters were there. All political opinions. I plan on attending this one, too!

~ William K.

Regarding "Reckless Warmongers" by Justin Raimondo:

It should be no surprise that Glenn Reynolds seeks to discredit the Catholic Church's opposition to the brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This is the same man who described the genocide of the native population of North America as "unavoidable" and "provoked" by "barbarians." (See http://www.instapundit.com/archives/005598.php.) It is clear that he would have little trouble applying such nuanced moral reasoning to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

~ Matt Brown, Weymouth, Massachusetts

UN Resolutions

What's with all these peaceniks? Are they nuts? Don't they know that Iraq is in direct violation of 17 (yes, seventeen) UN resolutions against it? This is more than enough reason to attack Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein.

Do you suppose Israel, in direct violation of 61 (yes, sixty-one) UN resolutions against it, will be next up on the list. Stop laughing, I'm serious, all right, I'm laughing too. Of course, that's the absurdity of the world we now live in.

~ Malcolm G. Ratcliffe, Canada

Regarding "The Neocon-Liberal Left's Geopolitical Agenda" by Mark Anderson:

What is this? I can't tell if it's a product of ignorance, bad analysis, bad writing or just partisan ranting. For all Antiwar.com has put forth calling on the antiwar movement to broaden itself beyond "the usual suspects," shouldn't it practice what it preaches and try a bit harder to avoid pushing columns only intelligible to the small cadre of the paleo right?

A term like "neoconservative left" might make sense in a blogland ghetto where everything bad is marked "left," or as part of a reasoned analysis of the political history of some of the neocons. But unless Antiwar.com has given up trying to reach the public at large, it's an idiotic term to throw out there unexplained. Whether young Bill Kristol played with a Leon Trotsky decoder ring or not, the fact is that neocons control the foreign policy of the Bush administration, which has proven to be the most right wing US administration in generations. Expanding state power and foreign interventions may be anathema to the paleo-right, but only the ignorant wouldn't know of other right wing tendencies that love the stuff.

Mr. Anderson's ignorance of the politics surrounding Palestinian issues must be deep indeed if he sees any common ground between the positions advocated on AntiWarCommittee.org and the dreams of the neocons. The neocons support hard-line Zionist positions ranging from favoring nothing more than reservations or Bantustans for Palestinians, to supporting "transfer" of the Palestinian population into Jordan. Compare to the brief explanation provided by Anti-War Committee from their "Free Palestine!" link...

Their statement doesn't even include the phrase "Palestinian state" that so sickens Mr. Anderson. I'm not from Minnesota and don't know anyone in that group, but I'm fairly certain that position was crafted to include both advocates of a viable Palestinian state and people (such as myself) who suggest a single democratic state as the best and most viable solution for all concerned.

Anderson tries to smear Antiwar Committee as interventionists, but "US military, political, and economic support for the state of Israel" is in fact a long standing, massive intervention into a foreign conflict. Antiwar Committee opposes that intervention. Anderson may or may not support it, but he sure as hell seems to oppose opposing it.

Justin Raimondo has done some excellent work dismissing numerous drive-by smears against anti-war individuals and organizations by various bloggers and columnists. So why is Antiwar.com publishing Anderson's drive-by smear against AntiWar Committee?

Surely not for his clear writing. His explanation of the Balfour Declaration reads as though he believes it were issued to the U.N. in 1947. I'll be charitable and assume this was merely poor sentence construction. But given his astoundingly weak analysis, I wouldn't be surprised if he'd only skimmed through his own footnotes, not noticing that the Balfour Declaration predates even the League of Nations.

~ AG

Mark Anderson replies:

If only for the simple sake of maintaining diversity, why shouldn't an anarcho-Rothbardian such as myself be allowed the flexibility to keep my views intact? Perhaps it is the anarchophobics that need to look in the mirror, when they are the ones demanding some sort of "puritanically" driven, eclectic approach to everything.

Statism is statism is violence. Do not forget that the struggle we face is that against violence in any form. Whether it is trying to save the children from their current status as education draftees, or the taxpayer from having his property "drafted," or conscription for a war. There is no ideological distinction between a Paul Wolfowitz and an Anthony Lake.

Freedom and War

"...Brave men have fought wars and died to preserve your freedom..." or other similar notions are often part of the stock rant of those who stand opposed to those who oppose war.

After much research, I have discovered not one instance where the United States went to war over the question of our freedoms or rights. Nor have I discovered an instance where we gained any freedoms or rights as the result of a war. Thus, I must assert that wars are not fought for the purpose of securing, defending, or enlarging our freedoms and rights. In fact, individual freedoms and rights tend to be restricted as a consequence of waging war.

One might argue that the American Revolution was fought for freedom. But that is not correct. The Revolution is more rightly termed the War of Independence. That war only achieved independence from England. Though independence can be thought of as freedom, it is only a freedom for the state and not necessarily for the people. North Korea is a free and independent state yet its people are far from free. All of what we think of as our individual rights and freedoms came about through philosophical discourse, social agitation, political debate, court decisions, and legislative action.

People will say that the Civil War was fought to secure the freedom of the slaves. This also is not correct. If that was the primary reason the Civil War might never have been fought. The primary question at issue was which had supremacy, the federal government or the state governments. The freeing of the slaves was only incidental. True freedom, rights, justice, and equality for blacks in the United States only came about through social agitation, court decisions, legislative action, and a change of attitude – a process that is still evolving.

Similarly, women's right to vote was secured only after social agitation led to legislative action. No war was fought nor was one required.

The two world wars weren't fought over the issue of freedom either. The root cause of those wars was a result of conflicts arising out of political and economic rivalries of which the United States was a part.

Essentially the United States lost its war against Vietnam. Yet, we lost no freedoms or rights as a result of that military defeat. Thus, it must be understood, our government ordered a great deal of death and destruction in Vietnam and Cambodia for something other than freedom.

Today, we are being told that we have to wage war on Iraq to defend our freedoms. That Iraq possesses neither the force nor the authority to take from us our freedoms seems to escape the attention of way too many.

The point of all this is that our individual freedoms, rights, and liberties are not gained, defended, nor lost through foreign adventure and war. Freedoms and rights are an issue between a people and its government. If one's freedoms and rights are threatened then it is one's own government that is doing the threatening. We defend our freedoms and rights by confronting and restraining our federal, state, and local governments and those in the employment of those governments, and not by going to war. In other words, a protester, a social agitator does more for the cause of freedom than does a soldier.

~ E. Harvey

Regarding "This War Is Treason" Justin Raimondo:

Thank you for your article! Thought you might be interested in the fact that acquaintances of mine in France who advertise rentals on the web are receiving hate email daily from America – French bashing. How appalling, just one more situation caused by this whole horrific situation.

~ KG

Regarding the "Sweet Land of Liberty" letters posted March 10:

Pox, Grace, Carson, Mark, Michael, John, Al, Jennifer and others: Evidently you believe the antiwar protesters are a bunch of rabble rousing, misguided misfits who shouldn't be heard. You couldn't be more wrong. If you really look you will see conservatives, liberals, moderates, libertarians, Ministers, Priests; quite an eclectic group. I work for a major airline and my husband is a Chiropractor and it is not an exaggeration to say we come in contact with 100's of people and get to know many of them. When you sort out the name callers and finger pointers on both sides of the issue you are left with a whole lot of average, ordinary Americans trying to come to terms with their moral, ethical and political beliefs. Polls don't always present an accurate picture, nor do web sites like this one, but I thank God we have the freedom to voice our opinions here without fear of retaliation from our government or fellow citizens. Isn't that the whole point of a democracy?

I'll admit there have been times when I have almost changed sides because I want to feel safe going to the Mall of America, and enjoy my newly remodeled home and believe we have the best system of government on earth. But I don't happen to believe going to war with Iraq will make that more likely. Before you call me anti-American and tell me to leave the country, maybe you should examine your own motives. Would you really like to see my right to dissent taken away? What if you disagree with the government at some future date? Do you believe it couldn't happen? As I see it, the right to stand up and be counted on either side of an issue is a fundamental freedom worth fighting for. To oppose that is truly anti-American.

As for supporting the troops: How can you equate wanting to prevent war a lack of support? What if the antiwar protesters during the Vietnam years had been successful in getting our troops out before 58,000 were dead? Would that have been a bad thing? I know war is sometimes necessary and I also know the tremendous price so many of our young men and women pay who are out there protecting our way of life while we sit at home on our butts watching the action from TV. Don't ever tell me I don't support our troops. My Dad too fought in the Second World War and was proud of it but I know he wouldn't be proud of what we are about to do.

Since 9/11 we're scared and angry, as we should be but you do really believe attacking Iraq is somehow going to "show those ragheads" (as one of you put it) who's the boss. They already know and don't care. If you think attacking Iraq is going to stamp out terrorism you must be good friends with the tooth fairy. Violence towards the US and Americans will probably increase. It might regardless of what we do but isn't this kind of like handing the old 'zippo' to the pyromaniac?

The President and his advisors obviously think this war will be a good thing for the country and maybe the world but leaders aren't omnipotent and neither are nations. Maybe instead of comparing war to the glories of Rome more time should be spent studying the "Fall of the Roman Empire." War is the most serious endeavor a nation can commit to. I am committed to protecting the principles this country was founded on. It's the least I can do for my children and grandchildren.

~ Merlene Wright, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pretty shrewd. Those pro-war letters, they weren't hand-picked by chance were they? As someone who supports compromise and sees this great divide between the pro-war and antiwar camps beginning to widen I have to wonder what good it serves either. Lets respect each others opinions and listen to all the voices. I suspect the answer to the Iraq problem probably lies somewhere in the middle as most answers do. I honestly believe you low-balled the other side on March 10, 2003. I for one don't think we need to.

~ DB

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

As Backtalk editor, I'm constantly reading letters like those – and worse, believe it or not. In the immortal words of Marshall Crenshaw, I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn.

It is sickening to read the ignorant emails you posted on the March 10 Backtalk page. I don't even know if sickening begins to cover the way I feel when I read such garbage. The appalling lack of historical knowledge and understanding in some, the complete racist hatred of Arabs in others, the acceptance of the Orwellian concept that "Peace is War" and "Love is Hate."

God save us from Americans who tell us that people who wish to speak freely about their opposition to Administration war policies need to "shut up" and be grateful we have such freedom due (in their sick minds) only to wars. If we need to shut up, then we do not have the right to speak freely! How ignorant, uneducated, uninformed and incapable of rational thought are these people? All that said they had read any articles on the website, demonstrated a complete inability to comprehend the written word (and many couldn't spell or use remotely decent grammar or vocabulary to further prove this).

And to the one person who spoke so ridiculously about the Pax Romana, does he/she believe that the people Rome conquered (for economic and power advantages, not peace for God's sake), does she honestly think the peoples Rome was destroying in their wars daily felt that they were living in this supposed Peace of Pax Romana? Only those already conquered, subjugated to Rome's will having suffered massive casualties and losses, and those living comfortably in Rome felt any of this so-called "Pax Romana" – in other words, the peace was for a very selective few – everyone else's life was a living hell because of wars, not peace! And Rome collapsed because it overextended itself and could not afford to secure the empire on every front due to the massive monies it took to be at war always and prevent vast populations from rebellions against Rome. If the writer had ever understood any history books he/she read (one wonders if the writer was capable of finishing a truly scholarly book of history), well, never mind – obviously the writer understands little to nothing about anything.

~ Yana W.

As a veteran I'd like to reply to the pro-war, pro-Bush writers – John Trolinger, Jennifer Cox, Mike Johnson et al – who took the time and emotion to share their thoughts. Unlike FOX-TV or many other mainstream media outlets, antiwar voices have no forums to express their opinions. Antiwar.com, which does not believe in censoring dissent, unlike FOX, allows you the space to dissect us emotionally if not rationally. As a serviceman 30 years ago, I appreciated and welcomed grannies, hippies, angry students and veterans who wanted to end the Vietnam war.. Unlike Nixon and Kissinger, they gave a damn about my sorry ass and this wonderful country. If you read some of the columnists on Antiwar.com, like Nobel prize winner Jimmy Carter, Pulitzer prizewinner Seymour Hersh, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, staunch Republican Charley Reese, you will realize the opposition to this criminal act of war is widespread and getting wider. I have a feeling you are all good Americans and care about this country. Talk to a vet at the VA hospital or visit the Black Wall in Washington DC (the Vietnamese lost 2-3 million people and even Senator John McCain, wounded and imprisoned in Hanoi, feels no rancor toward them). Then write us again. Hopefully we'll still have our freedoms, which you feel should be taken away from us, and we'll be voicing them as courageously as ever.

~ Douglas Herman, USAF 1968-1972 Kodiak Alaska

It is good to read that Ms. Overcash's father "fought in WW II", in order to preserve liberty and freedom. Might her husband, brothers or sons now be doing the same in Iraq, or is it somebody else's children who will return in body bags?

~ Neil Lowrie, UK

The Coming Conflagration

Sorry, I'm one of those who doesn't give a f*ck whether or not humanity makes it through the next weekend or not. Needless to say, I'm absolutely thrilled at the new racist, petronazi, Israeli/American regime and it's addiction to self-righteous crusading, not to mention it's all-round stinking evil adherents. What better way to initiate the final elimination of that odious bug called "Homo Sapien." The beautiful consequence of this warped, Satanic regime will be, after all the radiation fades in several billion years, a newly created earth in all it's pristine wonder and devoid of that vacuous reptilian devil called "Humankind."

It's is impossible for me to convey the joy I experienced upon reading of North Korea's latest "jet" adventure against the American snake-culture spy plane, in tandem with Junior Devil Rumsfeld's insouciant remarks about being able to handle two mass-murder campaigns at the same time. That was just one more step closer to getting rid of Humanity, once and for all. Yes, now the bell rings loudly and the name of man is set as the "abomination of desolation in the Holy place." I've got my six pack, a fifth of Absolute, some frozen Pizza in the fridge and my new 27" color TV with easy-to-use remote.

Can't wait to kick back and watch the final show. Come on monkeys, don't let me down now. Ya know you wanna die cause that what evil does, it dies in the end. You can do it, yes you can! Let the nuking begin!

~ Abraxus Maxus

Ask the Managing Editor

I just have one question and I think it is a reasonable one at that. I might be wrong but can you show me were the antiwar protesters were on September 16, 1998 when Clinton attacked Iraq? I just hope you guys' hearts are in the right place and this isn't some sick attempt to try and win an election.

You can see Clinton's speech on September 16, 1998 explaining why he attacked Iraq if you say he did the right thing then what is the difference in words from this speech and any of Bush's speeches?

Now if you say what he did was wrong then how can you say that Bush is evil and not Clinton? After all Bush at least is trying to get approval from Congress and the UN before he attacks. Clinton just got the approval from his staff.

If you say that Clinton was wrong shouldn't we try to bring war charges against Clinton for using the army just to try to stop the impeachment? After all he ordered the attacks just 12 hours before the trials were set to begin.

Please don't take this as an attack I'm just looking for the truth.

~ Ryan V.

Eric Garris replies:

If you look at our history, under Who We Are, you will see that we were formed to protest Clinton's attack on Iraq and expanded to protest his illegal war on Serbia. You have realized an important truth – that a lot of both sides of this issue are motivated by partisan politics. As a longtime Republican, my antiwar positions are motivated by my opposition to internationalist wars and a desire for small government and low taxes.

Regarding Rick Barnett's letter (March 11 Backtalk):

You are absolutely, one hundred percent right. It is a serious mistake to leave these unstable, power hungry ruthless tyrants in place. The problem as I see it, however, is this: how do we get rid of the axis of evil (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) before they start the slaughter? The drive to impeach Bush is a great idea, but probably won't go anywhere. I urge you to face up to the ugly reality, Rick!

~ Carter Mitchell, Gurnee, Illinois

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