Posted March 14, 2003
Regarding "'Antiwar Protesters' Trash 9/11 Memorial" by Jeremy Sapienza:
For cryin' out loud!
If I hear one more reference to patchouli in these essays which portend to describe antiwar protesters and the radical left, I think I am gonna wet my pants! That's all I read "patchouli-soaked" and "patchouli-scented" and on and on about patchouli! Jesus, can we be a little less trite? I have attended many of these protests, and have yet to smell goddamn patchouli. Clove cigarettes, yes. Tear gas, yes! Pepper spray, yes! Diesel fuel even. Sweat. Farts. But no patchouli! Am I not sniffing hard enough? I just don't get this resentment of patchouli that on-line journalists seem to have. Don't get me wrong, I grok that your essay is supportive of the antiwar movement, I just have yet to smell one single protester wearing it!
I live in Pasadena and the incident had a spot on our 10 o'clock news, either these were the best disguised government sponsored saboteurs or they were a couple of ignorant basin children. I am ashamed to be lumped together with people of this caliber, but I can understand their frustration, misdirected as it was. I've been to a couple of local protests and despite that seething mass of humanity all yearning for one thing, the seeming despot in charge goes and does the exact opposite. If I ever had any faith in democracy it is dead now. Sorry for the rant, just wanted to let you know that the people in question were merely ignorant youngsters.
You are sadly mistaken if you really believe what you wrote. It was indeed your antiwar (anti-American) cohorts that destroyed the memorial. And what as shameful thing it was to do. I can only hope that someday you and all of your loved ones find the same fate that fell upon the real American heroes on 9/11/01. Better yet, perhaps we'd find more comfort in knowing that one, just one, radical, extremist, terrorist-suicide-bomber found his way to your house. Let's see how much you want to protect them then.
I got your antiwar movement m.f.
Jeremy Sapienza replies:
This sums up the pro-war party in America: your most fervent wish is death and destruction on everyone. You have wet dreams about screaming, napalmed children and you can't have an argument without wishing a bomb would drop on your opponent. Well if you get your war, we may have it.
Actually, COINTELPRO isn't even necessary for this event, though it's entirely possible. Such a move would be welcomed or even planned on Capitol Hill or even the Oval Office. The protection by the police is overwhelmingly suspicious. Look at the lengths they have gone to to undermine the Peace Movement so far.
The FReepers and the Dittoheads and other pockets of ignorant, unfocused "patriots" were the first people to come to my mind the moment that I saw the headlines yesterday. They are simply blind with the desire to suck up to the Bush People and to have cheap gas. Good capitalists, this is all the further they think.
During slavery, there were blacks who argued it "wasn't so bad". When the US Federal Government oppressed the remainder of the Natives and sent them to reservations, there were plenty who said "It's not all that bad." I imagine there are people in Russia who miss the "good old days of Soviet Communism".
So here in America, as a Fascist dictatorship rises up, smothering a once free country, there are plenty of people who say this is good and they will do anything to see that happen. There's a lot of people in the Bush Administration who want to smear the antiwar movement, crush freedom of speech, assembly, and so forth. ...
One of the things that impresses me most about the antiwar movement is the commitment to nonviolence. I, myself, don't attend marches and such because I've never found in myself the courage required to be a pacifist. If you hit me, I hit you right back only you're not getting back up.
Police violence against nonviolent protesters is old news. Goes back to the civil rights marches. I saw it in Chicago in 1968, too. Cops are real tough guys when they're up against people who've sworn not to strike back.
So when this kind of destructive demonstration takes place, so completely uncharacteristic of the usual behavior of antiwar people, and the cops just stand by with their fingers up their noses, so uncharacteristic of the usual cop behavior, it's a situation that just doesn't pass the stink test.
I know for an absolute fact that the s.o.b. who tore down the American flag in the park at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, giving the riot cops their pretext to attack the people in the park, was an undercover cop.
It's a old COINTELPRO ruse. Looks like the cops are up to their old tricks.
I think your analysis is almost certainly correct.
Meanwhile, three antiwar protesters broke into RAF Leuchars, in Fife, Scotland and seriously damaged a Tornado Jet, allegedly. We had a well publicized demo outside Cupar Sheriff Court this morning, when one of the accused appeared. She was remanded in custody for a week, which gives us time to mount an ever bigger demo next week.
Over here the police are being as nice as ninepence to us in the movement. The breadth, depth and scale of the antiwar protests has rocked them back on their heels.
At first they tried ignoring us, hoping we would go away. But the movement has grown so quickly that by the time they woke up it had become too big for them to repress it. Now they are desperately trying to contain it with no success.
The genie is out of the bottle.
Two sayings that have helped me understand politics.
can keep a secret is two of them are dead.'
to malfeasance that which can be explained by incompetence.'
I read Mr. Sapienza's column hoping to see evidence that this was, indeed, an inside job.
However, I read little more than a series of conjectures revolving around a fervent wish that it wasn't really antiwar protesters who trashed the 9/11 memorial. Sure, There's no evidence that it was antiwar people. There's also no evidence that it was an inside job by pro-war people.
Does Mr. Sapienza really believe the pro-war movement has a monopoly on idiotic behavior?
In short, this site would be well-served to oppose idiotic antiwar people as well as the war party, instead of wishing things under the carpet or automatically blaming them on 'COINTELPRO tactics'.
It's an interesting theory, and I fully agree with the fact that they truly couldn't be antiwar if they used violence or destruction of private property to get their point across, I also agree with you condemnation of the police for standing by watching a stated that it was their right to freedom expression, but thinking it's the war parties involvement maybe a bit of a stretch.
With the antiwar marches being organized by the Communist Workers Party one has to ask is this really an antiwar/ peace loving group? Scar tactics like these are absolutely in line with Communist thinking. The antiwar movement is being severely used by the Communists of America not the "War Party." (Although I wouldn't completely put it past them.)
Jeremy Sapienza replies:
I think people are misunderstanding. I meant it was like COINTELPRO. I mean, the FBI didn't have someone tear down some flags in some SoCal craphole town. I meant it's most likely a bunch of beer-swigging (nothing wrong with that) thugs for the war who wanted to smear antiwarriors. That's all. No big conspiracy.
Suggestions for Peace
I find it interesting that as I read letters and news stories that are antiwar, everyone gathers around certain facts, the 'pro-war' stories gather around the rest of the facts. No one wants to spill all the beans on the entire story. On this website there is an article from ABC news about US weapon claims failing. Further down that page (on ABC's site not this one) is a story about a drone plane, undeclared by Iraq (which violates Resolution 1441). US Intelligence told UN Inspectors Iraq had flown a Drone 312 miles, Iraq says this Drone with a 24.5ft wingspan only flies 63 Miles, but anti-war.com does not post that. Blix also found cluster bombs (not declared) that are typically used for chemical weapons, you have not posted that story either. There are 10,000 liters of anthrax still unaccounted for, and the capability to make more, I see nothing of that on this site. Blix found intact chemical warheads, Iraq 'forgot' about (kinda like forgetting about owning a BMW, oops). I do not want war, it will have a immense impact on our way of life, security and civil liberties. I have been searching sites like this looking for a solution, but all I find is lack of information, and name calling. Bush is not Hitler, grow up. He is not waging war to gain oil, avenge his daddy, or take over the world. By the way Congress will not declare war until we are actually at war, the air strikes are defending a UN no fly zone, to protect Kuwait.
What I want is a solution. How would you suggest we disarm Sadam and enforce (without the force) the UN resolutions. UN Resolution #18? 17 of them have not stopped Iraq yet, It has not yet suffered "severe consequences." More UN sanctions? We can only limit the trade we cannot police where the money goes. Iraq makes 20 billion dollars a year from oil all goes to the regime. More sanctions would be genocide. Bomb more weapons facilities? Done that, didn't work. Assassinate Saddam? This is my favorite, but unfortunately violates constitution, international law, and all sorts of morality issues. More inspections? Blix has just shown the problem with inspections. It took almost 3 months for them to make a case for the Al Samound 2 Missiles that were declared on December 7 2002! Drones were not declared, etc.
Inspections can only work when there is a threat of a greater consequence. If we should not go to war, what is the consequence? Blix also failed to mention the drones, cluster bombs and warheads that were not declared as they should have been in his verbal report to the UN Security Council. He is obviously trying to avoid a war, but the Council should make those decisions he should report everything verbally and on paper, this is another major flaw. What new way can anyone come up with? Saddam must be disarmed. Bush has laid his plan, what is yours? I think the government has proven that this is the only option left, I cannot think of another way, and I have not found anyone yet who can. Does anyone have the answer?
Executive Director Alexia Gilmore replies:
You raise great questions. Very unfortunately we are not set up to track these inconsistencies about the various weapons, although, obviously, that is the right thing to do we have a full time staff of just two.
Why on earth the big media don't do this, I don't know, except of course they have the attention span of gnats. However, we are revamping our website in such a way that it will be easier to do this type of thing. And we're always looking for folks who want to help (tracking these items would be a wonderful thing to do).
As to what on earth to do about Hussein? I believe that to the extent it is non-compliant it should suffer the consequences. This is my opinion; others at our site believe that since the first Iraq war was unwarranted, logically, noncompliance is not an issue. We don't believe, in any case, that Bush is pushing this war for oil, he's pushing it up because his dander is up and he, as he said, wants to bring good things to the people of Iraq (as previously observed, this is easier said than done, especially via compulsion). We do believe that this administration, as all recent administrations, get its middle east agenda twisted around by a desire to remain supportive of Israel, the lone democracy of the region.
So, it's tough. The entirely human, action-seeking impulse to overthrow the tyrant, to bring peace and democracy is very, very seductive and even laudable. However, won't inevitably the US come to be viewed with vituperation as, and in fact begin to become, world hegemon? Maybe this is the best the world can be: a US-as-Rome. I certainly believe it's better us than anyone else. But it does seem to me that Europe is groping toward its own way of dealing with continental and external conflicts and has managed to keep out of big trouble for 50 years (with a lot of US help). Asia, with exceptions, is also moving in positive directions (modernity, representative governments), ditto South America.
Africa is a tragedy, but doesn't threaten the rest of the world. Is it America's role to be parental, or should the rest of the world take responsibility for itself?
What I hope for the Antiwar.com site is that it's a place for intelligent discussion of these issues and for all the related news we can get our hands on to be made accessible to our readers. Neither I nor anyone else here believes in pat answers but we do believe that by improving the net sum of comprehension about the state of the world, individuals can make better choices and act on them.
Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:
As an example of how much diversity of opinion there is at this site, I'd like to offer a more Machiavellian interpretation of the current Iraq crisis. Intentionally leaked Pentagon documents indicate that the US government views the Mideast as one of the key strategic regions in which no competitor will be allowed hegemony. (Sub-Saharan Africa contains none of these regions, which could explain the relative lack of US military presence there.) If we assume that this "hegemonism" is a powerful motivator for those who set military policy then the two other motivational suspects oil and Israel take on a new significance.
Desire to seize oil for capital gain would not be considered a primary factor in this analysis, rather the Mideast's oil would make the region strategically priceless.
This analysis would suggest an often overlooked benefit of supporting Israel: Israel might be capable of disrupting potential hegemons but is incapable of actually becoming a rival hegemon in the overwhelmingly Arab and Muslim Mideast.
Regarding "The Neocon-Liberal Left's Geopolitical Agenda" by Mark Anderson:
Israel, after declaring its existence embarked on a policy of expansionism? What are you smoking on, dude? Were you too busy with your conspiracy theories to notice that war launched by Arabs states against Israel in 1948 and the other 4 since that one?
Why not go full out and get one of them Nazi replica uniforms.?
Mark Anderson replies:
Israel didn't embark on a policy of expansionism? It seems to me that the nation state of Israel didn't exist until right around 1948. This has nothing to do with racism, it is just fact that Arabs were viciously attacked in the same manner that Israelis accuse the Palestinians of.
I encourage you to read about the Stern Gang, which was led by Yitzhak Shamir, and the Irgun, which was led by Menachem Begin. If I am so driven by "racism" against Jews, why do I, unlike Mr. Bush, disfavor setting up a Palestinian state? In case you didn't notice, I argued against involvement in that feud.
In fact, I call myself an anarcho-Rothbardian. Are you aware that Murray Rothbard was Jewish? He is my favorite author of all time. Should Murray have worn a Nazi arm band as well?
Why don't you just come out and say it? We Jews are making all of us in America do this for the criminal Zionist state. It's all about Zionism, really. If your car doesn't start in the morning, if your crops don't get rain, if the stock market fails, if war breaks out with Iraq, somewhere there is a Zionist behind it. He is lurking in your bed, he is lurking in your head, he is all around you, he has all the power! Better watch out!
It's funny, most of the Jews I know, even the ones who support Israel, are against this war with Iraq. There is nothing to gain from it. Yet I don't think your goal here is to present the finer nuances of Jewish public opinion. That would defang the terrible monster you need to complete your world conspiracy theory. Good luck with it! But know this, we will be waiting for you armed and ready the next time you start loading us in the train cars! Long live the NRA!
Mark Anderson replies:
Sir, if I am not mistaken here, I didn't mention a word about Jews. If you noticed, I used the phrase Zionist "Christians." There are more Zionist "Christians" than there are Zionist Jews. I have never mistaken the word Zionist for Jew.
Did you even read my article? I was pointing out how this may very well be leading to some sort of Palestinian state, which I am opposed to. If I am so anti-Jew, then why am I opposed to Bush's idea of setting up a Palestinian state?
seeing Congress display petty, childish behavior by renaming French fries
as "freedom" fries in their cafeteria, a Florida Congresswoman
is going for the ultimate insult. From today's St. Petersburg Times:
I find this to be repulsive behavior at the worst and unnecessarily antagonistic at the least. It is utterly disrespective and a desecration of the memory of the thousands of American soldiers who died fighting for liberty, an ideology that both the United States and France hold dear. It is a slap in the face to France, a country that helped the US achieve her independence more than two hundred years ago.
I have already contacted Rep. Brown-Waite's office to let her know that this behavior on her part is deeply offensive. I urge you to do the same. You can contact her at:
You can also possibly post a message at her website: http://www.house.gov/brown-waite/
Regarding "Postwar Blues" by Justin Raimondo:
This is an excellent article highlighting the insanity of the war party and its plans. Combined with Pat Buchanan's "Whose War" article it goes a long way toward explaining the surreal foreign policy of our current administration. If only it was possible to get all citizens who care what this country is really about to read and inform themselves of this perspective, we might inject a little more honesty into this phony war for our security. I want to see Justin Raimondo interviewed by Bill Moyers. I've given up on the regular mass media. It is crucial to keep hammering away at the hypocrisy of this administration's foreign policy. Are we to accept without questions a policy that vilifies those evil Islamists while wholeheartedly supporting and arming an extremist fundamentalist Likud Party that is busy ethnically cleansing the Palestinians? I find it interesting how little space the mass media gives to the ongoing bloodshed in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the continued defiance of UN resolutions by Israel in its occupation of the territories and its continued building of settlements that will clearly prevent any kind of Palestinian state while we are bombarded with the evil of Saddam who hasn't done anything for 12 years. And, let's not ever let the masses in this country ever know that when an Arab or most any Muslim is asked why they hate the US, they always say they like America just fine but hate the biased foreign policy of our government that arms and supports an expansionist Israel led by an extremist fundamentalist and racist Likud party.
No, Saddam is not the top priority, he is a red herring. It's the Palestinian problem that is inflaming the Arab world against our foreign policy and fueling terrorists. It is only an uninformed and uneducated simpleton like George Bush who would buy into the Israeli propaganda that anyone who opposes Israel's right to expand and take as much land and water as they want is a terrorist while Israeli war crimes are just self defense. Maybe someone can teach our boy president the timeless lesson that true peace is not just the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. Only, his neocon handlers won't let anyone like that close to him, unfortunately. Keep up the important work you're doing Antiwar.com!
I'm a big fan of yours and enjoy reading your articles. However, in your most recent article, I was disappointed by what you said about Iraqis. You wrote:
"...Keeping the Iraqi state from flying apart into at least three separate pieces, and instilling the Jeffersonian ethos in a people whose role models run more along the lines of mad King Nebuchanezzar."
I hope that that I misunderstood, but are you implying that the present day Iraqi people hold King Nebuchanezzar as their role model? How do you make such a case? That's such a typical attitude towards the Arabs/Muslims that they still haven't gotten out of the middle ages. (Although this dates very further back into history, but you get the point.) From your previous articles, you seem to be a very enlightened person. I hope I misunderstood you.
Couldn't agree more with you on the lack of prudent planning and thought regarding the aftermath in and around Iraq except for those who intend to profit from it. Moreover, the neo cons are playing right into bin Laden's hands. Expect recruitment to soar while American "infidels" occupying another "Arab" land for two, ten, or an indefinite number of years to come. The possibility of a rash of suicide murders then becomes a more serious threat within the US. If that happens, I see Patriot Act II coming on with teeth this time and more acquiescence from Congress. We could then expect tactical nuclear weapons to be employed and many other regimes to be toppled.
I would like to hear you write about Rumsfeld's recent suggestion that US troops might be moved away from the DMZ or out of the ROK all together which comes conveniently close on the heels of the release of a plan for a possible military "solution" being contemplated regarding Kim Jong Il by summer.
Never mind the empire Justin; too complicated. Use Justin's razor and cut to the chase. We're there for 112 billion barrels of oil; our soldiers will guard the oil with their lives while we pump it into tankers which deliver it to our customers who will be BP-Unocal, Amoco, Exxon, etc.
Rumsfeld made the claim that we would extract our war costs from the Iraqi oil fields, and I personally heard him say that on my TV. When we have stabilized our method of stealing the Iraqi oil, we'll probably use Iraq as the staging area for our takeover of Iran or Saudi Arabia; I can't tell you which will be first, but it doesn't matter. (I think Iran, because their holding nukes could be dangerous for our crusade into Saudiland.)
The "problem," in case you hadn't noticed, is a debt of 6 trillion dollars, a deficit of 400 billion dollars, a negative balance of trade of 470 billion last year and God knows this year, and foreign investments dropping to peanuts. In short, we are bankrupt and would be looking for the run on our callable debt if not for our being in a position right now to take over the Iraqi oil fields and make good our notes with black gold. (An aside is that we couldn't come up with the 30 billion bribe that Turkey wanted in cash, and so we finessed that issue.) (Another aside is that we wanted to establish a puppet in Venezuela, but the people wouldn't let us.)
I hate to say this, but it's the economy, stupid, not the hegemony. By the time the "empire" rolls around, all the thieves of today will be dead and gone; they aren't in anything for the long haul, just the short heist.
country's decline began in earnest with Lyndon Johnson's administration.
His life long ambition was to be president, even if it meant selling his
soul. What did we gain from Vietnam? Over 58,000 dead soldiers and many
more thousands physically and mentally destroyed. What did the Vietnamese
gain? Thousands of dead and injured and a poisoned countryside, nothing
more. That was the price Johnson was willing to pay for his life long
desire to be president.
Regarding "Defending Taiwan's 'Democracy'" by Bevin Chu:
I highly rank your website and very appreciate your antiwar ideal. But it is a pity that I noticed that you have one page that is full of prejudgements and distortions. In that page Mr. Bevin Chu insanely attacking Taiwan's democracy and independence really makes me astonishing. Mr. Chu's one-sided quotations and comments will mislead your readers and leave us a negative image of your website.
I don't know who Mr. Chu is and why he did so, and I don't intend to guess his motive, but I think I have the responsibility to inform you of this problem. Although under China's endless military threat, Taiwan always keeps her peaceful standpoint and try hard to establish her democracy and open society. It's not difficult to check and see what Taiwan really is. Welcome visiting Taiwan and observe with your own eyes and you will admit that Taiwan should be treated with more justice and encouragement.
Bevin Chu replies:
Interventionists just love to write in to Antiwar.com and attempt to "divide and conquer" libertarian anti-interventionists by lavishing praising on the website overall, while badmouthing the anti-interventionist viewpoints expressed in a specific column.
The columnist targeted in any particular week is invariably an anti-interventionist who happens to oppose US economic, diplomatic or military intervention on behalf of the readers' pet cause. The interventionist's pitch is so predictable it's funny. It's always "Antiwar.com is wonderful, marvelous... but So and So is a disgrace and unworthy of your wonderful, marvelous... website... In my humble opinion you simply must get rid of him immediately if you want my continued approval. Just a suggestion." (Isn't it odd how all these humorless zealots who insist their regime is "sovereign and independent" shrilly demand active US assistance, and freely admit they can't do without it?)
The columnist singled out for this "divide and conquer" treatment in any particular week might be someone who writes on Colombia, the former Yugoslavia, Palestine/Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, or in my case, the Divided China Issue. I don't take these tactics as personally as I once did. In recent years I've acquired a less reactive, more detached outlook on political controversy. Frankly I don't consider myself all that important. It really isn't about me, at least it shouldn't be. What really matters is the larger ideas and values being addressed.
How stupid do these mouthpieces for ubiquitous intervention think libertarians are? Do they think libertarians genuine libertarians are so desperate to hear a few words of praise they are willing to roll over for anyone who wants the US involved in the quagmire of their choice?
Americans should visit the Taiwan region and see for themselves just exactly what shenanigans are taking place here. They should listen to what Chinese citizens of the Republic of China living on Taiwan have to say about the petty despots in the DPP and TSU. They would quickly learn how little resemblance Taiwan bears to most of the gushing English language reporting available on the web. They would soon realize how much the Taipei Times resembles the Pravda of the Cold War years. Americans should read what Linda Arrigo, ex-wife of Shi Ming-teh, the Nelson Mandela of Taiwan, has had to say about Chen Shui-bian in recent weeks. She blasted Chen's shameless pandering to the Bush regime. Small wonder. Chen's imitation of a Shih Tzu makes Bush lapdog Tony Blair look like Jacques Chirac.
Antiwar.com vehemently opposes Gulf War II. The Taiwan independence forces of the DPP and TSU, led by Chen Shui-bian and Lee Teng-hui meanwhile, are falling over each, elbowing each other aside to get the head of the line to express unqualified, unconditional support for Dubya's naked superpower aggression against Iraq.
Libertarian anti-interventionists know exactly where the ideological fault lines are drawn, thank you very much.
The question for libertarians is not whether the Taiwan region should be politically independent or reunified with mainland China. The question for libertarians, American and otherwise, is whether it is any of America's business. Libertarians know it is not. Taiwan independence shills who imagine they can smooth-talk libertarians genuine libertarians into supporting their pet intervention are fooling only themselves, nobody else.
Regarding "Missouri County GOP Chairman Resigns Over War" by Jack Walters:
Excellent statement and courage Jack. As critical as this issue is, more of us must step forward as you have and let our leaders know that this war and the whole concept of preemptive war is unacceptable. Thanks for your action, I'm going to forward this to others.
Jack Walters replies:
I do so appreciate your supportive comments. Our country is in greater danger now than most people can even comprehend.
Thank God that there are decent men out there who stand for what is just and right. How many more will have the courage to take a bold stand like this brave man?
Jack Walters replies:
It's good to see someone with the courage and common sense to see a disaster in the making.
However, what are the alternatives to global war over increasingly less resources? Has anyone here investigated the principles of Geonomics? Geonomics is a word that Rush Limbaugh fears and certainly won't ever mention on his show.
Jack Walters replies:
Regarding Sam Koritz's reply to IM Fletcher's letter (March 11 Backtalk):
"I'd be interested in seeing your list of non-imperial governments whose representatives used the preventive defense justification for invading another country."
I'll bet you would like to see if I take your bait that you've laid out. But if I was going to continue debating with you, Sam, I would have just continued by going after the holes in your last reply in what was an ongoing debate between us. Basically you twist words (including my own) far too much for me, which just makes for long drawn out emails with alot of redundancy. A perfect example is your response here to my statement,
"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."
See now your response to mine is wanting to change this into a debate about imperial and non-imperial governments as opposed to the truth about why it is important for you to keep cramming the Nazi Germany/today's America comparison down US citizens throats. Well I'll tell you what, Sam, you have access to history books so take your history books and go through each and every war between countries in the history of civilization and determine for yourself which countries started the war using a preventive defense justification and which countries were/are imperial. Because I'm not going to give you or Antiwar.com the satisfaction of propagandizing your position through continued ill-conceived comparisons in using ruse at my expense.
Sam Koritz replies:
I am also tired of the redundancy of our debate, but, not surprisingly, I see a different cause of the repetition. You have repeatedly accused me of comparing the German invasion of Eastern Europe and the threatened US invasion of Iraq. You accused me of this in your letter posted February 24, for example, and I explained that "I didn't claim that the invasions resemble each other, just that the justifications given by the invaders preventive 'defense' resemble each other."
I'm well aware that the Third Reich is the third rail of discourse, and for that reason I don't compare lesser aggressors to the Nazis. If you remember, this alleged Nazi comparison began with my reply to Kenneth Sterling's letter posted January 21. Mr. Sterling compared the current US/Iraq situation with the UK/Nazi relationship. At the end of my reply to this point of Mr. Sterling's, I added: "Since you raised the subject, it should be noted that the Bush administration's preemptive defense argument resembles the Nazis' justification for invading the Soviet Union." So, far from cramming the comparison down people's throats, I was only rebutting a point introduced by an advocate of invasion. And my "since you raised the subject" comment indicated that I regretted that Mr. Sterling raised the comparison in the first place.
We will post no further claims by Mr. Fletcher that I compared the Third Reich to the USA. (I'll reply to rest of this letter next week.)
The US government's preventive defense justification for invading Iraq is one of the most significant aspects of the current crisis. Even Henry Kissinger, a supporter of so-called preemptive defense, admits that it violates established norms of national sovereignty. (He argues that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction makes such norms obsolete.) For more on this subject, see "Preventive or Preemptive War" by Alan Bock.
A Word about Clinton
Joe Bennett (St. Augustine, Florida): Funny, I didn't hear a word about Clinton when he started bombing Kosovo. I read your site and and you're full of cr*p.
Didn't hear a word about Clinton? Perhaps you weren't listening: http://www.antiwar.com/who.html.
SK: I just sent you a link to a page that describes the history of Antiwar.com. Had you read it you would have learned that Antiwar.com was founded by conservative libertarians to oppose Clinton's military intervention in Balkans.
JB: Conservative Libertarians? I did read it and there wasn't that much to it. Certainly not enough to consider it an antiwar platform.
As for the current intervention in Iraq. It is about noncompliance to 1441 on the part of the Iraqi Government. Violation of this resolution points out that this is therefore a RESUMPTION OF HOSTILITIES. Not an unprovoked aggression.
Hussein IS a danger to the United States. Left unchecked, he will develop a weapon that he WILL use against the United States. It's not worth the risk of leaving him in power.
You want to blame the United States. We're not the ones that started this thing. If we allow Hussein to be left unchecked we just won't be wrong, we'll be DEAD WRONG.
SK: Yes, conservative libertarians. One of the site's founders has been in the Republican Party for decades, and the other was a member of the Pat Buchanan campaign team.
Obviously an email isn't going to change your mind or mine about the threatened invasion of Iraq, and I don't want to waste your time or mine, but your most recent email makes some good points and is courteous, so here's a short response:
Before the first Gulf War, the US threatened Iraq with obliteration if they used WMDs against Americans. This worked. Even when bombs were dropping on Hussein's houses and cars he didn't order the use of WMDs. If the US military withdrew from the Middle East, there would be no practical reason for Hussein to attack the US. If he refrained from using WMDs on Americans who were threatening his life and rulership, he's very unlikely to use them on Americans who are leaving him alone.
In the '80s the Israelis blew up Hussein's nuke reactor, and Iran fought (US-backed) Iraq to a brutal stalemate. There's no reason to think that his neighbors Israel, the Saudis, Iran wouldn't attack Iraq again if they felt threatened.
Every profile I've seen of the people who actually attacked America on 9/11 says that they are motivated to attack us by US military intervention in the Middle East: "infidel" foreign troops in Saudi Arabia, funding for the Israeli military, Iraq sanctions, etc. As Pat Buchanan says, they're over here because we're over there.
When the French pulled out of Algeria, Algerian terrorists never attacked the French again. When terrorists killed hundreds of US soldiers in Lebanon President Reagan withdrew the troops, and the terrorism ended. When terrorists attacked US troops in Saudi Arabia twice the troops stayed. Then Saudis organized attacks on US embassies in Africa, and US troops stayed in Saudi Arabia. Then they attacked New York and Washington, and now more troops have been sent to the Middle East.
I could go on and on 1441 does not authorize an invasion of Iraq, the US government provided Hussein with bio-weapons, the preventive defense argument is a violation of US treaties, Congress hasn't declared war, which threatens the balance of powers and American liberty, etc. but this'll have to do.
JB: I won't waste anymore of your time either except to point out some of the points I have disagreement with and I'll leave it at that.
First of all, you have the right to hold any view you choose. We have that freedom. I'm not saying the opposition to the war is not a legitimate point of view. I am saying that it is disturbingly naive.
I don't deny we've made some mistakes in foreign policy. Name one country that hasn't. But, I don't agree that Hussein would not attack us if we had no involvement in Mideast affairs. We saw to that when we drove his forces out of Kuwait. I said then that we should have finished him off then, otherwise we'd wind up dealing with him again. Unfortunately I was correct.
What I am saying in short is that a view of non diplomatic engagement in the middle east and other areas of the world is not only naive, but is not possible. There are too many issues that interact with our own.
Individuals like Hussein, (who are not above proactively encroaching borders) not only provoke a danger for their neighbors but eventually the United States as well. It is unreasonable to think that would stop simply because we have no presence in the middle east.
I don't think that's the case with Bin Laden either. He would come after us simply because we exist and he would wish the world back to the dark ages. He uses the point of American forces on Saudi soil as an excuse for his violence.
It comes down to this. We will either eliminate these types of individuals by lethal force or they will eliminate us with that same force. That's just the way it is.
I do respect your opinion though.