Posted March 20, 2003
Talk Back to Eric
In Saddam's world, the only contribution your criticism would attract is a bullet to the head.
Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:
Fortunately, this is America. Don't fall prey to the trap of measuring our freedoms based on the nonexistent freedom offered by tyrants. America's principles are based upon natural rights, not some attempt to be better than evil.
GET THE F*CK OUT OF MY COUNTRY.
Eric Garris replies:
I have been reading the articles on your website for about 8 months now. While I don't always agree with all opinions, I respect the viewpoints presented. However, upon reading the latest headlines for today I noticed an article on the possibilities of Saddam's forces using chemical weapons. Iraq even owning chemical weapons is in direct breech of the 1991 cease-fire. I only bring this up because of the numerous articles (on this page) written about how he DOESN'T have those types of weapons. If they are used, does that make this website fallible?
It is a news story. There is no evidence presented, just conjecture. But it is news, and we report it. The stories we have run saying he doesn't have any are reports, not our own opinions. No one from Antiwar.com has ever asserted that we know what Saddam has or doesn't. Again, these are news stories, reports of others' evaluations.
Every nation on earth has chemical weapons. The type of weapons Saddam has, if any, are probably World War One-era weapons, the type of gas that both sides used in World War I to kill millions. We know he had (and may still have) anthrax, because we sold it to him and kept the receipts.
We don't feel that the fact that he may use chemical weapons on invading forces is any reason to invade. Every nation has the right to defend against invaders, and he has never threatened Americans except when they have invaded his country. If we don't invade, he won't hit our troops.
I guess we shouldn't invade Iraq because they are much weaker than US. We should sit back and relax and live with a slight fear that the next terrorist attack that kills hundreds or even thousands of innocent US civilians is just another sad day in our history and do nothing but go out and buy flags and baseball caps.
Eric Garris replies:
Saddam is so well-armed because, all through the 1980s, we armed him to the teeth to fight against Iran. As a matter of fact, we encouraged him to use gas against the Iranians which resulted in the death of the Kurds.
Iraq has never been behind any terrorist attack on the US. In fact, he is an enemy of Osama bin Laden. The perpetrators of 9/11 were from two US allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and they planned the attack in London. The CIA and the Israeli Mossad have asserted that there is no connection between 9/11 and Saddam. Saddam has no missiles that go over 200 miles and no nuclear capability.
We spend hundreds of billions a year on defense, yet we were unable to stop 9/11. This is an indicator that our money is being spent badly. Support our troops and protect America. Bring the troops home.
Your assertions that this impending war should not take place and your anti-American views I feel are, at best, pathetic. Cowardice is not the answer sir. Courage and fortitude in the face of this threat is. Support our troops and our President and stop defending this butcher (Saddam Hussein). These pathetic arguments by antiwar activists can be summed up in these words, cowardice and appeasement.
Watch and learn how brave men defeat evil men. Iraq will be free soon. And once again, those on the left will be proven wrong. Peace in are time? Sounds familiar.
Eric Garris replies:
Excuse me, Sir. I am no leftist. I am a longtime Republican, as are most of the staff here at Antiwar.com.
Was Abraham Lincoln a coward when he led opposition to the Mexican War in 1848?
No, as the founding fathers clearly stated, it is the duty of Americans to question their government whenever it takes such actions.
When I see the massive antiwar rallies here and abroad, I am sickened. Not because I am a fan of war, or Pres. Bush, for that matter. But, rather, where were all these "righteous souls" 4 years ago? In 1999, the U.S. led NATO on a savage, unprovoked bombing campaign on the civilians of Yugoslavia that lasted 78 days and nearly destroyed that country. Not only did it rain death and destruction on tens of thousands of innocents, the ecological disaster we created will poison that populace for decades to come. Keep in mind, the Serbs did not have weapons of mass destruction, nor did they ever pose a threat to the US (or any other nation, for that matter). Their crime? Cracking down on the KLA, a terrorist, Muslim Fundamentalist group sponsored by, and swearing allegiance to, Osama bin Laden. This group controls 80% of the heroin, illegal arms, and forced prostitution/slave trade throughout Europe. No one, other than Serbians from the diaspora, protested. No rallies or marches were held in support of our lifelong ally. Yet, we have hundreds of thousands howling in protest about the thousands of "innocents" that will be killed if we bomb Iraq. It is fact that 90% of these "innocents" live by the creed "Death to America" and view us as the "Great Satan". Yet we loudly defend them, while we let our brethren in the Balkans be bombed nearly to oblivion.
The Serbs fought side-by-side with us through two World Wars, while most of the Muslim world wants nothing more than to see our destruction. So, you will forgive me if I am unmoved by the "moral righteousness" of these demonstrators. As ignorant as we are, it's no wonder Jerry Springer wants to run for Congress. He'll probably win.
Eric Garris replies:
Many antiwar activists also protested Clinton's illegal war. I realize that many on both sides are driven by partisan politics.
We at Antiwar.com were active in our opposition to all of Clinton's illegal wars. Bosnia in 1995, Iraq in 1998, and Serbia in 1999. Take a look at the Who We Are statement.
It was dissent from a nefarious government that precipitated these United States.
Those who oppose this illegal, immoral and unethical war against the people of Iraq love this country as much as those desiring war. It is we who oppose this war who value the blood of American soldiers. When American citizens are dying on the sands of Arabia, they will not shout for liberty and freedom; they will cry for their mothers, fathers and girlfriends.
We have no mandate from God to force democracy upon nations or those with whom we disagree. We do however, have dire warnings from President George Washington in his Farewell Address, and later from Congress as expressed in the Monroe Doctrine: Stay out of the affairs and entanglements of foreign nations.
Retired generals, veterans as myself, see through the concocted evidence and lies from Washington. We love our country and desire to stop the madness. Americans should not die for the real terrorist in the Middle East Israel, nor for greedy oil cartels.
France and Germany are not our enemies, they are taking a stand for what is right, moral and just. I repeat the words of Alexis de Tocqueville: "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.
This War is in Violation of the Constitution
In all of the discussions regarding this aggressive act by President Bush, not once have I seen someone pull out the Constitution and demand that our government act in accordance with our governing documents. The Constitution clearly states that CONGRESS shall have the power to declare war, not the president. The President while Commander in Chief of the military does not have the authority to declare or levy war.
All of Congress should be held accountable as well as the President for their violations of their oaths of office.
I am German citizen who once lived in the United States. I travel to the US a lot and I cannot believe what is happening. Where are the American intellectuals? I must now be afraid to travel in the US as I might be attacked verbally just because of my nationality. Do you see what has happened! I am very glad I saw your website. I wish there was more news on opposing Americans. Please, keep up the work. We Europeans and you Americans are not enemies! This George Bush is dangerous.
Who still believes that this upcoming war is a war on terror as they say on CNN? Can Mr Bush explain where is the link between Saddam and Al Qaeda?
By the way, this guy your administration is desperately looking for, Mullah Omar from Afghanistan, remember? He was in a French newspaper last week (Paris Match), can you explain how a stupid French journalist can find him, if our friend George cannot?
I am also against the war not less than you are. But this has nothing to do with Israel or Sharon. Israel is a strong country and does NOT expect Americans or anyone else to fight its wars. Contrary to your biased calumnies Israel wants peace and did many moves (sometimes at tremendous security risk) to try to achieve a real peace. But that's a long story, which does not seem to interest you. Israel is quite capable of defending itself. The war in Iraq is Americas choice. Any Israeli official who expressed support for this war is merely expressing his personal opinion.
You are a democracy and it is up to the congress and senate to approve or disapprove such action. If your president states that he is doing this to defend Americans against terror etc. one can respect that point of view. This has nothing to do with Israel or even American Jews who are entitled to back or oppose the policy of its government like all citizens. You should promote friendship and tolerance among peoples of different nations. So let us hope that in the end peace will prevail among all nations and in particular Between Israel and the Arab world. Please play a positive part to make this possible. Israel like other nations can make mistakes too Who doesn't? But like in all democracies it is often criticized very harshly by its own people through a large Pacifist movement.
Assistant Editor Jeremy Sapienza replies:
First I want to thank the letter writer for not insinuating that our criticisms of Israel are "anti-Semitic," as most of us here at Antiwar.com are some part Jewish. However my response is: if Israel is so capable of defending itself, can we stop sending billions of dollars and weapons? If Israel is so dedicated to peace, why does the government constantly push for the US to fight wars against Israel's enemies in the region? Why does Israel, even when suicide attacks on civilians halt for months, continue to invade Palestinian areas, and destroy and disrupt daily life, and even kill dozens of civilians? This is certainly to provoke another nutball to kill a few more Israelis, thereby justifying further Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities. Sharon, et al, do not seek peace, they seek Palestine. Israel, from the beginning of the last century on, has been an entity of racism, conquest, and murder if you happen to not be Ashkenazi. We'll continue to report on Israel's atrocities (as well as the Palestinians'), and continue to side with the oppressed: civilians on both sides.
Regarding Curt D.'s letter posted March 18:
I stood firmly resolved against a war in Afghanistan, as I do now against a war in Iraq. This is not a matter of our lives being lost; vengeance only brings more vengeance The simple fact is that a jihad is fueled by media exposure, and the attention that we give the terrorists. I haven't forgotten the lives of 2000 Americans. I just believe that their lives were so important, that we shouldn't take the lives of 2000 Afghanis or Iraqis in order to equate the violence. If we believe all men are created equal, then why do you believe that American lives are more precious?
Regarding "This Isn't About You" by Justin Raimondo:
Justin, I love your site but when you say "What antiwar activists must realize is that we are in this for the long haul," I think that observation contradicts, or at least qualifies, your condemnation of direct action protests, since it relies in part on the relatively small (current) size of the movement.
Since we are headed into another Vietnam, or worse a period in which we are viewed worldwide as a dangerous rogue state we should keep in mind that the antiwar movement now is considerably larger and stronger than it was at the commencement of hostilities in Vietnam. When the body bags start coming home, and don't stop coming for years, sympathy for the movement will increase dramatically. We may as well have some "dress rehearsals" before the main event.
I am not saying direct action is right for everyone, but "from each according to his ability." ;)
...The idea that militant action will alienate the population is pretty idiotic. The American public loves violence and disruption so long as they believe the cause in which it is used is just. No one suggests that killing thousands of Iraqis will somehow alienate the public yet it's far more violent and disruptive then the (mostly nonviolent) actions you decry. Sure, the media will slander us but they'll slander anyone who does anything that is effective in opposing the ruling class. The only times the media is against Violence and disruption is when that serves the greater ends of the corporate state. When a division of US Marines grabs peasant lands in Central America the media cheers; when some oppressed workers in the US grab some canned goods during a riot, that same media deplores violence. ...
The purpose of militant actions is to (1) directly interfere with the ability of the corporate state to achieve it's goals (in this case the war) and (2) to force the elite to end the war by increasing the social costs of continuing it. If the war causes a large amount of disruption in their ability to control the population then they will be much less willing to wage war.
Our actions do not educate the government. It is not that we open their eyes to moral precepts they had missed, or to world relations they were blind to. Their morals are not changed by our actions, but remain unswervingly self-centered, profit-oriented, and power-driven. ...
The government pursues its policies, overwhelmingly to serve elite corporate and geopolitical interests. The aim, for example, of the proposed war on Iraq, is to further delegitimate international law, to further imbed in world consciousness the fear that the US will economically and militarily crush any serious opposition to its pursuits, to further expand the "war on terrorism" because of its great utility in scaring populations into supporting policies they would otherwise reject, to enhance electoral prospects for the Republicans by drowning objections to their domestic policies in a flood of patriotic fervor, and to establish and entrench US control over the oil resources of Iraq and the Middle East more generally.
In other words, like other wars and major policies, a proposed war on Iraq will be undertaken, if it all, in the belief that it will bolster US corporate and geopolitical power and wealth, ensuring the hierarchies that now exist and making them even steeper, where possible.
Why, then, would the government jettison or reverse a policy that was chosen with such ends in mind? Not due to a change in heart, but, instead, because conditions change such that for all its elite benefits the proposed war is seen to also have dangerous drawbacks, and because those drawbacks are deemed too great to bear.
Effective activism raises the social cost to elites of policies that activists wish to reverse. When that cost is raised high enough, elites begin to switch their positions to try to reduce the social costs, no longer favoring but now opposing the policy. If enough members of elite corporate and political sectors switch their priority, the policy changes. ...
Though I don't always agree with your right-wing libertarian politics, credit where it's due for being the only analyst I've seen who is talking about what to do and what not to do AFTER the war starts, which now looks to be inevitable. And its good advice. Now is not the time to wage ineffective self-endangering actions just because they make you feel good. That road has been tried before and it led nowhere good.
I am a veteran of many actions against the war in Vietnam, starting in 1967. What you are advocating is what we called "Teach Ins" where we held monitored debates concerning the war.
We pretty much finished the "Teach Ins" by 1968. While we talked in 1967, thousands of American boys died horrible deaths and many thousands of poor Vietnamese died even more horrible deaths. Finally, we could not take it anymore. I went to Europe in 1968 on a scholarship and took part there in the shutting down of France and Germany.
Sometimes you have to fight back. We found in America, the usual far right wing reaction to our fighting back instead of passivity: America chose Nixon as our ruler. Nixon increased the war even though he ran on his famous "secret" (sic) war plan which was, bomb everyone to smithereens in North Vietnam.
This led to riots and massive demonstrations which Nixon ignored. We were called names. We were mocked by the compliant media. The media openly lied about basic facts. I was often on European TV since they knew me from my days in European actions, but the American media pretended I didn't exist.
We were able to cripple the war machine. Every time the war machine tried to kill everyone in Vietnam, we yelled. We took over campuses and shut them down. We shut down San Francisco and NYC and even the Pentagon. We did this over and over again, disrupting America's happy sleep.
...Never has a war been stopped by mealy mouthed opposition carried on in back alleys. Demonstrations of millions and millions, like in Britain, polls showing less than 20% support for a war without UN approval, didn't stop Tony Blair from his dictatorial moves into war!
What WILL stop him is an open revolt. Shutting down London. ... Since he chose to ignore his own voters, all things must stop until he is removed from office.
The same with Bush. In America, the press is against us nearly 100%. TV is 100% against us. This was true in the Nam war. We overcame that by sheer persistence.
If the Libertarians think this war will end using tea party tactics, just remember the Boston Tea Party. It was the destruction of an entire shipment of tea. The tea boycott was beginning to waver and the British were tempting the revolutionaries organizing the boycott so the organizers of the rebellion did the natural counter attack: they destroyed valuable property.
The response was the King sent in troops to beat up the people of Boston. The shot was heard around the world.
THINK ABOUT THIS. Repression rose, the flames of revolution rose, and America, the first real democracy in the world at that time, was born. ...
We no longer have a real democracy. Time to face the facts and take action. Talk is cheap. Putting yourself on the line is what matters.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
Wonderful article. It raises several key issues and gives and idea of the direction that the antiwar movement should head. If we just stand with ourselves on corners chanting we will never bring the truth to anyone. Bringing the truth, not acts of defiance, should be the antiwar movement's primary goal. The idea of challenging the pro-war side to a series of "town-hall" style debate is as brilliant as it is simple. I believe fully that presented with the facts people will see that this war is not justified and no matter how well "shock and awe" goes it will not be an end but a beginning. The only way to steam the tide is to challenge the hawks in as civilized a manner as possible. The last thing the antiwar movement wants is to alienate itself from the average American. Most of these "direct action" protagonists will succeed in nothing but cutting the voice of peace off from the rest of the population.
After all the wonderful work you have done to stir up everyone's passions against the war you should be a little more generous and let people let off some steam. It was not the direct action of the antiwar movement that led to Patriot Act One. And if such direct action by a small bunch of people is used as an excuse to usher in more state repression all that it would prove is that this was always on the cards and frankly any excuse would do. I agree with your point that the struggle is going to be a long haul but then unless the antiwar movement does something more than just sing 'We shall overcome' and hold candles it is not going to be taken seriously. Violence of any kind by the antiwar movement should be condemned but noncooperation is a different issue altogether. If life goes on as usual when the war on Iraq begins then what is the point of all the wit, sarcasm and indignation of Antiwar.com?
I have been an avid follower of Antiwar.com since the months leading up to the NATO war on Yugoslavia, I lean socialist but since the beginning I have been very attracted to your site's pragmatism and refreshing clear-eyed analysis. I also share Justin's reservations on the whole shut down strategy, while I think direct action and civil disobedience is great, for example sit-ins and blocking access to federal buildings, but shutting a city down is either quixotic or gravely counterproductive depending on its level of effectiveness. If freeways are blocked, the antiwar crowd will have a hard time winning a widow over whose husband died in the back of an ambulance and may have been saved if the emergency vehicle could have made it to the hospital. I mean it just seems like a P.R. disaster in the making, something that plays completely in the hands of middle America to write the antiwar crowd as being radical socio-anarchists.
But even having said this, I sympathize with the angst and despair of the 'shut it down' crowd and am asking the Antiwar.com editorial staff to perhaps make a statement on what they'd suggest people do as an alternative that will let them express their despair and angst in a productive manner.
~ Ed Snook, AZUP.org
I was unsure when reading your article who you are opposed to. If you are against the war on Iraq, which is hard to tell from what you've written, then support should be blessed from wherever it arises. I'm not about to second guess anyone's motives if they are against war for their own interests or for more altruistic reason I'll accept their efforts at face value. Too much is at stake if we don't win this peace. The lives of 100,000's noncombatants as was the case between 1991-1997. When you Americans wring your hands and wonder how 9/11 happened. And how their could be such hatred for America in the middle east. Just consider the fact that there was barely a peep the last time your country went to do some precision bombing in that part of the world.
Take the support where you can get it. ...
I agree with the thrust of your article. Aggressive antiwar tactics at this time will backfire. The problems confronting us who oppose the governments empiricist military invasion will require a much more patient and steady set of tactics borne of longer term strategy. This war is one manifestation of the dark circumstances our country has slid into in over the years.
As I see it there are 3 main obstacles that must be overcome.
One of course is to politically defeat the entrenchment of southern style fundamentalist power in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial bodies. That most certainly means defeating G. Bush in 04.
Secondly we must wrest political representation from the grip of the corporations. This means electing representatives who will stand against the power establishment.
Third we must establish a more independent minded national media.
Accomplishing even small degrees of success in these areas will require much hard work, clear thinking and organization. The current cabal in power currently has stifled our voice and political action arms. The Internet connected antiwar reporting and action groups have done as well as could be expected and more in prewar opposition. It will be soon time to make this phenomena grow in its influence in the future.
While I am probably far to the left of Justin Raimondo on most issues and I believe strongly in civil disobedience, I also condemn the fringe antiwar protests in San Francisco. The justifications for them are baseless. They are already have support for their antiwar position in the daily newspaper and the local television coverage has been, at the very least, sympathetic, especially compared to the first Persian Gulf War. All the fringe groups are doing is stealing the thunder of the tens of thousands of other protesters.
Unfortunately, their conduct is an inevitability when it comes to the emotions of war. That and the fact that so many other fringe groups, most of them left-wing, gain huge audiences at protests, is something any conservative should be concerned about. This struck me profoundly during the first Gulf War. War has many domestic consequences as well.
Tell the Europeans that strikes do not work! You have just solidified your support for the Capitalist ruling class. Legal protest are O.K.? Who makes the laws? We do not need legal authority to take what is rightfully ours. The streets are built with public funds. ...
5 million workers in Italy stopped work for 15 minutes last week. That is power! They will do even more. They have strategy and the conviction to employ it. Instead of discouraging the people, you should support their efforts. ...
Antiwar in Australia
I only discovered Antiwar.com last Thursday. I joined immediately with enthusiasm. We are classified by GW Bush and co. as one of the leading members of the 'Coalition of the Willing'. Reality: ABSOLUTELY NOT! The antiwar demos in our major cities have been massive, given our population (20 million...).
Yesterday, the US Ambassador, Thomas Schieffer, went on a Sunday morning TV discussion program and said he could feel "a strong anti-American feeling" sweeping across the country.
I intend to 'phone the US Embassy in Canberra later tonight and leave a message saying "Ambassador you are DEAD RIGHT!"
This feeling is not, of course, directed against the ordinary people of the USA, only at the monumental stupidity of the Bush Administration. Last week (Monday) we had our major current affairs TV program Four Corners thoroughly investigate (from Washington, DC) who was doing what. The main culprits emerged as Wolfowitz (the most 'hawkish' of the lot), Rumsfeld and Cheney as well as, obviously, Bush himself. It is obvious that 'Dubya' determined to attack Iraq FROM THE MOMENT THAT HE TOOK OFFICE IN 2001.
NOTHING that the UN ever said or did was going to stop him. He virtually admitted that it was an act of vengeance "He (Saddam) tried to kill my Dad". Bullsh*t! George Bush Senior never went anywhere near Baghdad.
The only response to this proposed war is a complete boycott of everything American. Sorry guys if that hurts your pocket, but it's the only way we can respond peacefully. Keep up the good work!
Regarding "Missouri County GOP Chairman Resigns Over War" by Jack Walters:
Thank you. I wish I could forward this to all of my California Democratic representatives to let them know what they should be saying about this war!
Jack Walters replies:
Regarding "Tony Blair: An Appreciation" by Sean Gabb:
You say, One of the nice things about the British Constitution is that its working is purely conventional, and these conventions can be set aside when circumstances require. The purpose of a constitution is to set forth the God-given (in the case of the United States) rights of the people that must be followed by the political class. In the United States, the political class is employed by the people. When you say that the Constitution in Great Britain allows the setting aside of conventions when circumstances require, what you are saying is that the Constitution of Great Britain says whatever you wish it, conforming to the needs of the day.
This begs the question: If the British Constitution can be so cavalierly disregarded, why have it? What purpose does it serve if its intent can be disregarded on a whim? Why do you not just scrap your Constitution as mere words on paper, devoid of meaning or purpose? What possible purpose can there be for it?
How sad for the British peoples to be ruled by such a system.
Don't Give Up
For all of us who have tried so hard to prevent this war: Do not give up. The protests of Vietnam did not stop the war, but they made an immense difference.
I am saddened, disgusted, and angered that the effort in which so many people of this country have put forth to try to prevent this invasion of Iraq has gone in and out of our so-called "president's" ears.
To those who are against the war: Don't give up the fight.
For those who are for the war: Just imagine the terror you would be feeling if a country 100 times more powerful than your own was stationed in Canada, or another nearby location and you knew, within the next few days, you were gong be attacked, and very possibly killed.
I am not against overthrowing Saddam, but I am against the fact that innocent men, women, and CHILDREN are going to be killed, without having any control of the situation at hand.
I am absolutely embarrassed and saddened by what is going to occur: I only hope we don't lose faith. DON'T GIVE UP. Continue to protest. BE PROUD TO BE AGAINST BUSH'S WAR!
Thank you for your web site. I am very much against this war. One of the many issues I have with the whole situation is our open border policy. The borders weren't closed after 9/11 and now the USA government is making war all over the world: In Afghanistan, Colombia, The Philippines, Venezuela, and now in Iraq. Many other countries are on the Bush/Cheney/Perle/Wolfowitz hit list, yet our borders are open. This is pure treason. I can only come to the conclusion that the forces behind Bush are determined to destroy the USA also. I think that we are on the hit list. This seemingly endless and ongoing war is going to be a complete catastrophe for the world, including the USA.
~ Joseph S. Cusati, Sacramento, California