Posted March 21, 2003
"What's It All
About Ari?" by Raimondo:
The charge that Israel is orchestrating this war is not only absurd; it's insidious. While Israel has its own agenda and interests, to insinuate that Israel controls American foreign policy is to neglect the fundamental truth of the matter: the U.S. ruling power calls all the shots, decides who it will have working for them, who it will dominate, when it will strike, and so forth. They are the preeminent global power that takes orders from nobody. Your assertion that Israel is pulling the strings is either a naive isolationist fantasy on your part, or a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the above self-evident truth.
Oh yes, that evil Zionist entity has hijacked our pristine country and its impeccable record on foreign policy and human rights. Excuse the bad sarcasm, but it serves as a useful segue into a self-referenced exposure of Buchananism and his "The US would be great if only we didn't support Israel" mantra. And you appear to be chanting as well.
Pat Buchanan has to be one of the greatest pseudo Capitalists and neo-Puritans of the modern era, and your support of him, despite his dismal record on free trade, immigration laws, the drug war, human rights, international relations, and other values which all libertarians should share, is laughable. And if you cared to engage in intellectual honesty, you would note the following about him regarding Israel: he was a staunch supporter of Israel when he was in the Reagan administration, but once the Cold War ended and they were no longer useful in his mind, he turned on them and became a foe. If it was worthy of attention, one might wonder about this about face, or who his current friends are. What is he, a born-again Palestinianist during these last 10 years? Riiiight.
And regarding the Middle East conflict, it's certainly true that Israelis and their government would like nothing better than to see Saddam Hussein removed from power. But to suggest this is the centerpiece of their foreign policy, and they would spend great resources to support a proxy war, is insulting to that brave nation which has fought its own battles for its very survival. Remember, when they faced a genuine threat from Iraq, they took it upon themselves to bomb the Osirik nuclear reaction in 1981. Even the US condemned them. But I'm sure you doubt they have a right to defend themselves.
Face it, this war is about oil and economic interests.
And think about all the money to be made AFTER the war. Your focus on Israel is not just hubris and diversionary; it's unfair.
Justin Raimondo replies:
The charge is not that Israel is "controlling" US foreign policy, but that American supporters of Israel a political coalition of born-again dispensationalist Christians and neoconservative hawks is pursuing a political agenda that is not compatible with American interests.
Regarding "Letters to Americans from Iraqi High School Students":
Thank you for these letters. I wept as I read them. That so many of these children could be forgiving of me, when I have obviously done too little to stop the war, humbles me. I wish I could do something to protect them.
I am very sorry about this war. We did not want it to happen. We want to apologize for our government and say we are sorry about this choice of war which they have made. We think the war is wrong. Maybe you can find help at the Vatican embassy when the bombs fall. We hope you are still alive to read this and we hope you will stay alive to reach your dreams.
I hope that you can respond to the students who wrote the letters. Please let them know that not all Americans believe the war is the right thing to do. We too are praying to God that the war is avoided. Not all Americans want to hurt the Iraqi people.
Also, not all American's believe in our government policies. We don't support the exploitation of people in other countries. We don't all believe in the almighty dollar. We do not believe that we have the right to change the ways of other countries. Some of us believe that it is time for America to admit that we have many faults. It is time for humility. It is time for us to admit that we have been bullies. We have been wrong in the eyes of God. We have put too much faith in money and wrongdoing.
We too believe in God and believe that our fate is in the hands of God.
We do not believe that might is measured by men with guns but by our service to God and our quest to be right with God.
We not only pray for ourselves and our safety but for the safety of the people of Iraq.
I read the letters from the Iraqi students and tears were streaming down my face. I feel so sorry for all the innocent people that will have to die for a war that might have been avoided. I am an American, but I was born in Germany. I was 10 years old when World War II was over, but horrors of that war and all the death of family and friends surrounding us, I will never ever forget as long as I live. That is why Germany is against this war. Because we remember! I pray for all of you. Please stay safe.
Regarding "Shine, Perishing Republic" by Justin Raimondo:
Your despair is premature.
America became an empire in 1812, with the Louisiana Purchase. This purchase was the fraudulent transferal of ownership of lands that France didn't own to the European settlers on the East coast of America.
At first America tried to merely sneak into these lands that were occupied by many tribes but eventually the natives figured out they were being invaded and they fought back.
The annexation of Texas and New Mexico and Florida and Arizona and California and Utah and Nevada and Colorado was accomplished by invasion and war. The US Marines landed deep in Mexico and attacked the capital and occupied it after fierce house to house fighting.
At gunpoint, we forced the Mexicans, who had just freed themselves from Spanish rule, to hand over much of what became the USA.
We had as little right to fight Mexico as we have in our war today. What you are seeing is the continuation of the building of the American empire. The danger today is, we are biting off more than we can chew. We now are on a mad scheme to rule the whole world and to supplant the UN. Like all previous empires, our economic and political system is designed to suck up world resources using our military muscle. The problem also is, eventually we will be nuked as the other empires resist us.
The day that happens, the USA dies.
And we will complete our transformation into the New Soviet Union.
THEN you can despair.
Although there is much in your excellent article I agree with, there are a couple of points I would like to make:
1. Your claim we will cross the line from republic to empire when we invade Iraq. We crossed it long ago, sometime in the 1890s.
2. Your description of the enemy not merely inside the gate but at the helm is quite accurate. Your statement that we must fight to regain liberty instead of preserving it is also true. While we may seem like puppets and fodder to the state, Big Brother is really quite vulnerable. We still have the power to cut off his funds. We can end the income tax, we can eliminate the Fed. Without these or some other coercive means of extracting money for its ventures, the state becomes remarkably harmless. The people of statist Massachusetts came dangerously close last November to approving a ballot question that would've ended their state income tax. I find that encouraging.
Please, Raimondo: the Whiskey rebellion,the Seminole War, the Mexican War, the Plains Indians War, the conquest of Hawaii, the War against the Filipinos, and of course the mother of all Imperial wars: the War of Southern Secession. Better to find out who and why the Republic was hijacked. Suggest you start with the battle between Hamilton and Jefferson.
What a depressing column. I'm afraid I share your grief, but not your sense of literary drama.
Rather than wallow in the death of our nation, I expect I'll just let my heart go ahead and break, and then just try to pick up whatever pieces are left.
One thing is sure, I'll never trust a Congressman or a President or a Judge again in this life.
I should have been more skeptical all along.
Yes on Jeffers, but I still prefer this one by Yeats:
can I, that girl standing there,
I have never entertained any thoughts that my government really ever "cared" about me and what I did in my day to day life. That is the illusion that government always tries to promote: "It's for the children", "It's for the American people", It's for the security of America", "They hate us because we are free", etc.
We might ask ourselves the question: free from what? I, personally, wish we were free from the incessant BS of duplicitous politicians and their yapping media flacks.Charley Reese just touched upon the bizarre symbiotic relationship between the two when he reported on the stage that was being constructed for Gen. Franks in Qatar, along with the million dollar media center so we can get the latest from the greatest.
that has been crossed is that, prior to 9-11, the government used to try
and give you the impression that they cared a little bit about what the
people thought. The official line is now: "if you're not with us,
you're with the terrorists." In other words, don't ask questions,
shut up and get on board. The reality of life In America, today, is that
it is run by a pack of power crazed pip-squeaks with big ambitions and
little or no historical perspective. They are off to conquer the world
and reshape it into their own warped views of democracy. We are along
for the ride whether we like it or not. Just shut up, put a flag on your
bumper and go with the flow.
Empire Builder is Bound for Baghdad
If anything shows how hollow this whole war crisis is, it's the statement by Ari Fleischer that no matter if Saddam Hussein stays or goes, the U.S. will invade Iraq no matter what.
First it wasn't about Osama bin Laden, now it's not about oil, now its not even about Saddam, the Hitler incarnate himself. Even if he did leave Libya right at this moment, the US invades the country no matter what. If this doesn't sound like empire building, then nothing does. Get ready to welcome our new territory, joining Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Marianas. The only difference is that Iraq won't be a tourist destination for a long while.
Regarding "Making Lemonade" by Alan Bock:
I've been feeling a bit down for the last few days and haven't been able to shake it. Reading your article has shed some light on a possible reason for my ennui. I tend to expect results whenever I expend energy in some direction. It is frustrating to know that a war will be fought anyway. How rude!
You are, however, correct when you point out that those of us against this stupid war can build on our efforts and perhaps be more successful in the future. (There is going to be a future, right?)
Regarding Curt D.'s letter posted March 18:
You bring up a valid point but make a distinction. First of all Al Qaeda had attacked America before, in fact it had attacked the WTC before (only difference on 9/11 was that it was more successful!). So we had a group that had clearly attacked the US. Saddam Hussein has never attacked the US. In fact even when he was attacked in 1991, he never used his most dangerous weaponry (chemical and biological) against our troops (of course that will be different this time if he has anything left over). Although he is one of the many brutal dictators in the world today he has not been stupid enough to support terrorists that would come after the United States. He apparently likes living! He has had 12 years after the Gulf War to attack us and he has not. Again the guy is not a religious zealot, he is a survivalist.
Think about it. The only crime that Hussein has ever done against the US is dare attack a client oil state. If you look at the invasions and wars going on in Africa these days you will see atrocities and human suffering beyond anything seen during the Kuwait invasion.
So I am against an invasion because:
has never done anything against the US and his record is that he is a
survivalist who realizes he would be dead if he did.
And I ask you Curt, did you feel threatened all during these past number of years by Saddam Hussein or was it until the propaganda machine rolled out that you started to feel uneasy. And going back to the first Gulf War, did you read the newspaper on the day of the Kuwaiti invasion by Iraq and say to yourself, "We need to get in there and get that monster out" (Admit as I would that you probably didn't even know Kuwait existed!) or was it not until you heard that incubators and babies and all that other stuff that you were on board to fight for the oil (I researched all of George Bush Sr.'s speeches during that time and not once did he mention oil!)?
Personally I am for fighting Al Qaeda where it is but keep in mind that over the years we have seen Al Qaeda attack the US and Americans on many occasions. Something Iraq has not done at all. Attacking Iraq is going to create more resentment and fuel the fires that created Al Qaeda in the first place. Today I read an American and a Canadian were killed by a Yemeni construction worker, just another sign of growing US hatred.
You bring up a valid point about invading Afghanistan but the link between that situation and Iraq is not there.
I think Curt poses a good, albeit loaded, question. To me, it all comes down to evidence. We are justified in attacking another country if there is good evidence suggesting an imminent attack on us. The situation with respect to Al Qaeda was one step more complicated, since it is not a country itself. I think that the US should have approached the Afghan government, provided evidence to support its claims, and sought cooperation in apprehending the relevant people. (Incidentally, the Taliban did say back in October 2001 that they would turn over Bin Laden if the US provided evidence supporting his guilt. I'm not saying they would have kept their word, but theirs was a reasonable request in my eyes and certainly one the US would make were the situation reversed.)
Let me add: I am NOT saying the US should provide every last crumb of evidence. Just a few juicy nuggets. And we should share them with other world leaders, just to show them the threat. I am deeply troubled that virtually every time our government does present evidence to us (American citizens!), it turns out to be inaccurate at best and a willful forgery at worst. It gives me little confidence in the quality of that super secret evidence we don't see.
If the Afghan government didn't cooperate, in the interests of self defense we should have engaged militarily. I'm not a great believer in the U.N., but I do think it's important that when one country attacks another, they make clear to the international community why they must do so as a matter of self defense, in order to avoid being labeled a dangerous rogue.
One last note:
A reference to 9/11 will always push emotional buttons. I think it's worth remembering that the CIA and Tom Ridge have warned us that if we attack Iraq, we will almost certainly prompt new terrorist attacks. What will happen September 11, 2003? My question back to Curt is, what if another tragedy happens on our soil after our military whacks the hornet's nest? What will you say to the latest victims if they ask why you supported a war that the experts told us would yield more terrorism?
The problem with this line of reasoning is, you could apply it to ANY war proposed by the president. And their propagandists are more than happy to use this hook to sell a war: "Those who oppose regime change in Micronesia are misguided. 9-11 taught us that we must be proactive, that we cannot wait for absolute proof before we act to secure ourselves against attack."
So what are you really saying we should just sit back, believe what we're told, put aside all skepticism toward the State's official rationales for its wars, and turn off our critical faculties? Does that mean that any war, once proposed by El Supremo, ceases to be a matter for legitimate debate? President's are good at committing troops without much advance notice, then calling on all "good Americans" to "support our troops."
So when does debate become permissible? Sixty years after the fact, when we find out that FDR deliberately failed to prevent Pearl Harbor? Forty years after the fact, when we find out the Tonkin Gulf incident was a fake? Or even ten years later, when we found out the incubator babies and troops massed on the Saudi border were a deliberate lie?
Sorry, No! Every state in history has used foreign wars as a means of controlling the domestic population and giving dissent an air of illegitimacy. The American people in wartime, historically, have had a tendency to stop acting like Americans. Instead, they act like good Germans, thinking that a state of war creates a patriotic duty to trust and obey "our leaders." Hmmm, you think maybe that's why "our leaders" find it so handy to manufacture a war every now and then?
But the government would never lie, right, Kurt?
~ Kevin Carson, Mutualist.net
If you did a little more research, you would have discovered that in the spring/summer of '01, the FBI's counter-terrorism unit, headed by John O'Neill (enter that name in an Internet search and get angry at what you find), was told to "back off" of its pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, which he'd been tracking for over 6 years, because we didn't want to piss off the Taliban, whom the Bush administration was negotiating with on behalf of Unocal to build a natural gas pipeline, which is now being built by the way.
quit the FBI in disgust that August due to lack of focus on counter-
He died saving lives when Tower 2 collapsed.
To sum up, we had these bastards in the palm of our hands, all we had to do was squeeze. Why didn't we?
First of all, anyone can use your "time travel" argument to justify any war with anyone at anytime. Second, in the real world, its impossible to predict the future with certainty although the Bush Administration seems to think it can. And last, I fail to see how an attack on Afghanistan in April 2001 would have prevented 9/11. The hijackers were already in the US, and had been for several years, taking flight instruction. A little common sense in US immigration policy would do far more to prevent terrorist attacks than "preemptive war" nonsense.
Regarding "This Isn't About You" by Justin Raimondo:
I agree with your assessment of the black bloc types. At best they are annoying and self-absorbed, at worst they are extremely destructive.
But having described the powerful and committed nature of the State under the War party, what makes you think anybody from the pro-war perspective will trifle with the "antiwar crazies" and "tired old leftists" and the rest to have a debate. And what makes you think these debates would receive much attention?
And why wouldn't the black bloccers come to these same debates and disrupt them? Ever been to an event disrupted by the Spartacus Youth League or the RCP (among the originators of NION)?
Countercultural "self-expression" (and lack of accountability) has been tagging along with progressive politics in this country for 30 years. I don't know why. The Right has a much better track record for keeping their own zanies in the closet, until the zanies have been somehow publicly rehabbed and made safe for the 6 PM news. So an apocalyptic nutcase like Rev. Moon is now sort of a mainstream conservative, etc.
Meanwhile we can't seem to have meeting without some brash self-righteous clown yapping about "raising the stakes". They are always drawing a line, daring others to step across and accusing those who don't of timorousness or of being "pig" spies. But how do you marginalize them? I used to do a lot of teach-ins, meetings and related actions on US actions in Central America back in the 1980's. Between the anarchists and the Marxist sectarians you never knew which boring, tendentious faction was going to try to hog the mike for endless rote denunciations and the like.
How do you stop them or work around them? Wish I knew.
Okay, lets all calm down.
Here we sit, feeling absolutely POWERLESS, waiting for the bombs to drop. I too have read a good many of Justin Raimondos articles, and I admit I was a little taken aback with "This Isnt About You."
Perhaps I was searching for some solace for the overwhelming realization that no one or no-thing was going to stop BushandBlairs drive to annihilate hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in a preemptive NO-CONTACT war intended not to disarm but to change regime not the opinion of 80% of the people on the planet, including Bushs father, Geo I, Jim Baker, countless Church coalitions, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Labour Party, the stream of humanity protesting in the streets, the United States Constitution or international law. Until last fall, such an action by the US government would have been unthought of, even in light of 9/11.
Okay, so I didnt gain solace from the article. No one is perfect, Mr. Raimondo included. One of his strengths, though, is his ability to cut to the chase and bring facts to light in a razor-like manner, sometimes sans tact. When youre defending your liberties, tact is the least of your concerns. ...
Mr. Raimondo has been in the trenches for decades and experienced the folly he addresses in his article. From his perspective "shutdowns" are counterproductive. From this readers perspective, the referenced "narcissism" was counterproductive and perhaps a bit inflammatory, judging from the response of some readers. The real core of the article appears to be the protection of the antiwar movement which is vulnerable indeed, given the nature of our opponent. The call is not to inactivity the call is to productive activity.
While Mr. Bush et al expect their war to be swift, we must not delude ourselves that our "war" (and indeed it is war) to counter this attempt to overthrow our democratic way of life and crown Bush emperor will be swift. The way will be long and arduous. We have neither the time nor the energy to fuss amongst ourselves. No, it is not about "me" it is about ALL of us, collectively.
As a practical matter, there is one form of civil disobedience which will not infuriate or discomfit others, which will be highly effective, and is not constrained by political persuasion: Tax revolt.
If even a percentage of those opposed to the war, (anti-authoritarian leftists in coalition with libertarians and religious pacifists for example), refuse to pay the war tax on April 15, the machine would slowly grind to a halt. ...
Good luck with your town hall idea. I support it 100%. I also notice you haven't mentioned who exactly is going to organize these meetings. So again, I say good luck.
Also, if you'd like to gather on Day One to look to the future you might want to post the details of this real or virtual or imaginary gathering so your readers can join you. I'd love to help organize a Chicago gathering but we'd better work quick.
Anyway, I support your town hall idea AND I support civil disobedience to protest the war. I hope that I will be allowed to participate in your town hall meetings. But I get the sinking feeling that these meetings are never going to happen and I know for a fact that civil disobedience will.
Now that I know Justin is one of your columnists, I will become a lifetime subscriber. After Rothbard's passing, I have never found anyone that actually has stimulated my mind. It's been a long time since I've read anything with any impact. In yesterday's article, Rothbard's old friend, Justin, nailed it! I would like to see everything he writes in your newspaper from now on-sign me up. Now we're talking talent-keep it up. Bravo Justin, and bravo to USA TODAY for this caliber of writing. Regards, Vaughn Kraft. PS: could you get Walter Block to be one of your regular columnists too, what the hell shoot for the moon, right!
Regarding "Support Our Boys in Uniform" by Harry Browne:
I voted for Harry in the last election, and would do so again if he ran. This article makes some good points, especially about Lieberman and Graham, but Harry went far too easy on them. I suppose the last paragraph was simple rhetoric, because there is certainly nothing honorable about these two spineless worms, or the rest of the vermin who abdicated their power and responsibility to a madman.
However, I must disagree with his call to "support our boys in uniform". These are grown men and women fully capable of rational thought and making moral decisions. It is obvious to any thinking individual:
FACT: Bush and Co. have lied about almost everything from the beginning.
FACT: From the comments of soldiers publicized, they know that Iraq poses no credible military threat which, by itself, would still be no justification for attacking. Worse, Iraq has never attacked the United States, the ONLY possible justification for waging war. ...
Given that I edited Glasnost News and Review in the 1980s and early 1990s, a magazine that helped to fight the Cold War, you probably have an idea what I think about Harry Browne's call to bring the boys home now.
Which is to say, congratulations to Harry Browne. The Cold War is over.
The war in Iraq is about empire and oil and an era of government warnings every week about attacks or threatened attacks or talk about threatened attacks or intimations that there could be talk about threatened attacks that will keep the American TV peasantry compliant. Liberty will be surrendered with a sigh of relief.
A little prediction: when the terrorists actually do retaliate by killing off 100,000 Americans in Tallahassee or Atlanta with some toxin or fireworks, most of you will be arrested as seditionists when Patriot Act IV kicks in. Me, too. ...
U. S. Constitution has long been a dead document except for some of the
amendments in the Bill of Rights. They are now under attack as surely
as Baghdad will be. There won't be much left of liberty Stateside when
our Committee of State Security or, if you will, Department of Homeland
Security reaches 500,000 employees, who will have to create threats to
keep their jobs.
I agree. However, I would add that we must demand that when our sons and daughters return ill or injured that they not be told, as were their older brothers and sisters who fought in previous wars "It's all in your head."
Agent Orange was real; Gulf War Syndrome was real. These veterans should not have had to fight the VA for years just to get recognition that their ailments were real and service-related.
Nearly 8,000 Gulf War veterans have died since returning from that war: how many would still be alive had the VA - and the citizens of this country - not turned their backs on them?
Once we send them into harm's way we have a moral obligation to care for them when they return. To do otherwise (as we have in the past) is shameful!
The draft ended a long time ago. All US soldiers are VOLUNTEER imperial storm troopers. They deserve an appropriate fate. That includes me. I almost have 20 years and I am CHOOSING to stick around so I can collect a retirement check. Not proud of it, but it is often about the dollar.
I am retiring because the job has changed. It is no longer about defense - it is about aggression and empire. I did not change America did.
The "Support the troops" slogan was a brilliant ploy by the war party in Gulf War I. By supporting the troops you implicitly support the war. DON'T do it! Have the courage to say no. ...
I completely agree with you! I support the men and women in the military but I do not support this war!! There is no reason for those men and women to be over there risking their lives!! I have seen first hand what war does to the soldiers. My Uncle is a Vietnam Vet. and he has PTSD. Last week I went to the VA hospital in my area and was utterly AMAZED at how many veterans were there!! There is I think more then 5 VA hospitals in my tiny state of CT and there was so many veterans in just one! Those men and women over seas are risking their lives! For what? To be messed up for the rest of their lives!? I'm glad I found your article because everyone has been saying you can't support the soldiers without supporting the war, but I can!
King George the 2nd Bush and his propaganda machine said that "Thirty Nations" back the US war effort. That's simply not true. The truth is 30 politicians back him. The majority of citizens of Spain, Great Britain, Australia, Hungary, Poland, etc. are against this madness. "Thirty nations" my ass!
~ Levente, Seattle, Washington