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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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

Posted March 22, 2003


Just want to say that your site has become my #1 news site, and I'm grateful for the work you're doing.

~ Jim V.

Volunteer Coordinator Anastasia E. Kellar replies:

We appreciate hearing from you and are glad we are doing a good job. Our Webmaster, Eric Garris, has been working 18 hour days for a while now to keep the site updated every half hour with news from around the world. It is gratifying to know these efforts are making a difference.

Thank you for your support and spread the word of peace.

Eric Says

You have done all you can, now is the time to support Americans in the field fighting to keep your freedoms safe. You can pick it up again after it is over, not during.

~ Paul Lazutin

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

Abraham Lincoln led the call to bring the troops home during the Mexican War when he was in Congress. The founding fathers all spoke about the importance of Americans speaking out during wartime. We will do as they did.

Questions for Bevin

...I just have a few new questions for [Bevin Chu] ... :

1.) Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan has been said to be the Tony Blair of Asia due to his staunch support for the U.S. in regards to the latter's Iraq policy despite huge domestic Japanese opposition to the war. Do you agree with his stand and why do you think Japan wants to be part of the coalition of the willing?

2.) How do you think China will respond to Dick Cheney's veiled threat that if it doesn't get North Korea to back off from its belligerent stance, Japan will eventually embark on its own nuclear program with America's support to force China to reign in Pyonggyang?

I know we happen to disagree, but I am a firm believer in American leadership in the world. What's the alternative? Well, I'd like to hear your thoughts on these matters.

~ Albert L.

Bevin Chu replies:

Regarding Koizumi: You just summed it up yourself. Koizumi likes being the Tony Blair of Eastasia. Basically any empire always has its willing proxies who have no qualms about riding the coattails of power. It's contemptible as hell, but I don't have much to add to what you have already observed yourself.

What is considerably more interesting to me is what the Chen regime announced Tuesday. See: "Opposition blasts Taiwan's govt for backing US Our security is being jeopardized, say critics who fear that the island would become the target of terrorists" by Lawrence Chung.

As the report put it:

"Foreign Ministry spokesman Richard Shih on Tuesday echoed the US demand for Mr Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours to avoid a war. A Defence Ministry spokesman announced on the same day that Taiwan has opened two air routes to allow US military aircraft to fly over the island. The government came under fire after a Taiwanese newspaper report filed from Qatar said that the Al-Jazeera station has reported Taiwan's pro-US stance in its hourly reports, triggering fears on the island that it could be targeted by terrorists."

The always excellent Lawrence Chung is being much too polite. He should have said Shih "parroted the US demand", not "echoed the US demand".

The Taiwan independence quislings never change. They can be counted upon to revert to form. They constantly thump their chests about what a high value they place on "political independence", "national sovereignty", "self-determination".

Really? How would the Taiwan independence quislings like it if Iraq's foreign ministry spokesman demanded that Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui bian "leave Taiwan in 48 hours"? After all, both Lee and Chen have flagrantly violated their Oaths of Office under ROC constitutional law.

Where is their respect for Iraq's political independence, national sovereignty, and self-determination? Where exactly is the "independence" in "Taiwan independence?"

Nowhere to be found. Nonexistent. No, it didn't disappear. It never existed in the first place. It was never anything more than utterly empty lip service from Day One. They demand "respect" but aren't willing to grant the same respect to others. Their priority – correction – their sole concern, has always been tribal identity, not individual liberty.

This latest fiasco was merely one more instance that revealed their true colors. The Taiwan "independence" quislings see the US Imperium as their Don Corleone, as their Godfather able to help them achieve their true goal, therefore they are only to willing to do anything to kiss up to the New Imperialists, even putting ROC citizens on Taiwan at risk from the terrorist retaliation inflicted upon Bali.


... A few years ago, I worked with an Iraqi here in the US, a mid-level IT project manager. He traveled back and forth on a regular basis. He disabused me of the notion that life in Iraq under Hussein was anywhere near the propaganda fed to a gullible populace by CNN. Mostly normal people living normal lives, except for the brutal conditions caused by bombing and sanctions imposed by the US.

I don't believe that Hussein is a saint, or even a good ruler, but then neither is George Bush. I believe that the term "good ruler" is an oxymoron – there ain't no such thing because a "good ruler" wouldn't be interested in running other people's lives, so they wouldn't be a ruler.

~ Carter Mitchell, Gurnee, Illinois


As the only purpose of bio-weapon is to kill, weapons of mass destruction, and as the USA supplied those weapons to Saddam Hussein, then should not those who supplied the weapons (mainly Donald Rumsfeld, the present Secretary of Defense – USA) be prosecuted. Had they not supplied that material, then Hussein would not have it and then there would be no reason for this war.

That is my argument. I'm going around spreading it the best I can. I hope you will be able to propagate the idea of prosecuting those responsible for the crisis and the war.

~ Jim Francis, war survivor

Stop Protesting the War

This is the worst waste of a web page and an organization that I never wanted to hear about. It is fine to protest the war before it starts but now that it is started you should not be protesting because the soldiers take offense and think that you are protesting against them. You should stop your idiotic protests. The government should take freedom of speech away from you and murder you for your pathetic protests.

~ Peter Confalone

Marches and Protest

I am very much against war, I do not think it is very civilized, but all of these marches and protest are only hurting your average normal American. Why? Because all it does is it causes a great inconvenience to your average American.

Example: I live in Chicago. Today everyone marched down Lakeshore Drive. I hate to say it but that's not going to stop the US government from bombing Iraq. I wish it would but it's not, so all it is doing is causing a lot of anger and frustration for normal people like me. I don't have an answer to stop it but all of the antiwar promoters need to find a way to voice and protest to the government not Citizens. I wish that after a hard day's work I could just go home and spend time with my family not spend 4 hours in a traffic jam because you guys want to voice an opinion. War is hell. I wish it never has to happen but don't you remember what happened on 911? – the US does not need our own people causing problems to civilians, so go to Washington and create senseless hell.

~ Sam L.

Eric Garris replies:

We totally agree with you. We ran an editorial the other day expressing just that view, "This Isn't About You," by Justin Raimondo.

Most people don't understand the issues surrounding the Iraq War. What they need is reasoned voices, not people trying to stop them from going to work to earn a living.

Regarding "Today I Weep for My Country" Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D – WV):

Thank you for your wonderful article expressing the sentiments of so many of America's citizens on this tragic morning. Our dissenting voices are generally unheard and ignored by the mainstream media so it is especially inspiring to see a public figure such as yourself taking an upright stand. The prosecution of this war is a criminal act, being carried out by those who seek self-aggrandizement, and not the good of this country. America will now become a much more fearful place to live because of their greed and lust for power.

I wish that others in the House and Senate would emulate your example. I also wish that your colleagues in government will throw their full support behind passing the Kennedy/DeFaziio House Joint Resolution 20 to repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq.

~ Beverley Walker

Painful Paradox

While one may not condone Saddam Hussein's history of repression, it is difficult to fathom the justification for targeting a leader of a sovereign country for assassination. Indeed, even if my neighbor is a despicable character who has a record of heinous crimes and may have associated with other dangerous characters, there is no American court that would excuse me for killing him because of my fear of what he or his acquaintances might do to me.

Furthermore, it is against the US Constitution that President Bush declares he is defending to deprive a person of life, liberty, and property without due process of law; a sinful nature notwithstanding. And therein lies the injustice of this war: our president is acting as an international judge, jury and executioner.

But most of my fellow Americans do not see the contradictions in our beliefs and our actions. No, we seemed to be primarily concerned with our own security and maintaining the schedule of our entertainments. Personally, I find it obscene and shameful that we are talking about security at the Oscars at the same time we are dropping tons of bombs on Baghdad.

Of course, much of the public support for war is rooted in concern for our troops who have to wage this lopsided battle. Our hopes and prayers are with them as they march into war leveling their weapons and wearing their "What Would Jesus Do?" wristbands.

~ Buck Rutledge, Knoxville, Tennessee

Bush's Gamble, and Bluff

Well, the White House military deserter, reformed drunk, and religious fanatic, is turning out to be a gambler too. And his score is about zero so far:

- No Security Council support
- No ground war out of Turkey
- No military coup against Saddam
- And looks like he missed in his attempt to kill Saddam

But his most obvious gamble and bluff is obvious by simply looking at the ground forces committed. Bottom line – the ground forces are insufficient if the Iraqis fight.

There are four divisions and a couple brigades on the ground. This simply is not enough to conquer and occupy Iraq if their army resists in only a few locations.

Basra will be the first big test. If Iraq puts up a strong defense, that is the first real problem for Bush. It would cause a long delay. Even if Basra falls with little resistance, one division equivalent (out of less than five) may be needed to secure the area.

Then it is a long stretch to Baghdad. And the remaining forces are insufficient to take Baghdad and secure area around Mosul and Kirkuk.

By this simple math it is pretty obvious that Bush wanted an easy victory from the beginning, and at every step along the way.

So far, he has not won any of his bets, and his bluff has failed. There is still time, but if the Iraqis call his bluff – things will become much messier. There are still the oils wells to burn, dams to blow up, urban combat, and guerilla war scenarios.

~ Matthew A. Nelson

Regarding "Serbia After The Assassination: A Police State?" by M. N. Tankosich:

Excellent article. Congratulations! I especially appreciate the correct spelling of various names, Koshtunitsa, Skupshtina and so on.

~ Yovanka/JOBAHKA

M. N. Tankosich replies:

I think that correct (phonetic) transliteration is the only way we can have our names pronounced accurately. I noticed that English-speaking people/media almost never mispronounced Russian names and, at first, I didn't know why and how they managed to mispronounce Serbian names. Russian and Serbian names, alphabets and languages are very similar, as you know.

I came to the conclusion that our names get mispronounced mainly because of these two reasons:

1) Non-adherence to one's own alphabet: Many Serbs, and, unfortunately, most of the Serbian media, even government institutions (in breach of the Constitution and laws regulating the use of the official alphabet, needless to add) tend to use the modified "Serbian" Latin script, which contains letters that are not found in the English alphabet. Poor lost Serbian souls, they think they would be "modern" and "accepted" if they deprecated their own culture. I can only pity the fools.

Reasons for rampant xenocentrist tendencies such as adopting a foreign alphabet are galore and, anyway, it would take years to get to the bottom of the problem.

So, when a foreign media outlet picks up on a story from Serbia, originally written in Serbian, but printed in Latin, they tend to butcher the "Serbian" Latin alphabet by eliminating these unfamiliar characters, a process which completely changes the sound of those same characters. And who can blame them? After all, the vast majority of their audience is English-speaking.

Obvious solution: Serbs should stick to their Cyrillic script. We've been using it for a millennium and it has shown itself very durable and useful time and again. It's a part of who we are.

2) Carelessness: Our government, the media and the cultural elite have been very irresponsible and lazy (nothing new). In addition to ditching their own alphabet in favour of a foreign one, they haven't been transliterating Serbian names and terms into English, either. We do it with all foreign names since there is no such thing as spelling in the Serbian language, and it is beyond me why the same couldn't be done when transliterating from Serbian into English. They have allowed the butchering to continue and the consequences are evident.

In the PC-engulfed Serbia of today, anybody using Cyrillic is either "nationalist", "backward" or, at least, "inconsiderate". The extremely intolerant and xenophobic anti-Cyrillic cabal of Serbian, but foreign-sponsored, NGOs is of the view that non-Serbs routinely feel offended when I, and any other Serb, write in my own Serbian language using my own Serbian alphabet. Well, pardon me, but if they do feel offended, then there's something wrong with them, not me. It only shows their own chauvinistic mindset. I should be careful to not offend my friends, not my enemies.

Had the elites stuck to Cyrillic, then the foreigners would have had no other choice but to phonetically transliterate Serbian terms into English (as is the case with Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, even Macedonia, all the Arabic-speaking countries, as well as China, Japan, Korea and basically all non-Latin alphabets and languages).

Literally the only Serbian word that has been transliterated is – YUGOSLAVIA (Jugoslavija, in Serbian). Why just that one and not all the other terms?

My name is mispronounced on a daily basis. So, one day I decided to start a revolution, if you will, and begin spelling my name the way it is pronounced and vice versa (which are the basic rules of the Serbian language, by the way).

I don't use the Latin script when I write in Serbian anymore, and I spell Serbian names the way they should be pronounced and it works just fine. I started being responsible. It actually makes it hell of lot easier for foreigners, too.

If you pick up any old map or a book (printed prior to, say, 1914), you will see that Serbian names, terms, toponyms and such are – phonetically transliterated! Examples: Shabats, Sarayevo, Pech, Losnitsa, Nish, Rouma, Panchevo instead of Sabac, Sarajevo, Pec, Loznica, Nis, Ruma, Pancevo. BIG difference.

The Latin script came to Serbia together with Austro-Hungarian cannons and imperial death squads. It is high time we sent it packing, don't you think?

Always respect other cultures and never allow yours to be ridiculed, especially by Soros' cheerleaders in your midst.

A Modest Proposal

I wish to express my support for the continuing campaign against the war. However I do not believe that sit down protests on main roads, however spectacular, are likely to convince anybody. Indeed they are likely to be counterproductive, at least for the motorists involved.

Sit-downs should be targeted as part of a boycott of US products.

The most obvious and literally flag carrying product is aircraft. I suggest asking airfields to cease accepting US carriers and if they do not do so arranging sit down blockades of the entrances to airports (and if anybody is brave enough – runways). The economic effect of this would be far greater than on main roads but would not hurt ordinary people. If copied world wide it would have the effect of low level sanctions, but much more humiliating and imposed not by the security council but by the people of the world.

~ Neil Craig (Council Lib Dem candidate, Glasgow, Woodlands)


Congratulations Antiwar.com on developing this site. I too, like Nick Duke of Ohio, am saddened that this scale of opposition was not present during the illegal bombing of Yugoslavia. Well, I suppose they tried to sell us on the apparent 'humanitarian' crisis. So then, where are all the reports about the mass graves that were indeed found? They're not there, because, basically it was all a fabrication. If the United States of America is so concerned about the freedom and safety of people of other nations, why weren't they in Rwanda? Perhaps there's no oil in Rwanda. Perhaps that area of the world holds no significant value for them – just a bunch of human beings.

I wish the people of America would wake up and see what they're government is up to, what they've been up to all too often. There's really no excuse now, for their ignorance, with the access to a wide range of information just waiting for them via the Internet. Perhaps they're just a little too comfortable, on their couches, watching CNN, watching the war like its another 'reality' TV show.

God bless the world, not JUST America.

~ Sue Johnston, Ottawa, Canada

Regarding "This Isn't About You" by Justin Raimondo:

I think you're twisting other protesters words out of insecurity about your own motives. The protester you quoted said that the country and history was his but also that the war was bad for the entire world. There is nothing wrong with a person being aware of the war negatively affecting himself and negatively affecting the entire world – that is not completely self-centered. That person is right that the war negatively affects us as Americans. Many of us will have loved ones die fighting Bush's war. Many of us will have children undereducated due to education budget cuts due to military costs. The war is about "me." The effect upon me is enough reason to rally in the streets – but it is not the only reason.

Also, your idea of debates across the country is a good one. I would love to meet these people who are for the war – people, not the talking heads on TV. I haven't met one yet and I am lower middle class, who works in an upper class setting, and knows many lower class people from a prior job/activism/social circles. However, I don't like your false dilemma of stating that instead of protesting in the streets/direct action, people should have debates. People should do everything. This is arguably the largest peace movement in human history. We have enough people, especially internationally speaking, to stage any resistance we damn well please.

Also, just because some people will risking their lives trying to end the war doesn't mean that they will get killed. It may be necessary for some to risk their lives in order to stop the killing of innocent people. Surely everyone would die to benefit something or someone – their children perhaps. Why is it so unreasonable to die to benefit our children, ourselves, Iraqis, the whole world?

~ Mandy Michel, Seattle, Washington

Regarding "Support Our Boys in Uniform" by Harry Browne:

Something that often puzzles me when reading US antiwar activists is how they try to assure everyone that they have nothing against the US military, but that they loyally 'support the troops' and see them as good guys only misused by bad politicians.

Huh? Fact is that the US military is not a defensive force, but an aggressive imperial army. And everyone who lists up for US military service knows this.

One can of course always argue that most of them are not doing this because they are evil, but because they are young and naive, manipulated and so on. Well, then how about applying this standard when discussing Al-Qaeda members? ...

~ Gerhard Grasruck, Neumarkt, Germany

Distress of Nations

Now that the US has unjustly and unilaterally attacked Iraq with the intent of invasion, I suggest the UN unequivocally denounce and condemn these military actions as illegal, criminal acts charging the United States with war crimes against humanity. Further, I suggest the UN and any other nation who truly respects the just and equal application of the rule of international law and who oppose this bloody madness, perpetrated by Bush and his insane preemptive doctrine, fly all its flags, not only at half mast, but upside down.

~ DMCD, Canada

This War Is Illegal!

First of all, I'd like to thank Antiwar.com for keeping me sane. If it weren't for your tireless work, I'd think all Americans were vile – so thanks for saving me from prejudice, which is so dominant in this world these days. What I have to say next won't be so rosy though, so be warned. You probably won't agree with some points I'll raise, but since America is the land of the "free" what I'm going to say won't be a problem – right?

I don't get it. When Iraq invaded Kuwait illegally, America under the banner of the UN attacked Iraq. So when America invades Iraq illegally, who's going to attack America? Why is the UN so hypocritical? Shouldn't there be some legal retaliation to the aggression of the worlds most dangerous nation on earth? Shouldn't the UN bring Bush and Co. to account of their violation? Where's the justice?

Because of that stupid idiot sitting in the most comfortable seat in white house, the world is going to be plunged into chaos. He should be convicted with the murder of innocent people and be given a taste of his own medicine – he should be put down like the mad dog that he is. And to all those people supporting war feverishly – you complain about two buildings going down (rightly so) but how would you react if you saw your country crumbling in front of your very eyes – if your "lucky" enough to survive that is – go to Iraq and see how you like bombs falling on your heads. It's easy to say you support war and then turn the TV on MTV and relax. To think I used to admire America with a passion – I'm ashamed of the thought now. It sours my mouth.

America thinks that because they have starved the people of Iraq for twelve years like animals, that when they "liberate" them the people will welcome them. But let America be warned – because those people have been battered so much from the embargo that they might just bite off the hand of their "liberators."

God bless Iraq and all those who defend her. God bless the men, women and children of Iraq. May God prevent their deaths under the hands of two faced, sweet tongued devils. And even if the UN fails to act (as is obvious) let the wrath of God Almighty be on those who devised this war. For even the US of A could not match His might. ...

~ S.O., Australia

Letter from India

I chanced on your website when searched for 'Iraq war latest'. Till this time I believed that there is very few sane Americans left, however after going through your letters in the Backtalk, I am thrilled to note that I was wrong. But what is not so thrilling is the war which is being waged by Bush and his cronies.

For what is this war? Is it for oil, or is to save the face which Bush lost as he could not catch Bin Laden and wanted to steer away the memories of people from the promises he made after September 11. Yes, nobody wanted that kind of happenings anywhere in the world. And also no one wants the ones being perpetrated by Bush either.

I read an interesting piece that Bush is trying to protect the good old Dollar. Saddam asked Euro in payment for his oil and Bush did not want Euro to beat the Dollar and wanted to beat Saddam for starting it!

In any case many heads hang in shame. Yes, the saner one does, before the humanity for having failed to stop the insane ones.

~ Prasanna Kumar, India

American Flag Backwards!

All of our troops in the Middle East are wearing the American flag backwards on their uniforms and they want us to think they are over there for America. How come they don't even care to show respect for our flag?!

~ Randy H.

"Shine, Perishing Republic" by Justin Raimondo:

Congratulations on an outstanding article, today is indeed a somber day, as we witness the passing of something great, the American Republic. Empire is upon you. Sadly history teaches us that often beyond Empire is a final phase, Despotic Empire. As it was with the Roman Empire and the various Chinese dynasties, empires inevitably go bankrupt, having to run huge welfare states at home, and a vast military machine to keep all enemies at bay. More and more productive resources are consumed by the government to keep the Empire running, until finally the Empire controls everything . This was the fate of the Roman Empire, as Emperor Diocletian conscripted the entire population to prevent Empire from collapsing, and most freedoms were extinguished. The omens for the new American Empire are not good, as your rulers will not lightly surrender Empire. Is also sobering to remember that whatever the rationale for the Empire at the start it always becomes a reason unto itself.

The violent birth of the American Empire is a tragic event, you are now treading the Imperial Road. I pray for America, as history teaches us that almost all empires come to a violent end, I fervently hope this does not happen to you.

~ Geoffrey Stewart

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