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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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 24, 2003

Regarding "San Francisco Rabble Brings Discredit on Antiwar Movement" by Justin Raimondo:

It may be that you are antiwar, but you are clearly pro-hate. Personal attacks towards protesters undermines your legitimacy, and makes you sound hateful and ignorant.

~ Lisa Wentz, San Francisco, nonviolent protester

Justin Raimondo replies:

Tough. The people who are discrediting the antiwar movement need some straight talk. Bluntness in the defense of peace is no vice.

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

My friend had protesters jump on her car and rock it back and forth, screaming at her because she had an SUV. No one is ever going to be convinced of anything positive in this way. These protesters are more interested in being noticed by their friends than in actually trying to stop innocent Iraqis from dying. Ghandi would have felt ashamed of you.

Backtalk editor Sam Koritz replies:

The failure to stop the invasion of Iraq seems to have led to frustration and bickering among antiwar activists. The consensus seems to be that if only the leaders and/or the demonstrators had been more (or less) radical or more (or less) patriotic or better-organized, and if only the Bush administration wasn't controlled by big oil or religious fanatics or foreign lobbyists, we might have succeeded; with enough criticism we might not make the same mistakes next time.

Personally, I think that the antiwar activists did a great job and that nothing we could have done would have stopped this invasion, which I see as having flowed seamlessly from inter-administration US foreign policy: the Saudi/Afghan jihad, the first Gulf War, the Iraq sanctions, US bases in Saudi before during and after the barracks and embassy attacks, with Kosovo as the model (undermine the UN and continue ignoring the Constitution). I think the invasion was unstoppable because, in my view, invading Iraq is vitally important to the maintenance of US hegemony in the Mideast (and citizens of powerful states don't stop relatively painless invasions of weaker enemies in regions over which their states claim hegemony).

Read and consider Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard along with post-Cold War US foreign policy strategy documents and the logic becomes inescapable. Hegemony over a strategically key region was challenged; the hegemon responds by finishing an unfinished war with a rebel regime in the region. Results should include enhanced credibility, disruption of potential regional rival(s), seizure of new base of operations, and increased influence over a vital regional and global resource. Knight takes pawn.

Regarding Thursday's civil disobedience in San Francisco: based on my direct experience, numerous firsthand accounts I've heard from protesters and non-protesters, and media reports, I believe that, apart from a small minority of troublemakers, Thursday's protests were consistent with the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience (which isn't to say that the c.d. itself was a good idea).

I didn't participate in civil disobedience, but I did witness it, including arrests, due to the fact that I work in one of the neighborhoods where the protests have been taking place. I haven't seen any protester violence, or even signs of aggression such as shouting. Even after repeated protests, the shops, apartments, and restaurants in the neighborhood show no signs of vandalism – store windows are unbroken and un-spray-painted, tables and chairs are intact in front of cafes.

Some of my coworkers, friends and acquaintances participated in the protests and others were inconvenienced by the protests while walking or driving. None report having seen any violence other than a handful of violent arrests. One coworker of mine spent two days with the protesters hoping for a dramatic photo-journalistic opportunity. He had to settle for two anarchist-dressed teenagers climbing on the roof of a van and then climbing back down when called by more mature apparent non-anarchists. He says that except when being slowed down by sluggish arrests, protesters blocked streets for short periods of time and then moved on.

A politically moderate, temperamentally conservative friend of mine (to my surprise) also participated in the protests for much of the day on Thursday. She reports having seen a few shouting matches started by irate drivers, one example of driver violence against a protester, and a few violent arrests. She says that there was something of a festival atmosphere, with people cheering and clapping from stores, bars, cafes, and gyms – and even from temporarily trapped cars (something I also witnessed). She concurs with the photo-journalist: streets were usually blocked for short periods of time, ambulances and firetrucks were allowed through.

I could go on with anecdotes but the point is that, without exception, the people I've talked to who thought that the protests were violent watched them on the TV news, and the people I've talked to who were there say they witnessed no protester violence. From the TV-watchers, along with their objections to the civil disobedience of blocking roads, I keep hearing the same things: weapons, arrests, people pulled from cars.

Weapons were seized from some of the protesters on Thursday, but the TV news report and the photo in newspaper showed only about 30 weapons. I'm not impressed – I would estimate that the random arrest of 1300 San Franciscans (the number of people arrested Thursday) would net well over 100 weapons, especially if bike locks were classified as weapons, as they were at the protest.

According to Friday's San Francisco Chronicle, "the vast majority of the demonstrators were peaceful"; there were approximately 1300 nonviolent civil disobedience arrests and "at least" 18 felony arrests. Even bumping up the felony arrests from 18 to 26, and assuming that all of the felonies were violent crimes, rather than, say, drug possession, we're still talking about only 2% of those arrested, and maybe .2% of those protesting – a tiny minority.

The drivers-pulled-from-cars story, it turns out, is actually derived from a TV interview in which one woman claimed to have been pulled from her car, but not otherwise harmed. There was no mention of her in Friday's newspaper.

I and a number of friends and acquaintances of mine participated in antiwar protests during the first Gulf War and from what I've seen, heard, and read, the Gulf War I protests, in which rioters at one point set two police cars on fire, were significantly more violent than Thursday's protests.

In my opinion, there are plenty of good arguments to be made against Thursday's civil disobedience, but those are arguments against the civil disobedience itself. The vast majority should not be blamed for the actions of the tiny minority, or else we make all protest condemnable; a small minority of troublemakers will always exist, or can always be manufactured.

Justin's article on black bloc hooligans is fine, as far as it goes. The deeper problem is an "antiwar" movement that is not antiwar, but merely green. There is no place for peaceful people who are OK with fossil fuels. As long as the antiwar movement is an anti-oil movement, it will draw anarchist yobs the way dung draws flies.

You don't have to worship "Mother Earth" to oppose this war of aggression. "Peace for Oil" is my motto.

~ Tikhon Gilson

I agree with Justin Raimondo's distaste for the rampages throughout the country, particularly in San Francisco and Chicago. This doesn't get us to where we want to go. If we are to save this great republic, and we have not yet begun to fight, then I suggest "Shock and Awe" Part II.

Unfortunately, Part II is not an overnight solution. But, its affects will be felt in the not-so-distant-future. Part II is very simple: deny the war party its troopers in its future campaigns. As we instinctively know, this country is on the course for endless warfare, so we must educate our children for it.

Tell them, like one would discuss the issues of teenage pregnancy and drugs, that a hitch in the armed forces is against their best interests. Give them the history: our nation cannot, or will not, defend itself. Instead, its recruits will fight to serve the interests of multinational corporations and foreign governments. Tell them, when the time truly comes, that they will know when to get their guns. If your reader has no children or grandchildren, tell the niece(s) and/or nephew(s). If the reader has neither, the reader must educate the neighborhood's kids. Together, we can break this vicious cycle of insanity and violence.

In ending, I recall Hitler's vision of the 1000-year Reich. It would not, could not, sustain itself, if not for its children, and its future children. With this fact in mind, deny Empire its most precious resource, the children. I tell my teenage children to avoid any military service. I tell them it is more honorable to beg in the streets than to serve Empire. And yes, I discourage the local recruiters by destroying their recruitment mail, running them off my property and failure to forward their telephone messages. Patriotic? No, but patriotism is merely a recruitment tool nowadays for the sucker. Educate. Please, educate. For your uneducated readers, I served my time: 1972- 78. Been there. Done that. Know better.

~ Ron Kovein, Bethel, Ohio

While I have oft times disagreed with Justin on how the 'movement' should conduct business I finally have a reason to say, bravo! His column on the protesters in San Francisco and their obnoxious behavior and his desire to disassociate from it is an encouraging sign. There is hope after all. Remember, tell the truth, exclude no one and engage in dialogue and in the end we will win.

~ DB

Cut the crap! Your article about S.F Rabble is garbage. Don't bother asking me for financial support. You guys need to acknowledge one of the largest acts of civil disobedience ever seen. Yes, there were some bad apples. Of course CNN covered them, making everyone else look bad. But, give me a break. I was there, and all I saw was people acting in a manner that would have made Gandhi proud.

~ Andrew Hudson, Mountain View, California

Justin Raimondo replies:

If you can't see how resentful us San Franciscans are of out-of-towners coming here just so they can make life harder for us, then you are even dumber than you sound. Don't think you can bribe us into endorsing illegal actions that endanger the entire antiwar movement at a very precarious moment in history. All the six-figure contributions in the world couldn't tempt us into such folly.

I don't know much about the protest in San Francisco, but if they were committing acts of violence and vandalism then I take great offense at your comparison to the Chicago protests of last night. Our protest was completely nonviolent, and non-damaging to property. The only violence was from the police. You need to check your facts before you write. We were held hostage by the police last night on a side street for 3 hours. They came up from behind us after blocking us off from the front with riot squads 20 deep, there were giant buildings on our left, and a giant stone wall on the other side. They then told us to get on the side walk if we didn't want to get arrested. Their next nazi tactic was to move foreword from both sides, squeezing people till they could no longer fit on the sidewalk, and then arresting anyone who was forced into the street rather than be beaten by the advancing wall of police swinging billy clubs.

People were beaten, and dragged on concrete, and thrown in jail. At this point the entire crowd wanted to disperse, but the police wouldn't let anyone leave, I called 911 twice for help, to ask what the police wanted us to do, because they didn't once say anything with a megaphone to the crowd, and anyone who asked what they wanted us to do, was arrested and brutalized. They arrested over 800 people for peacefully protesting. I didn't witness a single act of vandalism, but I did see many acts of police brutality, most of the people stuck in traffic were waving peace signs at us and cheering.

The Chicago police always have been and always will be gangsters, we recently had the entire death row population of the state pardoned, due to numerous overturns of convictions because the police tortured confessions out of them with hot radiators and cattle prods. True, we did block traffic, but only briefly, and without any malice, but there was no violence or crimes committed in the process. You should know better than to believe what you hear on the news, especially where Chicago and the Daley mob are concerned. I certainly believe that violence and vandalism deserve to be prosecuted, and do in fact discredit our movement, but peaceful civil disobedience is an important tool for change.

~ Justin McCormack

Justin Raimondo replies:

What I saw of the Chicago march indicated that no violence – except that of the police – was involved. It was the complete opposite of what happened in San Francisco. That said, I question the utility of nonviolent"civil disobedience" at this juncture, or, indeed, at any juncture short of a fascist takeover in this country. Such disobedience cannot possibly have its intended effect: bringing the war effort to a halt, or even slowing it down.

Manager's Mailbag

What is so peaceful and antiwar about riots? All of you "peace keepers" are hypocrites! What the hell is wrong with you? Why don't you get the hell out of our roads and face reality: WAR is HERE! Accept it!

~ EM Kidd

Managing editor Eric Garris replies:

We totally agree with you about the riots. 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.

Whether you favor or oppose the war, we must respect each others' opinions.

I saw what you did this morning. And you call yourself a independent news source. You know what I am talking about. Your site posted a front line report by Reuters news correspondence that US/UK forces ran into heavy Iraqi resistance after they moved just 200 yards into Iraq and that they were calling in for British artillery to bail them out. This was posted about 7:45 a.m. central standard time. Now that post has been removed and placed with another one titled: wave of steel moves towards Baghdad. You should be ashamed of yourself. Sorry what is wrong with me? No you are not. I have always suspected based on your style of news post versus other independent sites that you are nothing more than a government sponsored alternative to other real independent sites. Thanks but no thanks. Long live free America!

~ Muslim Shahid

Eric Garris replies:

I went to bed at 3am and that is what the story said. It was changed while I was asleep. When I woke up the story had changed, and events had changed at well. As a result, I removed that headline and changed it with the one reflecting events that had changed in the four hours I was asleep.

Yes, you have uncovered the conspiracy. I am human and require sleep. Matt Drudge is still asleep and has last night's headlines still up on his site. He is also part of the conspiracy.

I understand your antiwar position. I myself do not want to see our boys and girls lost unnecessarily, when there might be the chance of diplomatic solution.

What I don't understand is why would a protest be held, and then protesters openly try to create a disorderly situation with the police.

The Police understand your position, and your legal right to free speech, but do you think they want to be there to control protesters from being disorderly, they are ordered to be there, to do a job.

Our soldiers are doing a job that unfortunately has to be done. Our troops should be supported for what they have been ordered to do, and we must stand together so that we may minimize the threat of terrorism, whether it be here, or abroad. America has a responsibility to it's people and the people of the world.

~ Kenny W.

Eric Garris replies:

We totally agree with you. That is why we have run two recent editorials condemning the violent and disruptive antiwar protests: "San Francisco Rabble Brings Discredit to Antiwar Movement" and "This Isn't About You," both by Justin Raimondo.

I'm on the other side of this issue. Many people respect your opinion, but please make sure your protests are peaceful which doesn't take away law enforcement's attention from Homeland Security. Good luck and please, remember to mention that you supports the troops even though you may not support the cause. Again, it's not the troops choice but an order.

~ BG

Eric Garris replies:

Understood. We ran this editorial today condemning the disruptive protesters.

The antiwar movement needs a new slogan in America. My personal take is this: Proud of our troops, ashamed of our leaders.

I figure this is a very user-friendly slogan that gets the point across very quickly and cuts the legs out from under the "unpatriotic" argument leveled against those against war.

What do you think?

~ PK

Eric Garris replies:

I like it.

You bunch of leftists were not antiwar during the Kosovo invasion were you? Your leader Bill Clinton targeted civilians, the unarmed men and women in the television and radio stations, yet there was not a a word from you left-wing groups. Wow!

~ Joseph Turpin, Indiana

Eric Garris replies:

In fact, we are mostly rightists. We started Antiwar.com to fight against Clinton's illegal wars in Bosnia and expanded our site during Kosovo. Bill Clinton is a war criminal. You can check out our history here. Check out some of our featured links today:
Conservative economist Paul Craig Roberts in the Washington Times. A piece on the smearing of Antiwar Conservatives.
And from last week, a great antiwar piece by Pat Buchanan. Let me know what you think.

This is something that has been bothering me a lot about this whole antiwar thing?

How big was the antiwar movement in 1998 when Bill Clinton decided to bomb Iraq from December 16-19, which happened to be the same week he was going to be impeached for lying under oath about having "sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky"? He did this without the authorization of the UN and no permission from France. At that time, we also had the same amount of "international support" that we do now, with the expectation of France. Since many antiwar people think that we don't have international support now, I guess we didn't have any in 1998 since the international support (or lack thereof) were equal in both instances. Impeached former President Clinton attacked Iraq for the same exact reasons Bush is doing so now. Iraq repeatedly violated international treaties and resolutions it agreed to follow. You can see a copy of the Clinton "Desert Fox" speech. It looks VERY familiar to things Bush has been saying today.

Also, what about Clinton's involvement in the Kovoso situation. Were there Vietnam-like protests during that conflict? I mean, the United States had nothing to do with that conflict at all. But Clinton decided to get involved in the situation anyway, because Milosevich (or however you spell his name) was committing unethical atrocities on his people (as Saddam has done with his illegal weapons and crude torturing systems). Clinton totally bypassed the UN, and took heat from France under the umbrella of NATO. Fortunately, Clinton did what was in the best interests of the USA and was able to rid Kovoso of its demon-like regime.

I find your website very misinforming. You only point out the negative effects of this war. Yes, I am saddened that US personnel and others have died in the conflict, but what about the joy of the people in the towns that have already been liberated. I mean, did you see the video of the guy tearing down a poster of Saddam and hitting it with his shoe? Did you hear of the people in the liberated towns welcoming the coalition forces with open arms?

And what about Afghanistan? The US defeat of the Taliban was the best thing that ever happened to the Afghanis. American women had more rights 70 years ago than Afghani women had under the Taliban.

And I also see that your website promotes anti-intervention. When the United States had a policy of isolationism (positive neutralism, anti-intervention being other names for it), wasn't that also the time when Adolf Hitler was building up his regime of Jew-killing demons?

Please respond to this email and give me some answers to the differences in the war protests in the Bill Clinton Iraq and Kovoso conflicts and the current war today. Every time I try to discuss this with my super liberal college friends, they can't control their temper. They resort to extreme emotionalism. In my opinion, that is just a way to hide the fact that they are wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if this whole thing is just about politics. There are many Democrats out there that are still angry about the 2000 election and hope that Bush fails over and over again. Is this what all of this antiwar fuss is about?


~ Darrius L.

Eric Garris replies:

We were right here. Antiwar.com was founded to oppose Bill Clinton's illegal wars. First Bosnia, then Desert Fox in 1998, and finally Kosovo. I realize that many on both sides are motivated by partisan politics, we are not. Please check out our history.

Whether or not the Iraqi people want us there is irrelevant. We are a republic, not an empire. We don't support big government, at home or abroad. Personally, I don't support the UN and wish that the US would withdraw from it. Our intervention may or may not be good for the Iraqi people. But it will be a disaster for the American people. Already we are looking at projected costs of $400 billion. Two nights ago, Congress passed the biggest budget with the biggest deficit in history. And it didn't even include one cent for the Iraq War. That will be handled with supplemental spending. So much for the tax cut. And so much for the US economy.

If we start invading countries that are ruled by despots, we will be at perpetual war, and we will be spending our children's future before they even have a chance to learn how great America once was.

Flag Protest

I still put up a USA flag at my house every morning. I ve decided to tie a long black ribbon on the post to morn the USA for adopting an invasion policy. Others, who support the country, but not the preemptive policy, might consider using a black ribbon around flag poles. This does not deface the flag as a symbol, but shows a respect for both the civilians and military that will be lost in this kind of unnecessary conflict.

~ Chris B.

Letter from the UK

I am writing from the UK where we have seen a mixed reaction to the start of war. Many of those opposed to war have mysteriously swung into line with the British Government now that hostilities are under way. I think this is partly a knee-jerk reaction which happens every time a British soldier cocks his gun, it also fear of being seen as unpatriotic. In fact many antiwar protesters are being slammed as unpatriotic. Many politicians have also jumped over the fence at the last moment to be in line with Mr Blair. Even the BBC, which we normally think of as being politically independent is being very careful what it broadcasts. We have plenty of images of Baghdad in flames, missiles being launched, and images of Iraqi prisoners (I thought the Geneva convention didn't allow war prisoners to be paraded publicly). We see nothing of the pain and suffering the Iraqis are going through.

As British citizens, many of us are amazed at what Mr Blair has got us into. I have previously considered my nation to be one that had some sense of justice and fairness. Now I feel more like I am living in Nazi Germany. I am utterly ashamed to be British at the moment. So much so, that I find it difficult to watch the scenes of destruction on TV. Many people here (perhaps most) saw no justification for going to war at this time. They just support it because it's happening . It is like the nation has taken leave of its senses, even its humanity.

One of my big fears is what exactly is driving George Bush. It seems that he is under a great deal of influence from far-right 'Christians'. Indeed he seems to be driven by the same kind of religious mania that inspired the 9/11 attackers. I heard the other day that when Iraq is 'reconstructed', one of the new laws that will be imposed in Iraq will be an antiabortion law. Whatever one feels about abortion, what right does Mr Bush have to impose it on another nation?

Perhaps one of the most cynical moves we saw here was Mr Bush's 'road map' for peace in the Middle East. This mysteriously appeared on the eve of war. It was seen by many here as a halfhearted attempt to placate the antiwar lobby. It seems to me that the Middle East situation is much too serious to be used in this way.

~ Nicholas Britton

Smoking Gun

I regularly visit your website to keep informed of current affairs regarding the War against Iraq. One new link on your site appears to be especially interesting. That link is: http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/news/Iraq/0303/22irmain.html

One paragraph from that news report reads as follows:

"Franks said he had no idea where Saddam was at present. Regarding weapons of mass destruction, the general said none had been located by the invasion force thus far, but he voiced certainty that some would be found as the troops advance."

Note the use of word "certainty" – not "probable" or even "highly probable," but "certainty." How could Franks possibly voice "certainty" that some weapons of mass destruction would be found, unless he intended to plant that evidence himself?

This could well be the "smoking gun" of weapons of mass destruction. But the one holding that smoking gun seems to be General Franks, not Saddam Hussein.

~ Warren F.

War Without Declaration

Without Congress voting for war the news and the Bush administration should quite calling this action "war". The president, to my understanding, does not have the authority to declare "war" without a vote from Congress.

I also do not believe that the public is 60 to 70 percent behind this action. I drive a taxi and talk to a great number of people every day. The majority of the people that I have spoken with are against the actions the Bush administration has taken, regardless of their age. They feel that he should have followed more peaceful alternatives, and followed our nation's procedures for declaring war, before taking such drastic actions.

Bush is quite obviously trying to either take control of a country rich in oil, or have a government with favorable trade doctrines toward the United States, for monetary gain. Presidents George Bush, past and present, son and father, were both adamant about gaining a controlling foothold in this oil rich country. Bush junior is pushing forward where his father couldn't to this warlike action. They both make/made their decisions according to what is best for big business, not what is best for the American people. The Bush administration, current and past, are simply paid puppets for the moneyed big businesses that put them in office. I wish Bush would keep in mind that he was not put in office by a majority of the American voters.

Again, this cannot be called a war, because according to our legislative doctrines it cannot be declared by the president, but decided by representatives of the people by a vote.

~ Sandra B.

Regarding Peter Confalone's letter posted March 22:

Peter Confalone was absolutely correct. The government should murder everyone who disagrees with it. After all, it worked for the Nazis, didn't it?

Message to Peter from a reader who finds this web site invaluable: please write again. Such intellectual prowess in sooo uncommon at Antiwar.com.

~ Carter Mitchell, Gurnee, Illinois

Regarding "A Grand Unified Theory of British Party Politics" by 'Emmanuel Goldstein':

In past conflicts whenever our troops have been committed to action the people have tended to put aside our political differences and back them. This has been the position of the Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy who broadcast last night. What is different now is that a large minority are still vocally opposing the war on Iraq There has been a sea-change in British politics which has not been commented on much by the establishment media. People here are resentful that their so-called "representatives" have committed them to a war they don't believe in.

Goldstein is right to say that the debate in the Labour Party is about the UK relationship with America. It's a debate that is running not just in the Labour Party but in throughout our society. Deep down our people don't buy the American self-image. We distrust their attempts to export their way of life to everyone else. Perhaps we have more in common with the French than might first appear to be the case!

~ Patrick Harrington

'Emmanuel Goldstein' replies:

I would agree with Mr Harrington about the fact that the demonstrators haven't got behind the troops as fast as one would expect, although he may not remember Suez!

On the issue of whether this is anti-Americanism (or as some desktop warriors suggest anti-Semitism) at work I tend to doubt it. There have been some feelings that we should be doing Europe's bidding rather than America – but the proponents of that view are in a smaller minority than those who honestly think that what Blair's doing is in any sense in the national interest or has an overriding moral reason.

The fact is that the case for war has not been convincingly made, whereas it was for most people even in Gulf War I.

It's as simple as that.

Regarding "Death of a Manager" by Nebojsa Malic:

Truly insightful. Best of the Best. With over 1000 political 'Mafia thugs' now in jail, the Dindjic assassination is being used as an excuse for a major political PURGE. The leadership of Serbia's independent military – one of the last in Europe is being destroyed. Serbia must be brought into NATO or Partnership for peace – this is part of NWO strategy for the DRIVE TO RUSSIA.

~ Diana Clarke

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

Tankosic is pointing out to something I was wondering about, ever since Milosevic's fall: How long would it take them before they move to purge the Army which was the last bastion against the complete surrender to the enemies of Serbs.

"They", of course, meaning Djindjic's Gang of CIA and Soros' NGO's. Everything was in in the books (Goldhagen,Wolfowitz etc.) and according to the plans, to dis-nationalize Serbs and make them docile servants of the Empire. (Why cannot Serbs follow Albanian lead, as, not long ago suggested Madelaine Albrigh?). One almost wonders whether all this was not planned.

Kostunica is a lot to blame for allowing himself to be dragged into these intrigues. He was outsmarted right from the beginning by these foreign agents.

He lost his virginity when he permitted extradition of Milosevic. All what happened later was a logical consequence of that fatal weakness. The spectacle of running through Europe and the U.S., begging for money (which ended up in the pockets of the oligarchy anyhow) instead of demanding war reparations, for the damage of Nato's aggression, left everybody with the sensation of cowardice. His dream for Serbs to be " normal" people was one of his rhetorical traps he has fallen into. Does normal mean to be like Albanians, Croats, Bulgarians, Slovenians or Macedonians? But these were always ... nations who served faithfully any occupying power. Djindjic would have been perfect for those countries – not for Serbs. All our history points to our bloody resistance to foreign tutors. And, I hope it will continue.

~ Peter V.

M. N. Tankosich replies:

Well, as you can see, even though Koshtunitsa is perceived as someone who is inefficient and powerless, he was, literally, the only obstacle to the attack on the Army's integrity. For the duration of his presidency and his tenure as the Supreme Commander (Commander-in-Chief) of the Yugoslav Army (VJ), they couldn't touch the forces, even though the other two members of the Supreme Defence Council, the (now ex) presidents of Serbia and Montenegro (Milan Milutinovich and Milo Djukanovich, respectively) were very hostile to Koshtunitsa, especially Djukanovich. Koshtunitsa respected the VJ, and the vast majority of VJ officers and ordinary troops, respected him.

The attack on the forces in order to discredit Koshtunitsa – and vice versa, of course – greatly intensified after the military's Counter-Intelligence Service (the KOS) caught Djindjich's deputy Momchilo Perishich (Chief-of-Staff under Slobodan Miloshevich) selling state and military secrets to a CIA agent at a motel near Belgrade, in the spring of 2001. Hordes of NGO's – as if on cue – demanded nothing less than Koshtunitsa's resignation, as well as the resignation of the commanding officer of the KOs Gen. Aleksandar Tomich, who, in my opinion, should've been awarded all the medals there are in Yugoslavia.

These outrageous demands were portrayed as being a "struggle to bring the military under civilian control" – even though the Yugoslav Army has always been under civilian control. As you may well know, the forces fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence, and are commanded by the Supreme Defence Council (made up of presidents of Serbia, Montenegro and Yugoslavia – who are all elected by popular vote and are all, well, civilian). The Minister of Defence is nominated by the federal Prime Minister and is confirmed by the Federal Parliament. Federal Parliament MPs are, in turn, elected by the citizens of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro. Can you possibly get more civilian?

However, these NGOs overlooked these facts because their foreign papa sucres had instructed them to do so. The facts were not on their side; they knew full well that their demands were ridiculous and their reasoning flawed but that did not stop them because their demands, were, in fact, Washington's demands. I imagine D.C. must've been pretty pissed off by this little KOs exercise. I mean, arresting a CIA agent?! Why, those dastardly Serbs, those...

Now that Koshtunitsa is no longer President and Djindjich's henchmen are in the positions of power, the drive to politicize the forces and remove those officers who refuse to partake in the scam will surely continue, regardless of Djindjich's (biologically) untimely demise. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons for the NGO-led assault on the forces was that they wanted to "prevent the VJ from becoming politicized". Go figure.

I wouldn't blame Koshtunitsa for "permitting" the extradition of Miloshevich. I know it must sound daft, but he didn't even know that Miloshevich had been arrested. If I remember correctly, Koshtunitsa was in Spain at the time, at some summit in Barcelona. And remember, he was dealing with Zoran "If You Want Morality, Go To Church" Djindjich. Prime Minister doesn't let the President know about anything, especially if the President has a spine. That's the kind of Serbia Djindjich dreamed of.

The much-vilified Milorad Ulemek-Lukovich (a.k.a. Leghia, who got his nickname thanks to his 8-year-long shift in the Foreign Legion) was the one who went to Miloshevich's house that summer and arrested him – on Djindjich's orders, I might add. He's now accused of killing Djindjich. I mention this because I've seen some outrageous "logic" in the press, arguing that The Hague Serbs are behind the murder. Well, why would a man who arrested and sent Miloshevich to The Hague in the first place now kill Djindjich over his cooperation with The Hague? It doesn't make any sense, regardless of what Ulemek might have written in his open letter to the Serbian public. He, too, played on the patriotism card.

The murder of Djindjich has more to do with his broken promises to the criminal circles (that brought him to power) than anything else. Therefore, take the posthumous tributes with a grain of salt. It is in the interest of the Empire to maintain that Djindjich was a reformer and a committed democrat (in the face of a mountain of evidence indicating otherwise) and I see no reason why they would refrain from lying about the dead man's greatness and inventing heartrending stories and pathetic "firsthand accounts" coming from various European and, to a lesser extent, American politicians about how he had always acted in the best interest of his people. Look at Serbia and you'll see how much he cared for her and her people. The oligarchy must be maintained and now that Iraq has been attacked, Serbia is so off the radar screens. It can't last though, because Zhivkovich – the man who replaced Djindjich – is nowhere near the skilled manipulator that his predecessor and Democratic Party boss was.

Djindjich was a Western stooge and a textbook case vassal. The whole country knew it, although some didn't – and don't – want to believe it. I don't think Serbia has lost anything. If I may be audacious, I think Serbia has gained a lot. For the first time ever, there are no candidates for Serbia's dictator. There's only one "powerful" (read: popular) figure and that is Voislav Koshtunitsa, who is Djindjich's absolutely direct opposite.

To echo Neboysha Malich's sentiment, I am sorry that Djindjich is not alive anymore, and I can't possibly imagine the pain and sorrow his children and family must be feeling today, but I am not sorry that he's no longer Prime Minister.

Moving to another point that you raised in your letter: denazification. "Denazifying" a nation that lost 3 million of its sons and daughters fighting imperialism, Fascism and Nazism in the XX century is a truly sick and mind-boggling, although not entirely surprising, endeavour, which, of course, tells us more about the "denazifiers" than it does about Serbs. You must understand, patriotism of the small and weak is a crime in the today's world. Those who seek to "denazify" Serbia at the same time support those of her neighbours who did, in fact, serve as imperial, Fascist and Nazi collaborators (WWI and WWII), and did so willfully and enthusiastically, murdering 700,000 Serbs and about 100,000 Yugoslav Jews and Gypsies/Roma in the process. The Empire, just like the Nazis and so many other conquerors throughout history, utilized the existing regional rivalries in order to literally enslave the Yugoslav peoples and rob them of their liberties, wealth and resources. Divide et impera, right? And it all happened within just a few short years (1991-1995).

Serbs can't be brought to their knees because their collective genes dictate them to despise traitors, cowards, whores and those who wish to harm them. On the other hand, to those whom they perceive as a friend, Serbs are very open, warm, extremely loyal and are ready to sacrifice a lot for them (see the story about the rescue of 500+ American pilots in WWII).

As for the post-Djindjich Serbia, she will have to learn to live without authoritarian PMs and Presidents, and today she has the chance to move forward. The sooner, the better; because the political-criminal juggernaut has to be dismantled once and for all and the many vital institutions rebuilt after having been reduced to a joke under Miloshevich and, over the past 26 or so months, Djindjich. It is hard to talk about democracy and the rule of law when we talk about Serbia, a suffering country that has, in the past 700 years, experienced so little of both. It is discouraging to know that, in relative terms, Serbia was more democratic, prosperous and free 100 years ago under Peter I (her first constitutional monarch) than she is now.

Serbia needs to raise the standards as to whom she will allow to run her affairs. So many of Serbia's national politicians are mediocre, incompetent, self-serving, opportunistic bastards who got into politics for the sole purpose of acquiring personal wealth. Greed and spinelessness are rampant. If Serbia's citizens are poor, that doesn't mean a quick buck can't be turned.

I don't mean to patronize or lecture them, but the folks back home will have to learn to manage their priorities, put their interests before the interests of their party's clique (who will, naturally, always try to present their own interests as being the interests of the people) and at the same time disallow themselves to be the modern-day version of a feudal serf.

They have to learn to be responsible (which also means holding their politicians responsible) and be the masters of their own faith, as well as their society's and nation's as a whole. Becoming a tad bit more assuming and involved wouldn't hurt, either, because the worst thing for Serbia – to the delight of would-be dictators – would be for her people to remain out of touch with their country's affairs, continuing to wallow in apathy and allowing themselves to be further humiliated by both their own politicians and foreigners of the Soros caliber.

Things can't change for the better on their own and no amount of conditional foreign handouts will make Serbia prosperous. It just doesn't work that way.

Serbia will become a state that will make us even more proud of her. I have no doubts, whatsoever. After all, one Djindjich doesn't make a nation.

Regarding "A Beautiful Morning for a War" by Sascha Matuszak:

Sasha – you might want to know what some other ex-pats in China are doing/have done to oppose the war: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BeijingPeaceAction/

~ Jim Weldon

Sascha Matuszak replies:

Thanks for the info – I'll definitely keep in touch. I have an expat next to me right now who informed me of goings on right across from my office that I didn't know about.

Regarding "Commissar Frum" by Justin Raimondo:

I find most of your columns hard hitting and insightful, and today's was no exception until I got down to the very bottom of the page. After complaining how you are being unjustly smeared by the neocons, you turn around and smear Prof. Kevin MacDonald as an "obscure writer of anti-Semitic tracts" but at the same time claim to have never heard of him until you read Derbyshire's piece in The American Conservative. If that's all you know about MacDonald, why do you say you would have been harder on him than Derbyshire? You must have independent grounds for judgment, in which case you have to be lying when you say you never heard of MacDonald before. If you're not lying, then you DON'T have any basis for your nasty and very inaccurate characterization. Either you're lying or irresponsible, QED. As a matter of fact, MacDonald, far from being an obscure tract writer, is a professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Long Beach State University who has written a scholarly trilogy of over 1500 pages on the subject in question.

You write a lot of unpopular truths in your columns, but for some reason find it necessary once in a while to deliver cheap shots to those you perceive as "racist" or "anti-Semitic." Jared Taylor is another writer you have unjustly smeared in the past. Apparently you believe it is necessary to have a straw man on the "racial right" to knock down, in order to enhance the credibility of your writings.

But, you see, it doesn't make any difference how many "racists" or "anti-Semites" you attack. You still won't get any respect from the egalitarians you're sucking up to, and you'll just remain a libertarian loser.

~ Rich Brooks

Justin Raimondo replies:

I inferred from the review of MacDonald's book that he is a writer of anti-Semitic tracts, and I wrote that he is "obscure" because, until reading Derbyshire, I had never heard of him. I disagree with the racialist views of Jared Taylor because I think the whole concept of racial superiority is patently absurd. It is mechanical materialism, even less sophisticated than the vulgar materialism of Marx and his heirs – and just as dangerous.

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