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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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 August 6, 2003

"What Does Bush Have to Hide?"

For centuries Jews have been blamed for lies ranging from control of all wealth to drinking Christian babies blood. I congratulate you on adding to this saga by insinuating that Israel was behind 9/11.

From unsubstantiated rumor that Israel had some clue that the Arab terrorist were at work in America you jump to the conclusion that Israel was behind the attacks. Shame on you.

~ Steve Roberts

Justin Raimondo replies:

Obviously you have some problem with English. Perhaps it is not your native language. I never wrote or said that "Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks." Only that they knew something about what was going to happen, and – somehow, for some reason – failed to inform U.S. authorities.

And stop the whining about "blood libel" – it's really unattractive.

In your article you conclude with an either/or choice of possible scenarios whereas there is a high probability that a both/and conclusion might be more appropriate

It seems quite apparent to all that the corrupt Saudi regime has for years been paying off Al Qaeda to keep their actions off Saudi shores. It's equally apparent that Israeli intelligence has no qualms about running hostile operations in this country. And most apparent is that Bush considers his own political ass more important than all the terrorists in the world.

The magnitude of the ineptitude of our current intelligence and political leadership on September 11 is what is being covered up with a slick diversion of blame

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to date not one American official in any capacity in any agency has been demoted, censured, fired or arrested for the largest intelligence failure since 1941. As per usual with the pathology of this regime – everyone else did it.

~ Peter Imiloa

... Justin must be naive if he could not see through the Saudi mirage regarding those 28 classified pages of the 9/11. The Saudis KNEW the pages would never be made public, thus they ask for it's release to look good. Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most oppressive regimes. There is no freedom of speech, religion, press, or assembly. They espouse a murderous form of Islam called Wahibbism. I have spoken to mainstream Muslims who have told me how Wahhibism is a terrorist cult and the Saudis spread through their oil money. According to Justin, Israel knew the 9/11 attacks would take place and never told us. Yet their is no proof, just speculation on how some of the hijackers were being watched by Israeli intelligence. Has it ever occurred to Justin that Israel was fearful that planes would be crashed into skyscrapers in Israel and that's why some of the hijackers were watched? ...

~ Semyon (Sam) Karpov, Staten Island, New York

"The Worthy Balkans Booklist"

The New Totalitarian Society by Emil Vlajki – Why wasn't this book reviewed?

~ Milan Stevanovich

Nebojsa Malic replies:

As I said, in the sea of books covering the Balkans it is inevitable I would have missed a few, both good and bad. I will feature Prof. Vlajki's book in a (near) future sequel to the book reviews. Thank you for your recommendation!

Just wondered if N. Malic had an opinion re the Austrian writer Peter Handke's book/ views of the Kosovo war?

~ John Hause

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Unfortunately, my German is not good enough to allow me to read Mr. Handke's work, or other books in that language, with any degree of fairness. That is why I limited my reviews to books readily available in English.

SGT Paul and SSG Crocker's backtalk

Sgt Crocker lets us know about all the atrocities in Iraq and how is he saving people during a time when we are taking casualties every day. We are ungrateful folks who protest our army being there according to him.

If he is consistent with his thinking the United States should never have pulled out of Somalia. Plenty of heartbreak and human rights abuses in Somalia. Nothing is more sickening than seeing people starve to death in a country ruled by brutal warlords. Would he like to redeploy to Mogadishu?

How about Vietnam? Plenty of communist atrocities there. Should we have had 500,000 Americans die in that place? What is his limit of US casualties before we leave a place?

Is he ready to go to the Congo and Liberia after his time in Iraq? Millions upon millions of dead in Congo, why isn't the US army in the jungles of Congo? Should it be in the Congo? Could he please list the other places he would like to go and free people after Iraq? Is he ready to go to Colombia and protect oil pipelines from communist guerillas?

Does it bother him that the guys in the Bush administration all have dealings with Hussein back in the 1980s? Would he care to defend them on this point? Does he know that Saddam and Rumsfeld met while Saddam was gassing people with "WMD"? Does it matter to him?

Enlighten us Sgt Crocker. And to all the guys over there I pray for you to come back alive.

~ BK, Portland, Oregon

Unseen Crimes

Just wondering why you dont seem to carry pictures of the Iraqi and Afghan casualties/ collateral damage. The fact of the war being sanitized on national t.v. accounts for why so many people so easily go along with it.

~ Michael B.

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

Usually, the problem is obtaining the photos. We rely mostly on wire service photos. Unlike the Kosovo War, where we were able to get a lot of photos from a wide variety of independent sources, we do not have the same available connections for Iraq.

Mike Cows' backtalk

Mike Cows: I think you missed my point that we are not only saving Iraqi lives, but also many of our own. Iraq poses a serious threat towards Israel, an important ally of the US.

Associate Editor Mike Ewens: I don't care if Iraq is a threat to Israel... simply, America First. It is clear that Saddam was little threat to America... unless you are threatened by weak unarmed dictators thousands of miles away, who must spend more time protecting their domestic powers than projecting their foreign ones.

MC: On top of that, if Saddam were to continue his weapons programs, he would be a threat to the US as well.

ME: What weapons program?

MC: We shouldn't wait for another 9/11 before we strike, we need to strike before. Prevention is far easier than curing.

ME: Saddam and Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11. In fact, American foreign policy – one of intervention and entangling alliances – is one of the main sources of the animosity towards the US.

MC: Maybe I should rephrase my original argument: If we can save 1 more American life than we lose, it's a totally legitimate war.

ME: Granted... but the burden of proof is on those who want to send our soldiers off to "protect our freedoms." You have yet to show that the war on Iraq actually prevented the deaths of any Americans.

MC: We have so far lost about 200 good men. How many people do you assume would die in a wmd attack?

ME: Actually, 246. Your non-sequitur ignores the issue at hand: IRAQ. What if the war on Iraq increased the chances for a WMD attack? I think it is equally if not more likely that this is the case.

MC: Can you honestly say Saddam's regime poses absolutely no threat to us?

ME: Granted, he may have been some threat to America... however, so are those that drink alcohol, read Marx and don't use their turn signal when driving. These don't warrant intervention. Nonetheless, I don't think Saddam posed an immediate (or even distant) threat to America.... at least not enough to bomb his nation and kills thousands of innocent Iraqis. Concerning innocents, Murray Rothbard writes:

"To be more concrete, if Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, he has the right to repel him and try to catch him; but he has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd. If he does this, he is as much (or more of) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

"The application to problems of war and peace is already becoming evident. For while war in the narrower sense is a conflict between States, in the broader sense we may define it as the outbreak of open violence between people or groups of people. If Smith and a group of his henchmen aggress against Jones and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones's cause. But Jones has no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of his 'just war': to steal others' property in order to finance his pursuit, to conscript others into his posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of his struggle to capture the Smith forces."

MC: Besides, we shouldn't just think about ourselves. If by killing one of your family members, you could save two of your friends, would you do it?

ME: No I wouldn't. (I have NO idea what this has to do with Iraq... Saddam didn't threaten any of my family members and 95% Iraqis had no responsibility in regards to any evils that Saddam had or would have done.)

Yes, we should only think of ourselves. And finally, your "life" calculation as presented is... evil. Are you willing to enforce your preference for the death a "x amount of innocents" towards your ends? (What about 2 family members for three friends... one million strangers from 100 neighbors...)

MC: I'm not trying to be aggressive or crazy when writing, but sorry if I am. I just wanted to know why anyone would be against this war, whether or not they were a hard-core hippy, or just a nice person with the wrong data.

ME: I am not a hippie.... I hate them. I am a conservative/ libertarian who prefers small government over big government and a foreign policy that is inward-looking, defensive and noninterventionist.

I suggest that you catch up on the "data" that supposedly are misleading those against the war. I have given much thought to my opposition to this war and I am thus confident I understand the situation and the data enough to reasonably defend my position. Unfortunately, you have yet to demonstrate to me that you understand your own support for this war.

I have been reading your back and forth with Mike Cows, the Soldier that is so confident about our role in Iraq and must tell you that his answers scare me. I am a Marine Corps combat veteran and never did I have a man in my unit as brainwashed as Mr. Cows is. I think that a Soldier with his attitude would be capable of shooting American civilians if the President told him it was the right thing to do.

If this is an example of what our all volunteer military has become, we are in big trouble.

~ James Glaser

"The Serbian Lincoln?"

Mr Malic wrote in his June 26 column, "The Serbian Lincoln", that "less than 100,000 scattered, poor and elderly Serbs remain in Croatia today", hyperlinking the words "scattered, poor and elderly" to http://www.balkanpeace.org/hed/archive/may03/hed5797.shtml.

Reading through the article he linked to I could find no reference made to numbers of Serbs currently living in Croatia, much less (a more specific) reference to the numbers of "scattered, poor and elderly" Serbs. So, I'm unsure as to by which means Mr Malic determined the number to be 100,000.

Being the stickler for accuracy and credibility of quoted figures that he is, I would like to direct Mr Malic's attention to the Croatian census of 2001, which lists over 200,000 people declaring Serbian ethnicity, http://www.dzs.hr/Eng/Census/census2001.htm.

~ Daniel Mladen

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Thank you for your contribution. The link I chose illustrated my characterization of returning Serbs as 'scattered, poor and elderly,' and I think it is entirely appropriate. The figure of 100,000 I derived from reading the Croatian media, and it is entirely possible it was erroneous. But the link you provided led me to a blank page, so I have no way of verifying your contention.

One hundred thousand or two, the fact remains that a majority of Serbs living in what is today Croatia were ethnically cleansed as part of a deliberate government policy, while official Belgrade did nothing. The policy is evident from transcripts of President Tudjman's conferences with his high military and civilian officials. That is really the point I was trying to make.

Brian Baumert's backtalk

I do talk to many of the families that lost members in the WTC attacks. In fact, you should engage them yourself – visit peacefultomorrows.org to better understand their sentiment. And I assume you too were duped by the false connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq – which to date has been proven a frivolous, calculated charade to advance a permanent militant US presence in the Middle East pursuant to oil and the future containment of China. Sounds almost conspiratorial, huh? Try http://www.newAmericancentury.org/ to hear it straight from the source. And take careful notice of the Founders: Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libbey, Bush, hmmmm, go ahead, think – I promise it'll only hurt for a minute.

(And for the eyes of others to Backtalk, if you chide antiwar activists for failing to construct an alternative, take a look at www.kucinich.net to read the campaign blueprint of a true progressive committed to the aims of social justice, what I had always thought to be America's promise to herself and the world.)

~ T.M. Abdelazim

Bruce Hayman's backtalk

Bruce Hayman's comments on the "Bogus From the Beginning" article does acknowledge the metamorphosing by American Trotskyites into Neoconservatives. They are firmly enrolled in supporting the Likud Party's agenda using the U.S. State Department and Pentagon as its hammer to guarantee the permanence and domination by Israel in the Middle East. It could therefore be correctly said that Zionism played a major role in the demise of The American Communist Party. However, the ACP was an ineffectual group compared to the success the Neocons have had in their complete and absolute control of our national government at all levels especially the presidency. Ann Coulter may be a firm supporter of the late 'America First' Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his anti-Communist agenda but I doubt if he would be imbedded with ex-commies as she now is.

~ SB

Mary R.'s backtalk

Just a reminder to Mary R. from Seattle, that Andrea Mitchell is the wife of Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Alan Greenspan long time ago was a libertarian but now he is fully converted to the dark side. So no wonder why Andrea leaves out the most serious aspects of Wilson's assertions.

~ Ed Kamisato


I noticed in Backtalk that someone commented on the discrepancy between the actual deaths in Iraq, and the widely reported numbers. It seems that different sets of casualty numbers are being used, in order to make the total number of deaths appear to be smaller. The individual casualty sets are reported SEPARATELY in the news, causing this confusion and illusion.

This is how we seem to "only" be at 53 deaths in Iraq when the number actually exceeds 250. A good psyops snow-job on the American people.

In wars of the past, ALL deaths have been counted: dead in combat, dead in an accident, dead of illness. Dead is dead – one number. Recently it seems that a clever method of "reducing" the numbers has been introduced – for public consumption. There are the soldiers killed in combat, there are soldiers killed in accidents – and it seems that the soldiers who die
of illness don't even count anymore at all.

A new twist is the fact that 1 May 2003 is some magic date when – POOF! – the counting went back to zero again! The war started in March 2003, and the initial casualties were just the first numbers in the initial
campaign. The subsequent casualties are simply more deaths in the following campaign. All the casualties are part of the same conflict in Iraq – they all count as one aggregate number.

There is a decent chance that by July 2004 the total number of US deaths in the Iraq war will be approaching 1000. This will be a watershed number on the eve of the presidential election. But given the current "doublespeak" casualty counting methods, it may not look like 1000 deaths. Until, of course, some candidate or someone else is able to point out this "Bush-Sh*t" casualty counting that is going on.


"Warmongers of the Congressional Black Caucus"

I have thought a lot about why entities like the Congressional Black Caucus and many others who so vociferously opposed the war with Iraq are so hell bent on the US intervening in Liberia and I think I have a conclusion. Just about any event in Liberia would play into President Bush's adversaries in the 2004 election. I'll explain.

Let's say President Bush sends in a token force, maybe a few hundred soldiers with little armor or air support and less will to take the offensive than our soldiers should possess. Eventually some Americans will get killed and Bush's opponents will get to scream that his poor planning caused this as the films run showing bodies being dragged through a third world, God forsaken street. Score one for the Democrats.

Option two would be that President Bush sends in a real force and aggressively takes Monrovia. This action would mean that rebel fighters, essentially 14-year-old black kids with AK47s piled in the back of old pick up trucks, would get clobbered by our M1-A1s and Bradleys. Under this scenario the liberals in the media, who Bush's opposition can certainly rely on, get to show those dead kids and their sobbing mothers, after carefully removing any evidence of their AK47s and RPGs of course, while the Democrats scream that Bush doesn't care how many young black kids he slaughters. Score one for the Democrats.

See what I mean? Of course the people who have been killing each other in Liberia could join hands and sing kumbya when the Marines hit the beach but I wouldn't count on it. Would the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats actually encourage the sacrifice of our soldiers or those 14-year-old black kids to increase their chances of winning in 2004? In a heartbeat!

~ Gary Duff

July 31 Backtalk

There were a couple of interesting letters in the 7/31 Backtalk featuring the position of supporting the war and supporting the troops. The editor, in his reply, seemed to be trying very hard to "support" the troops, while arguing that the war is illegitimate and they need to come back home. I've never understood that argument.

Either these military actions (never dignify them by calling them "wars") we keep engaging in are legitimate defense of this nation or they are not. If you agree with me that the recent action was not legitimate defense, then it makes little sense to praise the very agents of this illegitimate act, our troops. After all, even in our highly modern military, without the troops there would be no military actions. If all the troops were to decide to quit tomorrow, there is nothing the warmongers could do. For an antiwar person to support agents of the illegitimate military actions such as the pilots who drop bombs on cities from 15,000 feet, the tank gunners who fire into cities, etc. as somehow "brave" and "courageous" seems sick to me.

Basically you're saying that the troops had no choice; the bad people on top gave them bad orders and they did the best they could.

I disagree. Given the facts that were available to anybody before the conflict (Has Iraq ever attacked us? No. Are there any reasons to believe that they are in imminent attack mode? No.), the only choice for a conscientious and truly moral person who for some reason or other found themselves in the armed forces would be to become a conscientious objector and leave. Those who stayed "to do a tough job" chose to be part of a conquering army with zero legitimacy. They don't deserve praise for being good at their job.

~ AR, San Jose, California

"Bremer's Baghdad Bolsheviks"

At first, the idea of installing freaking Communists sounded like lunacy. What form of government are we attempting to export, anyways? Then, I began to realize, if there truly is a Communist presence in Iraq, wouldn't it be "democratic" for this presence to be represented? That seems to make sense, although it assumes that we are actually attempting to reflect the will of the Iraqi people. This assumption does not make sense given our actions thus far. Back to confusion.

One must simply employ the Bastard Foreign Policy school of thought, I then realized. If, in the past, we were willing to employ Islamic extremists against Communists when it seemed to be in our favor, there is an ironic, if not Bizzaro, congruency in now employing Communists to counter the Islamic extremists. Roosevelt's famous "He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard" remains constant, only the "bastards" change. Given the recent tendency of these bastards to turn around and bite us in the ass, however, I'll be forgiven if I'm somewhat skeptical.

~ Winston Smith, sitting serenely in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, enjoying the bitter Victory Gin

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