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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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e – mail addresses will not be published.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 27, 2003

Editor's Note:

Due to spam attacks, some emails sent to Backtalk over the past week were lost. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

"Wesley Clark"

I can't say this with certainty but: Wesley Clark is widely believed to have been Hillary's point man in the Waco massacre. Google has links to this.

~ VJ May, Austin, Texas

Stella Jatras replies:

There's more to Gen. Wesley Clark than they would like you to know. For instance, his involvement in the incineration of innocent women and children at Waco.

"General Wesley Clark was involved in the siege and final assault near Waco, Texas that killed, by a combination of toxic gas and fire, at least 82 people including some three dozen women, children and infants. As outlandish as this claim may seem, it's a reasonable conclusion that can be drawn by any fair minded person who takes the time to examine the evidence. Further, there is substantial circumstantial evidence that Clark, in addition to acting as a tactical consultant, may in fact have been the prime architect and commander of the entire operation."

For the complete text of "Waco to Belgrade: Wesley K. Clark and America's 'Army of the Future'." Please go to http://www.nationalism.org/sf/Articles/a69.htm.

Another Waco related story can be found on http://www.counterpunch.org/waco.html by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in a commentary titled, "Was Clark at Waco?"

I was saddened to see your article on General Wesley Clark because Antiwar.com is one of the few resources of common sense. You don't usually take cheap shots. I have seen Clark on the political talk shows, and he makes sense discussing the Iraq war. As I understand him so far, he has opposed the Iraq war and would, as President, have pursued a very different course than George W. Bush. I would like to hear more from the General. Specifically, I would like to hear from him (1) that he opposes preemptive strikes, (2) that he opposes the aggressive, neoconservative global campaign to use American military force to spread democracy around the world (and specifically to Israel's enemies), and (3) that he is dedicated to using American leverage to force Israel to the negotiating table and thereby eliminating the main reason for Arab hatred of America and Arab terrorism against America.

Perhaps General Clark will say these things, if he runs for President. His comments on recent talk shows made me hopeful. Let's hear what he has to say before we launch a preemptive strike against him – which is what your article did. ...

I have been a conservative Republican all of my adult life, but I will not vote for George W. Bush again. He is a dangerous liar who is getting American soldiers killed every day for no reason and bankrupting the American people. Nor will I vote for Republicans if their main focus is putting the national security concerns of a foreign country (Israel) ahead of those of the United States.

It is going to be very difficult to vote for a Democrat with all of that party's destructive politically correct baggage. Maybe General Clark offers an alternative; maybe not. Maybe the officer's spouse is right. I want to hear more of what General Clark says as a Presidential candidate first. Antiwar.com should listen, too.

~ Bruce Hayman

Stella Jatras replies:

Rather than repeat information that is readily available to anyone who is willing to take the time to seek it out, I'll respond with a firsthand example of Gen. Clark's dangerous ego and ambition and another example of his deceitfulness.

During the discussion at the Borders' book store signing, http://home.ix.netcom.com/~sparta13/wesley.htm, my husband questioned the wisdom of Clark's plan for a ground invasion of Kosovo. Specifically, he cited the danger of sending Apache helicopters through the mountain passes from Albania into Kosovo as Gen. Clark had stated was his plan. Clark's reply was that the helicopters would be supported by over 50,000 Albanian infantry. Of course these "infantry" units were part of the KLA thugs with whom Clark was so chummy.

After our discussion with Gen. Clark, my husband described Clark's plan to Apache pilots and retired Special Forces friends with whom we correspond. To a man they characterized Clark's plan as "harebrained." Look at the battle damage to the Apache helicopters during the campaign in Iraq on missions in the desert. On one mission, although only one was shot down, ten others were so badly damaged that they were no longer operational. That was in a desert attack where the position of the enemy forces was known. Clark was going to send his Apaches though heavily defended, forested mountain passes against a concealed force of unknown strength. In his desperate desire for fame and glory he was willing to risk American lives on a fool's mission.

Finally, for anyone willing to look at the facts, read the Newsweek article of 15 May 2000 concerning the cover-up of the reported damage to the Yugoslav armed forces by the air campaign. Gen. Clark's own Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team (MEAT) which did an on the ground survey after Kosovo was occupied reported damage to the Yugoslav Army which was far less than NATO claimed. Clark rejected the report and sent the team back with changed criteria and orders to come back with "better" figures. Clark had put a new twist on the infamous "body count" concept used in Vietnam to judge success.

Is this the man you want to make life and death decisions for our country? One of the Backtalk writers put it better than I can: "Great article about Mr. Wesley Clark. He is Bill Clinton in a military uniform."

I really welcome this article.

I do not believe that the American people have, even now, any concept of the enormous damage that the brutal attack on Yugoslavia did to their reputation in the eyes of civilised people right around the world.

Yugoslavia ... resisted terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists, terrorists trained, financed and armed by the United States and Britain. It tried to prevent the breakup of its structure and the secession of its states, as did Abraham Lincoln. For defending its sovereign integrity and independence and for protecting its people, it was blasted back to the stone age by an apparently insane general illegally using a defensive military organisation (NATO) in violation of the UN Charter.

The only way you will, as a Nation, regain any respect or support from me, and I suspect millions of others, is the day you free Mr Milosevic and the other Serbs from your US-financed kangaroo court and put on trial the perpetrators of the greatest European war crime since World War II. Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, Richard Holbrook and the rest of that shoddy crew. You can have Tony Blair and Robin Cook from us for good measure. ...

I heard a senior US Senator on CNN (Late Edition) before the attack on Serbia state that the United States Senate Intelligence Committee had been given evidence of the links between the KLA and Osama Bin Laden. In other words America knowingly destroyed a people, bombed the entire infrastructure of their state on behalf of an organisation, the KLA, that its government knew was part of the OBL terrorist empire – I rest my case.

~ Elizabeth Mogsmum

Go back and read the transcripts of ABC's Nightline on the day Milosevic was captured. Ted was off that evening and I believe it was Mr. Sawyer doing the interview. Question-"What message was sent around the world today?", Gen. Clark answers "sovereignty is not absolute." Does this apply to Americans? is what I thought to myself. Seemed strange words to come from an American.

~ Chuck C.

Libertarian Party

I greatly admire what you are doing at Antiwar.com. Over the past few months, while the country was mindlessly cheering Bush's war, I found a voice of reason and a serious commitment to peace and freedom at your site.

I was about to make a pledge of support, when I noticed something that disturbed me. On your "About Us" page you state that "At present, none of the existing parties or activist groups offers an effective vehicle for principled libertarian politics."

What about the Libertarian Party? Why is it not an effective vehicle for "principled libertarian politics"? It certainly is the only political party that opposes the Drug War, American interventionism abroad, and the income tax.

And it actually is running candidates for office, some of whom win. Do you think it is not principled enough, or is there some other reason? Do you think the party was insufficiently opposed to the Afghan and Iraq wars?

How would you change the LP to make it a an effective "party of liberty"? Can you point me to pages on your site (or others) that can answer these questions?

I need to know the answers before I consider contributing. I have been an LP member for eight years, considering it my only option for opposition to rampant statism. I also don't like to see libertarians dumping on other libertarians, as Justin Raimondo did in his over-the-top criticism of Reason magazine today in the "Notes in the Margins" trailer to "Baghdad Bomb Blasted American Hubris." He didn't say exactly why he hates Reason, other than that "There is hardly a lie spread by the War Party that they aren't willing to swallow..." I haven't seen anything in Reason in the past year that would support such an allegation.

Libertarians shouldn't be trashing other libertarians like that – it only helps the statists.

I am looking forward to finding out why the LP is not an effective voice for liberty.

~ Hal Noyes, Durham, North Carolina

Justin Raimondo replies:

Antiwar.com is a nonpartisan organization: we work with members of all parties to further the cause of a non-interventionist foreign policy.

As libertarians, we believe our energies are best utilized in this way to further the cause of liberty. However, this doesn't mean that we regard the Libertarian Party as "ineffective," per se. I have great respect for the LP: I was a party activist starting with the MacBride campaign (1976), and left in 1983. I ran for office several times as the LP candidate in California, and I have recently spoken at a Libertarian Party of Colorado state convention, where I had a great time (mostly because I had a great audience!).

I greatly admire the LP for keeping up its principled stance, particularly in the foreign policy realm: a more discerning, dedicated bunch of activists would be hard to find in the freedom movement. We all, however, have to make personal decisions as to where to invest our time, energy, and resources: I have made a personal decision to devote all my efforts to furthering the cause of peace, while maintaining my overall principled libertarian stance.


Is there a way this website could be read in Spanish or any other language?

~ S. Books

Managing Editor Eric Garris replies:

You can run it through Babelfish for a crude translation:

"The Real Terror Masters"

Excellent article on Mercer's twaddle. Several months ago, after being impressed by her articles on the Iraq war, I wrote her suggesting that as she is a former Israeli and a rabbi's daughter, it could make a good read if she did an article on America's dispensationalist Christians. These are the dimwitted folk gathered around the Israel-uber-alles Reverend Pat Robertson.

Mercer replied that she was staunchly pro-Israel, and directed me to her articles on the topic. After reading them, I wrote her that she reminded me of an elderly Jewish woman I know some years ago in New York. That lady had spent her life in the anarchist movement, as had her husband, a roofer. Yet I one day heard her state that Israel was "not like other governments, and that it really wasn't a government at all." She pointed out the anarchist nature of many kibbutzes.

I informed Ms Mercer that like the anarchist woman, hers was a case where tribalism trumped ideology. And I expressed the hope that she would write an article as to why she thought the Iraq war was NOT good for Israel, as most prominent Zionists and neo-cons thought that it was, and in fact helped engineer it. Instead, she shot back a very emotional reply. ...

You are correct that she has an intellectual kinship with Kahane. I'd told her that at least Kahane was consistent in his views of Arabs, that they in whatever country were mad dogs deserving of extermination. Demonizing Palestinian Arabs while supporting Iraqi ones takes a kind of intellectual acrobatism that has me believing the lady is a superb circus performer.

~ Robert Owens

There's a time to open fire, and a time to realize that you're outgunned. Justin Raimondo is standing on the parapet shooting blanks at Ilana Mercer, when he should know enough to get down in the hole and hope nobody notices that she hit him in the one place where he's weak – his hatred of all things Israeli.

Over the years, Raimondo has made some demonstrably sound points about the ill effects of US aid to Israel and American tolerance of its peccadilloes when it makes the mistake of getting involved in the region at all. Or, rather, they would be demonstrably sound points if they were placed in a rational context instead of this continuous mouth-breathing rant format.

On the issues, Mercer and Raimondo aren't that far apart. Mercer doesn't, so far as I know, advocate US aid for Israel or US adventurism in the Middle East – but that isn't good enough for Raimondo, apparently.

No, in order to avoid classification as part of Israel's "Amen Corner," one must side with the Arab governments (and their Egyptian factotum, Yasser Arafat) which have shuffled a population of "Palestinians" from concentration camp to concentration camp for 55 years for use as propaganda meat puppets for the news cameras, after threatening them with death if they lived in peace with their Jewish neighbors rather than accepting "temporary" accommodations in Gulag-on-the-Jordan. ...

~ Thomas L. Knapp

Iraq Occupies US Military

I find it odd that the tactical dynamics of the US military in the middle east haven't been addressed much. What every country that opposed the US invasion of Iraq (not to mention its continued belligerence and pursuit of global dominance) surely must realize by now is that the more resources the US is forced to commit to rebuilding and maintaining control in Iraq, the less they have to spend on other potentially calamitous adventures in countries like Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Under the circumstances, it's definitely in the best interests of the UN and other countries to not lend a hand and thus prevent the US from causing more trouble elsewhere.

The only actions the US can pursue unilaterally under the current conditions are relatively small scale and covert ground operations, and those which can be performed with naval and air power alone. Until such a point as it starts affecting the American (and therefore the world's) economy too adversely, the rest of the world is best off letting the US lie in the bed it made, alone.

~ JG

Theater of the Absurd

Justin Raimondo hit the nail on the head several months ago when he compared what would happen in Iraq after a U.S. invasion to gang warfare in California's barrios, the homies are pissed that the American forces are on their turf. The Bush war on Iraq is little more than gang warfare on a grand scale.

I will make a prediction that since additional forces will be necessary to stabilize the mess in Iraq and that the "irrelevant" U.N is reluctant, Germany, France, and Russia who all had pending billion dollar contracts with the deposed Baathist regime won't get a slice of the oil revenue pie once things get pumpin', don't want to participate, I'll bet my last shekel that a defense contractor will soon be providing "security forces" in the way of labor contracted from Mexico or any number of other emerging nations.

Just like in other business ventures, the reality of cheap labor coupled with cheap lives will prove to be very attractive to the powers that be. Reinstatement of the draft would be political suicide for Bush, if a hundred or even a thousand of contracted "security forces" from a country like Mexico bit the big one, the American public would hardly blink We need warm bodies and we need them NOW! ...

~ Rick O.

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