Letters to
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 Unless otherwise requested, authors may be identified and e-mail addresses will not be published.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 November 3, 2003

"The Axis of Hubris"

Great column! If only there was a way for more Americans to hear the truth on the Mid East. How ironic that there is such freedom of speech in Israel and such opposition to the policies of the Sharon government while in this country, with all our vaunted freedom of speech, public and private figures are censured for expressing criticism of Israel's actions!

~ John Jones

Ani Huebner: The question of right action is much more complex than the decision you outline. What would you have proposed for Iraq? Waiting until the butchers sons consolidated their absolute control? Should we have allowed the Taliban to remain in control of Afghanistan? I don't think involvement is the problem, I think lack of successful planning for follow through is the problem.

I think ignoring the wider problem in the Middle East the funding and support for terror and anti American groups by governments such as Saudi Arabia, our 'friend' is something we in the US need to consider. Action there should not take the same form, but a course of action to combat this popular trend needs to be formulated.

This same mechanism operates amount the Palestinians. CNN has discovered the propaganda used as 'education' by the PA. The Oslo process was never honored by the PA – it was used to arm 'security' forces – some of which acted as standard issue terrorists in their slaughter of civilians, and to educate and entire generation in the glory of martyrdom and liberation of all of "Palestine."

I think your analysis brings up problems in the current state of the world, but does not seek for solutions, but simply to lay blame.

Paul Roberts: I thought I was clear that Rabin was on to something. Some Zionists have replied that Rabin was a traitor to Israel and deserved his death. These Zionists want the Palestinians expelled from Palestine. I doubt that is a solution. The current Israeli chief of staff just said that there is no military solution to terrorism. The Israelis are going to have to get into partnership with the Palestinians. They cannot rely on the US to conquer the Middle East for them.

AH: I too thought that Rabin was on to something, but unfortunately no reality changed at the PA – What started out as a terror organization remained so. Even if there are some "Zionists that want the Palestinians expelled from Palestine" (where exactly do you mean?) – most Palestinians are seeking the liberation of "all of Palestine" – meaning of course Israel. This is an idea which is TAUGHT IN THEIR SCHOOLS. (Need any sources?)

I believe most Israelis are seeking Palestinians with whom they can partner but the leadership of the Palestinians has been most effective in insuring that none of these are left standing. (In Israel all sorts of views are expressed, where is something similar in the Palestinian media?)

While there is no military solution, laying down of arms by the Israelis would invite their destruction. If you recall, it was the agreement not to call for the destruction of Israel by the Palestinians which was a 'big achievement' in the negotiations for peace. Words out, but not intent if you trust any of the polls taken of that population.

What to do when your 'peace partner' speaks to the world in the language of compromise, but speaks in his own language of martyrdom on the road to complete liberation of all of 'Palestine'?

I would really really like to hear a plan for a solution of this, amount the other problems in the Middle East. What do you propose?

PR: You are laying all the blame on Palestinians. You don't think Israel bears any of the blame?

"Lesser-Known Stories from the Only Democracy in the Middle East"

I want to express my deep respect for Mr HaCohen and his personal courage and integrity. I think h e is a real fighter for Israel, not those militarists who support violence. I am grateful for his effort and I hope he is heard in his own country as he is on the world wide web.

~ Snjezana Clenaovic, Croatia

Ran HaCohen talks about the security wall Israel is building and says, "But if you ever wondered what the world would have looked like if Hitler had won the War, I think this could give you a pretty good idea."

Arguments for or against the wall aside, there are some stupid things that a Jew has a responsibility NOT to say. If what Mr. HaCohen suggests had happened, he and no other Jew would be here to make this or any other point. His willful exaggeration and distortion assists those who would like to complete the mission. Is he just trying to demonstrate to non-Jews or other like-minded Jews how far he can distance himself from Israel's policies? There are more responsible ways. Otherwise it looks like he is just pandering, something like an abused puppy licking the leg of the one who beat it.

~ John Kalter

Ran HaCohen replies:

Arguments for or against my sense of responsibility aside, it's typical that the reader hasn't got a single word to say for or against an official state order that closes villages to their own inhabitants but opens them up to any person with one or more Jewish grandparent. Hitler's mission can be completed in several ways, and blatant racist laws and regulations being issued, imposed and accepted is one of them. Not seeing the similarity between such a regulation and Hitler's laws against Jewish ownership and access is a grave ideological blindness; so is not seeing its obvious aim – i.e., to force the Palestinians out of their own homes. The problem is not abused puppies licking the leg of the one who beats them (whose leg am I supposed to be licking? and what for?), but abused puppies growing to be abusive hounds.

Michael Ewens Replies

Jonathan Chambers (pissed-off American): I have news for you pal. This antiwar thing you have going is great. However it will not do any good to bring the troops home. This is not Vietnam and you will not start a revolution to end the war. The troops need all of our support and that does not mean that you have to agree with the war just be thankful to the troops. If it wasn't for them out there fighting and dying you would not have the right to make this bullsh*t website.

Mike Ewens: Please inform me what "freedoms" our troops are protecting in Iraq. Here's my list:

1. The right to bear arms? No. They have confiscated the weapons of innocent Iraqis.
2. Free press. No, you cannot publish anything "anti-American" in Iraq.
3. Freedom of association. Nope, there is a curfew in most major Iraqi cities.
4. Property rights. No. The Coalition is essentially installing a top-down form of socialism.

Our troops in Iraq are not protecting the homeland or our freedoms. "Freeing the oppressed" or removing evil dictators is not the role of the US military. Its role is to defend the nation. It is clear that no defense was needed in regards to Iraq or Saddam. Indeed, we and our troops are now in more danger.

I don't blame the troops per se. They are merely following orders. However, culpability must rest somewhere, and I think that falls on the Congressmen /women and Senators who allowed the administration the leeway to invade an unthreatening nation.

Supporting our troops means returning them to home where they can avoid acting as occupiers and return to defending America.

JC: One more thing drop the pictures of the dead soldiers link to CNN it doesn't help the families or friends. Trust me on this one because I lost my father and my best friend over there and soon I'll be joining the Army and I'll be fighting.

ME: I will keep that link up because it is just that, a link. Further, what "fighting" do you intend on doing and for what cause? Such blind allegiance might mean that you believe all missions the President sends American troops on are necessarily just and right. Hmm, trusting politicians... sounds kinda liberal to me!

Your site sucks you hippy jag go army and fah-q.

~ Shane Parkman

Mike Ewens replies:

Nice manners toward a complete stranger. I'm actually glad you're on the other side.

Please note: I hate hippies, I disagree with all that the Left stands for, and I voted for Bush.

"Go army"? What does that mean? You warmongers have forgotten the axiom: America First and Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, South Korea, Haiti, Bosnia.... never. It's selfish... it's patriotic!

"Iraq and Vietnam"

You are right on target again. Watching Bush gives me flashbacks to another Texas president. I can't avoid the horrible feeling of being stuck in our own history, repeating the same mistakes. I cut together a short clip to capture that feeling.


~ Rick Spilman

"Furthermore, the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese sponsors were clearly the aggressors, in the sense that they went on the offensive militarily: their goal was to overthrow foreign-backed governments supported, in turn, by the French and the Americans, in a popular insurgency."

By which twisted logic the Viet Cong is aggressor in its own country and French and Americans are not?

~ Predrag Ostojic

Justin Raimondo replies:

I believe the phrase "in the sense that they were on the offensive militarily" sums up my meaning, which was strictly limited to a purely military analysis. The South Vietnamese government was overthrown by a popular insurrection supported by Hanoi, i.e. an offensive operation. This is not a value judgment, but a statement of fact.

As far as I have read, the separation of Vietnam into North and South in the 1950's was, according to the treaty France and Vietnam signed, supposed to be temporary. By the treaty the people in the North and South were supposed to vote on unification and what kind of government they would have. The Communists were politically more popular and better organized (would probably win the vote) so the US supported the South Vietnam dictatorship in its refusal to honor the terms of the treaty they had signed. The US backed dictatorship in the South was also carrying out a brutal suppression of the Viet Minh, the indigenous left wing /nationalist organization in the South, murdering their people in large numbers so there was certainly provocation for resistance.

The North if anything was hesitant to allow the Viet Minh to retaliate against this program of suppression because they believed in the Treaty process. Finally after many Viet Minh had been killed they did consent to military action against the government in self-defense. This is hardly being an "aggressor." The US invaded the country of Vietnam to protect its puppet government in Saigon. This is aggression. ...

~ Bob Ransdell

Joseph Stromberg

What's happened to Joseph Stromberg?

~ Luke Brown

Eric Garris replies:

He is finishing a book and hasn't been able to write for us. He hopes to have a few pieces for us by the end of the year.

Misinforming the Mindless Masses

... And why do you reserve the right to edit letters received? I do hope it is not to change the content of the letters as to reflect the opinion of the website's editors. You speak much of neoconservative propaganda on this website, yet this website is full of liberal propaganda. I implore you to not taint the information on this website. You are entitled to your opinion, but there are mindless sheep out there that believe everything they read. It is your responsibility as decent human beings to not misinform the mindless masses.

~ Charles Wesley Howe, Raleigh, North Carolina

Sam Koritz replies:

Letters are edited for grammar and punctuation. We sometimes omit portions of letters (and when we do so we indicate this by ellipses). This is done in order to save our readers the trouble of reading things that they're unlikely to be interested in (for example, unsupported accusations).

One of Wisconsin's Own

Mary Bosveld is from my home state of Wisconsin. She's from the small town of Waupun in the eastern part of the state and was a member of the 527th Military Police unit based out of Germany. She's is the fifth solider from Wisconsin to die in Gulf War II.

Those of us in the Badger State know what it means to our duty to our country. We serve our country in the armed forces but we also serve it by opposing overseas wars that take our sons, and now our daughters, far away from their homes in the upper Midwest.

From Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, the progressive Republican who opposed U.S. involvement in World War I to Joseph "Tail-Gunner Joe" McCarthy, who was as much opposed to the Truman Cold War policy of the global garrison state as he was communist infiltration of our government at home, Wisconsin has produced statesman that have fought against the United States becoming the world's policeman. This tradition is carried on now by current US Sen. Russell Feingold, who opposed the war and the Patriot Act as well. Believe me when I say his opposition to these unconstitutional measures will serve him well when he is up for re-relection in 2004, because he understands the role he must play as a critic of US foreign policy.

Hopefully in the next election Wisconsinites, whomever they vote for, can strike a blow against the current US foreign policy as they have done so many times in the past. We duty to ourselves not only in serving in the military, but also in keeping those troops home where they belong, defending our common Wisconsin home.

~ Sean Scallon, Arkansaw, Wisconsin

"Bush's Muslim Troubles"

I am finding Jim Lobe's writings to be an invaluable source of information for me. His most recent piece about Bush' s standing in the world is truly frightening – although, parenthetical, not as frightening as Rumsfeld's leaked memo that said he believes we have not really done anything BOLD yet in the world.

If it were not for the Internet, none of us would know how terrible Bush's overall performance in the foreign policy area has been. This performance alone is grounds for his being voted out of office as soon as possible.

~ Kirk Tofte, Des Moines, Iowa

Jim Lobe has produced a lot of good material, but his latest article contains an error. He describes Cal Thomas as close to Jerry Falwell. In fact, though Thomas worked for the Moral Majority years ago, he's become very publicly critical toward them and wrote a book (Blinded by Might) than devotes a lot of space to those criticisms. Thomas and Falwell are on anything but good terms, and that's been the case for quite a few years.

That said, congratulations on doing a lot of good work!

~ Matt Kaufman

"Chickenhawk Sees Combat"

Today's Washington Post carried the following Bush newspeak: " I'll say that the world is more peaceful and more free under my leadership, and America is more secure." (Emphasis added.)

Let's see now. We have 145,000 soldiers in Iraq who are the targets of 33 guerilla attacks each day. Somewhere around 15,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in our liberation of their county, and more are being killed each day. Congress has just appropriated an additional $67 billion to support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of the year. The Taliban are reconstituting themselves in Afghanistan where war continues at a low-boil. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are both still alive somewhere and al Qaeda has infiltrated Iraq. We have had terrorist bombings in Bali, Saudi Arabia, etc. The Middle East is descending in to ever-deepening violence and chaos. And yet somehow the "world is more peaceful." (Is Rush sharing his little blues with this guy?)

The first slogan of the Ministry of Truth in 1984 was: "WAR IS PEACE." It will now also be the GOP campaign slogan for 2004.

~ Walter Washington

"Does Noam Chomsky Hate America?"

Hurrah for Chomsky! How I would love to take my grandchildren and children back to 1945 0r 1947 and show them America as I knew and loved it. I cry in my heart when I think about what we have lost due to our government embarking on stupid paths especially in foreign relations.

~ Juel Edwards

"Attack on US Tank Kills 2 GIs in Iraq"

While the loss of another two soldiers is terrible, the loss of an Abrams main battle tank is a huge story. The Iraqi rebels have proven that our most "invulnerable" weapon is vulnerable.

This is extremely bad news for the occupation. Considering the recent mortar attacks on the Baghdad airport, the admitted 26 attacks per day and a growing toll of wounded, whose numbers are becoming a significant loss of troop strength in Iraq, it is time to cut our losses and get out.

~ Dr. James Karl

"Who Are the Bombers?"

The answers are so easy to us who are not control freaks high on power and rolling in money.

Bring in the UN and NATO who know more about rebuilding nations. Use international peacekeeping forces.

Loan Iraq money and let the Iraqis rebuild, but under international humanitarian oversight to protect every Iraqi.

Encourage independence and freedom and see what kind of government the Iraqis form.

Get most of the US soldiers out of Iraq.

Get most of the contractors who are rebuilding Iraq out of the country. Only those contractors who hire Iraqis to do the work should be allowed to stay.

Void the current sole-source contracts and open up bidding to international companies.

Don't ever, ever lie again to the American public and the world about the reasons for invading and occupying a foreign nation.

Get rid of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz, and anybody else in the administration who is lying to us.

Follow up to ensure that the soldiers who served in Iraq have proper counseling, medical care, and access to low interest loans.

Tell the media to imbed themselves in Iraq after the Americans are gone and see what stories get printed.

That's enough for starters. Imagine what could be done if the experts just changed course and worked out the particulars of getting these changes accomplished.

~ Jeff Morgan, Rochester, Minnesota

"Our 'Friends,' the Israelis"

I wonder if you've ever actually had the pleasure of meeting those "Israeli art students" you mention in your article. I ask because I have – they've been by my home twice.

I'm a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, and I've twice had "Israeli art students" come to visit my house – once about two-and-a-half years ago, and once just three months ago.

The first time, I thought nothing of it – I looked over the paintings the young man and woman had to show, but as my own mother is a very prolific artist, and my home's walls are practically papered with paintings, I wasn't exactly in the market.

But even on the occasion of the first visit, I thought there was something that didn't add up. Two things were wrong: first, the price they were asking was too low. How could you sell paintings door-to-door for $150.00 (Canadian)? The frame alone would cost you about $75.00.

But the more interesting thing that made me wonder what they were really doing was the fact that the paintings were not the work of students. Maybe you have to hang around artists to know this, but young artists just do not have portfolios with fifty or more paintings all in one style. They don't work that way. They have ten or so of this style, then a clutch of that style, then some of that other style. No student would paint just one style.

All this made me wonder what the real story was.

Unfortunately I wasn't home on their more recent visit to my house. I was pretty floored when my wife told me about them, as you can imagine. And I sure would have liked to ask them point blank what they were doing in Vancouver. Or maybe not. Remembering what happened to Gerald Bull.

~ Basil McDonnell, Vancouver, Canada

"A Holocaust in the Making"

It is really encouraging to hear such voices coming from the US. Sometimes the actions of the US government are so far away from reality, that one starts to think that maybe the whole country is not in this world, it is somewhere where white is black and black is white (perhaps in the twilight zone!).

You hear Powell saying that a war is not necessarily bad (and Powell is not necessarily a politician)! This of course is not strange coming out of the mouth of a person who bragged about burning huts and crops with his zippo! And this person is considered a moderate in this government!

You hear Wolfowitz characterizing as "terrorists" those in Iraq who attacked him, and you ask yourself if words have lost their meaning. This government is turning the US into a world problem. If the citizens of the US don't do something to solve this problem, then I'm very afraid of what will happen when those affected by this problem start acting. Because they will, sooner or later.

It's in your hands, the hands of the intellectuals, to stop those "crazies." If you guys don't stop them we're all in big trouble.

~ Kosta Psiouri, Greece

Back to Antiwar.com Home Page | Contact Us