Posted November 9, 2003
Thank you for the information on Feith. One can tell that many important folks in the present administration are, first of all, Zionists. He is as dangerous as Wolfowitz, and they both should go. We will never be free of terrorists if the Middle East "problem" is solved, and it will never be solved until rational Jews everywhere repudiate Zionism.
Jim Lobe replies:
I don't think it is either necessary or desirable to repudiate Zionism, and I, as a hopefully rational Jew, do not favor taking such a position, at least at this point in history. The critical question is what kind of Zionism. one subscribes to: one that respects the rights, including the right of self-determination, of others, or one that does not. What concerns me about the neo-conservatives is that they invariably fall into the latter category. Feith clearly does; Wolfowitz is a harder case. While clearly personally and professionally close to Richard Perle and Feith, Wolfowitz, unlike those two, has generally stayed clear of Israel-oriented, let alone Likudnik organizations, and his statements about Israeli settlements and related issues have been consistently more sympathetic to Palestinian perspectives. If others have a different interpretation of Wolfowitz's views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, I'd be interested in hearing them.
Very shortly, just to tell you that I completely disagree with the sort of comparison you still try to make between what you call "the Empire" (i.e. imperialism) and Communism.
Against all evidence, and in spite of all sense of ridiculous, you continue criticizing Tito for a crisis and a war which exploded well after his death. Under Tito, Yugoslavia was a modern and prosperous country in which all "peoples" and cultures lived together in peace. Moreover, Tito was the leader of a victorious struggle for national liberation of all Yugoslavs, first of all the Serbs, the ones who actually and rightfully took most advantage from that by liberating themselves as Tito's partisans from nazi fascism, ustashe, Balli Kombetar, and from western imperialism itself, for decades!
The resurgence of all those historical enemies (nazi fascism, ustashe, Balli Kombetar, western imperialism) has nothing to do with Tito, but rather with Tito's death and with the treason by many, including some Serb quislings.
Your considering Tito as "anti-Serb" or even anti-Yugoslav is such a blatant paradox that not seeing it only means to have been completely blended by a very rough, indeed fully American anti-communism
Nebojsa Malic replies:
While in all respects superior to what exists today, Tito's Yugoslavia was hardly a paragon of peace, prosperity, independence and happiness. I could cite figures on economic mismanagement, spiraling national debt, or political repression of freedom-minded people (in addition to statist crackpots), but it is the fragmentation of the country that bothers me the most. The way the boundaries of Yugoslav 'republics' were drawn indeed, the very transformation of Yugoslavia from a united state into a sham 'federation' is absurd, a 'clean slate' that was an arrogant attempt at social engineering, the results of which we have seen in the past decade.
I never begrudged the Communists Yugoslavia's liberation from the Nazis. However, it is a strange 'liberation' that destroys the elements of one's society, blames the conflict on 'Greater Serbian bourgeois imperialism,' leaves two million victims of genocide under the authority of the perpetrators, subdivides Serbia and forbids the return of Serb refugees to Kosovo (thus nurturing Albanian domination)? All these things Tito and his associates did, as the Yugoslav Communist Party vowed to do as early as 1928 (See Batakovic, "The CPY as a section of the Comintern and the realizer of its concept in dealing with the ethnic question").
The 1990s Wars of Succession were fought over Communist-drawn borders, even as they were fed by memories of WW2 atrocities. Also, the Albanian takeover of Kosovo is a direct result of Tito's policies between 1945 and 1980. Tito's rule kept a lid on Yugoslavia's volatile ethnic issues during his firm, 35-year rule, but when he died, there was no one to keep the lid closed (leaving aside the question if it should have been in the first place). Furthermore, he impressed upon millions of Yugoslavs the concept of Great Leader, which led to mass obeisance to mini-Titos of the 1990s, "fathers of the nation" such as Tudjman, Milosevic, and Izetbegovic.
Perhaps I need to devote a full column to Tito's legacy one of these days, because there is more. For now, suffice to say that what we saw in the 1990s was national-socialism, and it is obvious where that 'socialism' component came from.
Am I to understand from your choice of illustration (the map) atop your article entitled "Lesser Known Stories from the Only Democracy in the Middle East" that your website counts itself among the warmongering rejectionists who deny the legitimacy of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, and the right of the Jewish People to re-establish their homeland in the Middle East?
While I always strive to read a variety of opinions and viewpoints on the middle-east conflict, I find it highly disturbing that a website claiming (innocuously?) to be "antiwar" would propagate the Hamas and Islamic Fundamentalist fallacy that Israel-proper within it's pre-1967 boundaries is actually "Occupied" land (I note that the legend labels it "Areas Occupied by Israel May 1948" and that the majority of Israel's major cities are identified not by the English or Hebrew versions of their names but by the Arabic versions, "Al Quds" for Jerusalem? "An Nasirah" for Nazareth? "Tabarryya" for Tiberias?).
Is this just pure coincidence, or are you maybe not simply an antiwar website but a website with a close association to one of the sides in this conflict?
It seems to me that those who would support the Arab world's declaration of war against Israel on May 15, 1948 can hardly claim to be antiwar, can they? Please correct me if I am wrong in my assumptions.
Ran HaCohen replies:
I cannot speak for Antiwar.com; but personally, while not supporting warmongers, fundamentalists and terrorists on either side, I do have "a close association to one of the sides in this conflict": namely, I am a Jewish Israeli. As such, I have chosen a map of Palestinian origin (www.arij.org), which was the best I could find in terms of clearly and unbiasedly depicting the various territories at stake during the past five decades of the conflict.
Regrettably, the map does not depict the UN Partition Resolution of 1947, which you mention. Had it done so, you could have seen that while the UN allotted just 56% of the land to the Jewish State, Israel in the 1948 War actually took over 78% of it. Since "occupy", according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means to "take control of (a place, especially a country) by military conquest or settlement", I see nothing wrong with applying the term here.
Israeli maps are usually much too biased: they often delete the Green Line, especially inside Jerusalem; and almost always delete the international border between Israel and Syria, affirming Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights. Using such a map would be misleading and unfair towards uninitiated readers; the map I have chosen is much more informative and objective. Under these circumstances, names of place given in Arabic a language not inferior to English or Hebrew, and the second official language of Israel is a price I found quite acceptable.
I challenge the reader to find a better available map, and I promise to consider using it if you find a better one. I would be happy if you find a map that also depicts the Wall presently being constructed in the West Bank; it's being missing from this (older) map is a serious flaw.
Tim McKee: Once the casualty list reaches the level of casualties suffered under Saddams let me know. I might be more sympathetic to you protesters.
Mike Ewens: First of all, I am only concerned about the deaths of Americans, not foreigners (disclaimer: "care" is the sense that I demand the US government do something about such deaths. I am not a cold-heated man). I don't claim that the war is illegitimate because of the deaths of Americans. Rather, I am trying to point out the cost of such a war. You, the almighty, have decided that it is worth these lives. Why? "Because it was worse under Saddam." Need I point out the slippery slope of such a claim? Here is EXACTLY what you are arguing:
1: 1,000,000 dead Iraqis
Your "patriotic" and "pro-American" choice would clearly be the latter.
Apparently you believe that such a calculation as the one above is a legitimate one. Well sir, I do not. If you feel obligated to save the lives of strangers, then I suggest you go fight the wars of salvation such a sentiment demands. Here's a list of duties off the top of my head:
North Korea, China, Central Africa, East Timor, Cuba....
You get the point. Perhaps if you were more patriotic, you would see that American lives if they must be lost should only be lost in defending Americans (read: not in Iraq). All other routes are altruistic humanitarian crap that has no place in a republic like America. The American government has no right to "free me from poverty" or "free me from drug abuse" so it surely has no legitimate role in freeing foreigners from what the US government deems "evil."
TM: By the way Saddam killed some 5,000 Kurds with chemical weapons. Where were you then?
ME: If I was old enough back then (I think I was 7), I would have been protesting the American military aid that funded the chemical weapons used on the Kurds; nothing more, nothing less.
Finally, isn't it ironic (perhaps you won't think so) that I could ask you that same question? Where you you? You let the Kurds die! You let Saddam get into power! You let Saddam rule for 20 years! You let him buy WMD from America! What took you so damn long to act and take him out?
A Soldier Asks for Support
I am a soldier in the US Army. I would just like to voice a concern of mine to your organization. While I respect your views on the war in Iraq. I want to remind you that as a soldier I am sworn to "uphold the Constitution of the United States" and to "follow the orders of the president of the United States of America." My point is, the soldiers are not there because they want to be. They are there because they have been trained to have enough discipline to follow orders and do their job. So please remember that we are trying to do an impossible task, and all we as soldiers ask for is support. Not support for our task but support for the many fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters that are willing to die for the freedoms we all enjoy everyday.
What's typical is that Ran HaCohen hasn't got a single word to say about Jews who try to demonstrate their non-allegiance to anything Jewish by outdoing non-Jews in their anti-Israel rantings. Comparing Israel to Hitler is their ultimate, but slightly warped method. It is almost sad to see Mr. HaCohen speak about "grave ideological blindness" and then equate "Hitler's mission" with Israel's use of "racist laws" to achieve its "obvious aim — i.e., to force the Palestinians out of their own homes." Is this serious dialogue? Does he mean all the Palestinians out of all their homes? Like Hitler's aim to remove all the Jews from planet Earth? Sharon has had many excuses in the last two years if he really wanted to force all the Palestinians from their homes. But he hasn't. Israel's "racist" laws result from the violent and uncompromising resistance it has always faced. Mr. HaCohen is being racist by equating Hitler's murdered Jews with Israel's displaced Palestinians.
Ran HaCohen replies:
How easy must it be to sit safely in the US and preach "allegiance with anything Jewish" to someone who takes a bus in Tel-Aviv twice a day. But I admit: my first loyalty is to truth, humanistic values, and my well-being not to my ethnicity, Volk, race, state or to a government that gives me neither security, nor peace, nor hope. Is it a crime? This depends a propos Hitler on whom you ask.
Ideological blindness is bad enough; no need to add reading miscomprehension to it. I write of 12,000 Palestinians who need a permit to stay in their own home, and add that the obvious aim is to drive them out of their homes, located outside the Wall, on area that Israel obviously and even admittedly wants to annex. Now the reader pretends to "misunderstand": Do I mean driving all Palestinians out of their home? Oh no, dear reader, what a terrible thought: I mean just these 12,000, for the time being (or "bis auf Weiteres" in German). That's all right with you, isn't it? And later on maybe another 12,000, or another 120,000 but not all the Palestinians Heaven forbid, of course not all of them, not all at once!
"Israel's 'racist' laws result from the violent and uncompromising resistance", says the reader. The eternal lie: it's all about security. Let's see. A security regulation should forbid access to those most in danger, and allow it to those least in danger, right? The regulation forbids access to non-Israelis and non-Jews, and gives free access to every Jew and Israeli. Hence the reader implies that Jews and Israelis are safer in the Palestinian village than non-Jews and non-Israelis are. But if the Palestinian villagers really love Jews and Israelis, and just hate non-Jews, what was the problem in the first place?
1. What is the current total number of wounded?
2. How many of those have died from their wounds?
3. Why aren't those deaths added to the 'official' counts?
Mike Ewens replies:
2. We may never know, but sometimes the DoD releases the names of those who died of their injuries. E.g.: http://www.dod.mil/releases/2003/nr20031008-0508.html.
3. You are supposing that they aren't. I can think of at least a dozen cases where deaths like the above link were released, presumably of those who died of their wounds at a later date. I think by law, the DoD must report all military deaths. I have been combing the press releases for the last seven months, recording the casualties in Iraq, and unless, as you suppose, the government is breaking this law and not releasing names (which would be difficult to prove or disprove without the government admitting something), I predict that the "official" numbers are fairly accurate.
Well spoken, Mr. Reese!
Your thoughts have captured the smoke and mirror diplomacy of Mr. Bushs contingency. The thought of our President actually responding to unscripted questions from the media must terrify the factions that are charged with making him appear Presidential; the leader of the free world.
There seems to be a popular notion that the premise of our foray into Afghanistan and Iraq was to steer Arab countries from considering the Euro as the primary currency in which to sell their oil.
Saddam Hussein had already taken the initiative of converting to the Euro and the Iranians had publicly declared their intentions to do so, prior to George Bushs election in 1999. It doesnt take a Nobel candidate in economics to understand that should a regional shift of oil currency to the Euro occur, our dollar would plummet to the status of the peso.
I can only imagine the international complications we would be faced with should we openly confront OPEC with military retaliation to their intentions. The Western Europeans would squeal foul and we would be charged with numerous counts of economic blackmail. (Obviously, the stronger European nations are registering protests, only to be overshadowed by 9/11 and our national security mandate).
Why is it that, in the U.S., we hear no mention of this well documented issue? Is our media afraid they will be labeled as conspiracy nut-cases should they explore this issue?
A third grade chess player can easily recognize the strategic implication of our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. With the Israelis buffering our Western flank and our influence in Turkey, to the North, we have effectively sandwiched Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria with the inevitable checkmate.
I would be far more comfortable with the fact that we were preserving our economic interest against a devastating consequence, rather than mobilizing to chase two old thugs for years to come.
Each person tries to get his life in order before telling others how to live their lives better. Each family tries have a strong family before telling others how to create a perfect life, and so on with towns, cities, provinces /states. Finally a country should be able to help all of its citizens before messing around in other countries.
What really irritates me is seeing all the homeless, people on drugs, people without jobs, devastation like the fires in California and Bush goes there and does what? "Our hearts are with you." Offers hand shakes and goes home. Why can't Bush see that all the money spend outside the country on wars could be sent on advanced equipment and manpower to put out fires and help in other ways. The money should be spent ALL in the US on its citizens.
Sorry I could go on and on, but you probably get the point.
I enjoyed this article because it sums up so well what appears to be happening in the US
The people I talk to in the UK would describe Bush in the same way even if they were not against the war initially.
The only other thing I'd add would be the impression we also have is that this war wasn't only about the President's honest intention to do good it was also about putting right a grudge carried over from George Bush senior.
The scariest part of your article is about the President not reading papers and relying on what his staff tell him I guess that's just confirmation that neo-conservatives rule. God help us.
Give them hell Charley! I just hope that Bush is like father like son 4 years and done! There were 15 Saudi hijackers if it had been 15 Iranians the US government would have said that Iran attacked us not so with Saudi Arabia. The Bush family has deep ties with the royal family in Saudi over oil. The Bush family also has ties with the Bin Laden family over construction the Carlyle Group. I hope that the 'real' reason for this war surfaces. I still am undecided what it is, but it is costing the lives of our troops daily not to mention the wounded and our nonrecoverable tax money.
Hooray! That's a good one, Charlie, and I agree with you entirely. You just fail to mention that this president is evil, in addition to his lack of independent sources of information. Even ignorant, illiterate, people can make sound judgments based in basic common sense. Now we have a guy with a MBA sending the kids of the poor to kill and get killed, or maimed, and you are suggesting it's because he doesn't listen to his staff I don't think so! Ignorance? highly unlikely. Stupidity? Maybe. Evil? You bet!
This was a well written, unbiased article. It is too true that Bush has been, from the beginning, too arrogant to admit mistakes. I fail to understand how someone can fail to produce evidence, fail to admit error and still be in the White House.
Great article. Keep 'em coming. What I don't understand is why so many people in America don't see those facts. Where are everybody's brains? On TV, I guess. That must be why back in the '50s the teachers and even some parents were worried about too much TV for kids. They were afraid everybody was going to forget to read, inquire and think.
Looks like it's happened.
Good article, Charley. Liked your paragraph "What one wants in a president, besides basic honesty, are intelligence and sound judgment . . ." This is all the more true, when that president leads a superpower and is the most powerful man on earth.
Here in Japan, people are never outspoken, but the other day a man approached me on a Tokyo train and said, "Are you an American? I think your president is a dangerous man." A Japanese TV poll in March, as the US began shelling Baghdad, placed Bush as "more dangerous than Saddam Hussein."
American policy affects all nations. The world's people may well be entitled to a say in next year's presidential election.
Man, when you old gunners get a bead on the truth, you let go with both barrels: facts and truthfulness.
What is most disturbing is that voters had the facts on Bush's drinking, deceptions, lies, stealing elections and influence of a father and mother who has protected him all his life and a wife who now does the same thing. Jesus didn't save him, Laura did: get sober or get out. And now the neocons surround him, feed him lies, keep their war going and it is not going to get any better. He is a prisoner of a staff and advisors who took the place of his family and are using him just as his family used and protected him. It happens with many alcoholics and druggies in their denial of a problem. I know, I treated many and spent a fortune trying to cure those in my family. The one who recover as often those who hit rock bottom and wake up and have to face the truth. George never has so we have to suffer the result of his personal problems.
Don't let up Charley. ...
This is a sober and sane analysis of what has transpired in the rather horrible remote weapons attack on the Iraqi people who suffered far more than their government do we as Americans have much to say about what our leaders do? I, as an American senior citizen, who followed our leaders during the Vietnam war devoutly, do question this latest use of the American expertise in remote weaponry that kills far more citizens than leaders.
It is surprising that despite this 'Invisible Man' having played a major role in starting both U.S. wars against Iraq and making frequent appearances on our TV news media few Americans are aware of his power over our national government and its foreign policies especially in the Middle East. Though he has never worn an American uniform, never held an elective office he has been an advocate for unlimited US preemptive military interventions worldwide. Though few Americans are aware of his power the same cannot be said for foreigners who are well aware of it. The meeting described here between him and the Iraqi representatives sent by Saddam in an effort to prevent another American attack on Iraq displays the power he has in our government. When he threatened others "You're next!" this chilling message struck fear in many foreign capitals knowing he could indeed make such a threat happen and launch an attack upon them at any time he so chose.
Even more astounding, as journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker ["Lunch with the Chairman"], he has positioned himself to profit by the very wars he helped to start. Ironically such success at a time when many of the soldiers families fighting his present war in Iraq are forced to subsist on Food Stamps and handouts from their respective churches. Future historians will long ponder how one man attained such power in a nation which considered itself to be 'The World's Sole Remaining Superpower'. Americans have always admired those who achieve such success. So let us remove the cloak of invisibility from him and accord to him the proper credit for his achievements: RICHARD PERLE.
The Senator's words remind every American of fundamentally who we are, and that we, by our Constitution, are the power holders, the decision makers. I attended the memorial service of a high school friend (CSM James D. Blankenbecler father of 3, accomplished athlete, most senior enlisted man to die in the war) killed in Iraq on October 1 this weekend in Alexandria, VA and the reality of the war for my friends and I came home and became personal.
The climate in which we live has become so politically charged that we now don't listen to what is being said but rather who is saying it (and then decide if we will listen or not). The press is dismissed as liberal or conservative, as are politicians. We are skeptical about information, facts and figures if the source is not from our "party" or our camp. I would love to see our country move in the direction of people caring about what is right for America (our neighbors, our friends, our schools and communities) no matter what these people think or who they are. I would love to see our politicians care as much about the daily lives and concerns of the people who gave them their jobs as they do about their material gain, righteousness and power.
I truly believe that most Americans feel that they have no ability to change what Bush or any of the other politicians are doing in Iraq (and at home) even if they completely disagree, and feel they are being cheated and bamboozled. That would be like a CEO of a company having no power to see financial statements of how his company is doing, no power to disagree with the employees that he /she hired, no power to set or fix the course of his company if it was astray.
After I read what Senator Byrd said I suddenly remembered that each American citizen has, by our Constitution, the right to his opinion (to absolutely disagree with our president if he/she wants to) and the right to be respected and communicated to by the people we have "hired" to work for us and represent us. It fired me up and got me mad.
What can we do?
"found" your website today, and have bookmarked it for daily
viewing. This article by Sen. Byrd is a masterpiece. I only wish every
newspaper in America would print his very wise contributions since he
certainly represents for me the best American politician we have today.
I read everything I find written by him and encourage him to continue
fighting for us. He is a treasure and deserves our highest respect. God
blesses us through him.
When the history of our debased time comes to be written, it is Senator Robert Byrd's name that will shine above all others. We as a nation owe a deep debt of gratitude for his ringing words from the days before Bush's war on Iraq started to the recent approval of the 87 billion dollar supplemental appropriation package. All those senators and congressmen who initially questioned this package and then caved in should hang their heads in shame for lacking the courage to stand up to the blackmail and threats from Mr. Bush and his capo Rove.
Even the eloquence of Senator Byrd's language is in such stark contrast to the illiterate meanderings of Mr. Bush and the empty threats he issues which results in the deaths of our soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians. I believe that in the end we will see Senator Byrd vindicated by events even though as a patriot he will be the first one who would not want any harm visited upon our soldiers because of the folly of our current rulers.
His stirring call for our senators and congressmen to honor the Constitution and not the current officeholders deeply moved me and reminded me of Barbara Jordan's similar statement that her faith in the Constitution was absolute.
Despite my pessimism about the current situation in Iraq, the words of Senator Byrd have made me feel optimistic in an odd way. Any nation that can produce such an honorable Senator cannot be all bad. I am honored to be living as your contemporary Senator Byrd. You are the true patriot for speaking truth to power. Thank you on behalf of my family and my children and grandchildren.
Again, Senator Byrd has demonstrated the honor we have every right to expect of the people we send to Washington to represent us. It would be sad if the only Congressmen whose sycophantic loyalty to the Sovereign were in the Republican party, but too many Democrats have sold their honor in the interest of harmony. Where is the outrage that existed in the Congress during the Watergate hearings? Sam Ervin must be spinning in his grave as he regards such as Feinstein and Boxer!
As a citizen of this country I feel like a lost soul. It seems to me that Congress keeps giving Bush a blank check on anything and everything. I think it all comes down to politics. These people in Congress just worry about their next election. Thank God for Senator Byrd. His is a lonely soul in the wilderness these days.
The thing that frightens me most is that Bush will get reelected and as it looks now, that will be a reality. Each day I can't believe what is happening to this country. The people of America don't seem to care and apparently do not inform themselves of what is happening these days. I suppose if one gets their news only from TV it doesn't surprise me.
I have lost all respect for our so called journalists. I remember how they lambasted Clnton on everything and the press just swallows every bit of what this administration throws to them. I was against this war from the beginning and have not changed my thinking of it still.
I live in a very conservative area and I am totally out of step with people that I come in contact each day. They love Bush and this area has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. Go figure it.
It makes me sick when I see our soldiers getting killed or wounded. It really makes me angry that we don't see the dead and wounded coming back to America. Thanks again to our open press. They are in bed with this administration and they should all hang their heads in shame. But, Bush just seems to have the world by the tail. Everything goes his way. I have not seen anything quite like it in my lifetime and I am 67.
Senator Byrd is the most eloquent elected official in the United States, and would have held his own in Thucidides' Athenian forum. His values are universal and American, and his language is simple and transparent, which skewers the current oppressors of the people of America and the world with their own ugly truth.
I believe that the power of art, oratory, rhetoric, poetry, music, scholarship, science, and honest reporting are the proper weapons with which to oppose these cruelly inhuman human beings.
Thank you, Mr. Solomon.
This is the first commentary I've read which addresses the US's illegal occupation of Iraq. Even progressives skip over that part and go right to arguing the how-tos of occupation.
As a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) this illegal occupation strikes a real sore spot. We are still fighting for our sovereign rights 150 years after the illegal occupation which was backed up by threat of US Military force.
My message to Iraqis if you've got any assets that look good to the US, you will never pry them out of your country.
The Iraq debate should be framed around the illegality of the unilateral invasion and subsequent illegal occupation. If the US were invaded, progressives and conservatives would ban together to kick out the occupiers. Despite what we're hearing from Administration stooges, normal citizens must be a component of the resistance. You don't have to love Saddam to want the US out. Just as I don't have to love Bush to fight against any illegal occupation of my homeland. This is so glaringly obvious I don't know why yours is the first column to broach the subject of national sovereignty.
It's clear from our history that the US, once in, will not get out unless forced out. I think many Iraqis understand this and that fuels the resistance.
I was against the invasion and I'm against the violent resistance. However, more troops will only mean more violence. We will not win hearts and minds because we do not belong in Iraq. Not for political reasons, not for economic reasons, not for strategic reasons. Our presence there is simply immoral and illegal.
Thank you for opening up the debate.
As a Vietnam veteran, I find your article a "must read" for all Americans. I hope you will continue to hammer against the terrible policies of Bush and the Neo-barbarians.
~ Ari Garcia