Entry #1,001

That’s right, this is the thousandth-and-first entry on Antiwar.com/blog. Some lower page news you may have missed this week:

*Nazi War Criminal an Early CIA Agent. Yay Greatest Generation!

*Brits Send Home 83 Pregnant Soldiers. “No, honey, you weren’t an accident — you were my ticket out of that hellhole!”

*Sit Tight, Boys! Tonga’s Coming!. We may look back on this as the turning point in the war.

*Rebuilding Ali’s Arms. A story of real heroism.

Of Time and Elasticity

I was on welfare back in the 1960s. That was a way of showing contempt for society’s “work/progress” ethic, and if the state was willing to subsidize me while I protested the war and volunteered at the co-op, fine.

Caseworkers loved my brownies, but the joke was on me, for they never mentioned that, according to statute, as soon as I came into “property,” e.g., got a full-time job, I had to start repayment.

Ten years later, a computer match spewed me out, the state wanted its $2000 back. I’d been off welfare for eight years and gainfully employed for three.

Was their failure to inform me I was getting into debt grounds to contest? No, it wasn’t, but the “public assistance recipients’ bill of rights” guaranteed the right to a “speedy” determination of status or change thereof.

Hot damn, I had an argument! My status had changed three years ago, I had the right to plan for the future, I was about to make an offer on a house.

Well, it was a good try, more exactly, a “disingenuous” try, but who knows, had my cause been noble, maybe the judge would have taken advantage of the elasticity of the law.

It’s now another twenty-five years later and my friends at Voices in the Wilderness have been hauled into court; they wittingly violated the Iraq Sanctions Act and face $20,000 in fines. It could be the end of the road for Voices, but wait a minute, the judge has noted that the violations occurred in 1998.

Hmmmm, maybe my cause was nobler than I thought, maybe my mistake was not to have filed a countersuit.

The Tell-Tale Hate Mail

I almost never post hate mail. The posting of hate mail on blogs is usually a passive-aggressive form of hasty generalization – Ah, look what a bunch of raving lunatics/bigots my detractors are! But occasionally I get a piece that is truly instructive, one that wrings out the very essence of a movement in a way that labored analysis never could. Allow me to share one such epistle, written in mock parody of one of my blogposts:

    Blame the Jews for everything bad on this earth.

Continue reading “The Tell-Tale Hate Mail”

Manufacturing Terrorism

Led by the United States, global “defense” spending has risen 18 percent since 2001, presumably justified by an increase in global terrorism. According to a U.S. congressional study, terrorism has risen 35 percent since 2001. The increase in spending has coincided with an increase in terrorism. With every dollar, the U.S., which accounts for 47 per cent of the spending, manufactures new terrorists, which will, in turn, lead to demands for increased defense spending.

The Iraq war and occupation certainly led to the hideous Madrid train bombing. The astute U.S. reaction was to increase its military presence in Iraq. U.S. troop levels in Iraq, originally scheduled to decrease to 105,000 by this summer, are now going to be at 145,000, with several Army units having their tours extended 90 days. The Pentagon has pulled 3,600 troops out of South Korea to help in Iraq. Since U.S. troops in enemy territory provoked North Korea to develop nuclear weapons, removing the provocative troops would be a positive and necessary step toward a negotiated disarmament between the North and South – but sending the troops to the Iraqi quagmire is not what libertarians had in mind.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the current morass was predicted in many quarters. In a policy study for the Cato Institute two days after the attacks, Charles V. Peña wrote,

    But how exactly will increased defense spending on tanks, airplanes, and ships remedy the situation?

    The answer is that it won’t. To be sure, military action is the appropriate response to the heinous terrorist acts committed on American soil. But a larger military would not have prevented that devastating tragedy. And it won’t prevent future terrorist actions. Why?
    Because terrorists are not traditional adversaries deterred by traditional military force. If that was the case, then terrorism should not exist in Israel. The Israeli military is bigger and better equipped than any of the Palestinian terrorist groups, yet terrorism persists. So the answer is not that simple. Terrorism – by its nature – is not traditional warfare. Terrorists pick and choose the times and places of their attacks, and they are not on military battlefields. Terrorists do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from their adversary. In other words, terrorists are the antithesis of the kind of enemy that armed services are designed and trained to fight.

Like trying to swat a fly with a machine-gun, fighting terrorism with massive military force is inappropriate and destructive, leading to the creation of more fanatics willing to sacrifice anything for their cause. As Justin Raimondo put it on September 28, 2001,

    The interventionist response to the massacre of September 11 is to launch a massacre of our own, albeit on a much larger scale. Theirs is an agenda of military conquest, to go in and stay in – to spread “democracy” throughout the Middle East, to impose it by force of arms – and, coincidentally, make the world safe for Israel. On the other hand, the anti-interventionist response is quite different: it is roughly congruent with Powell’s arguments, as expressed to date, that we need to go in, kill ’em, and leave – without playing into Osama bin Laden’s hands. For the radical Islamists would like nothing better than a full-scale invasion of the Middle East, as recommended by [Bill] Kristol – all the better to spread his jihad far and wide.

And in a column on September 14, 2001, Raimondo on how to stop terrorism:

    There is one and only one way to stop this sort of terrorism, and that is to keep out of the affairs of other nations. We should be neither pro-Israel, nor anti-Israel; neither pro-Albanian, nor anti-Albanian; neither pro-Taiwan, nor anti-Taiwan. Our foreign policy should consist of the following principle, one handed down to us by the Founders: entangling alliances with none, free trade with all. It is a foreign policy that puts America first – not Israel, not Kosovo, not Taiwan, not “human rights,” nor “democracy,” but America’s interests, narrowly conceived. Failing that, we reap the whirlwind.

The results of increased defense spending were predicted long ago by libertarians here and at Cato, Old Right conservatives such as Pat Buchanan and Old Left liberals such as Alexander Cockburn. President Bush didn’t listen to these people; instead he opened his ears to superhawk Paul Wolfowitz, the Office of Special Plans and other war-crazy neocons.

What has increased defense spending (i.e., war, occupation, regime change, etc.) given us? Not surprisingly, more terrorism.

Understanding the enemy, while not condoning his actions or agreeing with his views, is the first step toward achieving peace. Nations like Britain and the U.S. don’t really have to do anything to fight terrorism; they only have to stop doing things that provoke terrorist responses. Stop the flow of money to Israel, end the occupation of Iraq, pull troops from foreign soil, close foreign bases, trade freely with every country in the world. The moral crusade to end terrorism can only begin with a realistic assessment of its cause. The U.S. must put down the machine gun and try a flyswatter for a change.

“Neither rain nor sleet…”

Amidst this glowing account, Better days beckon for Baghdad’s weary postmen, about the dedication of the workers and all the improvements being made to the “new” Iraqi postal system, be sure not to miss the following sentence:

    ”Hopefully within the next few months we should be back to pre-war service levels.”

Although “major combat” ended over a year ago, the Coalition can’t seem to get the Iraqi post office up and running any more than it can get the electricity and water flowing at their pre-war levels.

Shame!

FBI Whistleblower on Ashcroft

Today’s statement from Sibel Edmonds:

    For over two years the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, has been relentlessly engaged in actions geared towards covering up my reports and investigations into my allegations. His actions against my case include gagging the United States Congress, blocking court proceedings on my case by invoking state secret privilege, quashing a subpoena for my deposition on information regarding 9/11, withholding documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act, and preventing the release of the Inspector General’s report of its investigations into my reports and allegations

    John Ashcroft’s actions are anti-freedom of speech and anti-due process. His actions are anti-transparency and anti-accountability. In short, John Ashcroft’s actions are anti-Constitution and anti-democracy.

    To become an American Citizen I took the citizenship oath. In taking this oath I pledged that I would support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Therefore, not only do I have the right to challenge John Ashcroft’s anti-Constitution and Un-American actions, as an American Citizen I am required to do so. So are you.