Rummaging Through the Ashes

George Robertson, formerly UK Defense Minister and in 1999 NATO SecGen, repeatedly proclaimed in 1999 the slogan "Serbs Out". (Not "Third Army Out, or "Serb forces out.") The NATO attack was explicitly aimed at ethnically cleansing Kosovo of Serbs.

Geoff Hoon, Robertson’s successor at Defense, was explicitly asked whether the NATO attack was not greatly increasing the flow of refugees. He refused to answer, and the BBC interviewer did not press him.

The only force up to stemming, let alone reversing, the ethnic cleansing is the Serb-Montenegrin Army. Only they have the force and the concrete interest in working for a solution. But that is as likely as the British government of the time appearing in its rightful place – the dock at the Hague.

~ Ben Cosin

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Only if you mean the International Court of Justice. The ICTY lacks the authority to try anyone.

What comes around goes around – the Serbs are reaping what they sowed in the ’90s.

~ Janis Blacklock

Nebojsa Malic replies:

You mean, the "genocide" of 1999, that never happened? The "massacre" in Racak, that never happened? The "mass deportations" – which just so happened to be organized by the KLA? While Albanians were far from being treated with kid gloves, it is beyond dispute that they want Kosovo ethnically cleansed of not just Serbs, but everyone else. In each of the World Wars, the Balkans wars of 1912-13, and constantly during the centuries-long Ottoman occupation, Albanians have slaughtered Christians – Serbs, Greeks, whoever they could get their hands on – as a matter of sport. Even if one wishes to explain it by a "cycle of violence" theory, one will find Albanians at its beginning.

In a way, it’s not their fault. They were used as killers by the Ottoman Turks. But while other Balkans nations have struggled to rid themselves of the heritage of Ottoman oppression, it seems the Albanians have embraced it as part of their ethnic identity. No wonder they can’t get along with anyone in the Balkans. This is not "what goes around, comes around." This has been coming repeatedly, for centuries. It’s high time for it to go.


Republican Speaks at Crawford Texas Antiwar Protest

I was also present at the rally in Crawford. I also spoke. Like you, I also departed before Ralph Nader arrived. Like you, I participated out of a desire to see people united around a shared commitment to ending this war and providing real support to the troops, both on the ground in Iraq and upon their return.

For one, I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers had recruited a Republican for the event. I thought your opening an excellent speaker’s "hook." And though there were specific aspects of your position that I could have debated with you, I am supportive of the main thrust of your comments. It is for all of these reasons of common cause that I was seriously disappointed at your description of the event.

You seem truly uncomfortable with the diversity of the crowd. You bet, middle class Anglos were over represented, though I can’t say I saw that many "yuppies" in evidence. There were outrageous costumes, but no rudeness. There were colorful vehicles, but no violence. The sound system was the best that the limited budget of the event could afford, but the sincerity of the performers can’t be questioned.

If you were unprepared to accept the diversity and amateur nature of the event, why drive 500 miles? What did you expect? Mr. Holmes, these folks are not, by a large, "long time activists" like yourself, just good American citizens, outraged at the behavior of their government and trying to make a difference.

There is more than enough ideological intolerance in this country. The current administration plays on those differences to keep us divided and controlled. Your characterization of this event does nothing to thwart their efforts. I suggest that if you are sincere in your desire to see unity across traditional lines of divide, you should first look to your own attitudes and biases.

You should also check your facts.

The gentleman, and he is truly a gentle man, that you characterized as: "One short fellow was dressed in a pseudo military uniform that made him look a bit like a munchkin generalissimo… maybe that was his intention" is a member of Veterans For Peace. He is a World War II veteran. His antiwar activities date back to the days of your youth. Had you actually spoken to Mr. Johnson, you might have learned that his attire reflects not a military uniform but rather honors his long career as a railroad man. He is the man who built and operates the "Peace Train" featured in the march, and in many other events over the years. Your disrespectful attitude toward Mr. Johnson is extremely offensive.

Finally, and a small point this, Ms Sharrock was neither "recently wounded" nor trained as a Blackhawk pilot, but rather a Chinook pilot. Had you spoken to her and ask, you would not have made the mistake.

I grant you the benefit of the doubt. While many of your comments, particularly extolling your own performance, come off as self serving, I will hold to the higher ground and chose to believe your motives pure. I hope your future actions do not disabuse me of that notion.

~ Dave Collins, USMC 1967-71, RVN 1968-70, Viet Nam Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace

Mike Holmes replies:

Thanks for your comments on the Crawford event.

I meant no disrespect to anyone in my commentary, particularly the W.W.II vet I described in colorful terms.

My observations were in part intended to convey some of the cultural aspects of this kind of event and were not meant to be disparaging to anyone involved. I wish I had talked with Mr. Johnson, as you suggest, I’m sure I would have gained additional insight.

In conveying the performance aspects of this event, including my own, I was trying to share some of the festive flavor these protests have, including costumes, and I thought I was being fairly honest and straightforward.

Several elements of my account were attempts to demonstrate similarities to the Crawford rally with GOP events to illustrate some commonality despite major ideological differences. I’ve never heard any decent music at Republican rallies either, if that’s any consolation. And sorry, what I heard at Crawford was pretty bad, albeit sincere.

I think likely an account by a Peace activist speaking at a Republican rally (should that occur) might also include similar anthropological observations. In addition, part of my perspective is that of someone who attended numerous anti war rallies and marches during the Vietnam era (as likely many Antiwar.com readers did). Noting the nostalgic elements present in current peace efforts is certainly fair journalistic license.

My comments regarding diversity were more about the lack of such. I’m sure organizers hoped a broader spectrum of the population would come. But those who came were mostly the same, ranging from moderately liberal to whatever passes for left, in the usual protest get ups. I for one wished there would be more libertarians and Republicans there. There should have been. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. Che Guevara tee shirts aren’t selling well anywhere these days, are they…

The minor inaccuracies about Ms. Sharrock’s background doubtless are my fault, as I was briefed by one of the media people before the rally about her and I recalled "wounded", recently discharged, and Blackhawk, perhaps the latter being misremembered, along with information about her currently serving husband. None of those were derogatory in the context of what I intended to be fulsome praise for her presentation.

If I am guilty of immodesty in describing my own brief remarks, then is out of a sense of relief that despite being the proverbial skunk at the picnic, I at least came out smelling like a banana, if not a rose, in terms of audience appreciation.

Other elements of my commentary were candid observations rather than unvarnished praise. I was merely being honest. I was not there in the capacity of a supposedly objective journalist. This event, like many others I’ve attended for Republican and other groups, suffered from the "preaching to the converted" sameness which can be off-putting to those not already on board with the message. And boring to those who are on board.

You might note that several news accounts of the Crawford rally you can find by Goggling also stressed some of the same archetypal "left" protest icons as I did. Some featured extensive reporting of the nearby chili cook-off crowd and their attitudes about the rally, far less charitable than mine.

I am appreciative of the opportunity I had to speak at Crawford, and would do so again in similar circumstances despite the discomfort of so openly opposing the nominal leader of my party. I conveyed this appreciation, and my thanks to the organizers of the event, both personally and subsequently via email.

And I am particularly encouraged by the efforts to include clergy and veterans such as yourself, who have far more credibility with those undecided or troubled by the Iraq war than the usual left-of-center speakers who would denounce Santa Claus if they thought he was a Republican.

It was my concluding thought, indeed my fervent hope, that future protests against neo-imperialism are not merely nostalgia trips for aging Vietnam war protesters, or simply fun days at the park for leftists trying to give away their newspapers (though I have nothing against that, and in fact wished the music and vibe were even more festive – where are the Rastas when we need them?) but that such protests are packed with average Crawfordians, Waco-ites and Texans of all stripes who come to share their outrage at the existence of unjustified attacks on faraway nations based upon false pretexts.

I respect your service to your country and your activism. I came in solidarity with the cause. Our cause, not just yours.

And where were those Catholic priests, by the way? I’m not Catholic myself but it would seem that the largest religious organization in the world, headed by an outspoken opponent of the war, deserved a place on the speakers lineup.

When enough vets, Baptists and Catholics, Republicans and yes, even people with colorful buttons and uniforms, get together to stop this nonsense, the wars of the future like Iraq will not be waged.


Haiti

A DemocracyNow.org story said as many as 50 executions a day are occurring in the second largest city in Haiti. Also the US is placing enormous pressure, so far resisted by Jamaica, for Aristide to relocate to Africa. If the level of executions is any where near that level why is this not a story on your pages? The Haitian situation has completely left your site.

I would expect that to be the case in the mainstream media but the reason I visit your site is to find information not available in the corporate media.

Also a very good report on the four day running battle in Fallujah was on public radio this afternoon but I get no sense of the conflict from your pages. Just these short news clips with no depth. I hope you have a better report when you update tonight on the developing situation there.

~ T. Mauel

Eric Garris replies:

Our researchers are volunteers, so please send the URLs for any stories we are missing. The link submission form can be found here: http://antiwar.com/link-sub.php.

I definitely had not heard the story on Haiti you refer to.


Too Pro-Jewish /Zionist

Your articles are weak and your site is avoiding any articles critical of Jews involving themselves in terrorist acts, i.e. Cohn and Asher Karni.

~ Curt H.

Jeremy Sapienza replies:

This has got to be a sardonic joke. We are simply fair, and it so happens that we come down on the Israeli side much, much harder than the Palestinian side. So your criticism is not just wrong, it’s absolutely ludicrous. And we don’t know who Cohn and Asher Karni are – don’t assume we’re omniscient and are just choosing to ignore certain things. If you have credible information, like news stories, please send it. We don’t run sloppy amateur conspiracy pages as news alongside AP and Reuters.

Considering how hard we are on the Israeli side, what more could we do to not be "too pro-Jewish/Zionist and Israel"? Run stories from Rense.com on how Jews are hooknosed moneygrubbing Evil Incarnate? Never. Gonna. Happen.


Chinese and US Bluffs

Just what is your objection to China’s claim over Taiwan and the Chinese people’s willingness to fight over it. This sentiment, as you have no doubt encountered in your daily life in China, is shared by most Mainland Chinese; and I can safely say probably shared by most overseas Chinese as well.

In Lincoln’s first inaugural address, he asserted that:

"Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it? break it, so to speak? but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?"

Instead of a contract, the bond that binds the Mainland and Taiwan together is five thousand years of Chinese history and civilization. Again in his first inaugural address, Lincoln asserted that "we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself." Can you not see why most Chinese, even those that favor democracy in China, simply can not tolerate Taiwan declaring independence from China?

~ Stephen Cao

Sascha Matuszak replies:

Where exactly in my column did you read that I am either pro- or anti-independence for Taiwan?

Either way, Taiwanese seem to be worried about missiles and Sedition Laws and not reunification per se. I can understand the ties between the Mainland and Taiwan, can you understand Taiwanese fears?


Kosovo Burning

Articles like Nebojsa’s are needed to raise the general public’s awareness of what’s really taking place in Kosovo and to the Serbs.

The attack on the Serbs is not simply a case of ethnic cleansing. This is genocide, and I challenge anybody to present a logical argument to refute this. The pogrom is not being solely committed by extremist Albanians, but also by the KPC (yes, they too are extremists though not officially), UNMIK, KFOR and the UN.

Prior to his illegal abduction to the Hague, Slobodan Milosevic warned the Serbian people "that NATO isn’t attacking Serbia because of Milosevic; it is attacking Milosevic because of Serbia" (Address to the Nation, 02 Oct. 2000). Those who doubted this comment at the time cannot do so today. The attack on the Serbs did not end in the post-Milosevic. The previous week’s events should not be a surprise, and anybody who thinks that they were uncoordinated and committed spontaneously is a fool.

Whilst I do agree with a large part of Nebojsa’s writing, I do not expect that the Alliance will "start living up to it right now, this very minute – or admit failure, leave forever, and pay damages to the victims of their criminal stupidity". Why would they even contemplate: living up to something that was never their intention?; admit failure when each of their plans are succeeding?; leave forever when they currently control such important European real estate?; and, pay damages to their victims when they continue to rob them?

~ Dusko Petrovic

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I never actually expected NATO to do what I, rather strongly, suggested. And it hasn’t. But that doesn’t mean that what I’ve suggested is not the right course of action. I believe it is – for NATO, for Serbs, and for the Albanians as well.


Terror War’s Legal Cost

How is the Nevada Rancher’s case different than Brown v. Texas (in 1979, I believe) in which the court held that a citizen not accused of a crime does not have to I.D. himself to police?

~ Howard R. Music


2 More US Soldiers Die in Iraq, 34 this Month

To hell with the media! Do what we do. Every Friday my fellow citizens and myself stand in front of the federal building in my town and hold up a BIG sign that shows the number of U.S soldiers killed up to that day. The media is a neutered mouthpiece of, for, and by the corporations. If one person did this in every town we can ignore the worthless drivel that the so-called media try to pass off as news.

~ Kurt Dunbar, Bellingham, Washington


Andrew West’s backtalk

The most violent act from the CCP so far is lobbing some dud warheads into the Taiwan straits in 1966 to intimidate the separatists (“freedom fighters”), those who blame China for such “crises” are either brainwashed by the likes of War Street Journal or being disingenuous. Fact is, For many peaceful years there weren’t any “crises” in the Taiwan straits because of China’s declared policy, that “China would use force ONLY IF Taiwan declares independence, otherwise it is willing to wait for an eventual unification.”

Compare this to the iron fist campaign adopted by democratic countries such as India, Indonesia, Turkey, Columbia, Uzbekistan etc. (the Uncle Sham fan club members) to crush their separatists (“the terrorists”) movements, (often with US weapons, US trained troops and US endorsement).

China’s extraordinary restraint ought to get it a Nobel prize for peace instead of all the flak. Along came Uncle Sham, who declared he would “defend Taiwanese right to self determination (sic) at all costs,” this amounts to a signal to the DPP cabal led by the fraudulent president Chen Shui Bian to go all out for independence; not surprisingly the DPP gladly obliged. When China predictably responded with angry rhetoric, it was blamed for provoking a “crisis” by the real provocateur, the US. This is classic Uncle Sham scam – a robber crying “robbery.” …

The entire world, especially the overseas Chinese, regard the Taiwan affair as a quarrel between brothers. I, for one, always stay out of public debate between reunification and pro-independence Chinese in a public forum, – so why do Yanks all seem to think that they have this goddamn given right to meddle in other’s affairs…? Haven’t they messed up enough lives already?

~ Den K.


Responsibility for Twin Tower Deaths

Condoleezza Rice, among others, sought to defend the Bush administration by claiming that removing the Taliban earlier in 2001 would not have averted the horror of the 9/11. As usual, her claim glosses over a simple yet powerful truth; based on scant last-minute information about two previous attacks, the heroes of flight 93 took matters into their own hands and prevented the intended attack on the White House. In other words, it is entirely possible that the Twin Towers would still be standing if passengers on the first two flights had any inkling regarding the nature of the threat. As such, and if it turns out that our government failed to heed and communicate any warnings – even last minute warnings – about al-Qaeda’s intentions, it must be held accountable for all Twin Tower deaths.

~ Greg Brownfield, Bartlett, IL


John Harvey’s backtalk

Regarding John Harvey’s letter, one statement, "We had not used any military action against these people," was blatant crap. Our government has been initiating military action against others for most of its existence. Just over the past few decades – Desert Storm, daily bombing of Iraq, support of Saddam against Iran, the casual acceptance of "collateral damage" (read innocent victims). Eric could have additionally pointed out these facts in reply to Mr. Harvey.

~ C. Mitchell


The Main Danger to Peace

As a founding member of the Vanunu defense committee (and for a ME free from WMD) in Israel, I’m very happy to see your article on Mordechai Vanunu and his forthcoming release. (I’ve circulated your column among the rest of the committee and supporters.) Scores of people are expected here to welcome him when he comes out of prison, and we all hope he will be allowed to live as a free man. More details are available if you like.

There’s one correction – Israel did once send someone in a box as diplomatic mail, but it was not Mordechai Vanunu. In reality, he was not lured to Rome by feminine wiles, but went there with the lady in question because his presence in London had become untenable following Robert Maxwell’s spoiler on his revelations, which appeared in the Sunday Mirror, with his photograph very large on the front page, under the title ‘Israel’s Nuclear Conman’. The Sunday Times were still dithering about publishing Vanunu’s evidence (and the photos he had taken at the reactor), being afraid of a repetition of the Hitler’s Diaries fiasco.

In Rome Vanunu was grabbed, injected with a disabling drug and taken to an Israeli cargo ship in La Spezzia, which took him, drugged and chained, to Israel. His presence in the country was revealed by the Government six weeks later.

~ Yael Lotan


Impeach

In light of recent disclosures and testimony by Richard Clark, I have no recourse but to call for the immediate impeachment of George W. Bush. This is not something I take lightly, particularly since it will require the painting and posting of many, many signs like the one shown here: http://www.freewayblogger.com/weblog.htm.

Over the next ten days I’ll be posting up to one hundred of them in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and points in between. …

~ Scarlet P. the freewayblogger


9/11 Revisionism

Mr. Raimondo has once again done his part to get to the truth. The truth, however, will continue to evade as long as the position of National Security Advisor is exempt from overview and the law. As John Prados suggests (even dating back to his 1991 book Keeper of the Keys), the selection of the National Security Advisor should be finalized through a Senate confirmation process. I’d like to see the Democrats have the guts to take this on as part of their 2004 party platform.

~ Mark Nagel, Everett, WA

Read your article with interest, and it reminded me about the PBS-Frontline report "The Man Who Knew" – John O’Neill, who ironically died in the World Trade Center attack. Reading this report, makes it clear that this disaster could have been prevented, had they listened to John O’Neill.

~ Mike Allmendinger, Toronto


Middle East: More Fundamental Problems

Samuel’s warning to the children of Israel is a universally valid description of what a state will do. The Bible presents another, more amusing illustration, in the parable of the bramble bush (Judges 9:8-15). During Abimelech’s earlier attempt to raise himself up as king, Jotham told the following story:

The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

The trees then entreated, in turn, the fig tree and grapevine to be king, with the same response: both were too busy making their figs and wine, to leave off their productive work and become king.

Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.

And the bramble, incapable of any useful work, eagerly accepted the offer of kingship.

~ Kevin Carson, Mutualist.org


The Crime Committed in Our Name

I deeply appreciate the writings of John Pilger. However, in ‘The Crime. Committed in Our Name’, he says:

"In 1946, the judges who tried the German leadership at Nuremberg called the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country ‘the supreme international war crime.’ That principle guided more than half a century of international law, until Bush and Blair and Howard tore it up, covering their actions with a litany of lies."

The assertion, "That principle guided…." is simply not true. A short list of U.S. preemptive attacks on other sovereign nations: Grenada, Panama, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, to say nothing of all of the covert ‘ops’ initiated by the US government makes it a lie to imply that it is the Bush administration who initiated the first preemptive invasion of a sovereign nation that was no threat to us.

It does not serve any interest to ignore any of the U.S.’s preemptive actions which have been going on continuously since the "Indian" wars.

~ Joseph Sweet

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