Backtalk July 17, 2004

Condoleezza Needs to Call Anonymous

Great piece. I think it very wise for Antiwar.com to post articles by people who have worked for the state and recognize the missteps. And like other recent pieces by former intel analysts, this one reminds me of Sam Adams’ book about the CIA during the Vietnam entitled War of Numbers.

No doubt that some in the CIA violated a sacred trust, but if Congress had fulfilled its constitutional obligation and demanded the passage of a declaration of war before an invasion, I think the odds are much greater that the deceits would have been discovered earlier. Has Congress ever acted with moral courage? In that vein, are these reports in some measure an institutional CYA?

Regardless, I don’t see it getting much better for the CIA. You know as well as I do that during Saddam’s trial, evidence will be introduced that the CIA helped put him in power. …

Some people, including Col. Hackworth, have written that we should just abolish the CIA. I sometimes wonder if the CIA should be under the control of those who do the fighting and dying, not the civilian policy-makers and warmongers. Less chance of manipulation.

For what it’s worth, when I graduated from college several years ago, I asked my first cousin, who at the time was one of the top NATO Intel officers in the world, about the CIA. He told me to stay out because there were problems. He’s dead now but I think he would have agreed with the work of anonymous.

~ Sid Smith


The Cult of Power

I normally enjoy your work, but this article needs more attention and reassessment.

As far as I can see, your argument in favor of a connection between neocons and Trotskyists can be summed up in two points:

1. There are certain neocons who used to be Trotskyists or some other kind of leftists at some point in their lives.

2. Both neocons and Trotskyists want to spread their ideals (or “utopias”) across the world.

Both these arguments are flawed, and here are the reasons why:

1. People have the ability to actually CHANGE their political views. The fact that you’ve supported one political ideology (like, say, Trotskyism) at some point in your life does not condemn you to be a supporter of that ideology (in the case we’re discussing, to be a Trotskyist) for the rest of your days. … After all, the privatization, deregulation and market reforms pushed forward by the neocons are certainly not “socialist” under any meaning of the word.

2. You think Leon Trotsky was the first man who ever came up with the idea of spreading some sort of political ideal across national borders? You’re saying there’s a “link” between Trotskyists and neocons because they both want to spread their ideals across the world – never mind that their ideals are completely different. If “wanting to spread your ideals to other countries” constitutes a “solid link,” then neocons aren’t just Trotskyists. They’re also British imperialists, French revolutionaries, Catholic missionaries, Spanish conquistadors, Habsburg emperors, Arab caliphs, Roman legionnaires, and followers of Alexander the Great. …

Finally, before I end this message, there is one more thing I wish to address: Your assertion that the main difference between Stalinists and Trotskyists rested on “which kulaks they wanted to eliminate” is completely false. The main Trotskyist objection to Stalinism was that it had taken away power from the working class and invested it in a dictatorial state bureaucracy. This is what Trotsky himself used to say just about every time he opened his mouth, so I cannot possibly comprehend how you have ignored it. I understand your hatred for communists, but lying in the name of anti-communism is still lying. I get the distinct impression that you have not read what Trotsky had to say for himself. There’s a book that Trotskyists always recommend, and that I find myself recommending to you now: The Revolution Betrayed. It explains Trotsky’s objections to Stalinism.

~ Tudor M.

Let me get this straight? Are you seriously claiming the neocons are still Trotskyists?

I acknowledge that many were Trotskyist, and that they borrowed their political methodology from them, but if they are still Trotskyists how do you explain their hostility to the working class and minorities like Blacks? You mentioned Jean Kirkpatrick’s involvement with the AFL-CIO but they only did that so they could overthrow Allende and to fight the Contra war. Why did they overthrow Allende and replace him with a neoliberal dictator and fight the Contra war if they were still Trotskyites? This is a group of people who published The Bell Curve, arguing that class is genetic, so we should stop funding social services and public schools. Frankly I think they only joined the Trotskyists because the Leninists refused to support Israel. Podheretz got his start criticizing “the New Left” and hippies, not to mention writing an essay on his basic dislike for Black people.

~ Jenn Brice

Justin Raimondo replies:

No, I am saying that a new ideology, neoconservatism, developed out of Trotskyism. This ideology, in turn, owes much to the Left.


Senate Intelligence Committee Lets the Bush Administration Off the Hook on Iraq

Did Ivan Eland put out a barefaced lie for the basis of his article, or am I on the wrong page?

Ivan Eland claims that “The key issue, un-addressed by the Senate committee, is whether the Bush administration created pressure for the intelligence agencies to reach such an exaggerated opinion of the Iraqi threat. The Democrats on the committee foolishly bought into an agreement that will likely postpone a committee report on that more important issue until after the election,” and “Did the Bush administration pressure the intelligence community to hype the Iraqi threat in order to justify shedding American blood in an unnecessary and ill-advised war?”

Upon reading the report I find that the committee certainly DOES address the above-mentioned issue, and in fact quite clearly concludes that the administration did NOT pressure the IC to reach an exaggerated opinion of the Iraqi threat. Moreover I find no mention by the committee of a analysis of this issue to be reported after the election. Worse still, Mr. Eland’s commentary goes on to suggest line after line of accusations which also have been specifically rejected by the committee.

Is Mr. Eland plain lying? Would he like to defend his commentary? I must say that his article currently has caused my trust in the items on this site to plummet. Perhaps you can put up the conclusions of the committee’s report for your readers to compare with Mr. Eland’s commentary in the interest of fairness.

~ Anthony Rose

Eric Garris replies:

You must not be reading the papers. There has been much made of the fact that a second report has been held until after the election. Just because it is not in the document you mention doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It is a fact.

Here is an article about it:
http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=789482004.

“Despite Democratic objections, the committee delayed a report on how the Bush administration used the intelligence until after the 2 November presidential election. ‘There is a real frustration over what is not in this report … after the analysts and the intelligence community produced an intelligence product, how is it then shaped or used or misused by the policy makers?’ Mr. Rockefeller asked.”


A Scheme to Cancel the Elections?

Well, you are brilliant, for sure. And I read you daily – for two years straight. But today your credibility falls into the gutter when you declare a non-candidate, Howard Dean, as “the only antiwar candidate”! DUH! Are you still alive in there? Dennis J. Kucinich IS THE ONLY ANTIWAR CANDIDATE, AND IS STILL THE ONLY ANTIWAR CANDIDATE, AND AS SUCH HAS JUST SUCCEEDED IN GETTING SOME ANTIWAR RESOLUTIONS DIRECTLY RELATED TO REMOVING US TROOPS FROM IRAQ, INTO THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM! …

~ Paula Little, Garland Texas, delegate, Texas Democratic convention

Excellent article! Please allow me to respectfully point out, however, that Mr. Nader is not the only viable antiwar candidate on the horizon.

Mr. Michael Badnarik is the Libertarian candidate for President this year, and he is vehemently anti-Iraq war. Furthermore, the Libertarian Party is not only larger than the Greens, it is larger than all of the other third parties combined. I’m sure Mr. Badnarik would be delighted to give you an interview.

For more on the man and his views, please visit badnarik.org, votefreedom2004.org, and lp.org.

~ Kathryn A. Graham

All this talk of postponing elections misses that we should “pre-pone” them instead. If Al Qaeda is really planning an attack worse than that of 9/11, it is likely that AQ can’t reschedule such a precisely planned attack if US “leaders” announce that elections will be held “next week.” As a bonus, we’ll all be spared a few months of inane utterances and double-talk and lies from the campaign trail – and the conventions. We already did the “early hand-over” in Iraq, so let’s get it over with here as well.

Too bad we don’t have an antiwar candidate!

~ Brian J. Foley


Whitewash!

I can’t believe that a Democracy has sunk to such a low level. We have elected officials who have no moral fiber, from top to bottom. The only thing you failed to include in the duping of the AMERICAN public is the blanket support of our so called friends in the Palestine holocaust.

~ Gertraud Pravda

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

My column was about the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the misinformation used to justify a wrongful invasion of Iraq. It was not about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Israel’s Likud Party seems intent on creating a Palestinian ghetto and a form of genocide for Palestinians. It is a problem for the US as the US is Israel’s main ally. This issue requires far more open discussion than is permitted.

The article is apt, well-written, and correct, and, unfortunately, limited. It still does not address the base issue. The influence of Israeli-americans (small “a” intentional), on America’s vital interests. We have been made a catspaw for Israel, and the whole world knows it. Our treasure is being spent for Israel. Our soldiers are dying for Israel. Our real friends, of which Israel is not one, are being insulted and alienated over Israel. All else is secondary, or even without importance. That is the real whitewash. In any objective reality, the Israeli-american “neocons” and their fellow travelers would be deemed traitors, no less than any other traitors in our history who have manipulated the People’s polity for profit or for the sake of another Power.

Thank God for Seymour Hersh and others of his Ilk. They redeem, to a small extent, the honor of a whole people. …

~ Max Cadenhead

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Does Max Cadenhead have a point, or is it just a coincidence that Bush’s neocons have links to the Likud Party? Politically correct editors do not allow columnists to explore such subjects even if the columnists were brave or foolhardy enough to do so. Despite the First Amendment, a large number of topics cannot be discussed publicly in America. Therefore, rumor and conspiracy theories take the place of knowledge.


Bob Ransdell’s backtalk

“Back twenty or so years ago when the government was looking for a way to link up all of its computers in order to share information, etc., they approached a number of communications companies like Bell and ITT to try to get them interested in developing what would become the Internet. They got the same reaction all around – not interested, no money in it. (This was around the same time that Bill Gates was quoted as saying that 476K is all the memory that anyone will ever need.) It took Public Money from TAXES and the government to have the foresight and will to develop what would be come….”

What? DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency)? The agency the government turned over to the Pentagon? The Pentagon that wholly funded it? The project Bob Taylor led, the ARPA-NET? Bill Gates was about nine at the time. (The date was July, 1968.) 140 companies were asked to quote bids. The interested companies were rabid to get the chance to develop it.

BB&N of Cambridge, Mass. was awarded the contract, I think around Christmas of that year. They designed the hardware and Honeywell built it…. Most others, AT&T included, thought it wouldn’t work. Contracts were being bid, no donations were being solicited. The money required had been allocated in 1958 by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Foresight implies proaction. The impetus was a reaction to the Russians who made it into space before us.

~ Tom Meehan

Previous Backtalk

Read more by Backtalk