Backtalk July 28, 2004

Shop Antiwar.com

I am a huge fan of your site and visit it frequently. Today was my first visit to the shop and I liked what I saw. However, I have a request to make. I would like to see some black colored T-shirts with your logo. I am a member of the U.S. military and would love to wear your shirt underneath my uniform every day. Just my way of showing support for your cause.

I am a member of the military whose job it is to fight wars, but I don’t get a kick out of it. War is ugly, brutal, expensive, traumatizing and deadly. It is 100 times worse though when fought for the wrong reasons as is the case today.

~ Capt. Z

Matthew Barganier replies:

Unfortunately, CafePress doesn’t offer black T-shirts, though you can try dyeing a red font shirt black (tips here). But whether you’re wearing our shirt or not, we’re honored to have you in our audience. You can always show your support by spreading the word about us among your colleagues and friends.


Moon’s Coronation

Is it not a bit disturbing that in the age of the PATRIOT Act a man who is not a US citizen, who believes he is the Messiah and who, for more than 25 years, has been suspected of brainwashing people into joining his cult is given access to a Senate building (not to mention joining John Ashcroft for a prayer ceremony the night before Bush’s inauguration)? If anyone has any doubts as to money (of any kind) being able to control and influence our government, this speaks volumes.

~ Mike I.

Matthew Barganier replies:

Maybe our esteemed representatives in D.C. thought the Reverend just wanted the place for a mass wedding. They’re really into defending marriage lately.


Do We Want a War Criminal as President?

Dear Mr. Raimondo: You’ve written another interesting article, yet, I’m still very disappointed that you haven’t made an endorsement for whom to vote for this November. It seems that it is your view that it is pointless to vote; but I don’t think that not voting would send the right message. When people don’t vote, it doesn’t look like they weren’t satisfied with any of the candidates – it looks like they were lazy.

You ought to make an endorsement. It seems that none of the candidates agree with you enough for you to be happy endorsing any of them; but being not-entirely-satisfied with one’s choice is better than giving the war party the message that their policies will not cost them votes.

A number of months ago, I wrote to Pat Buchanan and asked him whether he’d run again in the 2004 election. He said he wouldn’t, since there would be no need to do so by November. I agree with your article that Pat Buchanan mistakenly believes that Bush is now a “realist,” and I’m afraid that if you don’t act preemptively and make an endorsement yourself, he’ll end up endorsing Bush, and unintentionally help give Bush a mandate to continue his bloody rampage.

You say that the Anybody-But-Bush crowd is morally bankrupt; but I disagree. Bush’s presidency has been primarily defined by the war in Iraq. Allowing Bush to be reelected without endorsing a rival candidate is in effect endorsing more wars. Even though Kerry has been, to put it mildly, a disappointment to those fighting against the war party, the election of Kerry would not be an endorsement of war, since Bush, who has been defined by his enthusiasm for the aims of the war party, would be defeated.

Don’t think that voting is pointless and use the excuse that either way, a war-Democrat or war-Republican wins. The election doesn’t just pick who gets to ride in Air Force One, it also sends an important message. I challenge and encourage you to decide on a candidate, perhaps even a third party candidate, and make an endorsement. Why not endorse Nader? At the very least, you’d get to annoy Medea Benjamin.

~ G. David Nystrom

Justin Raimondo replies:

Antiwar.com doesn’t endorse candidates: we are a nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization.

I guess it is a good sign for Kerry/ Edwards that Mr. Raimondo sees fit to light into them – it must mean they are about to win and Antiwar.com is about to resume its historical political alignment with the right. But calling Kerry a war criminal for his actions as a soldier in Vietnam? The only person who has ever said that is Kerry himself, and to me that indicates that he has undergone a process of moral maturation that few can match. It is true that his Iraq policy won’t be dramatically different from Bush’s, but that’s because 1) Bush has moved Kerry-ward, 2) Bush has f***ed things up so badly that he’s left whoever succeeds him (even Nader) with very few options. So Kerry and the rest of us have to clean up Bush’s mess, and cleaning up doesn’t offer many opportunities for stirring ideological statements.

What I as an independent voter am trying to accomplish this November is the election of the candidate who would not have pressed single-mindedly for war in Iraq in the first place and who therefore is significantly – though not absolutely – less likely to make war again in the Middle East. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

~ M. Ziser

Justin Raimondo replies:

If your definition of “the good” is a war criminal, then I’m not sure what moral universe you live in. On that basis, why not just elect Kurt Waldheim president and be done with it? “Maturation”? Yes, I’m sure Rudolph Hess came to eventually “mature” enough to recognize his crimes: but so what? Imperialism is morally corrosive, and you, sir, are a perfect example of the damage done.

Dear Justin: The CPUSA ceased to be a Marxist/ Leninist party many decades ago. Their support of the Democratic party proves this. I wish that you had also pointed out that there are many Communist parties in the US that are Marxist/ Leninist and as such support NO CANDIDATE BUT THERE OWN from the working class and oppressed communities. Workers World Party is running two such candidates, an African-American man, John Parker, for President, and a Latina lesbian, Teresa Gutierrez, for Vice President. How about giving some credit where it is due.

Do not use the term Leninist for those who do not follow the principles of Lenin, regardless of their previous affiliations. This is disingenuous and factually incorrect. We, the communists who follow Marxism, know that the only thing that will bring change is people in the streets demanding what is rightfully theirs! NOT CAPITALIST ELECTIONS!

~ Scott Cossette, Santee, CA

Justin Raimondo is right that options for antiwar voters this election year are limited at best and those who think that voting for Kerry will somehow, someway bring an end to the U.S. occupation in Iraq are silly dreamers. Anyone who doesn’t buy that should be pointed to the fact that Kerry’s forces in the Democratic Party wouldn’t even allow an open debate on a minority plank to the Democratic Platform calling for an end to the occupation. The fact that Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean can be bought off with speaking time during non-prime-time hours at the convention and that the Greens would turn their back on Ralph Nader to join some meaningless popular front with Kerry shows the antiwar left to be hopeless.

It would have been nice if all the major third parties: Greens, Constitutionalists, Libertarians, would have dropped their ideological blinders and given their endorsement to Nader as a true popular front candidate against the war this fall. Alas, this will not happen and thus we are once again stuck and divided, our differences too powerful to unite as Raimondo pointed out with the Constitution Party.

But I disagree that the antiwar right should be totally written off. Granted that Mr. Badnarik’s nomination shows why are conventions are such scripted events these days, to prevent such dark-horses like Mr. Badnarik from winning nominations on a wave of emotion only to later find out skeletons in the closet that doom his campaign. I would not dismiss Michael Peroutka’s bid – you know, Mr. What’s-His-Name – with the back of my hand for this reason: He is antiwar. If he can get enough on the antiwar right to vote for him and tip the balance against President Bush II in favor of Sen. Kerry, this spoiler’s role will create an earthquake in the Republican Party in the aftermath of the election. This earthquake will unleash furies that will work in favor of antiwar forces. The Bush family will be discredited, the Republican neoconservatives will be discredited and disgraced and damned, the religious right will be discredited. The GOP will become as open as it was after Gerald Ford’s and George Bush I’s defeats. In that vacuum, the antiwar right can slip in as it did after the Bush I’s defeat. Instead of defending an unpopular war, they can become the opposition to Kerry and his armchair humanitarian warriors.

That opposition will no doubt be centered around Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex). While my Nader dreams for 2004 may have died, I have another dream as well. It’s 2008, and Ron Paul is campaigning for President against our continued occupation of Iraq in New Hampshire, backed by forces of the newly arrived migrants of the Free State Project. And if this dream does come true, it will have started in Bush II’s defeat in November caused by my and other antiwar votes for Peroutka.

~ Sean Scallon, Arkansaw, Wisconsin

Justin makes the point that Kerry’s policies are just like Bush’s; therefore, those of us who are voting ABB, shouldn’t vote for Kerry. As a Life member of the Libertarian Party, I am considering holding my nose and voting for Kerry because:

1. Bush is a moron who has no sense of reality; Kerry appears to be intelligent enough to “flip-flop” when facts change.

2. With Bush defeated, surely Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Ashcroft, et al will also go. What are the chances that that kind of team could be duplicated by the Kerry Administration? The Bush Team is the 1927 Yankees of imperial arrogance, Kerry’s team may be the Cubs.

3. We as the anti-war crowd will have influence over the Kerry Administration that we will never have over the Bush Administration. Kerry will, as a liberal Democrat, start out automatically with a hostile third against him. These people, the ditto-heads, will hate him just for being a Democrat. Kerry will have to appease us – the Bush opposition, just to have any sort of majority.

I know it is not pretty, but as you also pointed out – there is no other choice.

~ Richard Vajs, Franklin, WV


The Present Danger

I‘m with you, Justin, on the need to get all US troops the hell out of Iraq, and now. That way the terrorist nut-job Islamists can take over – the ones that really pose a threat to the West – and the US can go in and flatten the place. Properly, this time. The way they should have done last year. Six or seven million dead Iraqis should do the trick and have the jihadis crawling to the table to sign the articles of surrender. Can’t wait.

~ Jack Johns, Sandringham, Auckland, New Zealand

Justin Raimondo replies:

You’re oh-so-right, Jacko old boy. But first I would put you smack dab at ground zero.


The Puzzling 9/11 Report

Sibel Edmonds asks, in ending her op-ed, if I am “highly puzzled and curious” as she is. I’m not, not any more. I’m suspicious, and I’m becoming angry. I’ve been following this story rather closely for many months, believing it to be one of the clearest indicators of the credibility and openness of my government. While I’ve been very curious regarding her claims of criminal actions by high-level officials, and puzzled by the efforts of administration figures to stifle any investigation of them, I’ve regarded them with some scepticism as well. While I’ve been very impressed with Ms. Edmonds’ courage and perseverance and integrity, I’ve been pleased with the judiciousness and circumspection of most of those officials investigating her claims. It has reaffirmed my confidence in the ability of our governmental system to balance concerns of the individual with the interests of the whole. Until now.

The report of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 9-11 investigation (which I’ve yet to read) will sorely disappoint me if it fails to acknowledge, explore, and deal with Ms. Edmonds’ allegations properly, as she suggests. I am coming to have serious doubts that the security of our nation would be in any way compromised by a true telling of this story, and now suspect I am witnessing a concealment of truth which benefits only the narrow interests of a handful of officials in preserving power. I am left with the sense that I am being kept in ignorance about a story of which I have a right and an interest to know. Striving to remain objective, and generally mistrusting much of what I encounter in the media, I tend to dismiss nearly all “conspiracy theories.” But I fear I will soon join one segment of the “lunatic fringe” as I try make sense of being kept in the dark.

And, I am beginning to hope that Ms. Edmonds will consider doing something I would be admittedly loathe to do myself: spill the beans. Tell the whole story, in defiance of all gag orders and threats. I no longer trust government officials to represent my best interests, or those of our nation, in this matter. I believe it would be an act of patriotism for Ms. Edmonds, gathering support from as many congressmen and judges and media figures as she can find, to defy Ashcroft and Mueller and Walton, and to take her entire tale to the public. It would restore my confidence in the spirit of democracy.

~ Dr. Rees Chapman


Neocons the Real Present Danger

We highly commend Mr. Paul Craig Roberts on his courage and honesty to point to the real purpose of the “war on terror,” war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and planned wars on Syria, Iran and beyond.

Mr. Roberts writes: “The relaunched CPD (Committee on the Present Danger) consists of neoconservatives who are, in effect, an unregistered lobby group for Israel’s Likud Party and its foreign policy. The purpose of the new CPD is to foment war against Islam.”

These wars are certainly not for War on Terror, WMD, Saddam Hussein, Democracy, Freedom or even Oil. Imperialism and the Military-Industrial Complex is probably a far 2nd or 3rd. Oil is probably the grease to bribe those who need bribes to go along with the genocides and atrocities, and they are apparently many.

So we can clearly state that the drivers of these wars are 1) the Zionist lobby with their control of most of the media and political system, 2) the Zionist Christians who will justify unlimited killing and destruction for their misguided belief of the return of Jesus (peace be upon him) being conditional to the supremacy of the (brutal and apartheid) state Israel, and 3) those who plan to gain greatly financially from these disastrous wars of aggression.

Will the people of conscience in Congress and the media ever have the honesty and courage to say the truth like Mr. Paul Roberts? Or maybe we should ask: please tell us just how many millions of killings and torture will it take for them to have their conscience finally stirred?

~ Hatem Radwan, Ph.D., San Jose, CA


US Must Stay Out of Sudan

I am as against war as most people in the peace movement and I was highly critical of the interventions in Kosovo and Iraq. However, for over twenty years I have watched millions of Sudanese die whilst the outside world has done nothing but talk up the prospects of peace.

Sadly, the illegal and unjustified attack on Iraq has rather reduced our room for maneuver, particularly as Khartoum was bombed in 1998 after being wrongly accused of chemical weapons production. The genocidal regime in Sudan – formerly allied to bin Laden and Saddam Hussein – now claims it is defending Islam against western warmongers.

Several million have already died, many more will do so – far more than in Iraq under either Saddam or Bremmer.

This is a man-made disaster for which George Bush and Tony Blair are at least partly responsible. We tried to impose peace on the country using a stick-and-carrot approach. Since Iraq turned out so disastrously our stick has got a lot smaller and the carrot a lot bigger, which has convinced the murderous bigots in Khartoum that they can do whatever they want in northern Sudan in exchange for concessions on the South.

Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Hundreds of thousands of people will die of famine in the next few months. It will soon rise to millions unless action is taken. The innocent victims in Sudan should not have to pay the price for our mistakes over Iraq.

~ Peter Moszynski, writer and aid worker, former history teacher in Sudan


Terror in the Skies, Again?

My most optimistic interpretation of the recent “rehearsal” for hijacking is that Department of Homeland Security or some other agency was running a live test of their own system. The explanation that this was a Syrian band playing at a desert casino, but neither band nor casino can be identified due to privacy considerations, just doesn’t wash. When my favorite local band, Ritmo Caribe, played at the Rumba Room in Corpus Christi, I posted an announcement on the web. Never occurred to me I was invading anyone’s privacy.

~ Kirt Higdon

Matthew Barganier replies:

Here’s the whole story from, surprise, National Review: “The Syrian Wayne Newton.”


Halliburton Ignores Sanctions

Excellent article. It is time the truth came out. I was incarcerated for 2 years because our company quoted (note: quoted only) a water intake pump set to a British company who in turn quoted the same to Libya. Because I was the CEO, they charged me with conspiracy, yet Cheney went to the White House for actually forming companies in Iran as a part of Halliburton to obtain business there.

Thanks for your article. It’s about time that Cheney and the American people face the truth about who they put in the White House.

~ John H.

Texas, Texas, Texas. I have been stunned and amazed throughout the coverage of this story in finding such exceptionally few references to to Rober A. Caro’s Path to Power and Means of Ascent (the first two in a series about the political career of Lyndon Baines Johnson), both of which chronicle the significant role of Brown and Root in LBJ’s meteoric rise in the American political scene. Not coincidentally, B&R’s star also shot skyward, first in the form of FDR, New Deal, contracts for the construction of roads and dams and then in the nascent Cold War forms of the War Party, in contracts for the construction of numerous US military bases worldwide, among others.

B&R, today absorbed into the Halliburton conglomerate, demonstrated a great deal of political chutzpah over the Cold War years. That, I would think, ought not to be overlooked in the current equation.

For one, until the year 2000, Lyndon B. Johnson’s first senate race was, per capita, the closest electoral contest ever in US history. Worse, to my knowledge, it was the only one, until the year 2000, ever decided by a Supreme Court decision to not allow a recount. If that doesn’t send chills up your spine, you are among the non-living.

There is much material here to be INVESTIGATED with regards to Tricky Dick II’s relationship with Halliburton and its subsidiary Brown and Root. Considering the transcendence of the War Party across “party” lines, I would think comment on these particularly alarming coincidences of VP’s would be imperative and research very much in order.

~ Gordon Durnin, San Jose, Costa Rica

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