Backtalk, July 8, 2005

Iraq: A Right-Wing Alternate Reality Show

Kudos on another great article on the “through the looking glass” war, Justin! One observation, however, regarding the role of oil. While it is true that we haven’t neatly carved up Iraq’s oil fields as Secretary O’Neill suggested we planned to do, the multinationals have in fact achieved their goals: crude oil prices have nearly doubled since March 2003, and oil profits are at unprecedented levels. One doesn’t need to control resources to profit from them, it would seem.

Yes, peace may be necessary for enterprise – but war is damned good for profits.

~ PJ Wright, Chattanooga

Dear Mr. Raimondo,

Even though I read you regularly, I cannot resist writing you this little piece of praise for your article this morning [July 6, 2005] … This is a great article. Congratulations.

Even though you and I know these things, most Americans don’t.

You may know that I wrote a book two years ago (The New American Empire) that documents what your article reveals, i.e., that a pro-Israel cabal has been the main force behind the war against Iraq.

On Amazon.com, it is possible to view points of view regarding the neocons and this ugly little war.

~ Rodrigue Tremblay, University of Montreal, TheNewAmericanEmpire.com


Negotiations With Iraqi Rebels Are a Good Start but Not Enough

Ivan, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this. Although I do agree with almost every point that you have made. The errors here in my opinion are as follows:

1. Assuming that any negotiations were an attempt at establishing dialogue and not part of a larger propaganda campaign on our part, such as: “well, we tried to negotiate but we were unable to make any progress with the ‘terrorist’ in charge of the insurrection.” Al-Jazeera reports that it seemed to the Iraqis as nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to fish for information. We just have no reason to believe anything that we are told concerning Iraq; two years of the American public eagerly showing their ignorance are not the basis for optimism.

2. The people around the president have no incentive nor intention of withdrawing. The PNAC documents as well as the much earlier “Kissinger doctrine” offer me no optimism at this point. They managed to get their guy another term with no problem. …

3. The insurgents, terrorists, freedom fighters – call them whatever one chooses – have no real incentive to bargain. They know we are leaving. It may take a while but their history has proved that perseverance will defeat the West. And it will. Their neighbors will turn on us before they have to negotiate. We’ve done a wonderful job of alienating the intellectual classes as well as the man in the bazaar throughout the Arab world. Nobody trusts us any more.

Just some ramblings from a disgusted, soon to be ex-patriot American . I hope to be completely wrong here. None the less, the struggle for peace is worth any and every effort and we must persevere.

By the way, I’m a veteran and I never for a second have supported this war or any other, for that matter.

~ Barry J. Parks


How to End the War: Negotiations Now!

Mr. Raimondo:

We agree completely with your Iraq assessment, your parallel observations about El Salvador and your appeal for negotiations to end this illegal, pointless war which is costing us dearly in blood and treasure, and will leave us an odious legacy of terrorism, taxation, and terrible tidings in an Iraqi theocracy. The administration reaction will be similar to LBJ’s in 1965 in regard to Vietnam – “We will not withdraw, either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement” – but we must insist.

You were too easy on the Dem-hawk Biden-Kerry-Reid-Pelosi axis of complicity – more than trying to act tough, we suspect that, to our country’s detriment, they are consciously trying to put the president in a political dilemma, knowing full well that he can’t increase troop levels without a draft.

If we are fighting in Iraq just to defend our forces, then we should leave. If we are fighting in Iraq to defend an Islamic fundamentalist government, then we should leave. If we are in Iraq to train a new generation of terrorists so that our war on terror may be assured of longevity, then we should leave. If we are in Iraq to generate more excess profits for U.S. corporations, then we should leave. If we are fighting in Iraq to distract funds and interest from U.S. domestic needs, then we should leave. If we are fighting in Iraq for oil, we should leave. If we are fighting in Iraq to promote presidential executive privilege and political power, we should leave.

“War is a racket … the only one in which profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” – Smedley Butler.

Yes, let’s take up the cry for negotiations and a rapid withdrawal, and not be distracted by calls either for protracted war, for a fuzzy withdrawal timetable or for impeachment.

~ Don Bacon


The Other War We are Losing

Mr. Lind:

In your recent missive, “The Other War We are Losing,” you wrote of Afghanistan that, “we need to redefine our strategic objective to accept that country as it is, always has been and always will be: a poor, primitive, and faction-ridden place, dependent on poppy cultivation.”

I can only imagine how upturned your nose might have been while writing these words. Ah, let us just accept the poor and primitive lot that is certain people’s in certain parts of the world like Afghanistan. Yes, the only intellectual pursuit according to you is to give up on them outright, the sorry lot that they are. Sure, we can “feed” the poor and then pat ourselves on the back, and leave them, then, to their sorrowful conditions. …

This is the utmost height of bigotry. Sir, I contend that you and I as Americans are no more or no less worthy or able to overcome our “primitive” natures, factions, drug tendencies, etc., than others in the world, we are just fortunate to be in a democratic society that ensures some measure of competing against these human possibilities through governmental and societal means of support and liberation.

Your contention that Afghanistan – or any other human society, for that matter – “has been and always will be poor, primitive,” etc., is snobbery and condemnation of the worst form.

~ S. Werning, Charleston, WV

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