Backtalk, July 19, 2005

Moonie McCarthyism

Why are you posting links from the World Peace Herald? Who are these folks anyway? A quick Google search reveals them to be a publication founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who also founded the Washington Times, a neocon organ. Their “news” seems to be mostly pro-Bush propaganda, such as the piece on Toronto being a prime terrorist target, since Muslim extremists hate liberal free democracies. What are you folks doing?

~ David W.

Eric Garris replies:

We get people objecting to virtually every source we find news from.

You are actually wrong. The WPH and other “Moonie” publications continue to run a number of antiwar writers, including Martin Sieff, William Lind, Paul Craig Roberts, and others. They are clearly a conservative publication, but run views from neocons, paleocons, and others.

If you have an objection to a specific article, I would be happy to address it, but I get pretty tired of the neo-McCarthyist “criticisms” that condemn writers and sources for their affiliations, rather than the content of their arguments.


War Is the Health of What?

Actually, this comment is relevant to all of the articles regarding the apparent lack of vision on the part of Bush 2 and his administration. In fact, it applies to the actions of every administration since at least before the Spanish-American War. I don’t think it’s a lack of vision or miscalculation that causes the apparent “mistakes” in policy. I don’t think Iraq, as the most current example of my point, is going contrary to the administration’s aim. In fact, I expect that it’s going better than they had hoped. If you look at the actions of our government spanning over 100 years, you see that either Americans have elected the absolute dumbest people to office, or their agenda is not what they’re telling us.

It is impossible that 100+ years of administrations are clueless as to the consequences of their actions. But if you look at their actions with an eye for them DELIBERATELY trying to create chaos, it makes perfect sense. This is no different than the way a crime lord would go in to a business and demand protection money. If they refused, they would suffer some mishap (a fire, vandalism, etc.), then the crime boss would come back and make them another offer. What we see in the actions of Bush in Iraq isn’t a lack of vision. When Bush ordered the invasion, he knew it would create more anti-American hate. When Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army, he knew it would lead to looting, violence, and chaos.

Without the threat, government can’t grow. Liberty doesn’t die in times of peace and prosperity. It requires the ever-present threat of enemies for the government to hang over our heads to justify the expansion of power and the curtailing of our rights. Sadly, Iraq isn’t a mistake. The hatred it spawned, the instability, the chaos, the creation of more enemies to hang over our head, have all been part of the plan. And when you understand the government’s real objective, you see that’s it’s all going quite well.

~ Paul Schneider, Iota, Louisiana


Why Are They Killing Us?

Mr. Buchanan,

I’m 73, a homemaker, and have average intelligence. Before George Bush took us into this fiasco (in fact it was immediately following 9/11), I quickly surmised that “they” wanted to kill us because our imperialistic behavior was not welcome in the Middle East. Bush has taken us on the road to ruin. You’re a member of the media. Why do you not shout this from the rooftops, knowing our young military are dying and their bodies mangled daily? My family members have served in every war since the Civil War. Isn’t it time someone said, WAR IS PASSÉ? Diplomacy and understanding of other cultures should be our position. Killing begets killing.

Sir, if you see the folly in this administration’s tactics, why are you not communicating this belief to more Americans, rather than just those who read your essays? You have a microphone at your use from time to time! You must know that the average American’s day is filled with working for their families, among other stresses. They don’t have time to read a Pat Buchanan essay. Send your message, sternly, when you appear on MSNBC! Although I’ve stopped watching these foolish people on CNN and MSNBC (Fox is hopeless), I would respect your courage to stand up for what is right. We need for you and more media people like you who have the conscience to be much more outspoken!

~ Nancy Walker, Avila Beach, CA


Roald Dahl in Palestine and Lowell’s Backtalk

Hi Sam,

I stumbled across your posted excerpt from Roald Dahl’s autobiography, and I should begin by saying that I have enjoyed reading the articles on your site. I’ve looked at what you’ve written in the past and I’m sure you’re not anti-Semitic.

FACT: You posted an obviously constructed and dramatized account of an encounter between a known anti-Semite and a caricature.

FACT: This does necessarily not make you racist, just surprisingly naive!

“I’m not an expert on Roald Dahl, and by quoting him I wasn’t endorsing everything he ever wrote and said. I don’t consider the passage I quoted or his autobiography to be anti-Jewish.

Whether or not the book has anti-Semitic overtones is debatable. We do know that Roald Dahl has previously made some pretty disgusting remarks about the Jewish people. Not even anti-Semites deny that he is anti-Semitic.

So you chose to post a piece of fiction Dahl wrote, which purported to show a prior interaction with a Jewish person. One connotative outcome of that passage is to portray that Jewish person in a negative light. You must have understood that much, because it appears that you were posting the article to make a point regarding Israeli injustice.

While you do not believe that the passage is anti-Semitic, I think you would be hard pushed to deny that implicit negativity.

As this negativity is so clear, I can only assume you did not think this would be offensive or controversial.

I admit I am surprised that you don’t understand that publishing a negative portrayal of a Jew authored by a known anti-Semite would offend anybody – Jew or non-Jew.

I have a copy of The International Jew by Henry Ford which you are welcome to borrow, should you wish to find some other innocuous passages with which to demonstrate an example of Jewish political character. Or, in the spirit of your previous retort, perhaps we could hunt down a less controversial or overtly anti-Semitic text by Ford which includes a negative implication about Jews, so as to protect you from accusations of anti-Semitism.

If it helps, you could claim that the anti-Jewish excerpts were intended only to make a point, and that the fact that Ford had an irrational hatred of Jews is irrelevant.

~ OL

Sam Koritz replies:

Is Dahl a “known anti-Semite”? I certainly didn’t know when I posted the excerpt, and I’m not sure now. The e-mails I’ve received claiming he was anti-Jewish don’t include any quotes from Dahl’s numerous books and short stories – just something he supposedly once spoke and something else he supposedly wrote in a magazine article (no link to the article was provided). In contrast, Henry Ford’s only published work is The International Jew. Surprisingly, Google lists similar numbers of Web pages for “Henry Ford” (985,000) and “Roald Dahl” (963,000); yet “Henry Ford” + “antisemitic” yields 3,500 results, compared with “Roald Dahl” + “antisemitic,” which yields only 69 results (many of which appear to be irrelevant). In other words, a Web page mentioning Henry Ford is approximately 50 times more likely to mention anti-Semitism than is a Web page mentioning Roald Dahl. Whether or not Dahl was an anti-Jewish bigot, he isn’t very well known for being one.

Of course, I could read those 69 pages and do follow-up research to determine if in my then-informed opinion Dahl was anti-Jewish, but I’m not going to bother because it’s not that important: it’s just a blog entry.


Henry Dorst’s Backtalk

One of your readers, Henry Dorst, had the audacity to criticize Paul Roberts and his “research” about Pinochet’s coup in Chile, and he was branded by Roberts as an ignoramus who has been bamboozled by Soviet propaganda.

I have lived in Canada for decades and have not met one single person who has been bamboozled by Soviet propaganda. There are people who have been bamboozled by American propaganda, but Soviet?

Going back to the original subject, when Roberts talked about Pinochet coup, he said among other things the following: “Chileans were able to force the military to intervene.” I found this statement quite amusing. Roberts only forgot to say who were those Chileans who forced the military to intervene. They were certainly not the Chileans I spoke to.

Otherwise, according to Roberts, it was a very democratic coup (a little financial help from the CIA did not hurt, as well as a lot of encouragement from Kissinger). A little blood was shed, but what the heck, democracy in Chile and profits for big mining companies were saved. I also did my little research about Chile and spoke with some Chileans who barely made it out of Chile after the coup. They told me a totally different story about the “democratic” coup and its aftermath. They also told me about their friends and relatives who failed make it out of Chile.

What Paul Roberts is saying in his reply to Henry Dorst’s letter could be (and has been) printed in Wall Street Journal and other mainstream publications. Why doesn’t he get a job there? It would be more fitting for his political orientation and more lucrative than writing to Antiwar.com.

~ G. Federsel, Canada

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

G. Federsel thinks he knows all about the Allende-Pinochet era because he talked to some Chileans who fled to Canada. I spent five years researching the period. My co-author, fluent in Spanish, had lived in Chile during the period. She spent two years in Chile during the 1990s completing our research. We located and interviewed former terrorists and the members of the military government.

George Federsel is amused that the Chamber of Deputies, which chose Allende as president on the basis of his oath to respect the constitution, subsequently censured Allende and called for the military to overthrow him. This document is public record. Why is George Federsel amused? Why are people as ignorant of the subject as George Federsel and Henry Dorst so determined to make it known to the world that they have no idea whatsoever what they are talking about? Why are they proud to be ignorant fools?

People like George Federsel are no different from Bush’s ignorant brownshirts. They are ruled by beliefs based on their brainwashing. They know nothing, and they want no fact or analysis that contradict their brainwashing. George Federsel sounds exactly like the right-wing freaks that write to me asking me why I don’t leave the country if I hate America so much.


Etc.

Iraq, with a population of 26 million people, is approximately 1/12 the size of the U.S. According to a John Hopkins survey, the Iraqis have suffered an estimated 100,000 fatalities. That is 1/3 of the deaths attributed to the Butcher of Baghdad during his 30 year reign. This is supported by Pentagon press releases stating that our military dropped 28,000 bombs and missiles in the initial phase of the war and the military recently ran low on small arms ammunition as a result of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, with the majority used in Iraq. We are talking hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition used. For every Iraqi body counted at the scene of the conflict, there are many more not counted because of the high rate of wounded to killed (estimated 12:1 ratio wounded to killed) and the severe shortage of medical supplies to treat the wounded. The official numbers are absurd, suggesting that with the massive firepower used our military couldn’t “hit a bull in the ass with a banjo,” a Midwestern expression.

Applying those statistics to our country, we would have one-and-a-quarter million dead and another 15 million wounded with an invading Muslim army (roughly equaling the death toll from all the wars in the history of our nation). We would have Muslim snipers in our neighborhoods shooting suspects, tanks rolling down our streets, Muslim soldiers breaking down our doors in the middle of the night humiliating our women and often stealing our valuables, military check points at every major intersection, Muslim soldiers humiliating the resistance, etc., etc. Virtually every family or neighborhood would have firsthand experience with the dead and wounded. War is brutal. Occupying armies are brutal from the perspective of the occupied, regardless of the propaganda efforts to put a pretty face on it.

We revolted and fought the Revolutionary war against our own kind because we didn’t like the English taxes, a mere triviality relative to what we have inflicted on the Iraqis. We did not hesitate to go to war over the 3,000 lost on 9/11.

Rest assured that if a Muslim army were to do the above to us we would fight them to the last man, although hopefully our tactics would be more civilized. Perhaps this explains why we are not just looking at a few dead-enders in their last throes as this week’s rationalization for the disaster in Iraq.

~ Kenneth L. LeBrun, JD

Can one of the Antiwar.com reporters follow up on something I read a month ago?

I believe that Rumsfield issued an order that bans cell phones that have cameras in them. Is this true? Is that his response to abuses, to ban a means of capturing the wrong doing? I was shocked when I read this, but was amazed that no reporters seemed to pick up on it. If your staff can find out more about this, I think your readers would enjoy hearing about it. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

~ Pete Epstein

Matthew Barganier replies:

I‘m not sure whether that story is technically true: see “Did Rumsfeld Ban Iraq Camera Phones?” and “Rumsfeld Prohibits Cell Phone Cameras in Iraq or Does He?” But it may be effectively true: see “Camera Phones in Iraq; Digicams and Truth in Wartime.”

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