I have a young man that went and joined the army last January when there was a big patriotism thing going on and he has yet to go. …

Now he … has decided this war is not what it was supposed to be and wants out of his so-called contract. What we need is some kind information or source for information that will get him out of this mess. We need to know the legal and other options. Please help.

~ TH

Eric Garris replies:

The best resource for this is the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors: http://www.objector.org.

Here is their GI Rights Hotline page:
or call 800-394-9544

Parent Company Name Removed From Halliburton Corporate HQ, Renamed KBR

During the Vietnam war there was a consortium of contractors carrying out many of the same functions as Halliburton (KBR) is doing today. Its acronym was RMK-BRJ. It stood for Raymond, Morrison Knudson – Brown and Root and Jones. Instead of being in bed with a Vice-President (Cheney), Brown and Roots ownership was in the hands of a First Lady, (Lady Bird Johnson). Although years have gone by, the names transposed, the fact remains that corruption by any other name is a crime against the citizens of this country and justice will never be seen while our Politics are controlled by a Military-Industrial complex supported by all three branches of our government.

~ David W.

Marty C.: Not much different from calling our education bull No Child Left Behind, the GOP is the master of doublespeak. When will we see the Dems grow some huevos and advertise this fact? Where are the billboards? Put these photos on a billboard in 2004.

Eric Garris: It is amazing when some people blame everything on the GOP. I first heard about Halliburton/KBR as a tool of the Johnson Administration in Vietnam.

Halliburton survives on the largesse of warmongers of both parties.

Marty C.: … I do agree, and did back then, that they were at that point a tool of the Johnson Administration in ‘Nam. Things have changed – the warmongers and nation builders seem to have switched parties (for the most part) and are sadly changing the GOP from a responsible party that once touted responsible fiscal and international policy into a party that throws us into an unnecessary war, and spends the money needed by our own people on nation-building.

The Terror Enigma

How can I buy The Terror Enigma without first having to register at the iUniverse page that is advertising the sale of the book? After you select the number of books you want and proceed to the “checkout”, you are confronted with a request “If you’re new to iUniverse, take a moment to visit our registration page.”

I simply can’t afford to be targeted by online marketeers because it ALWAYS leads to spamming. Yet I do want to buy the book(s) as Christmas gifts.

~ Nasser E.

Eric Garris replies:

I am pleased to announce that The Terror Enigma is now available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0595296823/antiwarbookstore/.

Price Controls Can Be Deadly

I was wondering what’s up with the featured link to “Price Controls Can Be Deadly” by Jacob G. Hornberger. I didn’t think you guys were free market proponents. Maybe I just didn’t know. Still, I’m surprised to see as good a website as Antiwar.com fronting for this right wing point of view.

I’d think that by now we all see the links between the right wing argument for war (liberty for Iraqis) and free market propaganda (reality’s a different story – crony capitalism and Halliburton are more the norm). But we’re talking propaganda here, and I’m sure you’re aware there’s a serious movement afoot to make Iraq into not only an example of democracy but also a purely free market economy.

So why’s Antiwar.com highlighting and article that calls for lifting price controls – straight free market drivel. Not to mention, lifting subsidies and increasing prices suddenly is a prominent feature of the IMF’s SOP – other free market propaganda. So what gives? If you read this, maybe you’ll reconsider whether that article is a good one to highlight on your website. Pull it, or at least make it one of the regular links rather than one of the top features.

~ Mark Pickens, Brooklyn, New York

Eric Garris replies:

Just because the cronies call it capitalism doesn’t make it so, anymore than George Bush talking about peace makes him anything but a warmonger.

We at Antiwar.com are committed to a broad-based antiwar movement, and we have certainly carried a variety of left-wing opinion on a regular basis (including your letter) – however, the majority of us are believers in the free market. Free trade is the best vehicle toward peace. We favor lifting subsidies and tariffs, just as we supported abolishing the sanctions against Iraq.

War is Over?

Why aren’t you protesting the Civil War? Or the Vietnam War? Or the War of 1812? Those wars are as over as the Iraq war. News flash – we already won.

~ Mr. B. Davis

Eric Garris replies:

Tell that to the parents of the GIs who are still getting killed in Iraq.

The Courts are Involved?

Oh yeah, this changes everything. I feel like celebrating now that the Constitution has been restored and we all have our rights back. The regime of Bush is over.

Let’s suppose the gitmo prisoners get lawyers and so does Jose, then what? a show trial using secret evidence?

Yeah, I will sleep better now that the judges that overturn not guilty verdicts (like the Waco trial), sign blank search warrants and make rulings that say law enforcement officers who commit murder while acting under the color of law are immune to prosecution (does Ruby Ridge come to mind?) are protecting our rights are on the job.

People are always quoting 1984, but do they really understand what was said in that book? People really need to learn to read between the lines. (Why were the proletarians given anything they wanted while the middle-management was constantly scrutinized?)

It is almost comical to see some of the more prominent libertarians cheer every “favorable” court ruling and scowling at every unfavorable ruling. Some prominent webmasters encourage people to vote and fire the corrupt politicians, then turn around and declare that every election is a total sham and then encourage more of the same voting.

The judges that run the court system have decided in their Star Chambers that they want a piece of the action. That is all. They sent a message to all parties concerned that they have enough collective muscle in the judicial system to grind the war on terrorism to a halt. No more secret evidence and no more denial of “rights.” After all, what would the emperor do if every anti-terror legislation written from now on was declared unconstitutional? And Bush knows who really got him the Oval Office. Not even Lord Ashcroft can overturn court rulings. Ruling by the consent of the Praetorians. The judges are reminding those in power that there are some Praetorians who will not be forgotten.

~ Johnny Amber

Keep the U.N.’s hands off the Internet

I read Antiwar.com almost every day for its thorough collection of non-mainstream (read: unobstructed by right-wing spin) views of international issues. Imagine my surprise to find this editorial on your page.

The editorial seemed so similar to what I often find in American Spectator I would not be surprised to find it there. Checking in with “Digital Freedom Network” confirmed my suspicions that I was being victimized by vacuous rhetoric, empty accusations, and meaningless innuendoes that characterize the neocon arguments which attempt to redefine “freedom” in the name of American hegemony.

Did this one just slip in there, someone not doing their homework? Or do you subscribe to the notion that American imperialists have a greater right to set international policy than imperialists from other nations?

~ Steve P.

Eric Garris replies:

We don’t support regulation of the Internet by any governments. It should not be a choice of which imperialists should be allowed to restrict our freedom of speech and commerce.

Since you are not at all specific about the “right wing views” that she presents, I cannot confirm or deny my agreement with said positions.

Cheney Should Check His Own Facts

For once I’d like to see somebody from the mainstream media ask Dick Cheney: “You’ve made a helluva lot of money through Halliburton pimping for war – Don’t you see a conflict of interest that borders on outright corruption?” I hardly expect FOX to toss anything but marshmallows at a man with greasy palms, but isn’t it time for the rest of us to compare Dick Cheney to those who ripped off the country during the scandal-plagued Harding administration, when Big Oil traitorously and secretly siphoned off strategic petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome?

~ Douglas Herman, USAF veteran

Libya: Will the US Take Yes for an Answer?

Raimondo’s points about Libya’s relationship to the idea of Pan-Africanism needs some modification.

First, Kadaffi himself is only “Arab” by culture and language, his ancestry is Berber from North Africa. Kaddafi claims that 30% of Libyans are black (I can provide the source and his verbatim remarks) and most of the rest, if they were born in the U.S. would be considered African American. If Berber Libyans don’t consider themselves Africans, it’s mainly because of Western colonial policies that divided up the continent artificially into “Africa South of the Sahara” and North Africa which was grafted on to the Middle East. This silly practice is still in vogue today. In fact there is much more in common between West African Moslems and North Africans than between the former and, say, Southern Africans.

Furthermore expulsions and riots about migrants have happened between regional neighbours in Africa. Nigeria and Ghana reciprocally expelled citizens from each other’s nation about 16 years ago. The problem with the migrants into Libya is that there is no visa requirement for any African to enter Libya so there was a great influx of visitors from many Africans countries – thereby causing friction with a population that was relatively isolated ever since the Egyptians expelled Libyans some years back.

Kaddafi has been long involved in African affairs with his intervention in the Tanzanian invasion of Uganda to expel Idi Amin some years ago, and his war with Chad also some years ago.

The thing about being “African” is amusing in that when it suits some people they suddenly become more African than the bona fide indigenous people of the continent. The same colonialists who divided the continent into “Sub-Saharan Africa” and … set up the apartheid signs that said “Europeans”, “Natives” “Coloureds” and “Indians” are now eagerly proclaiming that the white settlers of Southern Africa and elsewhere are now “African”.

One reason overlooked by analysts of Kaddafi’s move is that he had become disenchanted with the absolute fealty that the Arab nations of North Africa and West Asia were demonstrating towards America. Egypt and Jordan were on the dole, and Saudi Arabia was not much more than a paranoid client state. A commitment to the Pan Africa ideal became more a reality as time went on. It makes sense because Libya is in Africa and most Libyans (who are Saharan Berbers like the Tuareg) are descendants of people who originate from Africa only. If Japanese and Indians (from India) are Asian then why aren’t the Berbers of Libya African?

~ Mamadu Diallo

George W. Bush, Trotskyite

Justin Raimondo insists, once again, on the spurious connection between the Bush doctrine and Trotskyist “global revolution”. But the neoconservative is a modestly variegated species. The generation of neoconservatives who had any roots in Trotskyism has now been surpassed and supplanted by a new generation, more influenced by the work of Leo Strauss. Christopher Hitchens is the only recent convert to neoconservative imperial aggression who has any Trotskyist past to speak of (and that was a long time ago). In fact, Christopher’s case is illuminating, for he proceeded from a nuanced Trotskyism to a nuanced liberalism to a nuanced neoconservatism. And by nuanced, I don’t exactly mean original. There are many more family resemblances between the doctrine of liberal humanitarian intervention and the Bush doctrine than there are between neoconservatism and the Trotskyist idea of supporting and nurturing revolutionary parties across the world.

Raimondo spends a lot of time arguing his case that Bush, Cheney and the rest reflect a “Marxism of the Right”, because they seek to spread a “democratic revolution”, or at least to be its vanguards on the farthest outposts. The difference could not be more transparent. Yes, realpolitik is alleged to be closely wedded to passionately held ideals in the Bush White House. But was it not always so? Didn’t Kissinger bomb Cambodia out of the goodness of his capacious heart? Didn’t Woodrow Wilson lead America into World War One to defend freedom? Wasn’t this also the reason for sending armies into the wreckage of postwar revolutionary Russia? What makes Raimondo think the Bush clique place any more importance on their dazzling rhetoric than US administrations past? …

~ Richard Seymour, London, England

Kean on the Truth

You seem to imply that the Israelis decided to let us be attacked on 9-11; but the Die Zeit article you cited in your post seems to imply the opposite:

Die Zeit has learned that a few weeks before the attacks, Israeli intelligence gave US authorities a list with names of suspects who were staying in the US for the purpose of preparing attacks.”

It seems that the people on the list should have been taken in for questioning, at the very least. Put the blame where it belongs – closer to home. The US government is responsible for security in the US, not the Israeli government. …

~ Gustav D. Nystrom

Odd Reaction

I agree with just about everything Charley Reese says regarding just about everything he writes about, including the main theme of this article. However, I’m getting somewhat tired of the way he tends to throw the term “democracy” and “democratic” around seemingly as an abstract ideology worthy of striving for. As an apparent Constitutionalist, he should be well aware that the Founders abhorred the general concept of democracy – the worst tyranny of all. Rather, they envisioned a very limited “democracy,” governed by rule of law in a Constitutional republic.

Democracy is the “God that failed,” and has a lot to do with the severe survival problems we face today as a country – and, alas, I expect it to continue to the day of our ultimate demise as an American society and a sovereign entity. “Democracy” can only work when the franchise is limited to those who have all to lose, rather than opened to those who have all to gain – the latter being well-ensconced today, thanks to the Warfare-Welfare State. …

~ DJ

Z. Erez’s backtalk

1. … I worked for a Russian newspaper for several years. The Kremlin does manage things, but “kill journalists”? C’mon.

2. We will see what happened to the frozen Yukos shares. I think they will go the state, to fulfill the Kremlin’s dirigiste policy of developing the economy by raising taxes on natural-resource exports and funneling the proceeds into industry.

3. As to Putin instigating ethnic hatred in the Caucasus: Basayev and Khattab did that enough on their own when they invaded Dagestan in 1999. Oh, wait, I remember, that was a Kremlin plot. The Kremlin is the source of all evil. In fact, Putin speaks out against racism very loudly and very regularly.

4. If Erez is in Russia, he/she knows perfectly well that the Kremlin’s management of the elections was not against the Russian “democrats.” It was targeted at the Communists. Yabloko and SPS got plenty of airtime and lost fair and square, because everybody hates them. I have never met an SPS supporter in my life.

5. Putin has a 79% popularity rating. Mainly because he’s doing a damn good job.

~ Chris, Moscow, Russia

Who’s Really in Charge at the White House?

There seems to a movement among conservative Americans to save the reputation of the Republican party by suggesting that there is a cabal of neo-cons leading the president astray. Margolis … adds fuel to this debate by noting the apparent schism between the Pentagon announcement curtailing French, Russian, German and Canadian participation in reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and presidential phone calls to the above-named countries asking them to restructure Iraqi debt. “The president was left red-faced,” Margolis asserts. The assumption is that the presidential phone calls must be conciliatory in nature, as the president was asking for a favour. I think otherwise. The Pentagon announcement was a well timed warning in support of the presidents phone calls. Russia, France, Germany and presumably Canada as well are being told that being unsupportive of US efforts will have further negative consequence. Obviously one way that the European powers can be supportive of the US reconstruction effort is by restructuring Iraqi debt in line with the president’s “request.”

~ Steve Smith, Soviet Canuckistan

Occupation Is a Lose-Lose Proposition

Congratulations to Charlie Reese. I don’t know why it took me this long to discover his excellent columns. But he should get more ink. Pat Buchanan has been making about the same conservative case against this madness. But the rest of the debate seems to be taking place between two groups which generally agree with one another on the central issue. Both the neoconservatives and their liberal”critics” march in the old U.S. Foggy Bottom tradition of interventionists and internationalists. Both love the empire, although the liberals tends to lose heart if the conquered groups don’t properly appreciate their noble instincts or if the foreign enterprise threatens to disrupt their comfortable lives. Looks to me like only Reese and Buchanan are pointing out that the empire is and has always been a threat to the US Constitution, something I once swore to uphold.

I attended a well-known US government military school on the Hudson. And I led an infantry company in Vietnam during Tet. But for the past 30 years I’ve been a journalist, with stints in Washington and around Europe. As a foreign correspondent I have observed something disturbing about the attitude of people here in Europe toward the United States in the past couple of years. They think we’ve gone nuts, or worse.

From this vantage point in central Europe, it is easy to see that the United States since WWII had three great weapons going for it: media, money and military might. When you think about that, you can also deduce that all three rest upon our own credibility. This Bush government has apparently put an end to all that. Nobody believes our story anymore, which makes our media dominance a two-edged sword. Our fiscal and economic policies are quickly wrecking the dollar and diverting the essential capital flows to China. And we are in the process of demonstrating for the second time in 50 years that our vaunted military cannot even deal with a determined insurgency. In other words, it looks like we’ve accomplished complete unilateral disarmament. Charlie Reese took a lick at that general idea in one of his columns. But I’d like to see him hit it again and again.

~ E.F. Roby

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