No WMDs? Read two articles lately on Antiwar.com about the unloading of old materials in Iraq that could be used as "proof."
Alan Bock replies:
The key issue is whether what Saddam had, if he had anything, constituted anything remotely resembling an imminent threat to the United States or even to any of his neighbors. I’ve always acknowledged that it might be possible some stuff might eventually be found, but the notion that they constituted an imminent threat as many of us argued at the time, operating under the assumption he probably had WMDs is the stuff of fantasy.
I found the glib dismissal of any criticism of Mr. Negroponte’s out-and-out terrorism by "contras" in Nicaragua, as a sort of hallucination of the "intransigent left" to be, well, nauseating and well-below the ethics of the editorial content of Antiwar.com that we have come to expect. Come on, now the real chilling thought these days is not that state troops are here, there and everywhere, but that states (read united states if you will) sponsor shadowy third forces all over the world that undermine the security of everyone everywhere.
Alan Bock replies:
I didn’t call it a hallucination, just noted that elements of the intransigent left (which might be a glibly dismissive term, and if so I apologize) had never forgiven him. This letter might be viewed as validating the statement. Forgive me if I try to focus outrage on the present and the future (though one must acknowledge that the past is seldom entirely irrelevant).
Most irresponsible article I’ve read. With people reporting like you we would probably be under Germany’s control if you were around in the early ’40s.
Jacob G. Hornberger replies:
Speaking of Berlin and Germany, let’s not forget the "liberation" and occupation of East Germany and Eastern Europe by America’s ally in World War II, the Soviet Union, events that some Americans undoubtedly still celebrate.
I‘m responding to an article that I just read written by Jacob Hornberger. This man claims that you cannot support both the troops and the President. He claims that we are no longer fighting for freedom because Saddam has been caught! Does this man pay attention to the news? We are not occupying the Middle East to merely throw our weight around. The troops are fighting against a strong terrorist threat that still remains strong as well as establishing school and orphanages. At least the President is working to keep us well funded and aiding us with weapons instead of cutting funding and still expecting us to still do our job and come home in one piece (unlike John Kerry). I am a member of our United States Army and it offends me that people can show such a total disregard for those of us who have the balls to go overseas and defend ignorant people like Jacob Hornberger.
Jacob G. Hornberger replies:
Accepting the questionable assumption that resistance to an illegal invasion and occupation constitutes terrorism, Bass doesnt want to recognize the obvious: it is the U.S. governments invasion and occupation in Iraq (under the new guise of fighting the war on terrorism) that is directly responsible for producing the terrorism that US troops are now opposing, just as such things as the 1991 Iraq war, the brutal 10-year military embargo against the Iraqi people, and the arrogant and pompous stationing of US troops on Islamic holy lands led to the 1993 and 2001 terrorist retaliatory attacks on the World Trade Center. Thus, supporting the president in his decision to keep US troops occupying Iraq so that they can fight the very terrorists the occupation is producing would seem to be a rather perverted way to support the troops.
Second, Bass also says that the troops are in Iraq to establish schools and orphanages. Well, no offense, but is that worth sacrificing the life of even one US soldier for? Ms. BassAsk yourself: Is that a cause worth dying for? Are you honestly willing to give up the one life God gave you so that foreigners will have government-built schools and orphanages?
The real truth, which Bass and so many other American soldiers find it painful to accept, is that they are nothing more than pawns that are being sacrificed for the grand and glorious cause of installing a U.S.-friendly regime in Iraq, which has been the goal of US officials from the get-go. Weapons of mass destruction and, later, freedom and democracy were the cover for the invasion and occupation of Iraq for an obvious reason: Its easier to get troops to fight and die (and get people to support the fighting and dying) to oppose an imminent threat of attack on America or to liberate foreigners" than for such things as regime change and installing a puppet regime in a foreign country.
With all due respect to Mr. HaCohen’s opinions and with a nod to his offended sensibilities (yes, Virginia, a lot of Jews are flagellants), I would like to say that, having served in the territories, I am happy to report that there is a considerable difference between what is happening in Iraq and what has and is happening in Gaza and the West Bank. Including Jenin.
That is not to say that there were and are no murderers in our ranks. Obviously, there were and will continue to be. Nor can I defend the current prime minister from charges ranging from incitement to murder (of former prime minister Itzhak Rabin among others) to the deaths of civilians. However, I can say that the general policy, and the conduct of most (if unfortunately not all) Israeli troops has been one of restraint (for example, the funeral processions of Arabs killed in action against Israel, in spite of the large number of masked armed individuals and almost total absence of women and children, are not attacked. More riots have been put down by waving a lost bedroom slipper at the crowd works far better than tear gas, for some reason than by live ammunition. In my unit even the rubber and plastic bullets were issued only to officers. The rest of us were forbidden to fire unless our lives were at risk).
We did not and do not call in the equivalent of A10 (thirty mm chain-gun rounds carry a long way) or helicopter gunships to attack snipers holed up in residential areas or against those who, in violation of the rules of war, are using their own people as shields, we do not shoot up wedding parties or bomb school buses or slot the chick ’cause she was between us and a legitimate target, we risk our lives to move non combatants out of both the neighboring buildings and the target building itself, we do not indiscriminately bomb towns, and as another example, I would point out that Sheik Yassin and the leadership of Hamas was alive because the previous attempt on them used too small of a bomb to kill them, rather than risk more civilian casualties. When Mr. HaCohen can show me the equivalent of Eli Geva in the forces of the US or her allies in Iraq, on condition said paragon is treated as leniently as Eli was, I will of course be willing to rethink my opinion.
Furthermore, since we are talking about double standards, I would point out that the world reaction to the mayhem is Iraq is rather subdued compared to that to any, and I repeat any Israeli military action. Where are the condemnations in the UN over Iraq of 152 in favor, 2 against? Where are pious statements of outrage in the mainstream international press over the deaths of civilians? To be quite blunt about it, nobody gives a sh*t. Present company excluded, of course.
Ran HaCohen replies:
What a relief to hear that "funeral processions in the Occupied Territories are not attacked" restraint incarnated, indeed. Actually, Palestinians have never attacked Israeli funeral processions either, in spite of the large number of armed soldiers; does this too count as restraint? As for the analogy between the American occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories: without any desire to excuse or whitewash Coalition atrocities, in Faluja and elsewhere, your analogy misses a few petty details.
Unlike Israel, the US never claimed that Iraq was an ancient American territory that belonged to the American people forever. The US never questioned the right of the Iraqi people to their land, nor the country’s borders or its sovereignty.
The US invaded Iraq with active participation and/or consent of dozens of nations, whereas Israel has invaded Palestinian territories single-handedly, defying several later UN Security Council resolutions urging it to retreat from them.
The US invaded Iraq just last year, whereas Israel has been an occupying force for 37 years on end by now.
The US announced it would return sovereignty to the Iraqi people in a few weeks time, whereas Israel has never given a similar pledge during its decades-long occupation.
Unlike Israel, the US has not transferred millions of American civilians to American-only settlements in Iraq, taking the country’s best agricultural lands and water resources.
The US captured a dictator who had got to power by force, whereas Israel is besieging and threatening to harm a leader who came to power by democratic elections under international supervision.
So at the moment, in spite of Israel’s "restraint" (killing just about 5 Palestinians for every Israeli casualty), the US in Iraq hasn’t won the Barbarism contest with Israel, yet. But the game isn’t over, so there is still hope.
What informed American does not agree with Dr. Roberts’ outrage? A president who has blundered like no other, continues to have the support of Americans? A president who is sending their children off to be slaughtered and maimed in an unnecessary, and self-defeating, strategic blunder, still has the support of the majority of Americans. Truly outrageous and beyond belief. And all because of the fear Americans have of terrorism, their complete ignorance of the world, and a misguided blind and naive faith they have in a man who has done nothing but lie to them and claims to have all the answers, but who so obviously has none.
Who’s Sorry Now? Not LPNY. On behalf of the Libertarian Party of New York, I am thanking Justin Raimondo for his rollicking address at our convention last weekend. His openness to answering questions in the breakout session afterwards is especially appreciated. We are certainly not sorry you attended, although (as with Raimondo’s appearance at LP Illinois last year) there was a bit of internal acrimony and debate over whether to go ahead with it.
For some reason, a number of LP members don’t want to "lead" on the war issue as Justin recommends, and have trouble extending the "non-initiation of force" principle to foreign policy. They view Libertarians as being, somehow, only a "domestic" party or ideology, so as to accommodate their hawkish friends inside and outside the party. I have bluntly asked members to stop fiddling, move out of their insularity and comfort zone issues (i.e., drug war, civil liberties) and support the general noninterventionist movement before the new Rome burns down completely.
Hopefully, Raimondo’s speech will serve as an additional wake-up call.
Justin, darling, you rock my world. Have been reading you since long before this idiotic imbroglio got underway and you have been the most consistent and fearless of them all. I am former defense, foreign affairs correspondent DC, overseas, etc. and I have even a couple of higher ups from DoD at Camp Doha in Kuwait reading your commentary. Keep up the great work.
This following sentence, from the attached article, was the foundation for the facts on the ground I came to understand in Nam. And then used when arguing with my immediate boss the agency’s Regional Officer in Charge of II Corps, Dean Almy every time we had a confrontation about his complaints of my "making waves" and my refusal so often "to get with the program."
These three reasons are in essence the exact same reasons why Iraq will not only wind-up a failure but also why Iraq is merely just the most recent example of what the US has so often PERPETRATED internationally resulting in the degradation of both our previously respected reputation overseas and our democracy at home, namely:
1. constant lies,
2. cover-ups of failed policies, programs, statistics, strategies, etc.,
3. propaganda and phony PR force-feeding the public false myths so to overwhelm and replace the potential negative repercussions from 1. and 2.
(Sad to say it is not only politicians and the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex who selfishly and greedily participate in these types of fascist controls for keeping the sheep ignorant, docile and servile, but many religions, especially those of the Abrahamic tradition, follow the same system.)
"It is bad for the country for policy to be made based on falsehoods, and it is even worse for failed policies not to be recognized as such because the public clings to myths."
I don’t know what is so shocking about the fact that 57% of Americans believe that Bush did the right thing and that Saddam had WMD and that he was allied with Al Qaeda. During the Democratic debates only one candidate consistently said that if the war was wrong then it was wrong to stay in Iraq. The rest all said that we needed to stay the course. That candidate, Dennis Kucinich was only one of two, the other being Bob Graham, who voted against the war. For instance in Iowa prior to the primary, many Iowans thought that Howard Dean had led the fight in Congress against the war. They did not even realize that Mr. Dean was at the time a retired Governor and had his wetted finger in the wind prior to the war to see which way the wind was blowing. When you cannot tell the difference between the two parties on the war, it is very understandable that the American people who have no media to educate them other than the Internet and books, are going to be in the dark as to what is going on in the world.
I am a 30-year-old, African-American, registered Democrat. In the past, I used to think that Patrick J. Buchanan was racist and an extremist. But in the past few years, I have grown to admire him.
I still disagree with him on many issues (i.e. immigration, multiculturalism, abortion), but I have a lot of respect for people, no matter the political party, who stick to their beliefs and not sell out to the highest bidder.
Thank, you, Mr. Buchanan, for telling the truth. I never thought I would be giving kudos to Republicans, but this country would be better off if people like yourself, like John McCain and like William S. Lind were in the White House. You seem to have a better understanding on what is threatening us than these fools today.
I am VERY dismayed at the state of the Democratic party. Most of them sided with Bush in this foolish war against Iraq because they didn’t want to be branded as hating America and unpatriotic. I am NOT a fan of John Kerry (he’s a "Bush Lite" candidate), but unfortunately I’ll be voting for him because 4 more years of Bush will probably invite our country getting nuked by China.
Only people like Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich had the balls to say that this war in Iraq is wrong, we’re fighting it for the wrong reasons, and that this would make us less safe from terrorism. When Dean said that capturing Saddam Hussein will not make us any more safer from terrorism, the DEMOCRATS rounded on him as if he were saying that Adolf Hitler was the greatest statesman who ever lived!
I’m at a point now when I feel sorry for the "traditional" Republicans because you have inherited a group of malcontents hell-bent on world domination. Malcontents lash out in all directions when they don’t get what they want. Afghans and Iraqis are the first victims of this bratty outburst. God help us should they have the North Koreans or the Chinese on their hit list.
Keep up the good work. I really enjoy all of your commentary.
While the facts in what transpired are correct, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions and say they were Mossad agents they may have had some connection with Mossad in a contractor type role professional spies wouldn’t get caught out like this and given the amount of traveling New Zealanders do, it would be easy for the state security forces to copy one. The spooks have also being released on bail so I doubt they’ll come to trial disappearing before it comes due.
Now, of course the government is looking at tightening its issuing of passports making them more secure by putting some sort of electronic chip in them and then only good for 5 years as opposed to the 10 currently. Thanks a lot, Israel or whoever.
But if one was to think that New Zealand was out of the loop as far as its connection to the international spy networks, just type in Waihopai spy base on a Google search.
~ Heath Newland