The Buck Stops … Where?

Mr. Kaplan’s article confirmed something that even I would have been hard-pressed to really believe about the government, though I don’t know why it should surprise me. His reference to the March 2 NBC report that the administration repeatedly failed to attack the al-Ansar base reportedly headed by Zarqawi in northeastern Iraq (outside of Hussein’s control), lest it jeopardize its anti-terrorist rationale for the invasion, was a bit stunning, even for someone as skeptical about government as I. But it did confirm a dark suspicion that I have had about the administration’s use of evidence about this base in the preparation for the war.

I had assumed that the claims of a link between Iraqi intelligence and this base were always ludicrous – and indeed they always were. But it never made much sense, assuming the administration was serious about anti-terrorism , that the administration would know of a real terrorist base with al-Qaeda connections (assuming this was true, of course), whether or not the Iraqi link was true, and do nothing about it. Just using it as a prop to justify an irrelevant invasion of Iraq seemed just about as cynical and treacherous as this crowd could be, but somehow I didn’t believe they would do something so transparently two-faced. I had forgotten who we were dealing with, hadn’t I? But nothing more came of it until I read Mr. Kaplan’s article.

Two questions come to mind after reading Mr. Kaplan’s article. 1) How has such a phenomenally important story been allowed to languish for two months in relative obscurity? 2) Why are impeachment articles not being drawn up against the derelict and criminally irresponsible officials of this administration who made the decision to refuse attacks on the base, even as they used the base as part of the justification of their criminal war?

~ Daniel Larison, Chicago, Illinois


The White House delivers the theme that the Iraqi people want us to stay. How are polls taken in a war torn country?

~ Katherine Rhea

Sam Koritz replies:

This week Colin Powell said, "I have no doubt the new government will welcome our presence and am losing no sleep over whether they will ask us to stay (emphasis added)." Also this week a poll was released showing that before the latest flare-up in violence and before the prison abuse scandal broke 82% of Iraqis opposed the US occupation. (See "82 percent of Iraqis oppose U.S. occupation.")

The poll was funded by the American taxpayer, I mean the Iraq "occupation authority," and was conducted by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies, apparently an ngo. (See "Iraqis’ doubts of US deepen.") In other words the occupiers hired Iraqis to poll Iraqis.

GI Joe Meets GI Ho

Hard to believe! Isn’t this the same author who was so quick to defend Scott Ritter when his pedophilia became public knowledge. All of a sudden this gal’s the new Mother Theresa. If I live to be a hundred fifty I’ll never figger you folks out.

~ Den B.

Ilana Mercer replies:

Even if Scott Ritter were a pedophile, I would still consider his position on the war against Iraq as correct and as heroic as I did back when I wrote the Globe And Mail piece to which you refer ("Why So Many Americans Don’t Support Attacking Iraq").

As it is, I know nothing of this allegation. I suspect it was a smear. The suggestion that I defended his alleged misconduct is ridiculous.

Kevin Carson’s balktalk

The only thing "pointless" about Kevin Carson’s and Bill Becker’s comments is that they they were wasted on someone like Paul Craig Roberts. Of course he never answered the substance of their points, that recent American foreign policy is not so divergent as most would like to believe.

This is hardly the first time a great power has intervened to set up a puppet state in an area of strategic importance. If Mr. Roberts believes we are up against "Neo-Jacobins" who are on a mission to force "democracy" down people’s throats, then perhaps he is taking the administration’s propaganda too seriously. I contend we are up against good old fashion imperialists, though admittedly of a more blatant brand than under previous presidents. Maybe it is the fact that they are so blatant that Mr. Roberts can now see their despicable actions for what they are, while not being able to detect similar actions in the past – actions which he prefers to call "Hating America."

~ Jason Elander

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I see no point arguing with people who are unfamiliar with the Jacobin nature of neoconservatism. There has been much written about it, including the recent book, America the Virtuous, by Claes Ryn, a research project of many years. There are always dense types who want to shout down any helpful new insight, preferring old pigeonholes to taxing their brains by having to comprehend new developments or threats.

A Time for Truth

I couldn’t agree with more with your summary and perceptions in your "A Time for Truth " article. I have a relation who was an MP in Iraq, and from his first hand accounts, it seemed to me to be a no win situation. Fundamentally, a country (or person) must want to be helped, otherwise resentment will eventually dominate.

We had a mandate to attack our Al Qaeda enemies wherever they hid after 9/11 and it has been squandered in Iraq for reasons that are still not clear and the administration’s statements don’t ring true. I supported attacking Saddam if he had WMD’s and was about to use them as our President claimed.

We were duped.

As a New Yorker, I resent the use of the 9/11 tragedy for an ill conceived attack on Iraq. Our country was attacked, but New Yorkers took the blow. I think the results would have been a great victory if we had focused all the military resources in Iraq on Al Qaeda.

I’ve never been ashamed of being American for one second of my life until the prisoner abuse pictures were released.

I might disagree with you on some other issues, but I greatly appreciate a political figure like yourself telling it straight and thank you for using your voice to promote sanity and truth in this situation.

God bless America.

~ Martin Butler

While I do not consider myself a libertarian (with a big "L" or a little "l"), I do commend you on your stance towards the conflict. For some time, I (wrongly) assumed that libertarians did not apply their philosophy of reduced government to aspect of the Armed Forces. (Blame Boortz for my impression, I suppose.)

I stand corrected. Thank you.

(If you’ll let me say so, it takes guts to put a link on your website concerning the forgotten deaths of civilians in the war. Well done. At least some of us have not forgotten.)

~ Kainien Morel

Bush Administration Seeks to Expand US Military Personnel in Colombia

Why is it you reporters always fail to mention why the US is so interested in helping Columbia? It certainly has nothing to do with drugs, they are just an excuse. Hint: google Occidental Petroleum Columbia.

A typical find: "Protection for Oil Pipeline Raises US Profile in Colombia."

~ Michael C. Shultz, Landers, CA

Parallels, Contrasts and Questions

My view on the latest graphic and incriminating pictures of prisoner abuse in the Iraq jail is that they might have been made for propaganda purpose to "scare" the opposition but the chief reason was for the perverted self-enjoyment of the soldiers committing the acts. Like the pictures of earlier NAZI and Ustasha’s pictures showing executions and mutilation of Serbs and other groups in their custody, such pictures are made by armies which are convinced of their invincibility that they will never lose the war and therefore will never have to face the prospect of having these same pictures and other records used against them in a war crimes trial. This is just another form of bragging but on a much larger scale, since only losers and weaker parties end up in the courts.

~ Budimir Damnjanovic

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I do believe that the absolute self-righteousness, absence of shame, and exhibitionism play a significant part in these photographs, indeed.

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