A View from Iraq
It’s hard to watch the world turn as I sit here in Iraq and watch the biggest US mistake unfold. It’s absolutely ludicrous the facts that are hidden by the US government. I have been here 5 months and take no pride in being here or even have the faintest notion that we are doing any good. You hear all the time that Iraqis love the Americans and we act as a big brother. That is insane. Iraqi’s hate us, they only like us when there is a chance we can give them something of monetary value like a meal or water. Before the day’s end they will go back to hating us ’cause their 4th cousin is in Abu Ghraib Prison for some asinine charge. I have been to each corner of Iraq and can say honestly this is a total failure. I asked a local yesterday how he feels and he said: prior to the US I could walk out of my house at 3 AM and feel perfectly safe. I do that today and I will be shot by a soldier claiming I’m an enemy.
In the debates Badnarik took the strongest antiwar position of the three. Russo said he would send special forces to violate the sovereignty of other countries without a declaration of war. But Russo should have been chosen because Raimondo has “heard of” him? How egotistical. Maybe Raimondo needs to grow up, and give Badnarik a chance.
Justin Raimondo replies:
Mr. Tomlin misunderstands my point. It isn’t just that I haven’t heard of him it’s that nobody else has, either.
Russo’s idea of sending special forces to arrest the perpetrators of 9/11 and bring them back to the U.S. to stand trial is the libertarian way to fight terrorism not by invading and occupying nation-states that had nothing to do with the death of 3,000-plus Americans. Libertarianism is not pacifism.
Badnarik doesn’t talk about the war unless asked. Instead, his answer to every question is couched in terms of “constitutional” fetishism. But what if Congress had declared war would Badnarik, whose entire focus is on process, have approved?
I was frankly disappointed in all three candidates, if we can judge from their performance during the debate televised on CSPAN. When asked by the moderator where they thought the next hotspot in our perpetual “war on terrorism” would be, none gave a specific answer. All three fell back on generalities and veered off into abstract concepts and tired reiterations of the libertarian “it’s none of our business” line bereft of any specifics. When it came to Israel, the three pulled the same evasion: “it’s none of our business.”
Yeah, well, if we shouldn’t intervene, what are we going to do about what our prior interventions have made possible? What about all those weapons that we supplied Israel with? We made Israel the preeminent military power in the Middle East, leveled Iraq, and subsidized Israeli settlements and a horrific “Wall of Separation” and NOW we’re going to say “hands off”?
Russo, at least, was intending to focus on foreign policy and put libertarian opposition to the war front and center. And he was willing to learn specifics. Both Badnarik and Nolan, it seems to me, would only have mentioned the war issue in passing, or, at best, on an equal par with the legalization of drugs, economic issues, etc.
One other issue is the question of financing the campaign. Russo spent a lot of money last time he ran for office, and would be expected to spend even more this time around. The Badnarik campaign is not exactly flush with cash. And while money is certainly not the main consideration, it is an important factor, especially where the totally broke LP is concerned.
I didn’t personally endorse any of the candidates, and Antiwar.com doesn’t get involved in partisan politics at all. I haven’t been a member of the LP since 1983, and I have no intention of rejoining at least, not as long as the party resists taking hard edged positions and refuses to develop a strategic conception that goes beyond self-perpetuation.
I too was a Russo supporter, but would like to point out that Badnarik, the winner of the LP Nomination, also is a strong antiwar candidate and worthy of your support.
Please see Speech: The War on Iraq, Washington University
Position: War on Iraq
Justin Raimondo replies:
Again, Badnarik’s objection to our foreign policy is procedural: if only Congress had formally declared war, all would be okay. But it wouldn’t be okay, and, besides that, Congress did give the President a blank check, passing a resolution giving him the authority to conduct such open-ended actions as he saw fit.
Wow, you never heard of the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nominee, therefore he must suck. The elected party delegates who heard all three of our major candidates came to a different conclusion than you did, therefore the party committed suicide. And everyone knows the top qualification for running for office is having been Bette Midler’s manager!
There was an open debate by the Presidential candidates at the LP Convention on Saturday. Many of the delegates had heard from all the candidates before, at their state conventions and a ton of fundraising events all over Libertarian America. Each candidate had passionate support and passionate opposition. All three enjoyed almost identical strength on the first two ballots.
Libertarians believe that average people are competent to make decisions about their own lives and their leaders. These delegates explored all the candidates something you apparently did not do, Justin. History may prove the delegates were right or wrong, but nothing alters the fact that the delegates have decided.
For those of us inside the Libertarian Party, it’s time to acknowledge the nomination has been settled. It no longer matters if you think Michael Badnarik is a superb candidate or a weak one, because now he IS our candidate.
Justin Raimondo replies:
Yeah, that’s what you guys said about inviting the warmongering pro-Bush Neal Boortz as a featured speaker it’s done, you don’t have any input or say in the matter, so live with it! I can’t tell you how many people wrote to me to say they’d never give another dime to the LP after that. Now that you’ve nominated Barnarik, and are just asking to get even less votes than ever before, you’re still thumbing your nose at the LP’s natural constituency. So be it.
Mr. Badnarik, the Libertarian presidential candidate, seems to have been a strange sort of compromise candidate. I don’t claim to follow the internal workings of the LP very closely, but my impression is that Mr. Badnarik was chosen as a sort of milquetoast figure who wouldn’t polarize this party too much over any particular issue. His issue statements virtually drip with the desire not to offend anyone if he can help it. According to the statements I have read, he is opposed to the Iraq war, but beyond that I cannot say much in his favor. The supposed LP threat to the GOP’s electoral chances is always a chimera. The sorts of people the president has alienated (non-Zionist Christians and traditional conservatives) do not tend to vote Libertarian except in the most dire circumstances, because for good or ill they find Libertarian domestic policies, particularly social policies, unappealing even though they might otherwise agree with 90% of their positions on constitutionalist and common sense grounds.
The more likely source of trouble as a third-party alternative for traditional Republican voters this time around may be Michael Peroutka and the Constitution Party. Whether or not the party will get on all of the ballots is not clear, but it might drain enough away from the GOP in a close race to change the result and make its mark. The CP was appallingly silent on the war and so must have little credibility among most antiwar people, but Mr. Peroutka has denounced the war and the general foreign policy attached to it. The CP also may appeal to those already on the antiwar right looking to support conservative social and economic policy with their votes. It may manage to siphon off those disenchanted with Bush for domestic policy reasons as much as with Iraq, and it is probably here as a protest vote against amnesty or runaway spending that it has its best chance of really denting the Republican vote take.
(In the interests of disclosure, I should add that I am registered with a Constitution Party state affiliate.)
Admissions and Responsibility
The Iraq atrocity of the day is destroying the human spirit with gloom, pessimism and despair. Here is a way out with two admissions and two actions.
Admit that the Iraq War is illegal and was plotted and hatched with lies and deceptions, so it is evil in nature. Nuremberg Principles Articles VI and VII make it a Crime Against Peace and a Crime Against Humanity to “Conspire to Engage in, Wage or Be Complicit in the Waging of a War of Aggression.” Admit that American taxpayers are collectively responsible for financing the carnage of this illegal war.
On the Internet, search and print the Nuremberg Principles. Search Iraq war civilian casualty photos on sites like Victims of War, or robertfisk.com. See the pictures that are making Americans the most hated people in the world since Germans followed Hitler to war. From the thousands of heartbreaking images, select and print 10 that touch you deeply. Show your Principles and pictures to 10 people. Say “Here is something you need to see and act against. We are responsible for this.” Seeing what high explosive bombs they pay for are doing to innocent people should inspire people with hearts and consciences to follow your example, download the Nuremberg Principles and 10 photos, show them to 10 people and pass it on.
Then take a stand with good people. Go to your Congressperson’s local office with your Principles and pictures and say with all your might. “THIS IS EVIL. WE DEMAND AN END TO THIS.” Insist that Congress remove the war plotters before a “major terrorist event” gives them cover to escape war crimes justice by declaring a state of emergency and replacing government by the people with government by decree.
International Fast for Peace
We peace activists in Grand Rapids, Michigan have dedicated the last Sunday of each month as a day to fast, pray, and meditate for peace in Iraq and Israel/ Palestine. We think this idea can go international. Any advice or comments welcome.
Enjoy your schadenfreude for the fallen Ahmad Chalabi. But, is it a coincidence that all at once Dr. Chalabi is under simultaneous withering fire from every government department and all the mainstream media including the NY Times, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker and Ha’aretz? Has Dr. Chalabi really duped all the wise men and single-handedly created the mess in the Middle East? Or is the pack now taking a cleansing bath, casting all their sins on this sacrificial wolf and throwing him to the sheep who read the media?
Thank you for your wonderful article. I too voted for Bush. How could I not given that Al Gore was running away from Clintons reasonably rational economic policies, bellowing like some demented populist from the 1940s? I understand now that voting for Bush was the biggest political mistake of my life. At this point, I truly believe that Gore would have been the better alternative. Isn’t that amazing?
Yes indeed, Limbaugh and Hannity have indeed become mirrors of Carville and Begala. Not only that, but the entire GOP seems to have morphed into the Democratic Party. Bush himself is obviously channeling the ghost of LBJ spending our hard earned money on government boondoggles at home and misadventures abroad.
So heres the magic question: What do we do now?
The Libertarian Party isnt any answer. They peeked in 1980 when Ed Clark won over 900,000 votes. A quick look at their website will demonstrate that they are missing the biggest opportunity they will ever have to take the lead, given that they don’t seem to realize that America has troops in Iraq, killing and getting killed every day. I guess thats no surprise given that the Ayn Rand cult actually supports Bushs war on Iraq.
Buchanan and the paleo-conservatives demonstrated that their appeal amounts to a hill of beans in the US So they arent any answer either.
So, do we all vote for Ralph Nader? Hes the only real antiwar candidate with any hint of credibility this point. Is that what this has all come too voting for a socialist nincompoop because at least he wont send American kids half way around the world on some imperial adventure?
Why couldnt the Democrats have nominated Dean? He was antiwar and seemed to have a tolerable economic record in Vermont. He seems like a dream candidate now. I suppose that is a measure of how bad things really are.
Maybe, we should just tell Bush, Kerry, and the neo-commies to take a hike and all move to move to Switzerland, New Zealand, or Ireland. However, if we do that and remove the voices of sanity from the US, how long will it take for these creeps to blow up the entire world? Theres another magic question for you.
“‘This is no different than what happens at the Skull & Bones initiation. I’m talking about people having a good time,’ he said. ‘You ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of needing to blow some steam off?’
“So in Limbaugh’s mind (now drug-free, as far as we know), beating pledges to death and packing their bodies in ice to mask the stench are now typical hijinks at New Haven. And sodomizing them with night sticks is hilarious fun for all. (Urine test for Rush stat!)”
Intentional or not I do not know, but this quote of Limbaugh is taken out of context. I happened to be listening the day Limbaugh said this, and it was well before any revelations about beatings or sodomization. There were only the first set of half dozen pictures of naked prisoners in humiliating positions. My reaction to those first pictures, after the initial shock, was nearly as dismissive as Limbaughs, I must admit. Now I and Limbaugh both know better.
If you possess the journalistic standards that I see you demand in others, you may wish to make a public correction on this matter. I suggest this as an Antiwar.com donor, albeit a small one.
You are right in everything you say, and describe the mind-numbed robot mentality of the “my party uber alles” crowd perfectly, be they Republicans or Democrats.
Three points require expansion. First, you state that “Hannity, for his part, insists he’s been critical of Bush. For example, he says he ripped Bush for co-opting some of the big-government ideas of Democrats, such as the Medicare drug benefit.”
While Hannity pats himself on his supine backside for his “objectivity,” his criticism is empty because in the end the President and GOP know they can count on his support. The unwavering support Hannity, Limbaugh, et alia, have for their party negates any criticism because they refuse to hold their idols accountable. They give them a free pass. Much like Democrats willingly giving a free pass to Bill Clinton for his indiscretions, except that Bush’s errors are so much more serious than Clinton’s.
Second, a true Conservative objects to the war in Iraq for all the reasons you mentioned (the existence of WMD is a farce, Iraq posed no immediate threat to the US, sending Americans to die for altruistic reasons is a crime, etc.), but for another that rarely gets mentioned: we the US should not go to war to support UN objectives; we the US should get OUT of the UN, and let them fight their own battles.
The neo-Cons like to thump their chests and boast about how they spurn the UN and all it stands for, and how they don’t need it, and blast the liberals for their insistence on UN involvement.
This is all fine and good, but they constantly use Hussein’s violation of UN Resolution 1441 as a justification for invasion. Sorry, but they can’t have it both ways. If the UN is illegitimate, then so are its resolutions, and not worth the blood of one American.
And finally, there is no introspection on the part of the neo-Cons as to WHY these terrorists hate the US (and no, it is not because the “hate freedom”; that may be the dumbest thing ever uttered). The neo-Cons turn a blind eye to foreign policy failures of the past, and even continue the same disastrous policies. And those who suggest such introspective review are shouted down as Islamofascists, traitors, wimps and Dixie Chicks fans. They refuse to consider whether the illegal Gulf War I, or constant American meddling in countries contribute to this hatred. Intellectual dishonesty at its peak.
Thank you so much, and keep up the good fight.
Paul Sperry is on the mark. The Bush administration is a government of lies, from start to finish. Conservative talk radio and Fox News are its organs of propaganda.
Before 911 I had always been a conservative Republican and a Christian. I am still a Christian, and always will be. However, a very profound shift in the way I see the world has occurred since 911. I can plainly see now that the Republicans and the Democrats are really both pretty much the same. And that the ongoing Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity type circus is really just a distraction to keep the people occupied and to make them think that they really have a choice, while the real powers that be carry out their agenda full speed ahead. Whether Bush or Kerry, it doesn’t really matter. They simply do the bidding of the elite. The New World Order gurus. It’s really too bad that most of the Church in this country is so blindly identifying themselves with the current Administration. As though Republican is somehow synonymous with Christian. They don’t realize that they are being fooled. Being courted, while things like the PATRIOT Act, and the like, are being implemented right in their faces.
When the President signed the partial birth abortion ban, the pro-life people were deceived. The President knew full well that it would be lost in the limbo of court battles before the ink was dry. The Second Amendment crowd was deceived, too. They think they have friends in the White House, but they do not. I am not particularly antiwar, nor am I on the left by any means. But it doesn’t take a lot of brain activity to realize that the war is not about terrorism. A lot of people are sensitive and very defensive of the war because they have loved ones involved, or friends. That is understandable. But it doesn’t change the truth.
In conclusion, God is in complete control. It will all work according to His plan. Ultimately, the guilty will be punished, and the Righteous will inherit everlasting life.
The problem is not the Bush Administration. They are there by default. It’s the American people. They have their heads buried in the sand, so to speak. I wrote a documented protest novel, The Idiot’s Frightful Laughter, of the Vietnam War. I was there throughout most of the war and saw the genocide first hand. Do you think the American people want to know the truth? Not in the least. They want escape novels. Romanticized version of the war by guys like Tom Clancy, where the troops are noble and kind. That’s essentially what the editors and literary critics tell me. They don’t want to see my novel. They say that my synopsis of the novel is commendable but they are not in the market for grim reality. The American public does not want to know the truth. So who’s to blame? Idiots like Bush and Cheney or the average American? You tell me.
I am so happy to see that somebody can still speak the truth.
As a Muslim my faith tells me that God will leave this world intact so long as there are people who can speak the truth, and also till there are humans who pray to God for his mercy.
Also as a Muslim I want to share with you some historical facts:
– the Prophet after the first battle instructed his companions to untie the hands of the p.o.w. and told the p.o.w. to teach ten people each to read and they (p.o.w.s) shall be free.
– when he entered Makkah after the conquest his head was bowing down and he was praising the Creator, and he announced that nobody will be harmed and it was a conquest with no life lost no blood spilled.
There are several more such examples of the Prophet to whom the ignorant label with all sorts of demeaning titles, but Allah says in the Quran that he was sent towards all the humanity as a “mercy to all the worlds.”
We Muslims are not upset at the ignorance of few Christians, or Jews, or Hindus. We pray to Allah the Only One to guide all humanity to peace and salvation, we can’t be held responsible for the horrendous attacks such as 911. We are as much hurt to see the human suffering as any other human who possesses a heart a brain and intellect, some humanity and some decency.
I am a 71-year-old Brazilian who has known twice the dark times of a dictatorship. From 1937 to 1945 were under the government of a man who caused the stagnation of the progress of my country for more than 50 years. After that, in 1964, using the excuse a communist threat (and with the help of the Government of the United States) the military took over the government for another 22 years. It was what we call “the terrible years of lead.” That´s why I see with a great deal of sadness what is going on in the United States today. I know very well what is to live under governments that do not respect civil rights.
The PATRIOT Act, which is under enforcement today in your country is something we didn´t have even in the worst years of the Vargas or the military dictatorship. From what I see from here, it seems that the American citizens are today under the same conditions the Germans were during the Nazi times with the Gestapo or the Russians under the KGB. What I have read in the newspapers and on the Internet amazes me. Finally, where is the famous American freedom? Of what kind of freedom is Mr. Bush talking about in his speeches if his own citizens have their rights so disrespected?
Fortunately today, I can happily say, my country, Brazil, is one of the most advanced democracies of the world. I wish the whole world could see the absolute liberty we have here to do whatever we want in regard to politics or the practice of free speech. I know that we still have a long way to go to eliminate corruption and violence but that´s nothing compared with the real and complete political freedom and right to say whatever we want without fear. We have no PATRIOT Act of any kind and our opinions are fully respected by everyone whatever they are. We are not considered traitors because of this or that, because our opinion is different than the majority or because we think different. I read that in the US a picture gallery owner was attacked several times and had to close down his business because it showed a painting of prisoners being humiliated by soldiers. This would never happened here.
Among all political parties, we have three communist ones, with total freedom of action, like any other political party, but this does not change the democratic vocation of our people and we respect their right to take part in the political life of the country. This did not turned us into a communist or a socialist country.
I hope you may change and manage to suspend that Act because it may be the first one of a long and dramatic story for your country. I support your struggle and hope you may bring the US back to its long tradition of real freedom with a new President on the coming elections.
Ralph Reiland a featured columnist on Antiwar.com? It definitely is, as Raimondo would say, a Bizarro World.
Yes, Reiland is right. The problem in the prison abuse scandal is at the top. But what he doesn’t mention is that in his view it should be fixed pronto by the Bush Administration so they can get back to the business of fighting terror in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or wherever the Bushies will take their brand of worldsaving next.
In “Make Love, Not War?,” Reiland retails the American Enterprise Institute warmongering, Bush Cheerleading party line:
‘The key issue now and into the next several decades is not whether we “really like” war but what we are going to do about the terror ahead. What do we do about Pakistan’s “Islamic Bomb”? … What do we do about the nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran? … It’s my bet that the Goddess of Peace won’t be able to knock out the threat without some preemptive help from the Pentagon.”
Yes, Reiland the “antiwar,” “free enterprise” columnist does not mind tapping your wallet or taking your kids to spend on his overseas missions of preemption. What indeed, to answer Mr. Reiland’s rhetorical query, do “we” do about the “grave” threat of North Korea and Iran which happen to be approximately on the other side of the globe and have about one one-hundredth the firepower of the United States and haven’t invaded any countries in the last thirty years while the United States has barely missed a year or two without some invasion of some kind? “We” ask Mr. Reiland to keep his cotton-pickin hands off our kids and our incomes, shut up, and take it upon himself to put his money where is mouth is and go to North Korea and take up the fight.
I read with interest Mr. Buchanan’s article “Has Bush Become a Realist?” We Iraqis want nothing more than what Mr. Buchanan imagined in President Bush’s speech, i.e., to leave us alone and pull out. Unfortunately it seems a bit of wishful thinking. Immediately after Mr. Bush’s speech his aides did quite the opposite. First, they presented a draft resolution to the UN seeking to perpetuate occupation. Second, they nominated a puppet, a CIA man to head the next Iraqi government, which Mr. Bush promised in his speech to be fully sovereign while keeping 150,000 foreign troops and Iraq’s national wealth under US control.
The antiwar crowd is totally shrill when it comes to trying to say that “W” didn’t have a reason to go to war.
WMD’s when found will put to rest all of the questions the rabid foaming at the mouth leftist liberals have. It is not a matter of faith. The WMD’s have been hidden in Syria and perhaps other places.
Do you really believe that the Bush administration would place men (Armed Forces) in harm’s way without a good reason?
Why would “W” send men into battle to die without reason? The men in Iraq and around the world have very high morale in spite of the media’s trying to tear down the war effort.
I know that my opinion means nothing to antiwar libs, but there is another side to the debate.
Eric Garris replies:
You mean leftist liberals like our top columnist, Pat Buchanan?
World War I era mustard gas is not a weapon of mass destruction. The new definition of WMD would apply to virtually every nation on earth.
As long as there are people, there will be war. There is nothing you can do about it. Period. End of story.
Eric Garris replies:
I have a question about the May 13 article “Accounts of Atrocities Emerge from the Rubble of Fallujah.” Why was there no effort to ask the Marines who participated in fighting in Fallujah about all these alleged atrocities? I have no doubt that some residents of Fallujah who were not participating in the fighting were killed or wounded. However, it is also a fact that Fallujah is full of rabid Baathists aided by foreign fighters.
Eric Garris replies:
The Marines have been warned against talking to reporters after a number of negative reports that appeared last year. For example, the primary whistleblower on the Abu Ghraib scandal has been disciplined and is facing charges for talking to the media.
If you are correct about Fallujah, it seems like a place we should stay away from.