Backtalk, August 8, 2004

2005 Draft?

I‘m a fan of your site, and I have a boyfriend in the army. He even likes it. I love how you’re not anti-troops, but anti-war as all are. I have found something that has scared me, and I thought you could possible ease some of our minds out here about if it is true or not. Please visit these sites: and “U.S. Draft in 2005.” Thanks. I’m telling people about and getting pledges for you.

~ CA, girlfriend of a soldier

Attacking Neo-Cons From the Right

In your article “Attacking Neo-Cons From the Right” why do you find it necessary to use the words: “Jewish and Non-Jewish” in the following paragraph? (Why not just say neoconservatives?):

“Powered by both Jewish and non-Jewish neoconservatives centered in the offices of Pentagon Chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney and by White House deference to the solidly pro-Zionist Christian Right, the neoconservative worldview – dedicated to the security of Israel and the primacy of military power in a world of good and evil – emerged after 9/11 as the driving force in the foreign policy of current President George W Bush, as well as the dominant narrative in a cowed and complacent mass media.”

~ Conor Power

Jim Lobe replies:

Because of there’s too much anti-Semitic stereotyping of neoconservatives as exclusively Jewish and because Israel and Zionism are mentioned in the same paragraph. My central concern is that people understand neoconservatism as a political, rather than a religious or ethnic, phenomenon and that most Jews are not neoconservatives.

Hope that makes some sense. It’s a very delicate issue.

I have but one question. Why have you and the authors Halper and Clarke refrained from using what I believe to be the correct terminology for the neoconservative movement: fascism?

~ Hal O’Leary

Jim Lobe replies:

It certainly has fascistic characteristics but in some key ways, it can’t be considered that.

Fascism usually requires a leader (fuehrerprinzip) who somehow embodies the “nation” in some fundamentally romantic way. In addition, fascism does not avow any universal principles or rights that apply to all humanity, as the neo-cons do (even if some nations are morally exalted over others.

Hello Mike: Of the 5,425 wounded, is there record of how many have permanent disability such as loss of hearing, eyesight, hand, arm – below elbow, above shoulder – foot – below ankle, below knee, below hip – or other permanent disabilities that are significantly life-changing. I understand that just going to war, seeing the killing, killing, almost being killed/ wounded are all significantly life-changing, but am, for this purpose, dealing with the 5,425. If not, do you know where I can get this stuff without a lot of obstruction and resistance?

~ David Cambra, Psy.D Student

Michael Ewens replies:

I am unaware of any stats broken down like that. My number differs from the DoD, which can be found here (pdf file):

Look for “OIF/OEF Casualty Update” on There they divide the numbers into wounded return to duty and wounded not return to duty.

My number – behind theirs – is a compilation of CentCom’s discontinued number and DoD’s new number. Only recently have they come ahead of me. I am considering upping my number to suit.

Hope that this helps.


I heard and read on Drudge Report that President Bush was quoted yesterday as saying he would “do it again” with regards to invading Iraq, even knows that Iraq had no WMDs and was not a threat to the US. …If President Bush said that, he has made an very effective argument for both impeachment and investigation by the World Court for “crimes against humanity.”

I do not say this for partisan reasons; and, I’m quite aware that if Bush is punished, it is likely to be by people with even worse political agendas. I would have supported the same kind of indictment petition against President Clinton for his unjustified attack on Belgrade. Nonetheless, Bush has provided the most damning evidence against himself. It is our duty to seek justice.

~ Robert Fallin

Revenge of the Mahdi

I am interested in knowing the source(s) of Justin Raimondo’s information on Osama Bin Laden. It does not mesh with my own interpretation.

Tired of interpretations in general, I decided to go straight to the source. I read the transcripts (obviously, translated, so not his exact words) of several interviews with him.

What he said had nothing at all to do with the past and everything to do with current policies. It may be he is inspired or inspires others by references to past glory, but I have not seen this myself.

His arguments were that today, right now, the Western powers (especially the US) treats our own blood “as blood” and Muslim blood “as water.”

He complained about our occupation of Muslim lands, our exploitation of their resources (cheap oil in particular), our support of client regimes (largely to secure oil), our hypocrisy in general, and of course, our disgusting policies toward Palestine and Iraq.

Frankly, I don’t personally care what Osama the terrorist wants. But I feel it is important for us to have an accurate picture of his arguments, especially since these ideas may underpin his support among would-be moderate Muslims, who are angry with our policies. …

~ Cheyrl Hutchinson

An Open Letter to the 9/11 Panel

Dear Sibel Edmonds: I wish to commend you for integrity and true patriotism. Something sadly lacking in current Government and opposition. History will prove your honour. Whilst secrecy prevails, democracy withers and fails.

~ John Cameron, from OZ

Mark Bonta (PhD, Professor of Geography, Delta State University): Respectfully: At what point is Sibel Edmonds going to stop beating around the bush and tell us what the mystery country is?

Sam Koritz: I’m not speaking for Ms. Edmonds or here, just as someone who has read about Ms. Edmonds’ case.

I believe that what Ms. Edmonds has described is an intersection of criminals and corrupt government officials (both US and foreign). I don’t believe that she has claimed that a particular government was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks.

MB: If Sibel Edmonds doesn’t speak or understand Arabic, what are we to make of this story: “Arab translators cheered Sept. 11“?

SK: FBI translators of various languages work in close proximity to each other.

MB: Is Edmonds nothing more than a mechanism of pressure, some sort of leverage against the US on behalf of some foreign group/ intel agency? Is this whole issue a charade?

SK: I haven’t seen any reason to believe this. Ms. Edmonds has alleged that corruption, incompetence and espionage have undermined the FBI’s investigation of terrorism in the United States. To my knowledge no one has refuted her charges (though some have disagreed with her interpretation of the facts). Assuming she’s telling the truth, her demanding that the government correct the problem is a patriotic service to America.

MB: Didn’t Ashcroft/ DOJ, or federal courts, retroactively gag what she’s writing about? How can she repeat the names of people that, a few weeks ago, we read couldn’t be mentioned any more? She has as much as told us what Al Qaeda is, and in a radio interview not long ago, as well as the Fintan Dunne interview, she hints that the ‘foreign government’ involved is not Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or Pakistan, essentially. Does that leave Iran? Is that what she’s angling at? Because if so, I don’t think the US public will buy it – not another war. We’ve had Chalabi and lot of other lies and deceptions; is Edmonds going to come out and tell us all that, yes, Iran was behind 9-11, at the opportune moment?

SK: You don’t think the US public will buy it? According to current polls the US public is intending to reelect a President who used an attack by Sunni extremists to declare more-or-less war on Sunni extremism’s adversaries (Shi’ism, secular nationalism, and communism). Regardless, evidence of government “involvement” in terrorism wouldn’t necessarily cause the US to attack that government. For example, the 9/11 panel claims that organizations based in Saudi Arabia (and that are at least nominally controlled by the government) have provided a major portion of al-Qaeda’s estimated $30M annual budget, yet no major US official has suggested attacking Saudi Arabia.

MB: Al Qaeda seems like a monstrous evolution of the Iran-Contra worldwide network. Is that what it is? Is it possible that no one single person is controlling it, because it is a system that all Intel agencies, arms dealers, money launderers, tap into, some sort of mutual blackmail society where you never really understand more than your own tiny part in the clandestine commodity chain? Never really know who you might be working for? Just some questions and comments. Any response would be welcome.

SK: I’d define al-Qaeda as the anti-US wing of the international Sunni jihad, which Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the US originally created to fight Russians. And there is an Iran-Contra connection. As Rachel Bronson wrote in the Los Angeles Times (“The U.S.-Saudi Love Affair Predates Bush“):

…[T]he Reagan administration figured out how to integrate Saudi Arabian global concerns and surplus cash into US foreign policy. In Afghanistan, the kingdom matched US contributions dollar for dollar. Eventually, Washington and Riyadh poured about $3 billion into that broken country. Saudi Arabia also put $32 million into Nicaragua to fund the Contras, a fact that emerged in the Iran-Contra scandal. Saudi Arabia funneled money into Ethiopia’s neighbor, Sudan, in order to pressure Ethiopia’s pro-Soviet Mengistu government. Saudi Arabia assisted Angola’s rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi, in support of US goals, by providing Morocco with money for a UNITA training camp. Yet Saudi Arabia provided more than just funding. The kingdom provided an ideologically compatible partner in the battle against godless communism. In a neat division of labor, America attacked communism and Saudi Arabia targeted godlessness. During his tenure, Reagan regularly rattled off a list of countries of concern: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. What few realized was that Saudi Arabia was either directly or indirectly involved in four of these five cases. The close partnership inspired Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, to confide to a journalist in 1981 that “if you knew what we were really doing for America, you wouldn’t just give us AWACS, you would give us nuclear weapons.

(Instead, Pakistan got the nukes.)

John Kerry’s Pure Wind

Mr. Sutton quotes Madison but then forgets the constitutional scribe’s point. Forget whether Mr. Kerry has been a practiced politician for all of his life. The legislature is always able to shut off a commander in chief’s financial water. Not only is the legislature responsible for declaring war, it is responsible for ending a war. After ten years in minority wilderness (thanks to their twin sins of arrogance and corruption) the Democrat candidates know what their constituents want. Put them in with a veto-proof majority and congressional democrats will have our children’s boots off of Iraq’s ground by midsummer of 2006 at the very latest. They would know that we’d dump them in November 2006 if they don’t. If our democratic congress starts making some of the noises you independents who help elect them don’t like, a simple and LOUD reference to 11/2006 will remind them about the wilderness YOU rescued them from, Mr. Sutton. You certainly won’t get their attention with a protest vote for the job of commander in chief. Also, you need to get congressmen such as Ron Paul to stop posing as Republicans when they are clearly libertarians. As “out” role models of the latter, such examples might encourage more libertarians to run for office instead of just talk about it.

~ David Waite

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