Backtalk, October 14, 2004

Larry Franklin’s October Surprise


First, you cannot use the words fundamentalists and evangelicals interchangeably; they are not. Evangelicals are spirit-filled Christians who know, because of their daily walk with God, that the most important thing in all history was Jesus’s death on Calvary. You have to keep that in mind when you are talking about Robertson, what he is saying is that evangelicals will not tolerate a foreign policy that is anti-Christian, that they do not give a hoot who controls Gaza but Jerusalem is where Jesus died and they will not tolerate a political scheme wherein the enemies of Christianity are given control of that city. Your equation of that as supporting the secular Israeli state, which, by the way, has laws forbidding Christians proselytizing the Jews, over the United States is mistaken.

The Jews are of interest to Christians only in as far as Jesus Himself was born into the Jewish nation and in Christianity there is the fulfillment of the hopes of the Jewish religion! Of course you must know that this claim is rejected by the Jews and most emphatically by the high rabbinical court in Jerusalem. The point of all this, which all Christians know as the truth, is that God is going to save the Jews despite their own actions and is even going to chastise them to save them. The Bible says that in the last days those in Jerusalem (Jews) will be forced by an invader to flee to Jordan, that the mount of olives will be split by an earthquake to prevent their encirclement and allow their escape, and that Jesus will supernaturally destroy all their enemies at Armageddon. This is not any kind of victory for the armies of Ariel Sharon. Robertson, of course, like all of us, knows this. His warning to Bush is simple: Do not put yourself against the Lord God in History and expect American Christians to support you, because you are looking for a quick way out of the difficult situation you got yourself into in Iraq.

Justin, you need to remember that Bush is married to the Saudi and oil company interests, not the Israeli ones, and only as long as those coincide, supports Israel. America WAS FOUNDED BY CHRISTIANS AS ONE NATION UNDER GOD. No true Christian anywhere in the world will support his national government’s political apparatus’s defiance of God. You may not like that, not being a Christian, but you, as surely as God lives eternally, are going to have to live with it.

~ John Bambey

Justin Raimondo replies:

Pat Robertson and his followers are dispensationalists, not mere evangelicals, who hold that the in-gathering of all the world’s Jews in the nation of Israel prefigures the Second Coming of Christ. After the Rapture, when all Good People are “raptured” up into Heaven, the Jews – according to the dispensationalists – will take the place of the Church as the representatives of God’s Will on earth. Israel, in short, will be the “new dispensation,” as they put it. Conversely, anything that prevents the in-gathering of the Jews – say, the creation of a Palestinian state, or a cutoff of U.S. aid to Israel – can delay the Second Coming. Since the purpose of the Church today is to hasten the coming of Christ, Robertson advocates an all-out unconditional support to Israel, reflecting the hard-line Likud policies in the name of Christianity.

As for me having to “learn to live with it” – we’ll just see about that, now won’t we?

Man-oh-man, this retro-’50s red-baiting stuff – I thought people were over this. The blacklisting has been repeatedly dissected and proven false and libelous. You and Buchanan are starting to sound like Coulter and Limbaugh. The HUAC and its ilk mirror in a way what is going on with the PATRIOT Act. I wanted to e-mail my dissent because I really think you guys have been on the ball in your examinations of this administration’s blunderous war. I just don’t believe that America is or was riddled with as many Communist spies as the very paranoid theories of McCarthy suggested. J. Robert Oppenheimer was blackballed because of his antiwar views and his reticence to support going ahead with hydrogen bomb research.

In addition, I have relatives in my extended family who were adversely affected by the HUAC and the blacklists – mainly for having left-of-center opinions or socialist ideals. I might not have agreed with many of the opinions of various entertainers, scholars, scientists, etc., but to have them submit to humiliating slanderous attacks and have their livelihoods destroyed – that seems un-American to me.

~ Ed Osburg

Justin Raimondo replies:

The Venona transcripts and the Kremlin’s own records examined after the fall of the Soviet Union confirm that FDR’s top aide, Harry Hopkins, was a KGB agent. So was Alger Hiss. The Soviets had key U.S. government agencies thoroughly penetrated. Go google the following names: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Harry Dexter White, Laughlin Currie, and, while you’re at it, look up the Venona transcripts.

As for the infamous “blacklist,” there are two points to be made. First, no one ought to be forced to hire someone whose politics they find repulsive. But even if you believe that political “discrimination” ought to be frowned on, if not outlawed, the other point to be made is that the anti-Communist “blacklist” was merely a continuation of the left-wing tradition which resulted in the blacklisting of right-wing “isolationists” in the period leading up to World War II. During the 1950s, the FBI was spying on suspected Commies, but during the late thirties and forties, they were watching the antiwar America First Committee and its successors in the postwar period.

Antiwar conservatives were purged from the media, and their activities were not only kept under surveillance, but also in many instances curtailed. Lawrence Dennis, the antiwar writer and former US diplomat, was tried for sedition. So you might call the blacklists of the 1950s and early ’60s “karma.”

Kerry Caught in the Big Lie

The notion that George Bush was “misled” by faulty intelligence is merely the latest in a never-ending series of lies. The raw intelligence data was ambiguous. The Bush Administration manipulated and distorted the intelligence to the point that, by early 2003, to question the magnitude of the danger posed by Iraq was to dismiss yourself from the realm of “rational” discourse, at least within this country’s borders. Dr. Roberts’ suggestion for Senator Kerry would only serve to reinforce the fiction that Bush was merely a recipient rather than an active participant in formulating the “intelligence” message on which the war was sold.

Senator Kerry certainly knows this. His silence, I suspect, owes to the fact that he and his colleagues in Congress knew full well that the Bush Administration was overstating the threat but considered it politically disadvantageous to make it an issue. Members of Congress who looked the other way are every bit as guilty as the Administration – and perhaps more so, given their Constitutional charge to act as a check on executive power.

The sentiment that American voters are faced with an unsavory choice on November 2nd is not the product of Senator Kerry’s inability to articulate a clear message or to identify the president’s many shortcomings. Rather, it is the product of Senator Kerry’s substantial complicity in the tragic debacle of our war in Iraq.

~ David Hutchinson, Denver, Colorado

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

There are always those who want there to be no way to avoid disaster.

It is amazing. There it is, ten times bigger than life, a monstrous elephant standing in the middle of the room. The whole world sees it, everyone but our candidates and millions of rabid, die-hard war-hawks in one of the most “advanced” nations on the planet. An informed elementary school student could tell you why we should never have invaded Iraq and the strategic blunder it was in the war on terrorism. And yet to the men who would be our next president, our children are dying and being maimed for a reason in Iraq, and the war has accomplished something to be proud of, and leaving the country before we accomplish what we came do would be a disaster.

Maybe some day they will understand what the whole world understands, that Iraq already is that disaster, that Iraq already is our worst case scenario, the blunder of blunders that with each day only compounds our immense problems throughout the world.

~ Carl Mattioli

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I share this reader’s frustration.

Nonviolent Chauvinism

Your article mentioned nothing about the continued visiting by Japanese leaders to the Warrior Shrine and 60 years of refusal to officially apologize for its war crimes committed on Chinese people during World War II.

I feel sorry for your lack of basic understanding of Chinese people.

~ H. Gao

Sascha Matuszak replies:

You waste so much of your time feeling sorry for yourself and your people and you still have time to feel sorry for me? Thanks!

The atrocities committed during WWII by Germany and Japan are quite well documented – next time I write about Sino-Japan affairs I will be sure to mention it.

But this column wasn’t about that – it was about my belief that Chinese nationalism doesn’t necessarily pose a military threat to other nations.

I‘m not an expert in Chinese history, and I don’t pretend to be. However, in your article, you claim that Chinese rule has been and will be benevolent, and that the Chinese “believe in their hearts that China will never use its strength to impose on others as nationalistic nations have done in the past.” How, then, do we explain what is going on in Tibet in regard to the Chinese occupation?

~ Milica Koscica

Sascha Matuszak replies:

What I described is a vision Chinese have of themselves – using the Tang Dynasty as an example. During the Tang, the Han and the Tibetans were fighting over what are now parts of Qinghai, Xinjiang and Sichuan while at the same time engaging in cultural and religious exchange.

Chinese are baffled by the idea that Tibet is considered by most other people in the world as an independent occupied nation – from the Chinese perspective, the invasion of Tibet was absolutely necessary to preserve the Chinese nation.

China’s brutal suppression of the people in Xinjiang and Tibet and the continued harassment of Hong Kong and Taiwan are considered to be domestic matters – internationally, I believe China will not act the way the US does, for example – although it mirrors the US in the domestic realm.

I wrote a column a ways back called “Soft Power Moves Abroad – Hard Power at Home,” which talked about these issues.

Diego Garcia: Paradise Cleansed

I watched the program about the Chagos islanders last night and was appalled but not surprised. We really are part of the United States now aren’t we? I have witnessed the UK lurching headlong into the abyss of United States globalization and feel powerless to do anything but protest. I will do what I can when I can. I am not wealthy but will make a contribution to when I get paid later this month.

Is their some way of making a monthly direct debit payment?

~ Sean Appleby-Simpkin

Eric Garris replies:

Thank you very much. You can make an auto payment via credit card here.

I have always been proud to be British but now I’m not so sure! What successive governments have done in my name is below despicable and the present government persists in the lies. The Diego Garcians should be reinstated with compensation and huge apologies NOW. This land is supposed to be protected by Britain, not given away to the US. Why do we grovel to them so?

~ Ann Gould

After Their Heads Roll, America’s Dead Remain Faceless

I completely agree with Ilana Mercer’s September 30th article: “After Their Heads Roll, America’s Dead Remain Faceless.”

The US Government does not care about the military, they care about the military contractor. And that is all, and to boot, only the military contractor in Washington, not the lowly people sent overseas on behalf of the contractor.

And negotiating with terrorists: America has totally forgotten the embassy hostages in Iran and how they, after 444 days, “miraculously” appeared on the same day as Reagan’s inauguration. Coincidence? I think not. It’s called negotiating. The saddest part is that anyone “caught” red-handed in the Iran-Contra scandal was pardoned when the architect took office and a lot of these same people are back in the game now.

Do we really believe that if a high American official’s son or daughter or wife or husband were suddenly a hostage, that SOME sort of deal wouldn’t be struck?

Get real, America.

~ Joe P.

No Palestinian State, No Peace for America

What a bunch of tripe. Israel was not created by brute force, as the author claims, but by the UN partition plan approved by the UN assembly. It called for the creation of a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian Arab state. The Zionists, particularly the first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, accepted the plan. In 1948, the Arab states rejected this plan and launched an all-out war against the newly created Jewish state. That rejectionism, and solely that rejectionism, prevented a Palestinian state from being created.

Also, contrary to the propaganda disseminated by the author, Jews were living in Palestine all along, though as a minority population. Jews did start coming in larger numbers to Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s, but purchased land from previous landowners, leased or settled on unoccupied land. And if the British draconian “White Paper” policy had not prevented Jews from immigrating before and during the Holocaust, perhaps hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of Jews could have been saved. …

Once again, Israel is solely being blamed for the Middle East conflict, and now speciously linked to attacks against Americans. Al-Qaeda certainly hates Israel, but has not launched one strike against Israel, nor infiltrated her borders. Can you figure out why that is? Because this isn’t its primary grievance. The major grievances are against the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.’s handling of Iraq (first sanctions, then the invasion). Israel/ Palestine is a tertiary factor, and only used to create a wedge between the U.S. and Israel.

At some point in the future, the Palestinians will get their own state. It will happen after the current leaders of Israel and Palestine are no longer in power. Only with new leadership who directly negotiate with each other and decompose the larger intractable problem into more manageable and solvable ones, will the Palestinians get a state in the West Bank and Gaza strip. But that won’t be the end of terrorism. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other rejectionist organizations will continue terrorist acts against Israelis, and al-Qaeda, assuming they still exist, will be planning their own unrelated attacks against the West.

~ David Epstein

Kerry, the Hawk


I love your insight and clarity in your articles. You do make a statement in this one about the post-9/11 flights of the Saudis (that “it never happened”), however, which is contradicted by your link: This really did happen and the link serves to verify it as do other extensive accounts including that Bush himself met privately with a key Saudi figure in the White House itself on September 12, 2001 to authorize the flights.

William Safire is a very interesting character. While I used to disagree with much of what he said – and especially his defense of the Bush regime – he is quite intellectually engaging and does search for what he sees to be the truth. I even got an e-mail back from him earlier this that was quite well reasoned after I’d bashed him for defending the lies of the Bush regime. I read and listen especially carefully now to exactly what he says and how he says it and as your articles show he’s often quite right. …

~ Jim R. Benfer Jr.

Dan Kervick’s backtalk

While I agree with Dan Kervick’s statement (Backtalk, October 7) that oil played a large role in the invasion/ occupation of Iraq, I submit the currency at which the oil was to be sold was far more important than the actual price of that oil.

For decades, oil has been traded worldwide exclusively in US dollars. But when Iraq was allowed to sell oil again, Saddam Hussein insisted on payment in euros, reaping a windfall when the euro leaped 25% vs. the dollar to parity by the end of 2002. Had the rest of OPEC followed suit, the dollar would have tanked far worse than it did last year; indeed, the euro might well have replaced it as the world’s reserve currency.

Another Mideast-based threat was the proposed launch of a gold-backed dinar among the world’s Islamic nations. Had that occurred, both the dollar and the euro – “fiat” currencies with nothing behind them but government printing presses – faced potential collapse. Interestingly, nothing more has been heard from gold-dinar advocates since the Iraqi occupation.

So the real question should be, “Have 1000 American souls died to prop up the dollar?” And the unavoidable answer is “yes.”

If anyone doubts any of this, just do a Google search on “Saddam+oil+euro” and “gold+dinar.”

~ David Haines

Casualties in Iraq

I just wanted to thank you for updating the casualty list as thoroughly as you do (filling in the names and ages when you get that information); even though it makes me sick to my stomach, I check it weekly for my brother’s name.

~ Anonymous in NC

Video: US Pilots Kill Civilians

I am a Vietnam veteran. This literally makes me ill. I can’t begin to tell you how ashamed this makes me feel. It was bad enough what we went through 35 years ago. And to hear the idiot say “dude” really turns my stomach. This is a game to some of these people. I can promise you there will be a day when this guy can’t sleep, trying to forget what he has done. He has been deceived to believe these people were the enemy when the enemy was within. Only the Lord can turn this around. It won’t be a Bush or a Kerry or their neocon handlers.

~ Robert Houston, Texas

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos

As far as I know, abuse of prisoners has been a norm, rather than an exception for the US policy (political prisoners). In the ’70s I read the book Inside the Company: CIA Diary by Philip Agee. He describes the torture of the detainees in South America under CIA instructions. More came out in the subsequent books: Hidden Terrors by A. J. Langgouth, who also documents abuses in Latin America; Death in Washington by Simon Landis; and many other books, as well as periodicals such as Covert Action Quarterly, Counter Spy, etc., etc. There is ample evidence that we have a double standard when it comes to justice in this country, some people are not covered by this universally recognized human right, the right to be treated fairly once one laid down his arms. Even the ancient Roman legions had a better treatment of the prisoners than we have today in our “enlightened” society.

~ Bob Kornic

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