Backtalk, November 2, 2004

Kerry’s Cowardly Convergence

Madam, at this late hour, one must do more than just ridiculing Kerry, I am afraid. As Suskind pointed out so terrifyingly well, the problem is a monstrous one, very much concerning MANKIND as such. Can you imagine what would happen during four MORE years of (the creation of) new reality?!

Writing to you, esteemed madam, from the boonies of western Canada, I strongly suggest that anyone of any significance who still has a few moments to spare before Nov. 2, uses them to press the more or most influential media people, the editors-in-chief, possibly even the advertisers, to make them point out the Bushian lies and all that. The American people, contrary to popular belief in Europe, are not too stupid to understand what’s going on; they are merely not being told! The media are as cowardly (or ignorant) as Kerry is.

Your articles in some entre nous corner of the alternative-media is “nice,” but we have a major, serious, genuine catastrophe on our hands. I wish I could talk to Koppel, King, Lehrer, and/or their bosses.

It is a monstrosity!

Do something, please!

But thanks for your piece.

~ HGvPH (Henning)

Ilana Mercer replies:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter; but I wonder what you imagine the writers on and myself have been doing since, what I called in my book, “the ramp up to the war in Iraq”?

We saw it coming well before mainstream media did – and well before Suskind did, I might add, although Jonnies-come-lately are always welcome. (I called the invasion of Iraq a “faith-based” initiative on February 12, 2003 – here. In the same column I referred to neocon Lincoln-lovers as “Jacobin jackals,” also one of the first of such references.)

Your national newspaper, The Globe And Mail, published my “Save America from the War Party” (they gave it a different title) on Sept. 19, 2002. In short succession, I followed up with essays exposing the media’s role in the drive to war. “Tuned-Out, Turned-On, And Hot For War,” “On Pimps And ‘Presstitutes’” are some of them (all in the book).

After writing “In Bed With the Military,” a play on “embedded,” the local PBS TV station invited me to participate in one of the first discussions about the (supportive) role the media played in the invasion. (Links to the debate can be followed from my site – here.) My hopes were raised when Lew Rockwell was interviewed on Now with Bill Moyers.


We have been shouting from the metaphorical rooftops nonstop, although, as you must have noticed by now, we are not being included in mainstream discourse. (Bimbos like Wonkette are, so I disagree with your positive assessment of the American public. I’ve grown a little cynical, you see.)

I gave expression to my disgust at this state of affairs in “Pundits Heal Thyself.”

So, give us a break. And please support – don’t admonish or patronize – the troops on sites like this one.

Kerry and his record stands for itself, and the past 20-plus years cannot be be denied. Think about it! If I did not believe in this DEMOCRACY I would have lined Kerry up against the laws of treason and tried him in the courts of this NATION. His record speaks for itself: a traitor, by any other name. God bless Bush for making the uncomfortable choices to keep us free from terror. This is a conflict of religions and cultures designed to overcome our Western influence in the Middle East. Have you lost your mind about the real problem that exists? Bush is a PATRIOT who believes in the MANIFEST DESTINY of the United States of America. Do you want to ride a bike to work, or give away the technology to someone else in a foreign land? Better rethink your goals, ASAP!

~ John E. Brammer

Yes, Kerry’s echoing of many of Bush’s Iraq policies is disheartening, to say the least. Unfortunately, anyone in this country who would advocate the only reasonable course of action, namely, withdrawal from Iraq, would have no chance to win election to the presidency. Kerry has no choice but to support the war effort, at least until he defeats Bush in the upcoming election.

In these critical moments before Nov. 2, the necessity of our country to disgorge its worst president ever needs to take priority over Kerry-bashing. Who can doubt that a more “reality-centered” administration under Kerry is going to be more open to reason than the fundamentalists currently running the country? Should Kerry defeat Bush, we have far greater hope of holding his feet to the fire on the war issue (not to mention benefiting from his far more progressive stances on social, economic and environmental issues) than we ever will with Bush, et al.

~ Stephen Foust

Ilana Mercer replies:

You would agree then with the position expressed so well by Scott McConnell in “Kerry’s the One.”

It’s a tough one, but I think I would go with Alan W. Bock’s “Libertarian Resistance.”

Coming Home

I am very disappointed with Buchanan; after reading … his criticism about the war and believing he was a rare Republican with morals, now that the time for decision has come he has taken off his mask. … I am angry at him and disappointed with Justin Raimondo (someone that I have great admiration for, after reading since ’98) for supporting this Trojan horse in the antiwar movement. … Everybody knows that voting for Bush is voting for war with Iran. You people can’t have in the columnists someone that supports war, no matter that his rhetoric says the contrary. Please, please, I love and want to keep it that way.

~ Douglas M.

Eric Garris replies:

Our broad-based message is exactly why we will continue to run articles by columnists with a variety of antiwar views, including Buchanan. He is two-faced when it comes to the GOP, but we will never blackball writers for “incorrect” views. We will feel free to criticize them, but we will never move toward sectarian “purity.”

Unbelievable. I’ve just read that Pat Buchanan is endorsing George W. Bush for president, apparently because he is not John Kerry. Buchanan has just demolished any shred of intellectual integrity he had left. His reasoning seems to fall somewhere along the lines that Kerry is a traitor for speaking out against the Vietnam War, a war Buchanan apparently still thinks was a good idea. I’ve got some news for you, Pat: no amount of historical spin can turn that debacle into a good idea. It was a disaster, and completely at odds with the founders’ vision of an autonomous republic. It was also unwinnable, unless you believe the U.S. could have successfully confronted China in another war. It’s time to lay this one to rest: Vietnam was a very bad idea, and those who opposed it were absolutely correct to do so, whether they served or not. To suggest that John Kerry, and not Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, et al., bears any responsibility for treatment of POWs or our ignominious defeat in Vietnam shows only the rankest partisan ignorance of the realities of that war.

~ Peter Swayze

I am one of the people who wants to know’s position on Buchanan’s endorsement of Bush. I was really disappointed in Raimondo’s dismissive “response” to this question. No one expects or wants ideological conformity on, but Raimondo and other writers have supported Buchanan in the past – I want to know if they support him on this as well.

I’ve contributed money to in the past, and whether I do it again in the future depends on the answer to this question. At the moment, Raimondo’s bluster and equivocation lead me to believe that he’s unwilling to take a firm stand against Bush and his war.

Below please find my original email to the editors. I have not asked for to “explain” Buchanan’s endorsement; I can figure out for myself that his love of the Republican Party is stronger than his love of peace or principle. But I do want to know if has made the same choice.

Original email:

As a financial contributor to, I am deeply disturbed to hear of your ally Pat Buchanan’s endorsement of Bush. Do you intend to repudiate, or even mention, this endorsement? I certainly will not give more money to you without a public repudiation of this shameful position.

~ Dave Kielpinski

Editor Matthew Barganier replies:

You can read my position here.

The Brownshirting of America

My feelings as I read Roberts’ column ranged from fear and sadness to rage – at Roberts.

Fear: his references to Brownshirts are more than appropriate. I have noted recently, in doing my own one hour/week of talk radio, that Republicans – even mainstream ones – no longer speak of themselves as Americans. And they certainly have no concern for the Unites States and their fellow citizens. They are in fact Nazis, a point confirmed by the Republicans at their national convention when they entered openly into gay-bashing. Their model is clearly Hitler and the ’30s Brownshirts – for those who didn’t know where the pink triangle symbol came from!

Sadness: the passing of the USA as a model nation-state, widely loved by the rest of the world (a fact that lasted a bit until the aftermath of 9/11). We had our last moment of greatness with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which addressed the status of women as well as racial minorities. But the conservatives dragged us into Vietnam, via tactics that were virtually identical to those used by the Republicans two years ago, and it has been downhill ever since.

Rage: Roberts is a self-professed conservative, served under Reagan, helped privatize industry in France, etc., etc., etc., and now he is unhappy?! Let’s be realistic: W. was Robert’s dream come true four years ago, and W. has simply carried out all of the fantasies of the Reaganites. What are those old sayings? “Be careful what you pray for. You might get it!” “A revolution devours its own children!”

~ Stanley L.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

As a number of those who served under Reagan have pointed out, Reagan was not a neoconservative. He said that he wanted to end the cold war, not win it, and he fired the neocons who misled him about Iran-Contra.

Do you really hope to convince other than masochistic conservatives by:

1. launching threadbare invectives from the basic vocabulary of the liberals and their fellow-travellers (“These are the traits of brownshirts.” Exclusively of the brownshirts? What about the “antifascists”?);

2. calling in a registered liar, David Brock (Timothy Noah, Slate, March 27, 2002 : “The further one gets into Brock’s book (Blinded by the Right), the more one starts to suspect that Brock wasn’t a liar for any larger cause, but simply a liar”)….?

~ Hubert SPONS, Belgium

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

If Brock is a liar, he is keeping company with President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Sec. Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Sec. Wolfowitz, Defense Undersecretary Feith, Sec. State Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, Fox “news,” right-wing talk radio, PM Tony Blair, and a large number of others.

Things have come to a pretty pass indeed when a classical conservative like Paul Craig Roberts feels the need to excoriate the self-styled patriots of the corporatist right. Meanwhile, those who belong to the tradition of American liberalism (which I take to mean “liberal” in the sense of a “liberal education,” that is, striving to judge each idea and political initiative on its own merits and not in the light of received dogmas) also find themselves under attack for nothing more than the choice of name that they use to describe their intellectual orientation. It wasn’t all that long ago that the moderate left and moderate right could talk and act together in the halls of congress and in state legislatures across the nation, and work together for the common good. Dr. Roberts probably differs with those of us who look with favor on European- or Canadian-style socialized medicine or social security (as introduced in Germany by that notorious lefty Bismarck), yet I am certain that he would differ in an incisive yet civil and constructive manner, pointing out shortcomings and perils in such schemes, and thus raising the level of debate. His writing on the current national descent into the depths of collective paranoia could well come from the pen of classical “fighting liberals” like LaFollette or Norris, to name two distinguished Republican exemplars of that endangered species. As the traditional left reconsiders the merits of Jeffersonian isolationism and reaffirms its commitment to civil liberties, the opportunity, indeed the necessity, for a “patriotic” alliance against the corporatist juggernaut and its media minions becomes increasingly obvious, urgent, and compelling. The task at hand in nothing less than the salvation and redemption of the American dream.

~ Frank Sullivan

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Yes, all Americans are challenged by the lack of civility and unconcern with truth that have become defining characteristics of the Republican Party and its propagandists.

Sharon’s True Face Exposed (and Ignored)

Shel: I read in the Oct. 17 Philadelphia Inquirer, in a report by Mohammed Daragmeh of the Associated Press, that Arun Gandhi met with Arafat. Arun said in front of Arafat, “Had the Palestinians adopted passive resistance from the start of the decades-long dispute with Israel, hostilities could well have ended by now.” But he also said that it was not too late. He said, “If the Palestinians rise up and start a nonviolent movement, it will boost world sympathies. The nations of the world will rise up and put more pressure on Israel.” I agree with that. That is what happened in India with the British. I know that many Arab intellectuals also agree. Don’t you? Why don’t you propose that in your writings?

Ran HaCohen: I agree, but it’s not that easy. On many occasions, Israel used lethal fire to disperse peaceful demonstrations. The army is surely aware of the great danger of a nonviolent Intifada, and it is doing its best not to let it happen. Being an Israeli, and given that there are about four or five times more Palestinian than Israeli casualties, I think my first duty is to urge Israel to hold its fire, rather than to give advice to the other, victimized side.

Shel: Maybe when Arafat is no longer there, the new Palestinian leadership will go that route. However, I believe it will take more than a generation to take away the hatred between Palestinians and Israelis.

Don’t you understand that if there are no more suicide bombings and killings by Palestinian militants, Israel would have no reason to occupy the West Bank, to kill any of the militant leaders or to continue building the fence/wall and do many of the other terrible things you write about?

Ran HaCohen: The occupation started in 1967, the settlements a few years later, and the suicide bombings in 1994 (after Goldstein’s massacre in Hebron). So blaming the suicide bombings for the occupation that preceded them by 27 years is not too convincing.

Withdraw From the Balkans!

The Serbians have no one but themselves to blame for the situation in which they find themselves: they did not have the foresight to know that the only way a small or smaller country can stand up to a rogue superpower and its allies is to have nuclear weapons. They should have taken a page out of the North Korean or Iranian handbook and applied it properly.

The U.S. now considers North Korea “untouchable.” There is no mention of any type of military activity against that country. “Negotiation” is the watchword.

Once they find out Iran has nuclear weapons, it will also become “untouchable.” There is some talk of military activity against Iran but the U.S. is too bogged down in Iraq to mount an effective military operation against Iran. Besides, the Iranians have a very good air defense system (they have the Russian S300 system). If this military equipment is used in a militarily competent manner, the attacking air force(s) will suffer catastrophic losses. If Israel attacks Iran, it will probably be completely destroyed. So the Israelis will have to think about committing national suicide in their deliberations about the feasibility of attacking Iran.

If the Serbs had had nuclear weapons, America and NATO would never have attacked them. And the problems they have could have been addressed by themselves without any fear of outside intervention, like the Russians in Chechnya and the Chinese in Tibet. They would have been “untouchable.”

~ Sam Barich, South Park, PA

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I‘m afraid this will have to remain an alternate-history, “what-if” scenario. Serbia has no ability to acquire nuclear weapons right now, and even if it did, the Empire would mount an all-out assault before they could be ready for deterrence deployment. Had Yugoslavia been a nuclear power in 1990, perhaps it would still be around, or the story of its breakup would have unfolded much differently. But again, those are what-ifs, and little help in the present situation. I do remain convinced, however, that no amount of violence can subjugate a people that decide to be free in their minds, and do not give up that conviction. Ideas are more powerful than weapons, if anything because weapons cannot defeat them – only kill the people who harbor them. And that is not victory, only murder.

The Hague Showdown

Nebojsa Malic says justice is served by truth, and I cannot agree more. Serving justice by truth is, moreover, what Malic has also the courage to do.

~ V. Suchan

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Thank you very much. I don’t claim to know the whole truth, but I try my best.

As a scientist who worked many years with dedication for the UN, I am truly disgusted with the level of corruption and incompetence that is tolerated by the UN, especially in relation to ICTY and international law. The UN, as an organization, failed in its duty, and it is very sad to say that the work of thousands of people like me who put their mind and heart in helping the UN has gone down the drain, especially in the past decade.

The breaking of Yugoslavia was the start of lawlessness where the law of the jungle prevails. The world helplessly watched civil war in Yugoslavia, which in my opinion was instigated first by Germany and then the U.S. and UK. Milosevic is right and that is why under no circumstances can he be allowed to speak. He does not have any legal rights, not even human rights, and the ICTY proceedings could be compared with the worst regimes that existed in the twentieth century. Yugoslavia was the test case from which the U.S. proceeded with the sanctions on Iraq that caused the deaths of at least a million children – and all this with the UN’s blessing. From this, subsequent U.S. governments concluded that they could break international law with no consequences, and the latest war in Iraq is only the logical follow-up.

The UN failed to protect international law, failed to protect human rights and the rights of children, and does not even respect its own charter. The UN has become the antithesis of what it should represent. Small nations do not have any hope that the UN would protect them when attacked by the more powerful nations. The UN abandoned all existing mechanisms to prevent such events. How long we are going to watch poverty, death, and violence done by the U.S. and other wealthy nations in order to enrich their citizens so that they can spend more money on trinkets?

The ICTY looks more like a criminal enterprise than the respectable court that it should be. The actions of the ICTY should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and it should be abolished. Milosevic should be transferred to the World Court, which I hope would be less corrupted, and tried under the international law.

~ Jeanne S.

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I share your assessment of the UN completely, and do think it is both sad and tragic that the world is now ruled by brute force alone. There is still a pretense of legality, though, which may be one of the reasons more people do not protest the Imperial exercise of arbitrary power. I, for one, do not believe the World Court would make a difference.

This guy is spot on. NATO’s war of aggression against Serbia was primarily designed to convert a decaying U.S.-European defensive alliance, which had inconveniently lost its mission of Soviet deterrence, into a U.S.-led auxiliary legion for planned future aggression in the Middle Eastern oil fields. The one-sided propaganda against the Serbs in the Yugoslav civil war was professionally orchestrated. Ask Madison Avenue’s Ruder & Finn. The Hague court is a travesty of justice. To determine who should be tried for war crimes, it is first necessary to determine who is the loser of the conflict. The victor, no matter what the magnitude of his own crimes, rarely tries himself. He celebrates his war crimes. The bombers, now with bases in the Balkans, must be popping champagne corks in Washington. This is a great propaganda victory over the truth.

~ E. Roby

Milosevic has clearly created panic among his tormentors by his opening statement (I wish I could get hold of the complete text) in his defense. Instead of accepting meekly the judicial farce around him, he has launched a devastating counterattack, which has compelled the Inquisitors to deny him the right of self-defense by forcefully appointing him a lawyer. The panic, in fact, is so great that the “court” didn’t mind, literally denying itself in this most absurd manner.

What Milosevic is saying is nothing else than what everybody suspects to be the truth, but what is also dangerous to admit, i.e., that the Vatican, Germany, and the U.S. planned and executed the destruction of Yugoslavia, right from the beginning – helped, of course, by their willing satraps. Dangerous to admit, because any acknowledgment of it would automatically throw light on the guilty party and possibly imply criminal proceedings against the authors, which could result in a multi-million dollar damage to Serbs as war reparations. This, of course, must not happen and the instructions have arrived that Milosevic must not be allowed to speak for himself lest people might start meditating over another version (much closer to the truth) of the destruction of Yugoslavia.

Milosevic can’t save himself personally; he must know that. The Empire and its servants will never permit any other verdict than”guilty as charged,” but to the Serbs “his truth” may very well “be marching on.” Compared to their present spineless and corrupt politicians, Milosevic does look like a giant. And that might be all that he cares about. He is a Montenegrin, we mustn’t forget.

~ Peter Vujacic

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I, too, am looking to obtain the full opening statement, just to see what got the Inquisition in such a tizzy. But I don’t think exposing the destroyers of Yugoslavia publicly would make as much of an impact as you suggest. Which court is going to rule in favor of the Serbs, and how would it compel the Empire to cough up the reparations? There is no international law any more; the Empire killed it right before everyone’s eyes, and no one has done a thing about it. Milosevic could easily demolish the Inquisition’s rickety case (if given a chance), but he will be convicted because the Inquisition has no other choice. To do otherwise would be for it to deny its purpose and existence.

It does appear, however, that by railroading him, the Inquisition and the Empire are creating a martyr.

Two issues with Mr. Malic’s latest piece: Does he understand any of the “contempt of court” concept? If Milosevic, Karadjic, Pasic, and other names ending with “ic” did not commit these crimes, who did, my grandmother? C’mon Nebojsa!

~ Chris, NJ

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I‘m very much in contempt of the Hague Inquisition. It deserves nothing else.

What exactly do you mean by “other names ending with ‘ic'”? Is this ethnic stereotyping I detect? Surely not!

Imperial Balkans

Dear Mr. Malic,

According to your (recent and previous) interpretations published on, the atrocities committed in a string against ethnic Hungarians (desecration of graves, death threats, and beatings in discos, on the streets, at weddings) are but an opportunity for some failed Hungarian politicians to improve their chances in the past week’s elections. While the statements to this effect do not stand out from your world of habitual denial concerning the crimes committed by Serbian nationals, you might as well tell this to the Sötét family, who have recently requested asylum in Hungary. Perhaps they did not know that, according to your ever-Serb white-washer attitude, their son’s brutal treatment at the hands of some Serbian thugs was just an excuse for the Hungarian leaders to push their case, maybe even instigated by Mr. Kasza himself. After all, it is easier to blame everyone else than to own up to the crimes perpetrated by one’s own side, and way more comfortable, too.

~ Peter Balogh

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Dear Mr. Balogh,

I did not say the violence suffered by some members of the ethnic Hungarian community was entirely politically staged; that’s preposterous. I am sure at least some of these acts were ethnically motivated. I refuse to call them “atrocities,” though, as it is a loaded and inaccurate term, overused and worn out almost as much as “genocide.”

As someone who’s had to seek asylum himself, I sympathize with the Sötét family, but I do find it odd that their departure occurred right after the Hungarian president’s visit, and that the attack on the young man occurred right before the visit. In a relatively recent article for, I’ve raised the question of the timing of these “atrocities” to coincide with Hungary’s admission to the EU, the escalation of the situation in Kosovo, and the increased pressure by the U.S. and EU on Serbian authorities.

Maybe I am seeing conspiracies where there are none, but wouldn’t that also be the case in arguing that “Serb atrocities” just started out of the blue, for no apparent reason whatsoever?

Since you draw conclusions about my positions largely from my ethnic origin, I would say it’s at least a pinch hypocritical of you to protest anyone’s alleged “hate crimes” on that basis.

Electing to Abstain

Dear Mr. Malic:

How successful have you been in getting your essays published in American newspapers (i.e. Chicago Tribune, Sun, Milwaukee Journal, NY Times, etc.)? You are an excellent voice and I hope you are heard elsewhere, not just “preaching to the choir.” One other thing, as a historian, I am sure you are aware of the myriad instances of betrayal by the Americans and especially by the British. … I wonder why any Serb government would ever bow down to their demands. It has never been in the interests of Serbs, at least in the last 100 years, to bow to the Western Anglophile governments. I see now that there are many who want to give in to the demands of the British and Americans to become part of NATO, the European Union, etc. I suppose there is some measure of economic benefit, but is it worth it to give in to blackmail and the shameful demand to give up leaders such as Karagic, Mladic, and the others? I think that those who are war criminals and have committed rapes, murders, etc., should be tried by the Serb government, not by the Europeans who hold such contempt for Serbs. I heard during the war, over and over, how all three sides are the same; so how come they are not treated the same in the Hague, EU, NATO, etc.? The U.S. should be required to become subject to the World Court and be held accountable for its actions, then maybe tragedies like the last war wouldn’t be so quick to happen.

Thank you for reading my remarks.

~ Ljiljana Vukcevic

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Dear Ms. Vukcevic,

Thank you for your kind words.

The American mainstream has not aired my views, but I am not terribly upset about it. has many readers from all sorts of backgrounds, and my articles get re-posted on many other sites, with permission or without. That is one of the great things about the Internet. There is never any real benefit for anyone from submitting to the Empire of the day, be it Ottoman, Austrian, German, British, or American (to name just a few examples). Those who do preserve their physical existence at the cost of their spiritual being. Such servitude is inimical to the principles of liberty I subscribe to, and I therefore find it quite unacceptable. I do recognize that some people believe it is “practical,” but I simply do not think so. I’ve even quoted an instance in which not joining the EU has produced tangible economic and political benefits (Iceland). It is entirely morally abhorrent for Serbia to even consider joining NATO, an alliance that has committed a crime against peace by attacking then-Yugoslavia and occupying Kosovo in 1999. The argument is not whether Serbia will “go it alone,” it’s whether it will go as a free state, or as a vassal. I’m sure most people would make the right decision if the choice was explained to them in these terms. Unfortunately, I don’t share your optimism that tragedies in the Balkans could have been avoided by making any of the combatants (including the U.S.) subject to the World Court (or ICC, or ICJ). In the age of post-modernist morality, where any conduct is justified if it is believed to be for a good cause (and the ones doing the justifying have the military might to simply kill anyone who says otherwise), there is no respect for laws of man or God anymore. Instead, they’ve become another tool of violence. The only way to prevent this kind of tragedy is to fight the ideas of aggression and imperialism, which I hold to be truly evil.

Solving the ‘Serbian Question’

Dear Mr. Malic,

Thank you very much for your columns; I read with so much pleasure. Since the beginning of the Yugoslavian wars, I thought that something was wrong and contradictory between what was presented to us and some facts. This has leading me to more interests and research on “Balkan affairs.”

I recently found the website of an NGO that seems very active working politically in/for Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Kosovo): European Stability Initiative:

Do you know this NGO? Strange activism, which I hardly believe “independent.”

Thank you again for your voice in this darkness.

~ Marie-Hélène Durand

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Dear Mme. Durand,

Thank you for your kind words. I am indeed acquainted with the ESI. It has staked a claim to fame by opposing the authoritarian ways of the Bosnian viceroy, but it is in fact a complementary partner of ICG and IWPR in their role as Imperial missionaries.

Merci beaucoup,

~ Nebojsa Malic

The Worthy Balkans Booklist

Dear Mr. Malic,

I was wondering if by “leftist warmongers” you were including Bill Clinton? I should think the Slick One was rather more of a right-of-center, if not downright neoconservative, warmonger. Just as the Chronicles editors are picky about who is truly “right,” some of us (pacifistic, decidedly antiwar and, dare I say, libertarian) leftists are rather touchy on being lumped with this mass-murdering string of expletives. Just as Drs. Fleming and Trifkovic might not appreciate being lumped with Bill Kristol.

I would also like to tell you how much I have learned from your column and the places it’s led me. Thank you.

~ James Blum

Nebojsa Malic replies:

My apologies if my word usage offended; it was not meant to. Contemporary meanings of “left” and “right” have little meaning for me, since I see politics as a spectrum between statism and liberty, and both the Clintonistas and the Bush Gang are statists of the worst kind. Nonetheless, many “progressives” (another label I loathe) supported the Empire’s Balkans adventure, and they consider themselves “leftists.” On the other hand, revisionists such as Jared Israel at The Emperor’s New Clothes and several contributors to Common Dreams and have opposed the mainstream Imperial opinion, and they wear their leftist label proudly. So obviously, this isn’t a left-and-right issue, just as you indicated.

A Letter from Belgrade

Keep writing, Nebojsa. History will eventually discover your work as the definitive reference of the U.S./NATO fiasco in the Balkans!

~ Pyotr K.

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Thank you for your encouragement. Though I try to quash any delusions of grandeur, I do hope your prediction comes to pass, and I will try to do my best to live up to such expectations.

Defying Despair

Well, I normally would agree with Nebojsa, but G17 most definitely are not, I repeat not, neo-Keynesian. If they were, the Washington-Wall Street power-elite would treat them as the ENEMY and not support them at all. There would be no NED funds to support them, and they would not have been allowed to be part of DOS. As the guardians of DOS economic policy, the policy they laid down was the free market.

Much of this, Nebojsa, has been caused by the abandonment of, or rather a sustained campaign against, Keynes and Keynesianism by America and Britain and a return to the “free-market” policies advocated by his economic fundamentalist opponents way back in the ’20s – this is what the debate was about.

This unleashing of free marketeering is what has led to the rapacious policies of economic colonization in order to maintain share prices and rates of profit.

One of the first actions under Reagan was to repeal the Glass-Steagal Act of FDR, one of FDR’s first actions. This had more or less banned hostile takeovers and consequently speculating in shares. This is where it’s all come from, as they have moved out from Wall Street and the City.

There is little understanding of this outside America and Western Europe; all the traditional economic theories of capitalism were abandoned for two generations and Keynes was regarded as “The Man Who Saved Capitalism.”

Had in Yugoslavia/Serbia a clearly Keynesian economic policy been adopted and Ante Markovic kept out, much of the bloodshed and suffering might have been averted, but it would have driven Washington policymakers crazy.

~ Richard Roper

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I respectfully disagree. Keynesian policies are all about government manipulation of the markets through monetary policies (inflation) and fiscal policies (government spending), both of which are in evidence throughout the former Communist world. What the Bush Gang or the Clintonistas call “free market” is nothing of the sort, but rather a mercantilist, state-capitalist system that serves a political function. I agree there’s been some of that, too, and that it is responsible for the “oligarch economies” in Eastern Europe. But wherever even a bit of true free market exists, in the form of trade and absence (or limitation) of government regulations, people thrive.

Though I’m primarily a political columnist, my economics are largely libertarian (free-market, or Austrian School, if you will), so I have a feeling that we will not come to any sort of agreement on this topic. But I do urge you to see that accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of governments surely has to be a major part of the problem, both in the Balkans and in the West.

Dubya Gets Serious About WMD

Wasn’t it the Clinton administration who invented the term “weapons of mass destruction”? I often had the impression it was used to mislead disobedient Third World leaders into wasting money on strategically useless agents.

~ Thos

Gordon Prather replies:

As I recall, the term “weapons of mass destruction” was “invented” by the neo-crazies in 1992 in Cheney’s Pentagon to subvert the “Nunn-Lugar Act.” The original “Nunn-Lugar” Nuclear Threat Reduction Act focused on nukes – the safe, secure dismantling thereof and the safe, secure, peaceful disposition of the fissile material recovered thereby. That was a job for MinAtom – the Soviet/Russian equivalent of our DOE. Beginning in FY92, up to $400 million per year was to be reprogrammed from the Pentagon budget, and nearly all of that to be provided to MinAtom to be used for that purpose. The Pentagon balked, and proceeded to obligate most of the billions of “Nunn-Lugar” dollars in FY92 and all subsequent years to DOD contractors who were supposed to “assist” the states of the former Soviet Union dispose of their “weapons of mass destruction.” Hardly any Nunn-Lugar funds ever went directly to MinAtom. In particular, the Army Corps of Engineers even awarded the contract for designing and constructing the storage facility at Mayak to house the fissile material recovered by MinAtom to Bechtel. Now where have we heard of that firm before?

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