Backtalk, December 2, 2004

What Became of Conservatives?

I agree completely with Paul Craig Roberts. I too was a conservative/ libertarian who believed in small government, keeping a low profile in the world, not interfering in other nations’ folly, not nation-building. The new conservatives, neoconservatives, are not conservatives but big government activists. The war on Iraq is almost without precedent, totally a mistake. We are now in a quagmire and this administration has no plan to get us out of the mess it has created.

~ Thomas Gale Moore

Dr. Roberts!

Where have you been all my blogging life?

Sir, I do not know if you’re a fan of West Wing, but I’ve been saying for ever that I am looking for Ainsley Hayes! She was nothing like the hateful, vile Bush apologists I verbally tangle with on a daily basis. A conservative that can calmly and respectfully articulate their principles and opinions – leaving me speechless.

Well done.

~ Bert M. Caradine, ThatColoredFellasweblog, Oak Park, Illinois

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Give them hell. They deserve it.

I just read Dr. Roberts’ article, “What Became of Conservatives?” I am stunned. I had lost hope that anyone calling himself a “conservative” actually knew how to speak in terms that were thoughtful, reasoned, circumspect, objective, and NOT hate-filled. I had thought such a species was extinct.

I am a LIBERAL. PROUD OF IT, TOO. Yes, I’m SHOUTING! I’d like to thank Dr. Roberts for his shockingly civil commentary. But it makes me feel a little unbalanced. I’d become so accustomed to being lambasted as a vile, venomous, baby-killing, Saddam-loving, terrorist-embracing, America-hating, Godless, commie, amoral, subhuman traitor with multiple horns sprouting from my forehead and an arrow-pointed tail out my backside that it’s hard even to read Dr. Roberts’ words clearly. Pardon me if I’ve also misplaced my claw-studded, Satan-issued batwings, my poisoned fangs – and my witch’s broom.

I am unaccustomed to reading anything but bile from the mouths of “conservatives” who seem grimly determined to burn both Hillary Clinton AND me at the stake in their village square. Such language is nothing but a guarantee that our seriously ailing and mortally divided country will NOT heal, OR unite, under any future circumstances. If they despise and demonize me so, how can they possibly expect me to listen to them or to be open to their dictates? My reaction is to recoil in horror from them, and to reject whatever bile oozes from their mouths. I guess Dr. Roberts is the ONLY “conservative” nowadays who’s heard that you catch more flies with sugar than you do with sulfuric acid.

Thank you for your sense and sensitivity, Dr. Roberts. This liberal, pro-choice, lifelong Catholic, California Democrat, wife (in a stable, near 30-year marriage) and mother-of-two, greatly appreciates what you’ve written. Yours is one conservative’s column with which I can enthusiastically agree. I’m impressed. And, frankly, I’m surprised, because up ’til now, I didn’t think any conservatives had even a trace of those two qualities left in them.

~ Mary Lyon, Los Angeles

Who is going to save us from this Bush?! Please tell me.

~ Wendi Y.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The American voters flubbed their chance.

Dr. Roberts, another excellent article telling it like it is. I too departed from the Fox news, talk radio crowd over the Iraq war and have not looked back since. Pat Buchanan became my favorite columnist, but has now fallen to #2 behind you due to his bewildering endorsement of Bush in the election. However, I have a question about your stance on the Vietnam war both then and now. You mention it several times in your column and I am curious to know your thoughts. Actually, I am very curious about how all paleoconservatives view the Vietnam war.

~ Keith Z.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

In my youth I was for the Vietnam war. I now realize that the war was a mistake. It killed and maimed large numbers of young American men and ruined the lives of their families. It could not be won because Soviet power prevented us from invading the North. The frustrations the lost war caused among conservatives and patriots created the brownshirt following for the dangerous neoconservatives.

The article by Paul Craig Roberts is an excellent analysis of what has become of what was previously referred to as “the conservative movement” or simply “conservatives” in the United States. I believe that Paul Craig Roberts and I both originally came from the old “conservative Right” in the U.S. Sadly much – not all – of what Paul Craig Roberts describes has only occurred in about the last 10 years or so. I think that both Paul Craig Roberts and I can remember when “conservatives” used to promote such core beliefs as (1) the U.S. Government must run a balanced budget, (2) this country needs much less government, and more individual freedom and responsibility, and (3) the U.S. Government should represent and promote only what is in the best interests of the United States.

Most of what I will call today’s “establishment conservatives” will immediately denounce such beliefs. With regard to the third item that I listed, some of today’s “establishment conservatives” are neoconservatives whose first loyalty is to the Likud Government of Ariel Sharon in Israel. These neoconservatives have effectively outsourced U.S. foreign policy regarding the Middle East to Israel, which is one of the real reasons why the U.S. invaded Iraq. Another unrelated real reason is that the U.S. wants control of Iraq’s oil. I believe that there are multiple reasons why the U.S. is in Iraq, none of which ever had anything to do with any alleged “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

In my opinion, today’s “establishment conservatives” are and represent a combination of Israel first neoconservativism and/or the corporate side of fascism. When I think of fascism, I think of Big Government and Big Business/ Corporations working together to create the hell of a fascist police state for everyone else. Actually, it is much worse than that. I have long contended that the Bush Administration has made the U.S. into a Fascist Police State With Open Borders (FPSWOB). For the Open Borders aspect of the Bush Administration’s FPSWOB, please read the article at This aspect of a fascist police state appears unique to the United States. …

On July 1, 2002, Joseph Farah wrote an excellent commentary entitled “Left, right and center,” in which he stated his definition of fascism. This is a classic editorial, and in general I agree with Farah’s definitions of fascism. See also another commentary by Joseph Farah, entitled “Fascism at the door.”

A former Libertarian Party presidential candidate wrote a commentary on March 7, 2002, entitled “What the Enron scandal means to you.” This editorial includes a section on “Fascism in America” that is well worth reading.

Fascism also appears to be rampant in the Democratic Party. In my research, I encountered an excellent commentary by Bob Just, entitled “Fascism, corruption and my ‘Democratic’ Party.”

In my opinion, fascism today runs rampant in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Modern fascism requires that both Big Government and Big Business (aka corporate fascists) work together. Since I am not a fascist, I evolved from being a “conservative” prior to the present Bush Administration into a Libertarian today. …

~ Richard A. Landkamer

The Yushchenko Mythos

Yes, yes, I have read your article but do you believe the election was fair or not? If it wasn’t, don’t you think this is wrong? – I mean you don’t have to be genius to recognize this, do you!

~ Alf E.

Justin Raimondo replies:

I think both sides cheated. But it is not for me – an American – to say what is wrong or right for Ukraine. Even if one side put a gun to the head of every voter and instructed them to vote the “right” way or else, my position would be that the U.S. should stay well out of it.

Thanks for the very informative and insightful piece. Having experienced the U.S.SR back in 1969 (mostly in Central Asia) and Estonia in 1994, I can vouch for your characterization of those bureaucrats who milk the neo-democracies via their links with old Soviet accounts. Estonia, in particular, is full of these “freedom lovers.”

~ Roger Conway,

I have regularly used your website as a source of news concerning current events, whether they involved the fiasco in Iraq or numerous other issues. For this reason I was shocked and dismayed over your seeming support of those behind the official electoral fraud in Ukraine (“The Yushchenko Mythos”). While your article provided good information on the corruption inherent in the Ukrainian political system it presented it in a way that created a grossly incorrect impression of the democratic Yushchenko and his Mafia-sponsored opponent. Please allow me to correct some of the mistakes, which begin at the start where it described the languages of the websites – Yushchenko’s in English and Yanukovich’s in Ukrainian and Russian. It is interesting that Raimondo mentioned this, because it is well known in Ukraine that Yanukovich is incapable of speaking the Ukrainian language. His speech is littered with grammatical errors, and his concluding statement during the presidential debate was not even given in the nation’s official and native language but in Russian (and even that was peppered with obscenities and spoken in the lingo of the prison system). I suppose that means that he does, indeed, speak to “his own people” as was put in Raimondo’s article.

Raimondo emphasized in his article that Yanukovich was jailed by the Soviet government, as if committing assault during Soviet times makes one some sort of political prisoner. His official record had been erased by the KGB, but it is alleged that they included rape and tearing a woman’s earrings out of her ears. Hardly innocent youthful indiscretions!

He also made much of Yushchenko’s ties to Kuchma’s “thuggish regime.” This description was true – for example Kuchma was caught on tape ordering the murder of a muckraking journalist and many of his enemies have found themselves on the wrong end of mysterious car accidents or hangings. What should be kept in mind is that Yanukovich is the hand-picked successor of Kuchma. If it’s bad, as Raimondo suggests, for Yushchenko to have been affiliated with Kuchma for a couple of years what does it say for Yushchenko’s opponent who is much closer to Kuchma’s “thuggish regime”? …

Raimondo describes accurately the thievery involved in high levels of the Ukrainian government. But his case against Yushchenko is largely indirect. Yes, some of his supporters (such as Timoshenko) have shady pasts. But no more so than those of his opponent. Yes, Yushchenko is not totally clean – but who in that Ukrainian political culture has an unblemished record? But in comparing the two opponents and their supporters it seems obvious who is less clean than the other: not Yushchenko – whose tenure as prime minister was characterized by a battle against theft and corruption, and who is supported by the nation’s people – but Yanukovich, who is the chosen heir of Mafia and corrupt industrial oligarchs whose supporters demonstrate because they are told to do so by their union bosses. Yanukovich, whose sponsors have blood on their hands.

Perhaps the central issue, however – and one not really mentioned in Raimondo’s article – was the simple fact that only massive electoral fraud gave the official result to Yanukovich. The region under his control showed 96% voter turnout – in some precincts it was over 100%, and 95% of those votes went for Yanukovich. This was where international election observers were not allowed. Imagine if in the U.S., Texas or Jeb Bush’s Florida had that kind of turnout! This is the main reason why tens and hundreds of thousands of people are out in the streets protesting. It is ultimately not about the West or about Russia but about Ukraine, the right of Ukrainians to make their own decisions – and to have their decision count and not be taken away by the edicts of corrupt regional bosses with ties to the Mafia and to Russia.

A stopped clock is right twice a day, and so it seems that in the case of Ukraine the neocons for their own reasons are right in condemning the fraud committed by Kuchma, Yanukovich and Putin against the people of Ukraine. Just because the neocons happen to, in this case, be on the right side – the side of democracy – does not mean that should be on the wrong side. A few weeks ago you posted on your website an excellent article by Eric Margolis, “Ukraine vote a threat to West,” in which he describes the forces arrayed against Yushchenko. I suggest you look back into it.

~ Andrew Pleshkevich

Justin Raimondo replies:

You have misinterpreted the purpose of my article, which was not to drum up support for Yanukovich, but to debunk the popular image being promoted of Yushchenko. The truth is, he helped to steal – steal! – over $600 million from the IMF – most of that coming out of the U.S. Treasury! He is the candidate of the “pro-Western” wing of the oligarchy – as opposed to the pro-Russian wing. Simply put, I don’t have a dog in that fight.

Nor should the U.S. government. Millions of U.S. tax dollars are being spent to absorb Ukraine into the socialist European Union. Millions more are being spent to pull the country into NATO – with the explicit purpose of intimidating Russia, and even leading to the breakup of the Russian state. opposes U.S. intervention in the affairs of other nations – period. That’s why we posted “The Yushchenko Mythos.”

Won’t Get Fooled Again?

This is absolutely terrifying! Last week I went to a gathering of Democracy for America and we were all talking about how we cannot even sleep through the night because of Bush. I am a veteran (USAF) and currently work at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). Believe me when I say that the services are hurting bad. The place is like a ghost town and I think people are finally realizing what’s going down. There has to be a draft in order to fill the ranks if the neo-con artists get their second crusade into full gear.

DRAFT ONLY REPUBLICANS – There are enough redamerikkkans to fill the ranks!

~ SK

Yes, the neocon propaganda machine is at it again. The chutzpah of using the same methods to incite fear and loathing of an imagined adversary clearly shows the condescension and contempt these individuals, imbued with Straussian ideology, must feel toward their fellow U.S. citizens whom they must view as stupid and fearful enough to fall for the same scam again.

Given that the U.S. troops are bogged down in Iraq and U.S. citizens will not accept massive U.S. casualties or a military draft there is consequently not enough manpower to launch an attack on Iran. War gaming has not provided a single successful scenario and the Iranians know it (Syria on the other hand is a low-hanging fruit). Furthermore, since the U.S. has also rejected the European plan vis-à-vis Iran, has upped the rhetorical ante against the Iranians and know that sanctions will have little impact on an Iran that is economically tied to Europe, it seems likely that the “mini-nukes” developed by the U.S. will be used to threaten the government in Tehran to do America’s bidding.

The likelihood of the mullahs bowing to U.S. pressure and losing face is nil. Go figure the likelihood of the neocons using whatever tool is in their arsenal to achieve their agenda and convincing the U.S. polity of the necessity of their action – on our behalf, of course.

~ Scheherazade

There Is No One Left to Stop Them

I have been living in the Middle East for the past seven years, going home to the U.S.A during the summer. Over the past four years while with family and friends I have been repeatedly cautioned not to publicly say anything against the government as this could get my name put on a “list.” … I have to ask, since when is it against the Constitution to criticize the government and its actions? Have I missed an amendment being passed?

Further, I have seen a growing and vastly disturbing trend both in the local papers and with my students. When I first arrived here, people separated the U.S. government and its policies from the American people. It was understood that the government did not speak for everyone. Now after the first Bush administration’s actions in Iraq and the past election, that separation no longer exists. I am asked why I don’t like Muslims, why I voted for Bush (I didn’t). Make no mistake; we as a nation and its people are being viewed with distrust, not just Bush and his cronies.

Before anyone questions my patriotism permit me to end with a short biography. I served in the U.S. Army (honorably discharged, in fact the GI Bill helped to pay for my graduate education), was an officer’s wife for twelve years, and am the mother-in-law of an active duty Air Force sergeant.

~ Erika Berner, Ph.D.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

You are with us or against us” did the trick.


Jack Straw lent legitimacy to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Quoting him is akin to quoting Menelaus on why the Argives shouldn’t have invaded Troy.

~ Eric Jungkurth

Michael Austin replies:

As the editor of the Quotes Database, I feel that the reason you dislike this quote is precisely why the quote is a good one. Allow me to explain:

We often choose quotes from ironic sources, because we think it is darkly humorous and perhaps all the more pertinent when the very people who must accept responsibility for terrible actions have been on record as saying, basically, that their own actions were terrible. I do understand your objection and apologize if you find even the appearance of Jack Straw’s name on our site offensive, and I will confer with some of our staff as to their feelings about the quote. However, it is my opinion that the quote is a good one, and only gains in significance and value when one knows the full story of its originator.

Thank you for sharing your opinion, and for reading

Casualties in Iraq

I really believe that you should tabulate and post the number of Iraqi civilian casualties on your site. Your website is great and should contain all the important information and data. Also, listing the number of civilian casualties brings some very interesting concerns up to the public’s attention. After all, in the latest assault on Fallujah, it was reported that over 1,200 insurgents were killed. This seems to imply that every single person killed WAS an insurgent. Was this actually the truth? Or were some of these people just trying to live ordinary lives in their hometown? And if some of the dead were civilians, then WHO will determine which corpses belong to insurgents and which belong to civilians?

Assuming that every person killed is an insurgent is not honest and provides a false impression of what is actually going on in Iraq. And finally, to continue with this theme: why is it that we have hard data about the American wounded and killed in Iraq, and even solid information about the number of insurgents killed, but somehow the civilian deaths cannot be determined? Is it possible that the civilian casualties simply disappear after their deaths? If an insurgent and a civilian are standing side-by-side and are both killed, why does the insurgent’s death get tabulated while the civilian’s does not? If someone does not finally start publishing the number of Iraqi civilian deaths in this war, we might actually end up killing the entire nation’s population in order to save it!

~ Hugh F.

Eric Garris replies:

Unfortunately, no such numbers exist. We have posted a variety of estimates. U.S. government totals don’t exist, and they have only acknowledged killing a few hundred. All others are blamed on “the enemy.”

There was no reporting of numbers by the old Iraqi regime, and the interim government has made no counts. The British journal Lancet recently estimated that 100,000 civilians have died as a result of the invasion and occupation, from a variety of causes.

The Ukraine Coup

As a lifelong Libertarian and strong supporter and reader of I am completely confused by what appears to be your support for continued Soviet-style government in Ukraine! Hardly “libertarian” in any respect and not supportable in any worldview that I know of outside of the Kremlin. What’s with this stuff? There is a massive popular “revolution” occurring in Ukraine and I read things like “The Ukraine Coup”!?

What gives? Have you been subverted by KGB leftovers? Maybe opposition to U.S.-imperialism has blinded you to the logic that even Bush & Co. can (accidentally?) end up on the morally right side of democracy once in a while.

Please feel free to contact me for real Ukraine info. I am working on helping my Ukrainian friends get articles written in English if you are interested in the real words from the tents on Khreshchatyk St.

~ Wayne Boyer

Eric Garris replies:

We have no position on what the Ukrainians should do with their country. We do, however, oppose outside interference by the U.S., which is heavily involved with funding the opposition. For the U.S. to declare the results invalid before the Ukrainians can attempt to work this out for themselves is wrong – and counterproductive. In fact, the Ukrainian split is very similar to the split that took place a few weeks ago in this country. Take a look at the map.

I personally think the proposal to split the country is probably best for them, but it is certainly not for me to say.

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