Backtalk, December 11, 2004

Feeding the Iraq Moloch

There is no excuse for government’s paying for innocent hostages. Killing innocents will isolate the terrorists to the support of immoral people. The exchange of hostages is only reasonable if all are combatants. As long as we release their innocents and they behead ours my support for this war will grow.

I was very vocal in my opposition to this war before it started. I also think Bush is the best man to get us out. He has a very strong incentive to prove the opposition wrong about him. You can see this in his insistence that the elections go forward in January.

I hope I can follow your logic next time.

~ David Knight

Ilana Mercer replies:

Dear David,

If I understand your argument, it is that governments should refrain from negotiating for the lives of innocent hostages so that when they are invariably killed by terrorists, even immoral people will be sufficiently repulsed and defect to our side.

Let’s leave aside the question of whether this will work (or whether our side is just). One point in “Feeding the Iraq Moloch” was that it is ethically wrong for government to use innocent people as pawns to advance policy. Utilitarianism (such as your letter advocates) and ethics, I believe, are mutually exclusive.

Tom G. Palmer of the Cato Institute commented that I was partly mistaken: “Utilitarianism is an ethical theory. It may be wrong, but it’s a theory of justice and a guide to right and wrong. To say that we should try to generate the greatest happiness for the greatest number, for example, may be ethically misguided, but it is an ethical claim.”

As a matter of classification, this may be so. But my question is this: Who decides how to go about generating the greatest happiness for the greatest number of individuals? Donald H. Rumsfeld? If an approach presupposes a central planner who may overrule individual rights for the “greater good,” then does it not conflict with a libertarian, rights-based approach? Yes, it does.

Government ought to confine its activities to the negative functions of protecting the life and property of its citizens. Utilitarian considerations give grand scope to interventions based on ambitious schemes and ideologies. Utilitarianism, on the other hand, also sanctions the abnegation by government of its only true duties in the name of a putative greater good.

Thanks for disagreeing so politely.

It might be interesting to note that the “Yankee Republican imperialists” have been “non-negotiators” since their inception. For example, they refused to exchange Confederate soldiers for their own soldiers even though many where starving to death from the inability of Southern prisons such as Andersonville to feed their captives. The South begged the North to exchange prisoners, time and time again. The North refused, time and time again. Their mission has always been more important to them than their soldiers, and especially their civilians. …

~ Bill Reid

Ilana Mercer replies:

Interesting insights. I did not know this. There is something eerie and macabre about how contemporary Americans have habituated to the carnage in Iraq.

Mainline Protestants Challenge Israel Lobby

I do not usually waste my limited time and energy writing a letter to a well-informed, free-thinking media outlet like because, well, gosh, there is a huge wall of Israeli propaganda out there that needs to be addressed, BUT today reading “Mainline Protestants Challenge Israel Lobby” I am compelled to write and say BRAVO! And thank you!

Even though this note is as they say preaching to the choir, I figured maybe the choir needs to know they are doing a great job.

~ Anne Selden Annab, homemaker

Several comments come to mind:

1) Many thanks for getting around to the divestment – or whatever you call it. The methods that were so effective in bringing down the apartheid regime may be useful against the rampaging Israelis. Better late than never! Keep it up!

2) You mention Ultra-Orthodox Jews as calling for the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza. This is only partly true. Most Ultra-Orthodox Jews are not Zionists at all. Some are actively anti-Zionist. The nationalist-religious parties are not Ultra-Orthodox.

3) You mention that Israel has “up to 200” nukes. That figure is far too low. Mordechai Vanunu’s revelations (in the Sunday Times of London, 1986) were analyzed by experts who gave the figure of between 200 and 300 nukes at that time! In the intervening 18 years the nuke factory at Dimona has not been idle, and Israel undoubtedly has a good many more WMDs. Experts say Israel has more nukes than either France or Britain – i.e., it’s number three after the US, Russia and China.

4) You mention the “Congressional casualties targeted for defeat by AIPAC and other pro-Israel forces include Senators Adlai Stevenson and Charles Percy, and Reps. Paul Findley, Paul McCloskey, Earl Hilliard, and Cynthia McKinney, all of whom ran afoul of Israeli interests in one way or another and were summarily eliminated from Congress with resources that came largely from Israeli lobbies or those acting on Israel’s behalf.” The resources available to the Presbyterian Church and other decent organizations should have been used to support these victims of Zionist lobbying. Leaving them out means an even more pro-Israel Congress.

~ Yael Lotan, a dissident Israeli

Chris Moore’s encouraging article, “Mainline Protestants Challenge Israel Lobby,” leaves out the fact that about 70% of Arab-Americans are Christians also. In fact many Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are themselves Christians, although of course they are in the minority. One aspect of both the Israeli and U.S. occupations of Arab nations is to ethnically cleanse Palestine and Iraq of their Christians, since being wealthier the Christians are better able to give up and leave. Indeed, the real estate market in Amman, Jordan, has risen about 50% because of the influx of refugees.

~ Earl Divoky

The Revolution Televised

“The blindness extends even to the posters which the ‘pro-democracy’ group, Pora, has plastered all over Ukraine, depicting a jackboot crushing a beetle, an allegory of what Pora wants to do to its opponents.

“Such dehumanization of enemies has well-known antecedents – not least in Nazi-occupied Ukraine itself, when preemptive war was waged against the Red Plague emanating from Moscow – yet these posters have passed without comment.”

If you look at the actual poster in question – here – it says, “it’s time (Pora) to step on criminality, lies, and corruption.” Where is the dehumanization of opponents? [John] Laughland, aware that most readers wouldn’t be able able to read Ukrainian, clearly hoped that they would buy into his lie and resultant comparison of Yushchenko to Nazis. Further down, he writes:

“It gets worse. Plunging into the crowd of Yushchenko supporters in Independence Square after the first round of the election, I met two members of Una-Unso, a neo-Nazi party whose emblem is a swastika.”

So out of hundreds of thousands of protesters he met two members of UNA/UNSO. They are fascist thugs, indeed, but not Nazis, and their emblem is certainly not a swastika, as seen on their own website – here.

But I guess making things up, embellishing, etc. is what Laughland is all about.

In his article in the Spectator, Laughland (is he trying to be the 21st century’s Walter Duranty?) actually wrote that in Ukraine “legislation forces tens of millions of Russians to Ukrainianize their names.” A laughably untrue assertion!

I sincerely hope you look at Laughland more carefully before linking his lies to your otherwise excellent website.

All politicians lie, and in eastern Europe all politicians steal as well, or are linked to theft. But if you look at their records, Yushchenko is clearly the lesser evil, a relative good guy whose prime ministership was marked by cleaning up corruption and turning around the economy.

I do agree with your philosophy (indeed, the traditional American philosophy) of noninterference in other nations’ affairs. I just don’t think that vilifying relative “good guys” or using the work of obvious liars such as Laughland is the way to do that – and I would note that Russia’s interference in Ukraine has been much greater than America’s.

~ Andrew Pleshkevich

John Laughland replies:

It is Andrew Pleshkevich who is lying, not I. At least he admits that the Pora poster does show a boot crushing a beetle. But he tries to mislead your readers by pretending that the UNA-UNSO emblem is not a swastika: it is, albeit slightly different from the Nazi one. And Ukrainian legislation does require that all citizens write their names in the Ukrainian way, even if their names are Russian, for Ukrainian is the state language of Ukraine. This gave rise to numerous problems during the recent elections, because people with Russian names could find they were unable to vote if the Ukrainianized spelling of their name was not absolutely correct on the register.

Rumsfeld’s Muddy Quagmire

Mr. Eland’s assertion that Secretary Rumsfeld should go is only part of the story. Rest assured, Mr. Rumsfeld will not go for the precise reason that it would expose the President himself to rebuke for the state of our disastrous foreign projection. Secretary Rumsfeld, unlike Secretary Powell, has never been placed in the cold by this President. This President is not some innocent victim here, victimized by poorly informed and inept underlings, he is the standard bearer for a corrupt Administration. We are witnessing the coming home to roost of the Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex. They have, over several decades, conducted a counterrevolutionary coup in broad daylight. We are no longer citizens of a republic whose business is conducted through the prudent agency of a separation of powers. We are subjects of an Empire now and the Congress, an over-inflated Executive and the Judiciary have been joined by another de facto branch of government, K Street.

The only consistency of this belligerent and prideful administration is the fact that a rule of opposites applies. Whatever is said, the opposite is meant and whatever is done, the opposite is intended. This should come as no surprise for any student of history as it is a retread of past mistaken imperialist behavior. The only surprising thing to date is that the Alien and Sedition Act has not been resurrected – yet.

While this may not be the most inept government in our history, it is the most dangerous. It is an everlasting sorrow that its existence comes at such a precarious point in world history. Goethe provided the most cogent warning against the hazards of an inept democratic republic when he said: “Nothing is worse than active ignorance.” The United States of America that this crude and incurious President presides over is single-handedly raising the prospect that perhaps the Enlightenment was a bad mistake. It is no mistake that religious fundamentalism is burning over the face of the earth and the nation founded to ward off it’s excesses is in thrall to it.

~ Dirk W. Sabin, Washington, Conn.

The Yushchenko Mythos

Dear Justin,

I am in agreement with your commentary on the hypocritical western response to the Ukrainian elections. However, what disturbs me is your constant dismissal of what the Russians have done to Chechnyans. Your phrase “poor little Chechnya” strikes me as incredibly callous. When Putin first visited Grozny, after his military destroyed that centuries-old city, even he expressed shock at the consequences of the bombardment. It is no accident that the most brutal and most racist soldiers serving in the West Bank and Gaza are Russians who fought in Chechnya. Russian soldiers in Chechnya routinely rape girls and commit mass murder against civilians with total impunity. …

The presence of Islamic fundamentalists in Chechnya is a recent development. You sound just like Putin and Sharon, both of whom justify any atrocity as part of the “war against terror.” What the Russians do in Chechnya is precisely what the Israelis do in the occupied territories.

One need not be a neocon to be critical of Putin and the Russian depredations against Chechnya. I agree entirely that the Chechnyans are hardly angelic (neither are the Palestinians) and have committed their own heinous atrocities. But it is absolutely clear which side has the overwhelming power of military force (and uses it with impunity) and which side does not. Chechnyan terrorist attacks on Russian soil are very recent and extremely rare. Russian attacks against civilian populations in Chechnya are long-standing and wholly disproportionate. Why you continue to sneer with such contempt at any criticisms leveled against Putin and the Russian military for what they’ve done in Chechnya for so long is something I wish I could understand.

~ Sandra Nicholas, Brooklyn, NY


Read your insightful column on the Ukraine and agree with you. The pressure on Russia can only force them into a formal alliance with China. At some point in time it’s perfectly conceivable that they would bring a Chinese army to Europe to counter NATO. The winds of war are breezing up because the gangsters’ greed is insatiable. The fools are playing with a nuclear holocaust of unimaginable destruction of human life and the insanity appears unstoppable. Russia cannot let the Ukraine slip into the western alliance against Russia. You can bet that the Russian military are considerably alarmed and President Putin is afraid that they might act to set up a military dictatorship. Can one imagine Secretary of State Powell telling the Russians today that they should remove their bases from Georgia and Moldavia?

If the fools in the West think that the war on terrorism is a big deal they have no idea what a really big war with Russia and China would be like. Of course they have their deep shelters to hide in while the masses would suffer.

Keep up the good work.

~ Joe V.

Preemption for All!

Is Bush really as stupid as he sounds? Yes. Just listen to the moron. It is enough to bring tears to a grown man’s eyes.

Bush would serve our country and the rest of the world far better by ceasing his macho aggressive talk and working to create trust and good will. You are trying to figure it out logically. Logic won’t explain it except insofar as the object is to create chaos. In that sense the mission was accomplished marvelously. The perpetrators hope to be able to capitalize off of the chaos and fear they’ve created.

Also, you assume that Bush and the rest of the “leadership” are working on our (the people’s) behalf. They are not. They are interested only in promoting their own agenda.

~ Jeff Zervas

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The question is: What is their agenda? Is it Israeli territorial expansion?

Trashing the IAEA Again

Mr. Prather,

Would you be so kind as to explain the limitation of the IAEA to search military sites in Iran? From a little amateur delving, I seem to have come up with a few stories/ editorials that discuss the IAEA’s inability to search Iranian military installations, including test sites, for high explosives. I feel your op-ed may be a bit biased if this is true.

If you do find literature or reports documenting that the Iranians opened up military installations to the IAEA, please quote them as sources for me to do further research on. I would like to debunk the hawkish arguments of our leaders, since they are focusing on this argument. If the Iranians are refusing to allow inspection into their military installations, then I would have to say they have much to hide. In fact, since many of the newscasts I have seen from IRBA and other Iranian news associations show definite contempt (and sometimes outright hatred) for America by a few Iranians, I find it hard to believe they are not attempting to go nuclear and develop the capacity to mass produce these weapons.

Thank you in advance for your well thought out and researched response.

~ Tad Raudman

Gordon Prather replies:

If you’ve been “researching” the issue, you probably already know more than I do. But it was my impression that ISIS’s David Albright – who apparently had a consulting relationship with the IAEA Action Team in Iraq – had been studying commercial satellite images of Iran and brought to the IAEA’s attention last year some suspicious activity he had detected at a military installation in Iran. Under the as-yet unratified Additional Protocol – which the Iranians were nevertheless voluntarily adhering to – the IAEA had no right to inspect the military site, but did have the right to confront the Iranians with their suspicions and ask them to voluntarily allow the IAEA to inspect the military site. The Iranians thought about it a while and finally agreed. The IAEA did inspect the military site, took environmental samples, and ultimately concluded that there was no evidence of any past or present NPT-proscribed – much less NPT-prohibited – activity at that military site.

ElBaradei reported that to the IAEA Board. Under the Additional Protocol he is prohibited from telling Jackie Sanders or John Bolton what else he may have found there. The same is true with respect to his examination of Iran’s voluntarily supplied import-export records.

Now there has been another allegation of NPT-proscribed or NPT-prohibited activity taking place at yet another Iranian military facility. Wolf! Wolf!

As for Iran’s nuke ambitions – as opposed to nuclear fuel cycle ambitions – if you were an Iranian, confronted by the neo-crazies, wouldn’t you want a few nukes in your hip pocket?

The ‘Stop Loss’ Scam

“Sunni clerics would be very reluctant to incite their congregations against Pakistani peacekeepers…”

Sunni or not, Pakistani soldiers would be seen as instruments of American imperialism and be treated in much the same manner. Also, they are Sunni Arabs, we are Sunni Indians. Big difference; trust me, they will not get along well. I believe there was a nasty little incident in Iraq, in front of the Pakistani embassy, after Pakistan sided with the Israelis on the Suez Crisis.

“Nuclear-armed Pakistan could even be the first to fall…”

If Pakistan sends forces to Iraq, yes it could fall. It would further prove that our military regime is nothing but a tool of the United States. When those body bags come home, it is not going to look too good. The northern two extremist provinces, with no lack in separatist thoughts (the military is of one particular ethnic group and fails to follow the minority installing a dictatorial government that leaves the rest of the population marginalized), could opt to separate. Pakistan would then be a disintegrated country, in ruins with nuclear power. On the other hand, the whole country could become Talibanized, in which case, Pakistan would would be an extremist country, with nuclear power. If the status quo remains, Pakistani government sites would be targeted by extremist elements throughout the world. Please have mercy on us. Is it not enough that we have a failed state on our hands with an economy in shambles and a future so bleak one can only cry?

“We could allow the Pakistanis to intercede and give the minority Sunnis the protection guaranteed to them under the Geneva conventions.”

One cannot forget that the Pakistani army willfully and cruelly murdered 300,000 innocent civilians and destroyed most of their infrastructure in 1971. And that was what they did to their own countrymen. The army has a notorious history within the country, as well. When there is oppression to be done, they just cannot miss out.

Also, a reference to your article, “The Musharraf Solution,” stated that Musharraf took power from a radical Islamic government. It was actually a very liberal government. One has to be very unfamiliar with the meaning of extremism in the Muslim world to consider Nawaz Sharif an extremist. We could do so much worse. At least his government was democratically elected within a system, regardless of its deficiencies. Musharraf certainly cannot make that claim. He, his fellow military generals and the big landowners, descendants of British lackeys, control 95% of the resources and with their intended greed for power and unintended incompetence have ruined the country of Pakistan.

~ Sofia S.

Pro-War Christians Should Come Clean is to be commended for publishing the article by Darrell Dow (“Pro-War Christians Should Come Clean”) because it expresses a position held by many fundamentalist, conservative Christians. We see the bloody destruction being visited upon Iraq as the work of a totally corrupt, religious poseur. Bush-the-Destroyer and his deceit-driven war are an abomination in the sight of a just and holy God and a betrayal of the Lord Jesus. Albert James Dager speaks for us when he observes:

“To enter into killing others on the basis of trust of men in government is to play very loosely with our freedom in Christ. When we become impassioned over the world’s conflicts to the point where we are willing to kill others or to die merely upon the orders of government, we have lost sight of our Lord’s calling upon our lives. And, more importantly, we’ve lost sight of His ability to control the destinies of nations without our involvement or interference.”

The celebrity Christians and flag-waving jingoists who’ve turned their churches into “propaganda founts” are not just giving the nod to an adventure in 21st century crusadism – they are directly responsible for every drop of blood being spilled in wretched Iraq because they claim to represent Biblical values. “Little do they know,” writes Helen Peters, “that they are working under the direful direction of a political religion which will in the end unite them in the name of Christianity against Jesus Christ.”

Since they have consumed the rhetoric which equates the illegal invasion of Iraq with the defense of freedom they’ll have no trouble justifying the state-sponsored terror and death being inflicted upon Iraqi children. And if the graphics of these unspeakable atrocities don’t move them, then it’s only a matter of time before the “just war” rationale which has replaced their New Testament explodes in their faces.

Someday, the scripture-twisting Bush will turn against the constituency he supposedly represents – the deceived Christians who’ve put him in power. But it is these Bible-believing followers of Christ who are going to be left holding the Machiavellian bag of hateful snakes he’s collected for them. Even now, anti-Christian demonizers are in a frenzy all over the Internet, blaming the Bush election on the Fundies and drawing lines from Bush’s “faith-based” democide to the beliefs of God’s people.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (Timothy 3:12,13)

~ Harmon Gottlieb

The Terror Enigma

If Israel or Iran or any other country or combination thereof intentionally fed us false intelligence in order to get us to do the heavy lifting in Iraq, that is a BIG story. A Pulitzer Prize may be in order for the best possible telling of it.

It occurs to me that The Terror Enigma book by Justin Raimondo might have more impact if one or more copies were to be donated to every school library that has a Middle East or terrorism studies program. The National War college might warrant a dozen copies.

~ David B. Lowry

Charley Reese

Can anyone tell me why Charley Reese was blocked on Monday the 29 of November and Wednesday the first of December, 2004? I hope he is well or on vacation.

~ Ken Murray

Eric Garris replies:

We only run Charley when he writes about war and peace issues. You can find his columns about other issues on Lew Rockwell’s site: here.

Jail the War Party

I wish that Justin Raimondo, of all writers, would refrain from using terms like “bitch-slap.” For one thing, such popular vulgarities represent a severe degradation of American English and generally signal an intellectual laziness on the part of their users – something Mr. Raimondo hardly ever displays. What is more, the perpetration of such crudities delimits the conceptual tools of intelligent thought and discourse. Even more distressing in this particular case, is the underlying meaning and apparent provenance of the repellent phrase. I have only lately become aware of this ugly lexeme, so I can only guess at its source. My guess is that its origins are in the violence of American prison culture, in which the weak are preyed upon with impunity by the strong, who subjugate them to their wills, referring to them with such uncomplimentary appellations as “punk” and “bitch.” To slap one of these unfortunates before, say, forcing him to comply with sexual favors must surely be the origin of this popular concept. Even if it turns out that that is not its provenance, the implications of the alternatives are every bit as horrifying. For then we are forced to conclude that it arose in an American subculture in which women are thought of as bitches, and it is considered acceptable, even praiseworthy, to strike them. Writers who subsequently use the term are thereby granting their tacit acquiescence in such brutality.

~ David Wilmsen, Ph.D. Arabic language and linguistics, Associate Dean for Instructional Affairs, The American University in Cairo

Report: Raytheon ‘Heat Beam’ Weapon Ready for Iraq

You might have heard something of the new Raytheon Active Denial System “heat beam” that uses microwaves to make people feel burned and turn them away. However, it’s been proven to cause eye damage with only a few seconds’ exposure, and since they are also developing a tripod-mounted version for “police,” I expect this to be used to break up antiwar protests.

Fortunately, there’s a way to counter it completely – and it’s cheap, and courtesy of Uncle Sam. A garment made in the 1970s known as the Coverall, Microwave Radiation Protective, resembling a beekeeper suit, is readily available for less than $20 from many outlets, still packaged (also sometimes on eBay from various sellers). These were made by the Navy for radar techs, who would otherwise suffer microwave burns if they accidentally moved in front of a radiating antenna or such. The suit, with a full hood, gloves and booties, acts like the grid in a microwave door, entirely blocking the wavelength and rendering the wearer immune to the effects.

I highly recommend that protesters obtain these before they’re banned. They can be worn under clothing, the hood tucked into a hoodie sweatshirt and gloves velcroed back unless needed.

I would also recommend “radar flags” such as those found at (and, cheaper, at many boating supply stores), basically compact blankets that reflect microwave energy; good for shielding people if these should happen to be used on a protest.



25-Year ‘War on Drugs’ Fails on the Streets

“U.S. drug-control efforts have provoked a war on the poor and an assault on democratic institutions,” said [Director of the Washington Office on Latin America, Joy] Olson. “We’ve spent billions on anti-drug efforts in Latin America and have nothing to show for it but collateral damage.”

“We’ve been tough on drugs,” she added, “now it’s time to get smart.”

Those who study the impact of US drug use and the domestic laws that pretend to alleviate it have been saying similar things for a long time.

Like those who rail against our illogical drug policy at home, Olsen is wasting her breath. But she is being paid to waste it, so perhaps she has her reward.

For decades, the logic of the Drug War has been challenged and exposed as faulty. While drug use rises, falls, and rises again, the multi-billions we’ve spent here and abroad on drastic and dangerous crop eradication, law enforcement, and the costly imprisonment of millions of Americans, might as well have been spent on drug promotion as prohibition.

The Drug War is probably not designed to reduce drug use or even raise the price beyond what addicts can steal enough to pay for drugs. The most lucrative trades in the world are illicit drugs, weapons, oil, and “human trafficking” (the illegal trade in human beings suffered a century-long setback when slavery was officially abolished, but it is recovering nicely, and should prove a grand growth industry for future trillionaires and all their hangers-on, criminal or anti-criminal, as you may be sure they will not scruple to indulge in it. I can hardly wait for the War on Human Traffic!). Two of these are entirely illegal and require expensive means of transport for smuggling the goods over borders, money to bribe officials, and an army of people well paid enough to make the “trade” work all over the world.

It stands to reason that those who own the illicit drug trade must be among the richest people in the world. And with that level of riches comes political power. Naturally, they would use that power to influence governments to make laws that keep their business profitable (and the hell with those whose lives are destroyed – primarily by imprisonment – by either the drugs or the laws).

A further incentive comes into play when the interests of the prison industrial complex are considered. About half of all of our “crime” is drug related. It is, sadly, not in the interest of prison guards, prison builders, privately-owned prison owners, police departments, and the army of prosecutors, public defenders, and even judges, to see their own dismal trade reduced by half. No wonder then that many of them lobby actively for more laws, harsher penalties, more prisons, guards, and cops.

Legalization or decriminalization of drugs would not enhance profits – as the plants themselves are cheap and easy to grow.

Prices driven too high by complete destruction of narcotic crops or truly effective seizure of drugs would be almost as counterproductive as cheap drugs.

Slyly tolerating the ostensibly illegal growth of coca, cannabis or opium would allow the price to slip too low – and raise questions from those who actually believe that a War on Drugs, with the intent of lowering drug use, is being waged.

What is required is “just enough” crop destruction (and the hell with the cost to legitimate farmers in destruction of nearby food crops) to control the amount of the product on the market.

And that is exactly what we have.

~ Adrien E.


There are many of us in Nashville’s music community who are ashamed of the way our industry treated The Dixie Chicks for exercising their right of free speech. That was followed by a series of bang-the-drum, gung-ho, let’s-kick-their-butt songs, that helped to reinforce the ignorance of the situation. Don’t think that we’re all alike here; our beliefs are as diverse as the nation’s as a whole.

My song “Riding With Private Malone” was a country radio hit for David Ball and even though it was getting radio play before September 11, 2001, it was swept up in the patriotic fever following 9/11. That song about the ’66 Corvette left behind by a young soldier who didn’t make it home from Vietnam seemed to remind listeners about the personal loss so many still feel from that long-ago war.

On December 13th a new song, “Bubba’s In Baghdad,” will be included in the weekly CDX compilation that goes out to 1,200 radio stations nationwide. It’s another story song, this one inspired by my chance meeting of a mother whose son they call “Bubba” was in Baghdad at the time. The song can be heard for free at and here are the lyrics:

Bubba’s in Baghdad

He was born and raised down around Biloxi
Because of that he always felt lucky
To have a paradise in his own backyard
So he signed up to do his duty in the National Guard. Now


Bubba’s in Baghdad and things are going real bad
Makes his momma so sad he’s been gone too long
Bubba needs some gumbo
Needs to listen to the radio
On the all-night country show
And get his butt back home

Every day over there we lose another one
And tears will fall somewhere for some mother’s son
We pray they all come home sound and safe
But we’re stuck between Iraq and a hard place. And

(Repeat chorus)

They’ll be fighting over there a thousand years from now
Can’t we say enough is enough somehow?

~ Wood Newton

As a middle aged Vietnam vet I know that the only way to stop the lunacy in Iraq is to bring back the military draft. When the grandchildren of our CEOs get their induction notices the war will abruptly end. It’s as simple as that.

Until that time recruiters will draw upon the naive to “save America” and the slaughter will continue for years. The British occupied Iraq for 12 years after W.W.I and finally left – so will we stay for years, unless the threat of death is heaped upon all sectors of American society.

Tragically that won’t happen in time to keep more names off the next “wall.”

~ B. Gordon

Jeremy Sapienza replies:

Um, as a Vietnam vet, shouldn’t you know that that war was perpetrated with a draft in place, and was notoriously fought by draftees?

The problem with this dangerous pronouncement I see a lot by liberals (yet somehow mindbogglingly attached to the right wing) is that rich boys don’t go to war if they don’t want to – even if they are drafted. You write as if the State is fair and follows its own rules. Those rules are for you, buddy – not them. If a senator doesn’t want his kid being sent to the cannon fodder lines, he will not be. If a connected CEO does not want his son risking death, you can guarantee he will not. All that leaves is the poor powerless schlubs you have drafted into your system of national slavery to die for empire. Congratulations.

The extremely biased stand the USA takes in the Middle East is the primary cause of the current global terror wave. Were the Palestinians offered an equitable chance to peace the Muslim zealots would have no grounds to promote their hate-mongering. I understand the general feeling among Americans is one of frustrated anger, expressed in: “God, why do they hate us so much? Is it because they hate freedom and democracy?”

Well, zealots (of all denominations) hate freedom of course, they say they have a monopoly on universal truth. But the widespread misgivings increased immeasurably due to biased, shortsighted USA foreign policy. From here the USA is seen as the henchman of Israel.

I am a Turkish man, 46 years old; I describe myself as vacillating between atheism and agnosticism. I have no qualms about condemning atrocities committed everywhere. Religious bigotry will be our demise: Hasidic, evangelistic, Talibanistic or whatever. Please let us be human; there probably is no God, let alone people chosen by him, nor any piece of land promised by him.

~ Haluk Bilgin

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