Backtalk, December 17

Another Iraq Exit Strategy

Sapienza has it about right. And for the record I am 81 years old and have been in one of their damned wars, and watched a half-dozen others. All bad. “In ‘Spring and Autumn’ there are no righteous wars.” And “democracy” is a fraud; when you register to vote you are signing on to mass murder. What a lesson a long life is. Sapienza has a talent for being unpleasantly close to the bone. Doesn’t he know that he is in bad taste as our mushy-mouthed rulers view things?

~ Tom White

Exit strategy? We don’t need no steeenkin’ exit strategy! When you can dig into the taxpayers’ pockets to the tune of 4 billion bucks a month, ship everyone’s kids off to war under the patriotism gig, and then rig the election so your buddies at Halliburton/ KBR can continue to rake in the bucks, not to mention defense contractors like Schlockheed Murder and the like, what makes anyone want or need an exit strategy? Hell, it’s time to buy stock in the body bag manufacturers, my friends.

~ Dennis Cimino, Vietnam veteran and antiwar person who objects to the b.s. from the theological dictatorship we became when Scalia foisted it upon us in the last fiasco 4 years ago

This article is not up to the usual standard of Actually, I find it a really lousy, silly rant.

There’s little coherence; instead, there’s much useless and oddball name-calling (the Eurocrats at the UN are “uninteresting white bread” and “gross”; the troops need to be sent back to “their South Bronx slums”). Gimme a break! How old are we?

If Mr. Sapienza wants to make the point that getting out of Iraq will save loads of money (which is a valid but quite banal observation) and that the Iraqis may or may not be in a position to sort things out (which is a logically true, but useless, observation), he should go ahead and do it. It will not make for much of an article….

Stating that he, personally, has no obligation towards the Iraqi population, because he didn’t start the trouble they’re in now, is also logical, but not exactly helpful, to put it mildly.

This is just the sort of misanthropic rhetoric that will serve to discredit more thoughtful articles on the site.

We also learn that Mr. Sapienza is under the impression that he’s “Washington’s slave” and his sole choices are “obedience, exile, or death.” Here, now, a reality-check is dearly warranted:

I can swiftly (and modestly) supply him with another alternative: Mr. Sapienza should use the winter to educate himself about what “being a slave” entails. Long Beach, CA may be a bad place to do this, however: An excursion to the South Bronx, or, funds permitting, to some bombed-out Iraqi village will add some flesh to the bones of his education, which appears to have included some only half-digested, or third-party re-digested, Nietzsche.

Upon his eventual return to California in the summer, I prescribe a lot of time at some less-crowded beach, rereading Nietzsche if he wants to. (Paperback is fine, if it doesn’t get wet). It’s healthy and beautiful (both beach and Nietzsche), and he will discover to his surprise that “Washington” – despite its plentiful, undeniably horrific attributes and deeds – will not jump out from behind a snack-bar, whip in hand, and press him to any task. Or part him from his money, given he lives frugally.

As an optional extra, he could also get a nice girl (or whatever) to cheer him up, but attention: “You have a slave? Then you cannot have friends! You are a slave? Then you cannot be a friend” (Nietzsche, at least approximately).

In the fall, I’m sure he’ll be free to write meaningful articles again.

(Sorry for any weird English. It’s not my mother tongue.)

~ Michael Kablitz

Jeremy Sapienza replies:

There is nothing misanthropic about refusing to be responsible for something some other people did because they share the same citizenship and/or make me either pay some taxes or starve, or pay some taxes or go to prison.

Your “reality-check” is nothing of the sort. Obviously I am not a chattel slave, Mr. Kablitz. Nevertheless, someone with whom I do not freely contract rules over me in matters of morality, money, housing, aesthetics, health, and most other areas of life, to some extent. My point was that I am certainly not the employer of any one of those bits of drooling cannon-fodder with a star-spangled patch on his uniform, even by all kinds of twisted logic employed to arrive at such a conclusion. I am clearly forced to pay for them, the same way you are forced to pay for your military, whether either of us wants to or not.

Further, I have never read a word of Nietzsche, although I have been called a “follower” of many seemingly random authors whom I have also never read.

Anything else you’d like to throw my way in a tired attempt to make me look like a punk and just be contrary for the hell of it?

Plenty of Strategy, Just No Exit


I have not read about this position among German and French diplomats. Maybe you are right as you have better information. I can only give you a popular voice here in Germany:

People don’t think we should nail down the U.S. politics. We would not mind if the U.S. set up permanent bases there. That is not the point. We are just absolutely convinced that what the U.S. administration is doing down there is 200% the wrong thing for economic and strategic reasons.

Economic. The USA is wasting money in Iraq. The conquest is not only illegitimate: It raises the U.S. deficit and it weakens the dollar. It over-strengthens the euro, which is bad for us. For European interests, the Americans should try to correct their economic imbalance instead of waging adventurous wars.

Strategic. The conquest is illegitimate; it humiliates all of the Arab nations and will only give them more reason to produce jihadis. The U.S. presence will leave the whole region unstable. And we’re closer to there than you guys. And we have a far numerous Islamic minority in Europe. …

One of Europe’s tenets is something we have learned through history: You cannot win peace by dancing on somebody else’s toes. This didn’t work out with our neighbors, France, Poland and all the others, and it won’t work in Israel and it won’t work in Iraq.

And if the U.S. is not careful enough, it won’t work with Russia either. Many of my friends are Russians, and President Putin’s activities in Ukraine are quite comprehensible: American troops have set up bases in every former GUS state that has become a little independent: Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan. Possibly also in Armenia. This policy is definitely perceived as a threat by the Russians. The development of new intercontinental nuclear missiles can only be understood from this perspective.

The U.S., but also the Israeli, government should be careful: expansionism and imperialism is a past chapter in the European history book. And there is a good reason why we’ve overcome it. In other words, as the old Romans would put it: potestas vs. auctoritas. We understand that auctoritas is far better to enact national security. But the U.S. is still young, still has to go through this lesson.

~ Markus Heller

Having been a regular reader of your Web site for some months now I have become quite familiar with the sense of exasperation that many columnists express for the way the war is going for the U.S.

But to my grave concern, Europe is now being blamed for not being willing to participate in a war that YOU started.

Maybe we should start apologizing for being so naive as to believe Powell when he presented his “evidence” to the UN.

Don’t get me wrong: I still have the images of the aftermath of the chemical bombing of Halabja etched in my memory. I know what Saddam did to his own people, but don’t damn Europe for being better informed than you appear to be. Don’t damn us for not dancing behind the Pied Piper. Don’t damn us for the fact that when we hear your president say that insurgents kill innocents and don’t understand peace we know that whole cities are being laid to waste and civilian casualties (sorry, collateral damage) are being inflicted by YOUR army and that peace is not on the mind of many politicians on your side of the ocean.

So please for the record: You started this war; many Europeans knew that it was unprovoked (maybe it has something to do with our independent press, I don’t know); so don’t project your failures on us. Remember, we are not the ones being held hostage by our own government. …

~ Matthieu Hilckmann, Netherlands

A Catastrophe Calculator

God bless Paul Craig Roberts for having the courage to say what I dare only think!

~ Steve Olivier, Sugar Hill, GA

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Find your voice. We need a million voices.

The Ukrainian Template


It’s interesting how many objectives can be reached through one action – not only might a “democratic” Ukraine be more willing to politically align with the U.S. and be a potential springboard for NATO but, and you missed the subtlety of this move, if the EU can be convinced to take responsibility for an economically weak Ukraine the EU becomes weaker and thus any chance of the EU being a counter-force to US policy is pushed even further into the future. It’s the difference between a strike and a spare.

~ Paul Lucic, Clinton, IN

I would like to congratulate Justin Raimondo for getting to the truth of what is going on in Ukraine and with other “velvet revolutions,” namely, the final convergence between the NWO capitalists and (former) Communists.

However, I think he’s wrong to say that the EU will be less than enthusiastic to let in another “basket case.” With a population of 46 million, there is much scope for buying up profitable enterprises while closing down awkward competitors. Also, Ukraine’s relatively good infrastructure means lots of hypermarkets and the destruction of local food production. GM crops are likely to follow.

However, ultimately EU expansion has nothing to do with incorporating economically viable states. The candidates – mostly former Communist countries – are providing a useful counterweight to “awkward” old European countries when it comes to toeing the party line on issues like the Iraq war. For those of us who live in the “old” Europe, the day is looming when there will be more of them than us in the union. And, by then it will be too late to do anything about it.

~ Christine Stone, Oxford (UK)

Earl Divoky’s Backtalk

Yes, I am aware that there are significant numbers of Palestinian Christians, which makes Evangelical support of Palestinian persecution all the more puzzling – that is, until one considers the End Times component. Some Evangelicals apparently put their Armageddon fantasies above any religious loyalties they might have to other Christians. I have never been able to figure out how they can square this kind of cynicism with anything in the Gospel. The best explanation I can come up with that there are opinion makers and religious charlatans – both Jewish and Christian – feeding them a lot of nonsense in order to further their own nefarious agendas. However, I believe that as people become more aware of some of the twisted logic behind the blind support of the Israeli government, we will start to see more Christians and Jews speak out against this shameful abuse of religion. Allowing it to continue accomplishes nothing so much as the marginalization of all people of faith as dupes and warmongers.

~ Chris Moore

Bangladesh Treads Fine Terror Line

So, it has come to that! My favorite has posted Indian propaganda, in the title of “Bangladesh Treads Fine Terror Line,” linked to the Asia Times article by an Indian, Sudha Ramachandran. …

Since the independence of Bangladesh from the oppressive grip of West Pakistan, in which India helped us tremendously (because it serves its major interest, severing a big chunk of its arch enemy, Pakistan), India has been heavy-handed with Bangladesh. It probably wanted a puppet regime and more advantages, but the fiercely independent Bangladeshi people has always resisted that. India has built more than 13 major dams on international rivers (Farakka is the biggest one, which is destroying large swaths of their lands now – twenty-some years after being built. Poetic justice?), before they enter Bangladesh, disregarding international law, thus reducing the flow at will. In the dry season, because of withholding water, our water level goes down, crops die, trees wither, rivers get shallow with the accumulation of thousands of tons of silt. In the rainy season, when Indians don’t need all that water, they open the dams, and our flood situation worsens by orders of magnitude. The older Bangladeshi generation of politicians are supine, media and technology un-savvy, and thus could not stand up to India for much of anything. So much so that world doesn’t know how India tries to dominate Bangladesh.

For more than twenty years, INDIA HAS AIDED, ABETTED, SHELTERED, ARMED AND TRAINED THE INFAMOUS “Shanti Bahini” (“peace army”), tribal terrorists in the south east part of Bangladesh (evergreen mountainous region, porous borders with India) that many Indian articles now quote as lawless! I had friends fighting these terrorists for many years. A blatantly pro-India government in Bangladesh a few years ago made a big compromise and made peace with these terrorists, and gave them autonomy. As you sow, so shall you reap! As India’s helping these “terrorists-insurgents” made the whole area lawless, it has made that area (inside India, alongside Bangladesh) a haven for Indian insurgents. The Indian government’s oppression of its own people in the peripheries have enflamed insurgencies in Indian provinces east of Bangladesh (home of tribal people). Now we are to blame! This is because the Indian government wanted to get a hundreds-of-miles-long corridor through mainland Bangladesh to carry unannounced troops, armor, whatever, to troubled North-Eastern India. Bangladesh has refused this proposal which it deems as a clear breach of her sovereignty.

India’s strong Border Security Force (BSF) kills hundreds of people of Bangladesh each year with impunity; Indian air force planes regularly violate our airspace.

The author Sudha Ramachandran (also B. Raman, another Indian who writes anti-Bangladesh propaganda at Asia Times), sitting pretty in South India, original home of Tamil LTTE who invented suicide bombing, is writing that Bangladesh is full of “Islamist terrorists” and ISI spies! Well, Sudha, come visit us in Bangladesh, you will find hundreds of Indians working, doing business, and making money in Bangladesh, openly. Will you find any Pakistanis? Almost none (except embassy people, and probably cricketers playing in local sports leagues). For every ISI agent there are hundreds of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agents in Bangladesh. It is not so surprising that none of the media talk about India’s pervasive and ruthless intelligence agency, RAW. I urge the international community to intensely look at this agency and its doings in all over South Asia.

There is a new generation rising in Bangladesh, who are PRO-Bangladesh, and would not cut corners with either Pakistan, India, whoever, when our interest is concerned. India, watch out!

~ Enam


I am preparing a documentary on video in which I interview Marines and soldiers that went to war Iraq and are now back in the United States, and I am writing to you in the hope you know troops that would like to participate in this project.

My goal is to make a portrait of the people that went to war and risked their lives. I want to talk about their very personal experiences, their stories, their friends, where they were based and what they feel and think. I am interested in their lives, their hopes and dreams and their future in the States.

The documentary is a very personal portrait and not a statement pro- or against the war. I will try to give the war a face.

I am a documentary video maker and photographer. I have studied at art schools in Holland and Cal Arts in California. I have published my work in most major magazines in Europe (Wallpaper, Blueprint, etc.) and made a promo movie for Levi’s in 1999. This video will be shown in the Museum of Art in Amsterdam hopefully by the end of 2005.

Please contact me if you know someone who is interested in being interviewed and live in the greater Los Angeles area or San Diego.

~ Monica Nouwens

The story-line of Victor Yushchenko’s alleged poisoning at the hands of “Ukrainian security services” simply makes no sense. Are we to believe that security organs that are descended from the KGB are so incompetent that they failed to assassinate Yushchenko via poisoning and in the process chose a fat-soluble chemical that produces no permanent damage other than facial disfigurement – so Yushchenko literally wears the “proof” of his poisoning on his face? Are we also to believe that the “proof” of this poisoning was not available until two weeks before the last round of the elections? The Soviet Union had one of the most advanced chemical/ biological/ assassination programs in existence. In 1978, Georgi Markov was poisoned in London via a micro-capsule filled with ricin injected by umbrella-tip into his leg. We are to believe that the Ukrainian security forces or Mafia freelancers have gone from that level of competence to administering a non-lethal dose of dioxin? Something stinks in this story.

~ Charles Shearer

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