"Your own poor come first" Talmud
I think it is the duty of every Jew to support his fellow Jew before others. You should be more sympathetic of Israel’s actions. Israel has good intentions. Would you agree? If you agree, stop publicly humiliating Israel so much in your articles by saying that Palestinians are enslaved and that they are being ethnically cleansed. "Enslaved" Palestinians can move to Jordan. And there is no policy of ethnic cleansing.
Ran HaCohen replies:
I think the duty of every human being is "You shall do that which is right and good" (Bible), not whitewash the crimes done by one’s own race; and luckily, the prophets shared my view, not yours. Israel’s intentions may be good for a small minority (settlers, army generals, weapon industry, coffin producers), but they are malicious and catastrophic for millions of others (Palestinians and Israelis). For your information, Palestinians cannot move to Jordan even if they wanted to, because Jordan closed its borders to Palestinians; and I wonder why you insist on denying a policy of ethnic cleansing while you yourself recommend it.
In reading your article, I cannot help but wonder with some bemusement as to how many public intellectuals in the Arab world would care or dare to write about or be permitted to publish sympathetic descriptions, in the same vein as your article, of and about the sufferings of Israeli Jews at the hands of Arabs, without the slightest attempt at identifying any of the causes or the chains of causation behind those sufferings of which the first and foremost is of course the very presence of Jews in that country.
It is interesting how cause and effect do not appear to have the least bearing on the matters raised in your article. Also, your article is evidence of an interesting asymmetry that speaks volumes about the values and behaviors of Jews and Arabs at war with one another. For, how many public intellectuals among the Palestinians, or in the broader Arab or Islamic world would or could publish such a one-sided, unbalanced account in support of Israel, and live to see the light of another day?
Even the Brits would have baulked at permitting the publication of one-sided pro-German tracts during the war, which drew a modest veil over rude matters of cause and effect in the interest of justice to the German people. Not to speak of the Russkies, of course. Or the Arabs. Yet, curiously, Israel does permit this. I wonder why that is? A weird aberration, no doubt.
Of course, you might claim that there is no equivalence between the Arab position and the Israeli position, since no one invited the Jews to Palestine: they invited themselves, they stole the land from their rightful owners, and are thus the ultimate transgressors in the conflict between the Palestinians and themselves. Therefore the only rational and ethical course of action for a moral individual is to give unbalanced support to the Palestinian cause and in the course of doing that, to do his best to incite the whole world against Israel.
Well, yes, but in that case… what are you doing there, sitting in Tel Aviv, and by that very act reaffirming the act of colonization of Arab lands by Jews (albeit on land that was legally purchased from its previous owners, in that particular case)? It does seem to give a very strong impression of you crapping on your own doorstep without even being aware of it. Wouldn’t it be a lot more ethical and make a lot more sense, if you exercised your right to criticize Israel from the battlements of Amsterdam or London?
At the very least that would mean that there was one less colonist that dispossessed Palestinians had to contend with, wouldn’t it? It would also help undermine the case for invidious comparisons between relative freedom of expression in Israel versus the world of the Arabs, and between the treatment afforded to dissident public intellectuals at times of war in Israel, on the one hand, and in Palestine and the broader Arab lands, on the other.
Ran HaCohen replies:
I cannot see how my emigration from Israel could help anybody, Palestinian or otherwise. I also doubt whether "cause and effect" is the right logic to apply to the conflict, given that some causes are no longer reversible. Our power to change the future is considerably greater than to change the past, and I therefore believe that we should concentrate on a question like "how can we get out of this mess," rather than on "how this mess could have been avoided sixty or eighty years ago." I know it’s easier to answer the latter question than the former, but I don’t think such answers can take us anywhere.
Rumsfield blind-sided by the armor question? That sounds real close to an excuse. Blindness like that is a disqualification for the job. Keep him because the replacement might be worse? Going with the known evil over the unknown guarantees evil.
Alan Bock replies:
Goodness, I didn’t think I was advocating keeping Rummy, just wondering whether replacing him with somebody the Bushlet chooses would really be an improvement. Moreover, I have few illusions as to my massive influence, even if I had, in fact, been advocating "going with the known evil." I’m just a bemused observer of evil.
It is always interesting to hear another Aleksandar Tijanic-take on the political situation in Serbia. Even though I agree that Serbia is now, and most likely for a long time to come will be, at the mercy of powers far greater than its government, I am at the same time offended that people like you represent my country in the foreign media. I have read many of your articles and, to be honest, I can’t decide whether your attitude is amusing or dangerous. You seem to be the kind of Serb that infallibly votes for the worst politicians and policies. And what was that about Zoran Djindjic eating an ox with Karadzic? You have a vivid imagination, but I think comic books or sci-fi novels might be a better way for you to utilize it. After everything I’ve read in your column, I’ll be expecting a praise of Legija and Otacastveni pokret obraz next.
Nebojsa Malic replies:
Dear Ms Pavlovic,
I represent none but my own self, certainly not Serbia or the United States, for that matter. Therefore, I fail to see why I should be bothered if you feel "offended" by my work though I would insist on the courtesy of telling me specifically why. I’ve arrived at my opinions through a lot of research and reasoning, but I am open to changing them if I hear better arguments. If you wish to offer such arguments, you are most welcome.
Writing science fiction would be more profitable than writing columns, but even the best-contrived fiction pales in comparison with the tragic facts of our present existence, so absurd not even science-fiction writers could have imagined it 15 years ago. One such fact that escapes those who’ve sought to deify Djindjic after his untimely death, is the "ox-roast." I remember very clearly watching the SRT (Bosnian Serb television) in 1994, when NATO first threatened to intervene in the Bosnian War, and seeing Zoran Djindjic in Pale to support Radovan Karadzic (in order to appear "patriotic" against Milosevic, who’d sealed off the border to the Bosnian Serbs) as an ox was roasting behind them on a mountain slope. I didn’t actually see Djindjic eat the ox, but it’s a fact that he and Karadzic were present and a likelihood that they partook, unless either was a vegetarian.
Your insinuation that I’m "the kind of Serb that infallibly votes for the worst politicians and policies" shows how little you’ve read of my work, for I’ve often stated my disgust with voting, and with politicians; I even used the word "kakistocracy," rule by the worst, at one point. Along with your quip about Legija and Obraz, I’ll chalk this up to intellectual laziness. If you were serious, however, I invite you to suggest what "better" policies and politicians may be, and explain precisely why Obraz and Legija are beyond the pale. When I criticize people and institutions, I try to offer facts and moral principles in support of my argument. I expect nothing more of my detractors, but certainly nothing less.
Howard Karten: Found your site in a Google search; looks nice.
I am trying to find out: Where can I go to find the latest count of soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq?
Michael Ewens: Antiwar.com/casualties/ and DefenseLink.mil/news/casualty.pdf.
HK: How can I find out if the count of soldiers killed includes those who subsequently die of wounds after being evacuated to a hospital (e.g. Germany)? …
ME: There have been about two dozen of these deaths. Peruse this list http://icasualties.org/oif/Details.aspx and Filter for location of death.
Jennie Harris: I would just like to state that my late cousin Marshall H. Caddy who died November 16, 2004 would be very unhappy to hear that his name made it onto a site that trashed what he was doing. You are so antiwar that I doubt that you know how many other wars our country has aided in, helped in, or started where we weren’t attacked. W.W.II for example. Japan bombed us, not Hitler, so why did we go after him? Exactly. No reason other than to get a dictator out of power and free countries, save lives and protect ourselves from a POSSIBLE attack but not one that we knew was coming.
Michael Ewens: Hitler was allied with the Japanese and declared war on the US. Did you know that? You are right, we have "aided in" many conflicts based on non-defensive reasons: Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, etc. Despite the "freedoms" you will inevitably claim resulted from these adventures, the US military should not engage in such activities. Those interventions only succeed in creating more enemies, enlarging the size and scope of the US government and burdening future Americans with foreign welfare states (see Iraq in a few years).
JH: So all I have to say is get your facts right, this site doesn’t give the men that died the respect they deserve and I know that my cousin would have a few choice words to say about you trashing this country.
ME: How are we "trashing this country" by listing the names of those killed? Moreover, how are we "trashing this country" by demanding that the US government not intervene in nations that pose no threat, thus demanding the US soldiers and Marines only die doing what the military is meant to do: protect US citizens from external threats?
Would you be so kind to remove this article as it is most offending to anybody with few ounces of brain. I sincerely hope you will not let that poisoned woman write about the Yugoslav conflict anymore. As a proof that denies the CORE of her text and ideas, please take a look at this link: "Serbs Sorry for Srebrenica Deaths."
The Serb government apologized for the deaths of about 8,000 men and she says there were no more than 2,000. SHAME! I really expect for the credibility of your site if you do care about it at all that you will either post this article from BBC or any other worldwide media or remove the text Ms. Jatras wrote, profoundly wrong and untrue.
Her other stories are by no means objective a single bit and she clearly does not have a clue what she is talking about. You posted that she’s an expert on foreign countries well you got that very wrong obviously. I hope you will take some action to stop her from spreading her poisoned and untrue view of the world and former Yugoslavia.
Stella Jatras replies:
Let me begin by stating that in civil wars all sides do terrible things. But in the recent Balkan war, the rhetoric that came out of the Clinton White House, combined with a willing media, sent a clear message to the world that all Serbs wore (and continue to wear) black hats, and that all Muslims, both Bosnian and ethnic Albanians, (including Osama bin Laden’s Kosovo Liberation Army cutthroats), wore (and continue to wear) white hats. So successful is the propaganda against the Serbs that Kosovo recently elected as their prime minister a Kosovo Liberation Army terrorist who has been charged as a war criminal, without any outrage from the Bush administration.
The 9/11 Commission report supports Serbia’s claim of al-Qaeda’s presence and activities in the Balkans and lists references to al-Qaeda’s presence in Bosnia and Kosovo on the anti-Serbian side. The report states under title, "The Foundation of the New Terrorism, 2.3 The Rise of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, (1988 to 1992)":
"Bin Laden’s impressive array of offices covertly provided financial and other support for terrorist activities. The network included a major business enterprise in Cyprus; a ‘services’ branch in Zagreb; an office of the Benevolence International Foundation in Sarajevo, which supported the Bosnian Muslims in their conflict with Serbia and Croatia, and an NGO in Baku, Azerbaijan that was employed as well by Egyptian Islamic Jihad both as a source and conduit with finances and as a support center for the Muslim rebels in Chechnya."
The complete 9/11 Commission report can be read at: http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htm.
This was a brilliant war of exaggerations beginning with the 250,000 victims (all Muslims? No Serbs? No Croats?) allegedly killed in Bosnia (all killed by Serbs? There were no Muslim killers? No Croat killers?) rather than the 2002 BBC report that puts the total number of victims at 40,000. The exaggerations include the alleged rape of 50,000 to 60,000 Bosnian Muslim women. In a 1994 letter to President Clinton, Herb Brin of Heritage Southwest Jewish Press wrote, "When I visited the Serbian front a year ago, I learned to my dismay that the rape story was a total concoction." Furthermore, the French publication, Le Point, of 13 March 1993, headlined "Manipulated Horror," wrote, "Ethnic cleansing, rapes: the war in the Balkans is already sufficiently horrible without the need to exaggerate the wide coverage by the media, while the Serbian women were left to mourn silently." Balkan expert Peter Brock writes in his commentary, "Dateline Yugoslavia: The Partisan Press," in the 1993-94 Winter issue:
"Also unnoticed by the media was the submission on December 18, 1992, of the length report (s/24991) by the UN Security Council to the General Assembly. The report includes some of the depositions by Serb rape victims from the incidents above. The UN officials have never explained why it was not made publicly available until January 5, 1993, even though it was the only report produced by an international agency that contained documents testimonies from any rape victims up until that time. Yet while that report was receiving minimal circulation at the UN, the news media were focusing on undocumented claims soldiers had committed as many as 60,000 rape of Muslim women."
In her commentary titled "Time to get out of the bloody Balkans," (Daily Mail London, 20 July 1995), Ann Leslie writes, "Malenka Ristic was too old and weak to run away when her village was ‘ethnically cleansed.’ So the 65-year-old grandmother and 58 of her elderly neighbors in the village of Skelane were murdered. Mrs. Ristic was tortured, all her fingers were cut off while she was alive. You see, they’ve been taken off at the first joint: death finally came when they slit her throat." The Washington Times reported in 2003, "The NATO soldiers shook their heads in dismay as flies swarmed above the cow dung and human blood where the killers had tossed the Serbian grandmother’s corpse into the hay." To my knowledge The Washington Times was the only US newspaper to carry the gory details.
I make these points for a purpose. It demonstrates, once again, examples of atrocities committed against Serbian civilians which received virtually no coverage while CNN and the other major media repeatedly showed atrocities (many self-inflicted by Bosnian Muslims themselves) allegedly committed by Serbs against innocent Bosnian Muslims (see "The Media’s War Against the Serbs").
"This organized anti-Serb and pro-Muslim propaganda should cause anyone believing in democracy and free speech serious concerns. It recalls Hitler’s propaganda against the allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded." Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense.
Even though we bombed Yugoslavia for 78 unmerciful days on a humanitarian pretext; even though we destroyed a sovereign nation that never harmed a single hair on the head of one American; even though we are culpable in the eradication of Serbian society, culture, language and religion in Kosovo at the hands of the Kosovo Liberation Army cutthroats; even though we have turned the Balkans over to al-Qaeda (See "Clinton-approved Iranian Arms Transfer Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base"), it is Srebrenica that continues to capture the news that trumps any and all atrocities committed against the Serbian people.
As for Srebrenica, I pretty much said my piece on the subject in Backtalk on 7 November of this year when the same demand was made of me by "Jasmin B." I am told to "Cease and desist! Apologize!" I once again refer to my commentary of 9 December 2003, titled "Carla del Ponte’s Pound of Serbian Flesh," where I give my reasons as to why the Serbian government is confessing to Father Paddy.
Why did Srebrenica happen, and what really did happen there? On April 2004, Balkan analyst Carl Savage gave his analysis of General Philippe Morillon’s testimony at the ICTY regarding Srebrenica and Naser Oric stating:
"The major conclusion from Morillon’s testimony was this: The fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the ‘direct reaction’ to the massacres of Bosnian Serbs by Naser Oric’s forces in 1992-1993. Morillon acknowledged that Oric’s troops had committed war crimes in eastern Bosnia. Morillon personally witnessed the exhumation of the bodies of Bosnian Serb civilians and soldiers who had been tortured, mutilated, and executed. He saw with his own eyes the Serbian villages that had been burned to the ground in the Srebrenica pocket. More than anyone else, Morillon understood the level of devastation in eastern Bosnia and the extent and nature of the massacres of Bosnian Serbs."
Naser Oric was so proud of his butchery of Serbs that he even made a video titled, "Oric’s Greatest Hits"!
Nowhere does it state in the Republic of Srpska government’s report the precise number of victims; however, without documentation, the number 7,000 to 8,000 is automatically accepted by the pro-Bosnia media. The Bosnian Serb government does acknowledge that there were "several thousands" killed and it is to this that they have stated their "sorrow." This figure includes many armed and unarmed fighting men as well as civilians who were killed by Serbian forces as they tried to flee Srebrenica toward Tuzla.
Were any unarmed or captured Muslims murdered by Bosnian Serb forces? Did any local Serb militia take revenge for what Oric’s terrorists had done to Serbs? It would be difficult to believe some didn’t. The question is, can the inquisition at The Hague prove what may have taken place is anything like the figures the "international community" throws around? Has anyone ever seen a detailed breakdown of how many bodies can reliably have been shown to have been killed in non-combat, criminal circumstances? The answer, nine years later, is still no.
So the only alternative is to force a false "confession" out of the Bosnian Serbs. It is no secret that His Lord High Executioner, Paddy Ashdown, fraudulently forced the Serbs to confess to the Srebrenica massacre and has virtually ruled as a dictator with complete power to demand obedience from the Bosnian Serb government. I recently received the following e-mail from a very reliable source: "I have the original Report about Srebrenica prepared by the Documentation Center of Republic of Srpska Bureau of Government of RS for Relations with ICTY. This 2002 document was heavily EDITED in 2004 under the pressure of ICTY and the Viceroy of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Ashdown." I usually do not quote anonymous sources; however in this case, I felt that the information is relevant I certainly would not wish any harm to befall my source for telling the truth, especially considering the degree of control Paddy Ashdown has on everything concerning the fate of the Republic of Srpska.
And as someone in whom I have great confidence once said to me, "Yes, and the RS leadership (Cavic, etc.) have been told: don’t ask questions; don’t qualify anything; just admit, and then we will see whether you are allowed to survive as a state (Republica Srpska). He has committed, I believe, to killing of the state . . . ."
Now that the Serb government has officially said that they are sorry for Srebrenica deaths committed by them, isn’t it time for the "’white hats" to admit their guilt for atrocities committed against the Serbian people? Unfortunately, they believe they have done nothing wrong. It’s time for leaders on all sides to admit their share of the guilt, and for individuals who committed crimes on all sides to be punished by their own governments, not by Carla del Ponte’s Star Chamber.
But the real issue here is not punishment for real crimes but collective guilt of "the Serbs" for believing they had the same right to self-determination exercised by former Yugoslavia’s other nationalities.
Dear Ms. Mercer:
Courageous essay. I think you have broached a topic that has been simmering on the edge of consciousness for a while: the role of what you call "war harpies" in promoting our present foreign policy. I think you have shown great intellectual courage in bringing up a topic that some "paleos" may consider forbidden.
Actually, if someone calls himself a "paleo," I am not sure if the subject is "forbidden" or more along the lines of "I’ve simply forgotten." I say that in complete jest, of course. It’s just that I have never understood why "paleos" wear that moniker as a badge of honor. "Paleo," after all, connotes "so long ago I can’t tell you when." Again, just a joke but my point is this: I am not sure a paleo movement will win in the world of politics or the world of the libido but who knows.
If I may say so myself, well before you jumped on board at this Web site, I noticed that Fox TV had cornered the market on associating the Iraqi invasion with sexual attractiveness, although there are some knockouts at CNN and MSNBC as well.
And to overcome this disadvantage and to help the paleos, I suggested a very daring strategy months ago in an e-mail to this Web site. Raimondo, in his role as editorial director, should ask out for drinks the wife of the imperial mayor of San Francisco. I recommended the Top of the Mark.
The primary reason for this unheeded strategy was simple. I thought that Ms. Newsom had the potential to make a great spokesperson for the conservative antiwar movement as well as a contributor to the Web site. This was before you became part of the staff.
You mentioned a Ms. Marsden. I now very little about her but I read enough in your essay to hear alarm bells. She seems to have the Lady Macbeth complex. The best response is to run fast and run far.
You also mentioned Ms. Ann Coulter and Ms. Laura Ingraham. Both are attractive and high-octane intellectuals, but, for what it is worth, I see a difference between the two. Ms. Coulter, I merely speculate, comes across as the type who would do shots of Jaegermister at a Country Western bar to show that she is one of the boys. I say that as a compliment well, sort of. I am sure she is lots of fun.
Ms. Ingraham the former law clerk at the US Supreme Court appears to represent the best of the bluestocking corporate law crowd. She seems more at home at some place like the Jonathan Club in LA. Very classy. And unlike some others from this intellectual tradition, I don’t think she is the type that would spend an entire dinner date talking about the nuances of a motion for summary judgment or the thrill of hearing arguments over an antitrust issue.
Ms. Ingraham has that rare combination of class along with some real pizzazz, at least in my opinion. Takes both. My guess is that after an evening with Ms. Ingraham, even someone like Pat Buchanan would say, "Thank you, Jesus, for the US Supreme Court; once I was a paleo but now I am one hell of a judicial activist!"
Now that’s saying a lot.
But, alas, if Ms. Ingraham is arguing that the Iraqi invasion and occupation is constitutional, then even she is on the wrong side of history. How sad. She represents feminine wisdom no more.
Ilana Mercer replies:
Thanks you for the kind words.
Regarding libido and war: As I put it in "Tuned-Out, Turned-On, and Hot for War": "Perverted warpath patriotism gets people hot, and people who are in a constant state of heightened emotional arousal tend to want to remain that way the emotions are self-reinforcing. The president and his advisers (and the chattering classes) know that to keep the people tuned-out, they must keep them turned-on." Sex and violence are ideal vehicles through which to achieve this un-elevated state of arousal, which then spills over into ratings and support for military action. (At least that’s my theory about the psychological dynamic behind war as a vehicle for political popularity.)
I am sorry you came away from my column praising the beauty of the Fox "Jenna Jameson look-alikes." There is nothing, in my mind, attractive about their cheap faces and foghorn voices. But, apparently, the networks know what men prefer: cheap-looking and loud. I was certainly making an aesthetic statement in my column. Men may like "pasty flesh, bleached candyfloss hair, a plump thickset mug and a bulbous mouth," but these are not aesthetically appealing women. Try Alex Witt and Natalie Morales of MSNBC for striking, refined beauty and a more subdued, professional approach to anchoring.
Marsden she’s a case study demonstrates the moral tenor of the neoconservative establishment. These are anything but cultural conservatives with family values and an immutable notion of right and wrong. (And I thought we had banned the importation of mad cows from Canada!)
I am also sorry you came away from my column hailing Coulter and Ingraham as Philosopher Queens. That was not my intention. I gave them limited and fair credit, no more. To dismiss Coulter, as some libertarians do, to my mind, is ridiculous. Coulter has a facility with words, and is, yes, funny. Thats a rarity in writing. But to call them "high-octane intellectuals"! Dear me, if I’ve led the reader to think these women are deep thinkers (I dont think I did), I apologize profoundly.
I was disappointed to see this statement in Justin Raimondo’s Dec. 17 column: "Charles Krauthammer must have had another stuttering attack." The credibility and effectiveness of Antiwar.com will not be helped by personal digs at an individual’s handicaps.
~ Joseph S. Harrington, a (modest) contributor to Antiwar.com and a (mild) lifetime stutterer
Thank you, thank you! A very exact characterization of what happens here.
I’m living in Kiev now and I’m growing afraid with this orange "revolution" which claims to be spontaneous, but uses ruthless methods of psychological pressure I’m really afraid of this man pretending to bring "democracy." Even the mere possibility to gain such control of masses of people so as to make them stay outdoors for 2 weeks (in spite of the weather!) revolts me. Yanukovich is no angel, but when I have an alternative between him using my money and Yushchenko using my self guess whom I choose? This "revolution" has neat indices of totalitarian control and fanatic-producing factory, that is why anything is better than it.
This is a specific democracy. An "orange" democracy. When you are wearing a blue ribbon, this "democracy" turns to you its true and ugly face. You may have your car broken with baseball clubs; you will be denigrated as an "idiot" supporting the "convict" and worse, not printable things. You will be menaced that "you will not come alive to Maidan." Such democracy is, in my humble opinion, the worst thing that can ever happen to my poor country.
And, with the West widely supporting and donating these "revolutionaries," I’m starting to think the world democracy is not any better, which scares me even more. Please, try to understand me. I have no color, I’m just a man able to think in a different way than most people do. So I will vote for Yanukovich not to support Yanukovich, who really is corrupt and not the best leader, but to oppose Yushchenko who became in my eyes an awful totalitarian figure.
Your comment "Eurocrats can’t pass up a chance to build a social democratic welfare state from scratch" is so off the mark that I nearly fell off my chair laughing. No one in Europe has the slightest wish to get involved in Iraq, or do "nation building" anywhere. Britain and a few other countries are embroiled and would desperately like to get out. No one wants in. …
A lot of European countries, under great pressure from the U.S. and probably demanding major favors in return, are willing to provide token and peripheral support like training policemen. The White House has been asking for support for its imperial adventure, and the response of the European states has be grudging and highly conditional on demands that are generally distasteful to the Bush administration (and often to wider US opinion).
Europe’s only form of "empire building" is by assimilation. "If you want to join our club, you have to become like us. If you do, perhaps you can join." Unless a state wants to join the club, Europe has little influence. Some individual European countries are still embroiled in post-colonial conflicts. A few, thanks to Bush’s puppets like Blair and Berlusconi, are embroiled in a neocolonial one.
I think Britain should break most of its ties with the US, or more precisely with the Bush administration. I think the current relationship is destructive to both sides. Britain is providing costly support for no gain. British support is delaying the abandonment of the Bush administration’s self-destructive policies. Regrettably, until we can get rid of our delusional messianic liar of a prime minister, it isn’t going to happen.
~ Ian Miller, UK