Backtalk, January 29, 2005

My Husband Is Defending Democracy

Monica Benderman and her husband are practicing their faith in the truest sense of the word. Those like George Bush who profess to be Christians but persist in breaking the commandments are demonstrating what many of us reject: false faith. To do unto others as we would have them do unto us is a simple creed but very difficult for most of us to practice. We can find many reasons not to follow that creed. When we do not we do great harm to others as well as to ourselves.

~ Sara Greene

I suggest to Monica Benderman that a key point for her husband’s defense should be that the Nuremberg Principles Articles VI and VII make it a Crime Against Peace and a Crime Against Humanity to “conspire to engage in, wage or be complicit in the waging of a war of aggression.” Mr. Benderman’s argument should be that to participate in a the Iraq war would constitute a war crime….

~ John Mackesy

FYI: Mobocracy is not worthy of defending (as the Founders would have agreed):

Quotes on “Democracy” [from]:

… Since Woodrow Wilson started the trend in W.W.I, treasonous politicians and media pundits have incessantly referred to our country as a “democracy,” when it is in fact a Constitutional Republic. Under our Republic, the individual has inalienable rights, whereas under a democracy (a fancy word for mob rule), we have only privileges subject to the whim of the majority (like 3 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner).

The dominant waste-stream media heavily promotes this lie, since under a democracy those who control the information presented to the majority in effect control the country. While the majority may technically be in control, their actions are based upon their perceptions. And these perceptions are controlled by the dominant media. This is sometimes termed “rule by publicity.”

Socialist and fascist politicians also love this lie, as it allows them to invoke the supposed “will of the people” as they assault the persons and/or property of those they swore to “serve,” and the very document they swore to defend (the Constitution).

Also consider that majority-rule is completely contrary to the notion of individual liberty. And as history has repeatedly shown us, majorities are prone to impose brutal cruelties upon unpopular/innocent minorities (such as Roman Christians, American Blacks, and German Jews).

So when you hear a politically-educated person refer to our country as a “democracy” (or speak of democracy in a positive light), you know you are listening to a liar with an agenda at odds with liberty and the Constitution.

~ Mark Gilmore

Monica Benderman replies:

Democracy – as it should be [from Social Science Dictionary]:

Greek: demos (the people) + kratos (authority). System of government in which ultimate political power rests with a nation’s population at large. Citizens have the right to participate in political decision-making. Democracy is not an ideology, but rather an ideal that can be reached or embodied by various institutional arrangements according to one’s ideological conception of freedom, participation, and rights.

Literally, the term means power of the people (combining the Greek words demos, meaning “the people,” and kratien, meaning “to rule”). It is usually used to describe a political system where the legitimacy of exercising power stems from the consent of the people. Accordingly, a democratic polity is often identified by the existence of constitutional government, where the power of the leaders is checked and restrained; representative institutions based on free elections, which provide a procedural framework for the delegation of power by the people; competitive parties, in which the ruling majority respects and guarantees the rights of minorities; and civil liberties, such as freedoms of speech, press, association, and religion – a system of government in which political authority is held by the people; typically feature constitutional governments where the majority rules, a belief in individual liberty and in equal rights for all people, freedom of expression, political freedom, and freedom of choice.

Republic – as it should be [from Webster’s New World Dictionary]:

A state or nation in which the supreme power rests in all the citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives elected, directly or indirectly, by them and responsible to them. A state, especially a democratic state, which has a nonhereditary head as (president) distinguished from a state like Britain which has a hereditary head (king or queen) with limited powers, of course.

Historically, the form of government in which representative officials met to decide on policy issues. These representatives were expected to serve the public interest but were not subject to the people’s immediate control. Today, the term republic is used interchangeably with democracy.

The balanced constitution of Rome from c. 510 to 47 b.c.e.; featured an aristocratic Senate, a panel of magistrates, and several popular assemblies.

Right to Life

Sgt. Benderman,

What you have experienced is a spiritual awakening. I had the experience of living the first half of my life as a gung-ho warmonger. I was a despiser of mankind, and didn’t even know it. However, I am glad to say that I finally reached a point in my life where I love my fellow man as myself. Strangely enough, this spiritual awakening did not occur until after I had given up “religion” in any form.

I wish you the very best in the future. Remember, you are doing the right thing, and that is all that really matters. Whatever follows this correct decision will turn out in the end to be a blessing to you and your family.

~ Carroll Price, Waynesboro, Georgia

Jacobin to the Core

Dear Dr. Roberts,

Thank you for your clarity on this issue. As a committed Catholic Christian in a parish with a pastor supportive of Bush I am torn. Do I leave? I am more afraid of Bush, and his policies, than any other terrorist at this point. What can I do?

~ Dr. O’Halloran

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Catholics support Bush because his rhetoric is antiabortion. What can any of us do?

How can you compare Robespierre to Bush, and the GOP to the Jacobins? Robespierre and the Jacobins helped destroy a backward feudal system; … Bush and the GOP want to send us back to obscurantism, racism and reaction. It appears that you did not learn your history of the French Revolution.

~ Victor V.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Victor might want to read Claes Ryn’s book, America the Virtuous. Both Robespierre and the neoconservatives declare universalist principles and the virtue to impose them on other countries.

I agree with your points. Shouldn’t the Democratic party stop worrying about using the electoral process to achieve its goals, and start using its massive organizing power to promote civil disobedience and ANY other methods that might achieve its goals?

~ Jordan DelMonte

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

They should do something, but most of them just voted to confirm Condi Rice.

Wake Up! Bush Is Serious


Please do not compare those dirty people in the think-tanks and cabinet to the Jacobins of revolutionary France. The latter were for the large working classes and bourgeoisie and had roots in the writings of the revolutionary Americans and philosophes. (We are speaking here of Franklin, Washington, Rousseau and Voltaire.) Our neocons are a cocktail of Zionist, corporate and criminal thinking. (We are speaking here of Cheney, Gingrich, Limbaugh and Godfather I.) They are on the side of the aristos and not the people.

~ Bob, N. Tonawanda

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I don’t think we should turn this into a class thing. If it is wrong to kill people in the name of the upper class, it is wrong to kill people in the name of the workers.

The ICG Strikes Again

Nebojsa Malic’s article on the ICG mentions the role of former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans.

Gareth Evans was the Australian Labor Party appointed foreign minister under the Hawke and Keating governments. He not only turned a blind eye to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, and the resulting massacres and guerrilla war, but negotiated a deal with the invaders splitting the oil revenues from the territorial waters between East Timor and northern Australia (the “Timor Gap” treaty. See “Not Guilty on Timor? Explain This Then,” by Scott Burchill, and this pdf file).

~ Tim Gillin

Oh, dear, Mr. Malic! You rue the Albanian occupation of Kosovo even as Serbia is face-punching Hungarians in the Serbian-occupied Hungarian territory, which per Serbian force wears the bastardized name “Vojvodina,” with the explicit intention of perpetuating the occupation. What, I wonder, guides your thoughts on what constitutes “occupation”?

~ Sophie Johnson

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I‘m sorry, the occupation of Vojvodina?! While no doubt certain groups – including the Honveds nostalgic for the times of Admiral Horthy – claim these territories are “occupied Hungarian lands,” they were ceded to Yugoslavia (of which Serbia is a successor) under the Treaty of Trianon after the Great War. These borders were upheld again in 1945, after Hungary had tried to revise them in an alliance with Nazi Germany. In short, your terminology is nonsense. So is your claim about “face-punching.” The only reason Hungarians are making claims of “hate crimes” is that Serbia is now weak, and certain politicians both in Budapest and Novi Sad think this is an opportune time for some revisionism. It is surely a remarkable coincidence that the stories of “atrocities” in Vojvodina abruptly stopped after the Hungarian-American Caucus in the U.S. Congress refused to support the hysterical accusations of Congressman Lantos, and after Belgrade refused to rise to the bait?

As for what constitutes occupation, I would say that attacking a sovereign country and forcibly seizing control of its territory, in whole or in part, is a simple enough definition. Kosovo fits the bill. So does Iraq. Vojvodina does not. In case you were wondering, Serbia has never attacked Hungary. On the contrary, it was Hungary that attacked Serbia three times in the 20th century: 1914, 1941, and 1999.

Inaugurating Endless War

On reading Mr. Buchanan’s pre- and post-election opinions about Mr. Bush and his policies one might foolishly assume that Mr. Buchanan would not support such a person or that person’s policies by endorsing that person for president. But then, that’s exactly what Mr. Buchanan did. Like Pakistan’s Musharaf who is often now called Busharaf by Pakistani citizens, Mr. Buchanan’s sychophantic relationship with Mr. Bush entitles him to the moniker BUSHANAN.

~ David W. Walters, Ph.D., formerly Captain of Infantry, United States Marine Corps (1973 – 1976)

I and my parents were great supporters of Pat when he ran for the nomination for president in the GOP some years ago. For the last 4 years, Pat has called Bush and Co. on the mat. He has done so since the election.

My question to Pat would be this: If Bush is so bad and dangerous, as you label him in your articles, if he is leading the country to hell in a hand-basket, why then did you back him like a scalded coward just prior to the election?

On Chris Matthews show, you mentioned you may vote for Peroutka. Your prominence and reach would have greatly helped this true patriot, possibly catapulting him far past your own political accomplishments. Why then not support what you believe and a candidate that supports what you purport to believe?

Meekly giving in and supporting the failed policy of “lesser of 2 evils” and Scary Kerry showed you love your fame, selling your columns, and spouting off far more than principle. It’s sad how many people, intelligent people, are so Bushized.

~ Chris Campbell, Chairman, Constitution Party – NC

Oops, They Invaded the Wrong Country?

Mr. Eland,

I think you should go spend one year living in Iran, you would certainly change your views and you would count your blessings more frequently and more carefully. Until you have experienced things from the “other side of the fence” you are in no position to speak in favor of other regimes’ existence and against U.S. war policies.

~ V.V.

Ivan Eland replies:

I‘m not defending Saddam Hussein, the Iranian theocratic leadership or any other despotic system of government. Although the U.S. government no longer represents the intentions of the founders (the government has grown exponentially principally because of foreign wars), the United States is the best country in the whole world in which to live. But you fail to distinguish between U.S. society and government. Just because I criticize the government’s warlike behavior does not mean that I don’t like the United States or that I would like to live under some authoritarian regime. When we go to war, we become a little more like our enemy. Just because Iran and Iraq were ruled by tyrants, should the U.S. government violate international law and norms to attack these countries when they have done nothing to us? The founders of America – for example, General George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – would roll over in their graves at the thought that supporting imperial wars was patriotic. They knew that wars make the government grow stronger and oppress the people (an example today is the PATRIOT Act). Our modern leaders don’t understand that empire is damaging to the republic and injurious to U.S. security (through retaliatory “blowback” terrorism). If your motto is “America, love it or leave it,” I would respond that I do love America, but not its government’s wars.

A Broken Promise

Sometimes one can’t follow Nebojsa Malic. Where on earth did he discover that Bush’s administration has promised to help the Serbs? Even if he wanted to, Bush can’t do anything about it. Anti-Serb bias is a part of American Balkan strategy, whose modification would involve offending the interests of Albanians, Croats and Muslims, all more reliable actors for his Balkan plans. Serbs assumed a role nothing short of idiotic, after the fall of Milosevic. They had the reputation of being troublemakers and they should have kept that, for this is a commodity one could always cash in on. Serbs, of course, did nothing of the kind and decided to play “good boys” and to compete with Albanians and others for the favors of the U.S., transforming themselves into authentic craven beggars. Now, they are left with no card to play.

Sort of being “up sh*t’s creek without a paddle,” as Americans would say.

~ Peter Vujacic

Nebojsa Malic replies:

I never said Bush promised to do anything so prosaic as “help the Serbs,” merely that he promised to abandon nation-building and withdraw from the Balkans. There are certainly people who attributed Washington’s Balkans policies to Clinton and Democratic partisanship; they hoped Republicans would see things differently when they came into power, despite the fact the GOP advocated a military intervention in Bosnia much more loudly than Clinton. I don’t suppose I’m surprised things turned out this way, but there was certainly a slim chance it could have been otherwise.

Anyway, I agree with your point about the “productiveness” of Serb leaders’ behavior. All the toadying and sucking up hasn’t produced one tangible benefit for Serbia, but rather further harm. One would think the people would punish them for such manifest incompetence. Then again, nobody much cares what “the People” think; not in Serbia, and not in America anymore.

Brian B.’s Backtalk

Dear Mr. B.,

I would like to respond to your allegations against Islam. I do not blame you for your misconceptions, for indeed people in the western world only have access to some very biased media, hence the perpetuation of the falsehoods you claim. Having said that, I think people who visit are a minority of people who refuse the biased Western media, and choose to seek out the truth, whenever they can.

Many non-Muslims when they think about Islam picture religious fanatics on camels with a sword in one hand and a Qur’an in the other. This myth, which was made popular in Europe during the Crusades, is totally baseless. First of all, the Holy Qur’an clearly says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” In addition to this, Islam teaches that a person’s faith must be pure and sincere, so it is certainly not something that can be forced on someone. In debunking the myth that Islam was “spread by the sword,” the (non-Muslim) historian De Lacy O’ Leary wrote:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever accepted.”
(Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p. 8)

It should also be known that Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up to when they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan all have Christian and/or Jewish populations. If Islam taught that all people are supposed to be killed or forced to become Muslims, how did all of these non-Muslims survive for so long in the middle of the Islamic empire? Additionally, if one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam from Spain and Morocco in the West to India and China in the East, one would realize that they were far too few to force people to be members of a religion against their will. Additionally, the great empire and civilization established by the Muslims had great staying power – its citizens were proud to be part of it.

The spread of Islam stands in contrast to the actions of the followers of Christianity, who since the time of the Emperor Constantine have made liberal use of the sword – often basing their conduct on Biblical verses. This was especially true of the colonization of South America and Africa, where native peoples were systematically wiped-out or forced to convert. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history – the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! Ask any of the over one billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia and there were never any battles fought there! So where was the sword? How could someone be forced to adhere to a spiritually rewarding and demanding religion like Islam? …

Indonesia has had a woman head-of-state, Megawati Sukarnoputri. In Bangladesh both the Prime Minister’s office and the role of the leader of the opposition have been alternating between two women – Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed. In Pakistan Benazir Bhutto has had headed two governments before. And Turkey – a Muslim country with a secular state – has had a woman Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller.

Four Muslim countries have had female heads of state or heads of government long before the United States will have had a woman president, Italy a woman prime minister, France a woman president, Germany a woman chancellor, or Russia a woman head of state.

The United States has tried to protect religious minorities in the civil society through a separation of church and state. And yet after 200 years the United States has only once strayed from the Protestant fraternity. John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 by the slimmest of margins.

Islam has protected its religious minorities, not through separation of church from state, but through ecumenicalism and tolerance. During the Ottoman Empire Christians attained high office. Suleiman I (1520-1566) had Christian ministers in his government, as did Selim III (1789-1807). Moghul Emperor Akbar (1556-1632) integrated Hindus into government. Saddam Hussein in Iraq had a Chaldean Christian – Tariq Aziz – as Deputy Prime Minister. Egypt nurtured Boutros Ghali (a Coptic Christian) through its foreign ministry and helped him become the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Republic of Senegal in West Africa – over 90% Muslim – repeatedly elected Leopold Senghor, a Roman Catholic, as president. Muslim societies have used ecumenical tolerance as a protection of religious minorities in their civil societies.

Islam is a beautiful, complete, perfect religion. I hope with an open mind you will come to see that.

~ Adham Hassan

Iraq Helicopter Crash ‘Kills 31 U.S. Troops’

This should be at the top of the page! I’ve noticed that military casualties rarely makes it to the “top” anymore, and 31 dead Marines from the 1st Marine Division should be first in news, not third. Let’s not give in to Bush’s theory that if we minimize and hide our dead this country won’t catch on. They are the ones sacrificing and if their sacrifices stay at the TOP of the news this country will become outraged quicker and, my hope is, an exit strategy will at some point be formulated. I have friends, and soon family, over there in Iraq and don’t want anyone to forget what they go through in this horrible, ill-planned war.

~ Amy Hogan

A War Culture

Hello, Mr. Reese!

First of all, I just wanted to say that I have agreed with practically everything you have written in the articles I have so far read. By everything I am referring to the U.S. policy on the Iraq War, as well as the U.S. policy in the Middle East and your criticism of the Bush administration. If only more Americans were as informed as you are, this war would have no support whatsoever – unless, of course, you take into account the fact that there will always be greedy, die-hard warmongers who will use any means, no matter how unethical, to attempt to justify an unjustifiable war.

However, I do have a correction I hope you will bear in mind. I am aware that this is an article that is already one year old, but in your January 27, 2004 article “A War Culture,” you referred to the U.S. occupation in the Philippines as the Philippines Insurrection. This is politically incorrect, as well as historically misleading. Since 1990, if I’m not mistaken, the term “Philippine Insurrection” has actually been taken out of textbooks (if it’s at all mentioned) and has been officially recognized as the Philippines-American War. There is probably nothing you can do to rectify this mistake in your article, but my purpose in writing to you was actually just to keep you updated on your terminology, so as to make sure you are always as well-informed as you have proven yourself to be.

~ Cara Anasco, 4th year anthropology major (UC Irvine)

Let Us Work Together to Prevent War

I would like to make a request through Backtalk, and that is to form an antiwar coalition with branches in every country. Each branch will be supported by volunteers from the respective countries. We will have programs such as demonstrations, seminars, token hunger strikes, etc., throughout the world on the same day. I think this will have tremendous impact and will stop war. I believe people in every country want to stop war but are not finding any way to protest. So let us start communicating with each other so that we can work unitedly and hence effectively. My mail address is given for this purpose: Looking forward to hearing from all peace-lovers.

~ Dr. Mahboob Hossain, Niigata University of Pharmacy, Niigata, Japan

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