Backtalk, February 14, 2005

Americans Die for Sharia in Iraq

I am a Muslim-American who has always been a fan of Justin Raimondo and for exposing the neocons’ plans to wage war in the Middle East for the sake of Israel and empire. But I was shocked at this ignorant and uninformed comment:

“The right of women to own property and enjoy full legal personhood, long recognized in the West – and in Saddam’s Iraq – will not exist in ‘liberated’ Iraq. America’s daughters are fighting and dying in Iraq so that Iraqi women can be enslaved by a medieval religious and legal dogma that reduces them to subhuman status.”

First of all, Islamic law allowed women to own property more than 500 years before the “enlightened” West did. In Iran, where sharia is fully applied, women are able to participate fully in society: They can own property, vote, run for political office, go to university, own businesses, etc.

Second, in Islam women are respected as mothers, wives, and fellow citizens. If you just turn on the TV, you would see that, unfortunately, in the West women are treated as nothing more than sex objects. If Islamic law disrespects women, why would the majority of Iraqi women vote for the Islamic parties?

Third, Islamic punishments are applied equally to both men and women. They are applied only under strict circumstances, after a fair trial, to prevent things like rape, murder, theft, and adultery from happening. For example, according to the Koran, someone can be convicted of adultery only after four credible eyewitnesses have seen them actually engaging in intercourse. How difficult is that?

Fourth, under Islamic sharia, women actually get just as much as, if not more than, men. For instance, although men get twice the inheritance as women, men alone are responsible for providing for their wife and kids, while women don’t have to share any property or income they have with their husband, unless they really want to.

I know that Mr. Raimondo is probably trying to show that he is fighting for American interests and doesn’t care about anyone else. But demagoguery at the expense of Muslims is beneath him. Would he talk the same way about Judaism?

I don’t think Mr. Raimondo would want to offend his Muslim readers by insulting their religion, especially during pledge week. Thanks, and good luck.

~ Mohamed Shukri

Hey Raimondo,

Just wanted to send a get-well-soon message. I always read your column the moment it comes out, and I don’t know if you realize that you’ve changed a life with the power of your rhetoric. You set the standard, my brother. You’ve taught me by example not to take sh*t from anyone and always adhere to reason, sweet reason.

All right, enough maudlin puffery. Back to work, you.

~ Jim Priest

Dear Justin:

You are absolutely the clearest-headed commentator. You see through the BS in most cases. But don’t you see that it makes no difference to Bush if the Iraqis are governed by Shi’ites or Ba’athists or Lutherans or Southern Baptists? It’s the bottom line that counts – MONEY MONEY MONEY.

War brings dollars into corporate coffers. Profits, big ones, which means big bucks to corporate lackeys in Washington. Exxon Mobil had a PROFIT of $20 billion last year. Do you think that there might be a little left over for our oil-soaked administration? Yeah. Things will get even better – six new refineries approved in Iraq, and a “super refinery” on the way, protected by our troops. Do you think Bush cares if women can vote? I don’t think that Laura is about to jerk his chain, do you?

Justin, as Clinton used to say, “It’s the economy [of the elite], stupid.” And you’re not stupid. …

~ Don Bacon, The Smedley Butler Society

Jacobin to the Core

“President Bush’s second inaugural speech is Jacobin to the core.”

Baby Bush as the American Robespierre?

Has Paul Craig Roberts, usually a fairly balanced citizen of the reality-based community, gone on a blind staggering anti-Bush bender? Is this card-carrying Francophile trying to mesmerize us with his knowledge of French history?

See for yourself. Try reading this brief speech, given by Robespierre during the Reign of Terror, advocating – in the name of God and for the love of humanity – war to rid the world of tyrants: “The Cult of the Supreme Being.”

But for the neocons’ avowed hatred of all things French, I might suspect that Bush’s second inaugural was inspired by Robespierre’s call to arms. The resemblance of the two speeches is uncanny.

Thank you, Paul Roberts, for another audaciously accurate column.

~ Kent Johnson, Knoxville, Tennessee

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

“Hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts, with love of justice and the fatherland. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity.”
– Robespierre

Well, Bush is not as eloquent as Robespierre, but Kent Johnson is correct to note the similarity. All I have to add is that the blood that flows is not Bush’s, Rumsfeld’s, Cheney’s, Perle’s, Wolfowitz’s, Norman Podhoretz’s, Bill Kristol’s, or that of any of the administration pimps who write for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, National Review, the Weakly Standard (pun intended) or spout their warmonger lies over Fox “News” and “conservative” talk radio. The blood that flows is the blood of the deceived and betrayed American troops who are fighting for no American cause, and the blood of their innocent Iraqi victims. It is ominous that the 21st century begins with a massive American war crime and a massive crime against the American people by their own government.

US Errors in the War on Terror

I was blown away when I found out the writer of this article is a sophomore in high school. That kid hit the nail on the head. Every member of the U.S. Senate and Congress should read it. It won’t do any good if members of the administration read it. They’ve already lost touch with reality.

~ Phil Shaheen

Demand Accountability

I am proud of Sibel Edmonds and the efforts she has put forth to bring this issue to light. We the people need to stand behind her and push for the transparency and accountability that is needed in our government. Everyone should contact their elected representatives and voice their opinion on this issue. Instead of firing this woman, they should promote her. I for one thank you for the courage to act in spite of the repercussions you have faced.

~ John Mayew

T. Tunney’s Backtalk

Those who read of the repulsive murder of an Iraqi civilian (tossing him from atop a dam) by high-spirited U.S. troops in Mr. Raimondo’s article, “America’s Death Squads,” may also have read my reply, appearing in the Jan. 17, 2005 edition of Backtalk.

In it, I expressed the intention of writing my representatives: Congressman Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) and Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn (both R-Texas) to request (courteously and reasonably) a Congressional investigation of this wanton savagery. Having done so, I have yet to receive even an acknowledgment from any of the above-named worthies. While I cannot say I am surprised, this only deepens my contempt for our Fearless Leaders.

My advice? Save your ink and your time, dear reader! About the only thing left is to enter what Soviet and East European dissidents called “the internal exile.” Cultivate your own gardens, inform young people that they had best start looking into conscientious objection (before the inevitable draft starts up again), and keep your money out of U.S. Treasury bonds so as not to supply the current war(s) with additional fodder. Besides, the coming dollar crash will turn them to water. (The redoubtable Financial Times of London reports that foreign central bankers are already looking about for the exits – quietly, so as to not spark a rout.) As you read or watch the news, pretend you are a German or Japanese businessman posted to Brazil, Nigeria, or Russia.

All this may seem a counsel of despair; however, as the fall of the Soviet Union showed, “Force without justice falls of its own weight.” Even fanatics cannot continue to drive the apathetic herd at the same pitch of hysteria forever. Zeal must flag, the grumbling from the crowd swells, and demoralization of the leaders as well as their subjects sets in. Finally, people will be in a mood to listen to sense. Things go from “That’s treason! You should be shot!” to “I said it was a good idea all along” before you know it.

But not for a while yet, I’m afraid.

~ T. Tunney

How to Protect Your Child from the Coming Draft

Here is an online link to the Mothering article about how to help your child avoid the draft: “Help Your Peace-Loving Child Avoid the Draft.”

~ Abdul Monaim

A Matter of Conscience

We have received tremendous support from readers who have learned of our situation through your Web site. Thank you for all the support you have given by providing a valuable forum in which my husband Kevin Benderman can tell his story and reach out to people with a message of peace.

We do try to individually thank everyone who e-mails us with their kind messages and their encouraging words. We would also like to thank the countless others who have read of Kevin’s case on your Web site but who may offer their support by speaking out in their communities and by spreading word of the information on your Web site, but who do not choose to tell us of their actions in e-mails.

We can feel the energy of so many millions of people who are speaking out in solidarity with what we are doing, and it helps to keep us fighting strong when it comes to spreading our message of finding solutions of peaceful means for the world’s problems.

We have established a Kevin Benderman Defense Committee, with a Web page,, that will provide updates regarding Kevin’s case, as well as links to articles, veteran’s organizations providing support and information for others, and an opportunity to make a PayPal donation toward covering Kevin’s legal expenses. We hope this fund will not only cover Kevin’s legal costs, but can also provide support after his case for any soldiers who choose a similar path. …

We appreciate everything you have done and are continuing to do to support this effort. And please thank your readers for their support as well.

~ Monica Benderman

The Myth of Iraq’s ‘Liberation’

Mr. Raimondo,

I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your writing, though the enjoyment is somewhat akin to the happiness that a prisoner in solitary confinement feels when he sees the sun for the first time in months. I apologize for the paltry amount of my donation, as I am young and debt-ridden thanks to four years at the University of Oregon’s Allen School of Journalism. The sick part is that I suspect I’ve learned more in a short few months from your column than I did in all those four years. Anyway, keep up the great work, and good luck with the fundraising.

~ Casey Holdahl, Salem, OR

Is Democracy on the March or Revolution?

Dear Editors:

It seems that the Shia of Iraq have been empowered to counteract the Wahhabi doctrine, exported and funded by Saudi Arabia, responsible for the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The Wahhabis consider the Shia to be apostates and the Shia despise the Wahhabis. The Arab Shia happen to live in the oil-rich areas of the Middle East, as do the Kurds, who are already compliant clients of the U.S.

Since the main strategic goal of the U.S. is control of and access to the oil resources of the region, empowering the Arab Shia who have significant populations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain allows the U.S. more wiggle room to exert pressure upon the government of Saudi Arabia to rein in the Wahhabi extremists and cut their funding. It’s business as usual with a Machiavellian twist, a variation on the old divide-and-rule game. However, far from being the administration’s touted democracy domino theory, it looks more like creative chaos theory that could result in massive blowback.

~ Scheherazade

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