Backtalk June 28, 2005

Iraq: What Price ‘Victory’?

Justin Raimondo recently asked: what price victory? I’m not sure victory is now what the Republicans are after, except the illusion that they are still after it. My reasoning for this comes from Karl Rove’s comments about liberals and the war effort.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Karl Rove, one of President Bush’s senior advisers, announced that “liberals” want to see our troops die. I should note for clarification that “liberal” to today’s Republican means anyone who opposes any of Bush’s policies, including conservatives, educators, and the AARP. At present, the many offended by these remarks are demanding that Rove apologize or resign. The position of the White House and the Republican Party is that there is nothing to apologize for.

Those demanding an apology are missing the bigger picture, which would make sense of Rove’s words as well as why no apology is forthcoming. Presidential approval is at its lowest level and declining, Congress (after four years of appeasing Bush) is beginning to resist the White House, and General Abizaid informed Congress that the past six months have seen no progress in Iraq. Because of the Downing Street memos, there are calls to impeach the president. Also, recruitment is drying up. At the same time the insurgency is gaining strength, our military is in its initial stages of disintegration.

To be sure, Rove’s remarks do nothing to help our war effort and much to hurt it. First, the comments harm troop morale. Not every soldier is a Republican; Rove and the Republican Party are rewarding the service of thousands of soldiers (some of whom gave their lives) with slander. Second, do Rove’s comments aid recruitment? Republicans, 70 percent of whom say that support the war, are not enlisting; the contempt shown to everyone else means that non-Republicans have even less reason to join.

Finally, consider whether the enemy is encouraged or discouraged by America’s government openly insulting half of the people it claims to represent. For a government presumably trying to win the war, Rove’s comments make no sense.

His comments do make sense if the White House knows the war is lost. If so, Americans will demand accountability: the endgame is then to ensure that Bush and the Republicans escape the aftermath by fixing blame on a scapegoat. That is where the assault on “liberals” comes in. Ten years from now, no one will remember that the Republicans ruled all three branches of our government and liberals were impotent. They will only hear the Hannitys and Limbaughs repeating at every step that our defeat in Iraq was because of a liberal betrayal.

Expose Rove’s strategy for what it is and attack it. Confront Republicans and ask how their attacks on their neighbors and their own refusal to enlist in a war they claim to support help the war effort. America needs accountability to fall on those who truly deserve it.

~ Chris Schreck

What a superb article by Justin Raimondo! With wit, humor, anger, and scorching satire, Raimondo again crumples and tosses into the trash can the tissue of lies and deceit which led us into the Iraq quagmire and which threaten to ultimately destroy us. As Raimondo so ably points out, those who run the show in Washington and New York have a “rule or ruin” mentality that is bound to get us all killed – and pretty soon, too – unless we force them from their Iraq and Middle East madness.

~ Tom Goodrich, editor, Kansas Journal of Military History

Walter Jones, Patriot for Peace

It’s nice the likes of Walter “Freedom Fries” Jones are now acknowledging the wrongness of the Iraq war, even if I think their critiques do not go far enough.

It’s nice also they are noticing, in spite of little help from the mass media, that the war was based on bad information and that the information was manipulated.

However, the point needs to be made that Jones and others like him – politicians, pundits, and citizens – were CAPABLE of being duped. “I trusted my president,” they complain. Yeah, well, why the f*ck did you do that? Were you born yesterday? The evidence against doing that is long-standing and conclusive. The pattern of U.S. behavior, not to mention essential libertarian distrust, says, “don’t trust leaders.” Not public leaders. Not private leaders. Not ever.

~ Ron Leighton

A Thirty Years War?

“Recently the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a prominent London-based think tank, concluded that the U.S. will be in Iraq until 2010, because of the difficulties in establishing law and order.”

Until 2010?

Unlikely, as the U.S. is building the largest U.S. embassy in the world, as well as building permanent bases in Iraq. Longer, if not “forever,” seems the more likely goal. Oil, you see.

~ Sarah Meyer, E. Sussex, UK,

What Is Bush’s Agenda in Iraq?

Over the past two years, I have read and reviewed tens of books by progressive, conservative, and neoconservative writers. Many of these books have dealt with the Bush family, Bush’s toadies, Bush’s brain (Rove), and the Shrub himself. From what I have read, I have formulated an opinion about why Bush invaded Iraq.

1. He wanted to prove that he was a more “able” leader than his father, who left Saddam in place. G.W. only internalized those questions that questioned the wisdom of George Sr.’s unwillingness to finish Saddam off. In reality, George Sr. did not topple Saddam because of the possibility of creating a power vacuum. George Jr. frequently said, while governor of Texas – a job he did as poorly as the one he currently occupies – that if he had the opportunity, he would take Saddam down.

2. George Jr. wanted to create an opportunity to keep America rallied behind him; that would keep him in for two terms. He did not want to be a one-term president like his father, something he has also said. Rove encouraged this idea because Rove intended to use the time in the White House to set the groundwork for a 30-plus year reign of Republicans that would break the previous record of Republican dominance set by McKinley. Just like his father, George Jr. did not question whether he was a suitable candidate for president; he just knew that he wanted the job. Ambition without ability has characterized almost all Bush family endeavors on either side of the family tree.

3. Bush wanted to create opportunities to spend government money in ways that would put money in his family’s (ergo, his) pockets. So, since his dad was at the Carlyle group and still had some interests in oil, George Jr. wanted to create opportunities for weapons expenditures and to convert Iraq’s oil to his own benefit. He has accomplished both with the war in Iraq.

4. Since the entire family believes that they are genetically superior and since they see most “lower class” people as inferior and the source of problems like unemployment, Bush wanted to have a way to get rid of some of these pesky people, particularly those of “breeding” age. Well, what better way to kill off lots of people than a rollicking war?

5. Lastly, Bush wants to create a royal family like that of the Saudis. George Sr. has pounded it into his children’s heads that the Saudis have the best situation of all. They are filthy rich, waited upon by scores of poverty-stricken fellow countrymen and don’t have to do anything except keep the oil wells flowing. They periodically have rigged elections to look good for foreign governments, but don’t have to go to the bother of a real campaign. That’s why Bush pushed through HAVA right away: to make stealing elections easier to hide and easier to accomplish. Why else would he have banned paper trails?

From my readings, I found that the Bush family is not particularly complex in their motivations. They honor money above all. They are quite vindictive. They are very petty about the family honor. Anything that seems the tiniest bit like a social slight or a criticism is always paid back tenfold. Barbara was the flag-bearer for this particular tradition. Quick to take offense, Barbara never forgot any perceived insult, and she would nag at George Sr. and the boys to pay such matters back. When you combine the virtual illiteracy of the entire clan with their social climbing and overweening pride, it is easy to see why they do what they do. It’s all about having the money and power to presume to judge everyone.

~ Gina de Miranda

The ‘Stop Loss’ Scam

Thank you, Justin Raimondo, for your article on “stop loss.” My little brother, an Army E5, was given a stop-loss order, and he requested both a Chapter 10 and a court martial to get away from it. The general in charge of his base at Fort Polk, La., threw him in jail for a month and denied his Chapter 10. I am outraged – my brother served two tours in Korea and he VOLUNTEERED to do his tour early in Iraq. He served the time he signed up for, but he did not want to stay in another year. The boy served honorably, AND THEY PUT HIM IN JAIL. Who is going to stop this madness? What happened to our Constitutional rights, specifically Amendment 13? Our country and every great thing it used to stand for is crumbling around us.

~ Jennifer Lewter, Fayetteville, Tenn.

Sam Barich’s Backtalk

Dear Sir,

I find your conclusions about civilian “damage” to be erroneous. I was in the region before, during and after the 1999 NATO bombing. Your observations didn’t include, for example, Nis, where cluster bombs hit a civilian hospital. Also, the Belgrade TV station where NATO bombs killed civilian workers inside. I saw a broadcast on Serbian TV by some newscasters who made a plea to NATO asking them to not kill them, to no avail.

I suggest that you do a little more research before you make assessments regarding the Balkans.

~ Robert Leifels


A question that no one seems to want to answer or just doesn’t know. How many of our wounded have died of their wounds or injuries? As a granddaughter, daughter, wife, and sister of vets, this is very troubling to me.

Thank you for your site.

~ G. Putz

Eric Garris replies:

They are all counted as long as they are still GIs. If they die much later as veterans, they are not counted. Here is a blog post we recently did about this controversy: “Believe the Military?

Greetings from the heart of darkness, a very red town, in a red state, Grand Junction, Colo.! Hopefully people will see what is going on here and feel inspired to push just a little bit harder back home. That we exist at all is a miracle, yet we find our numbers growing every day.

Within 100 miles, we have had uranium mined, milled, enriched, had two major underground detonations, and host two nuclear waste dumps.

Being so intimately intertwined with this issue, we notice things. We notice now that uranium mining is increasing at a dizzying (and nauseating) speed. Five mines have opened up and started producing yellowcake just in the past six months. Unbelievably, more is on the way.

The War Party is convinced that nuclear war is winnable. The renewed Nuclear Posture Review calls for more “bunker buster” bombs and tactical “mini-nukes.” Everybody in the world needs to know that these degenerates are already implementing escalation policies in regards to nuclear war scenarios.

Well, to quote the great movie Network, we are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore. We have formed The Crane Project. We are actively seeking peace and a nuclear-war-free future. On Aug. 6, we are spearheading a substantial caravan through western Colorado’s abundant nuclear hotspots, and we need your help in getting out the word.

We host a weekly antiwar vigil in varying locations around our city as well. When the nuclear industry came to our town, we were out there in force with Geiger counters, safety tape, and haz-mat outfits to protest their cheerleading and job recruitment. People are starting to wake up! Most of our contacts with the community at large have been positive, and the press has begun to take us seriously. Please take a couple of minutes to visit our Web site at and pass it along to your friends.

If we can do this here, it can be done anywhere.

~ Eric L. Niederkruger, networking coordinator, The Crane Project

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