Backtalk, August 9, 2005

Who’s Behind the Coming War With Iran?

An otherwise informative article was badly damaged by your repeated reference as a Trotskyite someone in the State Department. I fail to see the necessity to dredge up this red-baiting with references to a Bolshevik who has been dead for one hundred years. The whole argument is irrelevant to the crisis at hand.

~ Tom Mauel

Scott Horton replies:


Actually Trotsky has been dead for 65 years. It looks like they’ve found the ice-pick.

The reason I keep pointing out that so many powerful Republicans are former Trotskyites is because they are supposed to be conservatives, not liberal elitist warmongers. The influence of Trotsky on neoconservative thought and behavior is well documented. Neoconservatism’s founders, Irving Kristol, Max Shachtman and James Burnam were Trotskyites, as were many of the later generation. This “global democratic revolution” is the direct product of their old commie form – replaced with new details. It is quite relevant, and the “ex”-commies are in the DoD, not State – well, not since Wumser left.

For more information, check these varied sources:

Click here for about 8,500 more sources.

Armageddon Gets No Press

Dear Mr. Roberts,

Your article was superb and I thank you for it.

I’ve been pushing Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom for years – with little effect. Another book which I have found invaluable is Walter Laqueur’s book on the Weimar Republic. The picture he paints of the years 1923 to 1939 in Germany are frighteningly similar to the picture of the U.S. in the Bush era. Another equally frightening book is Detlev Peukert’s Inside Nazi Germany. This book could well have been entitled Inside Bush’s America.

Unfortunately, we are dealing with a Goebbels media and a ruthless and sadistic squatter in the White House.

As an old man of 72, I pray that I don’t live to see the apocalypse, but I can assure you that it is just around the corner.

~ Peter Kirsch MD

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Dr. Kirsch’s observations are not off the wall. The blind hatred for Bush’s critics and disregard of fact that characterizes so many Bush supporters does remind one of the blind enthusiasm for Hitler.

The Whipping Boy


Just read your post on Grey Falcon but couldn’t find a link to e-mail you or post a comment on that forum.

Can you explain what you’re saying? I don’t get it at all – at least in the context of the Vukovic article. In fact, I’m really not sure Vukovic knows what he’s talking about either. Is he saying that 2/3 of Muslims in Serbia have applied for emigration? Or is he trying to say, with some sort of clever innuendo, that 2/3 of Muslims in Britain have applied for emigration? Neither of which has the slightest bit of truth in it!

And don’t you think the “news” story in the “Footprints: Rights of Passage” text is really the infighting going on within the Serbian/SCG government as to whether the agreement should or should not have been signed in the first place? I mean, the “agreement” now signed is far from what NATO demanded at Rambouillet. For example, nowhere is there a line that NATO troops are to be given unlimited and free access to the entire SCG without any recourse to legal action – at NO expense.

When I was living in Belgrade, had the Rambouillet accord been signed, I could have been turfed out of my bed, in the middle of the night, had my fridge-freezer emptied and my belongings appropriated – all entirely without the slightest recourse – by a NATO official (see point 8 below and the words “free and … unimpeded access throughout the FRY including … the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities) – i.e. break my door down, sleep in my bed, eat my food and take my CD collection for entertainment. Raping my girlfriend would have been frowned upon, but unpunishable by FRY/SCG authorities. Killing me, whilst protecting my property, may well have made a small by-note in a western newspaper – but probably ending with a one-line saying that in death I had been sentenced to 10 years hard labor by the (puppet) interim government of Serbo-Amerika for not being a gracious enough “host”!

The actual words read as follows:

7. NATO personnel shall be immune from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention by the authorities in the FRY. NATO personnel erroneously arrested or detained shall immediately be turned over to NATO authorities.

8. NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet, and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations.

9. NATO shall be exempt from duties, taxes, and other charges and inspections and custom regulations including providing inventories or other routine customs documentation, for personnel, vehicles, vessels, aircraft, equipment, supplies, and provisions entering, exiting, or transiting the territory of the FRY in support of the Operation.

10. The authorities in the FRY shall facilitate, on a priority basis and with all appropriate means, all movement of personnel, vehicles, vessels, aircraft, equipment, or supplies, through or in the airspace, ports, airports, or roads used. No charges may be assessed against NATO for air navigation, landing, or takeoff of aircraft, whether government-owned or chartered. Similarly, no duties, dues, tolls or charges may be assessed against NATO ships, whether government-owned or chartered, for the mere entry and exit of ports. Vehicles, vessels, and aircraft used in support of the operation shall not be subject to licensing or registration requirements, nor commercial insurance.

11. NATO is granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tolls, or charges occasioned by mere use. NATO shall not, however, claim exemption from reasonable charges for specific services requested and received, but operations/movement and access shall not be allowed to be impeded pending payment for such services.

Wording that allows that sort of action is nowhere to be seen in the recent agreement. NATO now gets the opportunity to save huge sums of money and time transporting goods and services through SCG to/from KiM. In return, SCG can charge them for that “privilege” and at the same time determine when and where they travel/halt. Currently, NATO members allow free and unlimited access to all military forces of NATO member states (the legal aspect is different, however). I’d be surprised if any of those countries consider themselves “under occupation”! SCG/Serbia may not be able to charge an extortionate fee, but the terms seem pretty good to me when put into context! “Occupation” and “a transit agreement” are two completely different beasts.

(Aren’t you ever amazed that people cannot get their basic terminology correct? The infamous “Annex B” actually has the title “Appendix B”!)

~ “Vili Garvin”

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Thank you for correcting me. It is indeed “Appendix B”; says so right in the text which I linked. Annex is the Serbian word for Appendix, which I must have used instinctively. Since I’ve been trying, without much success, to correct the impression in Serbia that the 1999 bombing was code-named “Allied Force” and not “Merciful Angel,” as everyone insists, I really shouldn’t be making such mistakes myself.

I also appreciate your analysis, and largely agree with it. Yes, obviously this transit agreement is much milder than Rambouillet would have been (and was deliberately designed to be). But I didn’t say the agreement was the same – I said it was “similar.” There will still be foreign troops on Serbian soil, en route to God knows where to perpetrate another act of aggression. NATO is unrepentant about the 1999 bombing. Indeed, because of its occupation of Kosovo, the KLA has done what it has done, and the province may well soon be severed from Serbia. What good has NATO done to deserve such an agreement? Or is this merely a sycophantic way to bribe them into doing no more harm? Isn’t it amazing that we live in a time when this kind of an “agreement” looks good compared to what we know could happen otherwise?

Remembering the Storm

Today (August 4) marks a sad tenth anniversary of Croatia’s murderous campaign against the population of the Krajina. The financial and military support given to unrepentant Croatian Nazis and radical Muslims in the Balkans has to be the worst of the crimes the Clinton administration perpetuated. Every single incident from U.S. Ambassador Galbraith riding though the ethnically cleansed city of Knin on a tank emblazoned with fascist symbols to Clinton’s thinly veiled endorsement of violence against Serb civilians in Kosovo less than four years later were concrete acts of complicity and endorsement of a horrible crime. We cannot count that “murder will out” all on its own given that so many careers and ideology are so heavily invested in concealing the facts. It will take a lot of effort on our parts to ensure this crime is never forgotten and I want to thank Nebojsa “Fearless” Malic for ensuring that the war party’s “official truth” goes challenged at every step.

~ Joshua K.

Labor Takes its Stand Against Empire

Jack Ross’s praise of the New Labor Coalition is understandable due to the new coalition’s willingness to confront the Democrats and our government in general over a war that is affecting working class families more than most. However, I feel Mr. Ross has little experience with organized labor or understanding of its history. In spite of his derision of “social movement unionism” over “plain and simple unionism,” it was the latter, exemplified by John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, who more often than not supported the wars in Korea and Vietnam. This ideology is carried on today not by the labor “insurgents” but by those that are remaining the federation. Social movement laborites, which is where the rebels stand, generally attacked both of those wars. While it is true that the “plain and simple” crowd is more in touch with their members, this has more to do with the conservative nature of American workers and politics, and it was these same labor leaders who have consistently favored a corporatist relationship to the state through the Democratic Party. As a former union organizer, I do not feel that we can simply jump on the New Labor Coalition boat without taking other issues into account (i.e. union democracy) but I feel it is important to set the record straight.

~ Joe T., a loyal anarcho-syndicalist reader

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