Backtalk, October 25, 2005

Niger Uranium Forgery Mystery Solved?

I solved that mystery a long time ago.

Why did nobody, nobody in the government, ever say that Niger was a “bad” country? According to the evidence, Niger was selling uranium to Saddam Hussein, who was going to make a nuclear bomb and drop it on New York or London within the next 30 minutes. So wouldn’t Niger be helping a terrorist? If you help a terrorist, you are a terrorist. But Niger? No problem. Why? Simple. There was never any evidence of anything about Niger. It was all fabricated and massaged for the cause. So let’s give credit to G.W. Bush, his football team, and their special interest coaching staff for one thing: they did not badmouth Niger, they did not call Niger a terrorist for helping another terrorist. For one good reason: they knew full well that there was zero evidence against Niger.

~ Herve Franceschi

The Bad Soldiers Among Us

I‘m a pro-soldier, antiwar activist working on a documentary about soldiers returning from Iraq ( Having interviewed many soldiers this year, I can tell you that lots of these guys are our best and brightest. I can also tell you that some of THESE guys will tell you there are truly scary a**holes in the military. The administrations refusal to police abuse issues is letting these guys run riot, and they terrorize not ONLY civilians and detainees, but also fellow soldiers.

Who wants to have to shoot some jerk they’ve worked with to prevent a war crime, or put their life and the life of their family on the line to report a crime the jerk and his friends committed?

The people of the U.S. have to face the fact: there are bad soldiers who abuse and murder people, and we must insist that those responsible for “policing” the military do their jobs, or we won’t have a military capable of defending this country. Only thugs will choose to serve, because who wants to work with murderers, rapists, and war criminals unpoliced?

~ Nancy Fulton

A Town Without Pity

Dear Sir:

Quoted today in from The NY Times:

“Some lawyers in the case had expressed hope that a final report would provide Mr. Fitzgerald with a vehicle to disclose his investigative findings even if he absolved everyone of wrongdoing.”

And you write, speaking of Karl Rove:

“Nevertheless, the guy has a nice family and a wife and kids to support, so I hope he doesn’t get rolled over by the American justice system, which can be very expensive (for the U.S. taxpayer, that is).”

Rove may be responsible for the misinformation that propelled us into the Iraq War! Where is the outrage if that is true? We have dead Americans and Iraqis, and a bombed-out country as a result of his, apparent, un-American activities. …

~ Barbara Ahearn, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Leon Hadar replies:

Dear Ms. Ahearn:

Thanks for your comments. And let me emphasize what I hope is obvious, that I share your dismay over what our government has done in our name in Iraq (and other parts of the globe, not to mention in the U.S.). I’ve written long and serious analyses and commentaries on U.S. policy in the Middle East, including a book that provides a an in-depth and very, very critical look on this issue. My recent piece was meant to be a parody (well, that was the idea), and I was trying to point out that the investigation conducted by the special prosecutor is very expensive for the American taxpayer. I would have preferred to see U.S. Congress and the media going after the Bushies before and after the war. But that’s wishful thinking taking into consideration who is in charge and works in these institutions.

A U-Turn in Iraq?

Sept. 22, 2004: Raimondo and Novak give antiwar folks a reason to think it’s OK to vote for Bush.

What a laugh, huh?

Over one year later we have this: “Rice Won’t Rule Out Troops in Iraq in 10 Years.”

~ D. Harner

Justin Raimondo replies:

You would be correct in your criticism of me if it were true that I had ever said “it’s OK to vote for Bush.” I never wrote or said any such thing. The column you link is a discussion of the contention by Robert Novak and Pat Buchanan last year that President Bush and his advisers had decided to get out of Iraq, a view I critiqued as follows:

“Although I certainly hope Novak is correct in his assessment, being a pessimist by temperament, I tend to doubt it. But I don’t doubt that it’s possible he and Buchanan are right about the administration desperately wanting to pull itself up out of the Iraqi quagmire. The question is, though: can they do it? Or are we so mired down at this point that there’s no escape from being sucked into the Mideast maelstrom?”

I maintain that if John Kerry had been elected, we would still be in the same predicament as we are now – except that a lot of Democrats would be muting their criticism of the war. I personally voted for Ralph Nader and wrote an article in The American Conservative, stating my reasons. Make of that what you will.

Media at a Huge Crossroads, 25 Years After Reagan’s Triumph

I agree with Norman Solomon that the U.S. media has rolled over for the Bush administration. However, he is incorrect in claiming that Reagan got a similar pass, and he is incorrect in the power motives he ascribes to Reagan.

Reagan was elected at a critical time. Both the U.S. and Soviet economies were in crisis. In the U.S., postwar Keynesian demand management had failed, and the U.S. economy was experiencing simultaneously rising rates of inflation and unemployment. In the Soviet economy, real output was falling. Reagan had two goals: to rescue the U.S. economy from stagflation and to take advantage of Soviet economic crisis to end the cold war.

He achieved both goals. Reagan had no crazy idea of remaking the Middle East or any part of the world in America’s image. The neocons involved in the Iran-Contra affair were held accountable.

~ Paul Craig Roberts, assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, 1981-82

Don’t Play Innocent, Democrats

Give me a break.

Gary Ashbeck chooses to cite the 81 Democratic members of the House and 28 Senators who voted for Joint Resolution 114, while ignoring the 126 Democratic House members and 22 Senators who voted against it. If the percentage of Republicans in the House voting against JR 114 had been equal to the Democratic nay votes, there would not have been a joint resolution.

This is not to say there would not have been an invasion and war. The conservatives were going to have this war, one way or another. They wanted it because it was consistent with their warped view of the world and for domestic political reasons.

The tendency among some to spread the blame around for this avoidable tragedy to everyone but the conservatives is dangerous nonsense. George W. Bush and the conservative Republicans are responsible for this war. They should be held to account for it.

~ Thomas McGrath

Interval of Uncertainty

I find it amazing that supposedly well-informed commentators can still go on dividing Iraq into Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. I mean Kurds are virtually all Sunni, so what are you talking about? These are the occupiers’ and their mouthpiece media’s terms of reference and division. Those who use them with out reservation are either playing the same divide-and-conquer game as the occupiers or are unfortunately not able to realize the difference. How about dividing the U.S. into black and white and Protestant?

~ N. Khan

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