Backtalk, March 16, 2006

Untitled Document

Was Serbia a Practice Run for Iraq?

Thank you Mr. Paul Craig Roberts for being a light in the darkness, writing of the American experience for the last 20 years.

In my opinion, attacking Serbia and winning the Balkans was an integral part of getting the agenda to run the oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Gulf War I as well as II were based upon lies of Dick Cheney, as Bush I originally stated that Iraq’s business against Kuwait was none of our business. April Glaspie was working with Saddam and only when the b.s. machine went into overdrive with misinformation and the false pictures of the Iraqi army against the Saudi border that were disputed by Cheney’s own people by the photos from the Russian satellites, the world bought it hook, line and sinker. The war was fabricated by the U.S. military, congress, administration and sold by the Rendon Group. Saddam was a bad man, but the U.S. put him there and he was our thug, brought into the fold for cheap oil and gas for American oil and gas companies.

I remember Bush I’s opinions and was surprised by the 180 he pulled with Thatcher. The U.S. practically created al-Qaeda, known as the Afghan resistance (more freedom fighters, go figure). I don’t believe for a second that the U.S. would leave these people with serious lethal weapons and just forget about them. They were watched all through the Bush I, Clinton and Bush II administrations.

The Grand Chess Board and PNAC spells it all out in plain sight for everyone to see. Perhaps most people can’t add up 1+1 anymore.

~ Jim Reinhart

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The potential sources for disinformation are large in number. The question is why do Americans keep believing disinformation?

Paul Roberts brings out one the most salient points yet in Bush’s mad ride to who-knows-where. Namely, why does it constitute a war crime when the despot of the day has allegedly killed some of his people but when Bush decides to illegally “liberate” said despot’s people and thousands get killed in the process it is called collateral damage or some other nonsense?

As Heather Wokush has written: “Witnessing the Bush administration’s drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel.”

I fully expect Saddam to go the way of Milosevic before his sham trial is concluded. He cannot be allowed to be a distraction while Iran is in Bush’s sites. They are too busy demonizing Iran’s rulers and getting their toadies at the UN to produce some jots and tittles that will give them a technicality that supposedly justifies an attack on another sovereign nation.

The world seems spineless in standing up to these madmen. Will they realize too late that all they had to do is say “no” and refuse to aide and abet these criminals? Turkey is one of the few nations that had the courage to do it and you can bet Bush & Co. have not forgotten.

~ KW

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The U.S. government gets its way by paying foreign leaders to go along with its wishes.

Bitter Ironies of the Dubai Ports World Fiasco

The most important “irony” is that so many libertarians are defending the idea that state-owned firms should have free reign to operate in the USA. As I understand it, the port management firm is owned by the UAE. It does not matter what ethnic group is represented, I can’t see any defensible principle in having the U.S. government promote or hand contracts to state-owned firms regardless of the country with the controlling interest. The next step will be to argue we should not be prejudiced against crony socialism!

~ Clinton Greene

Jeremy Sapienza replies:

You understand wrong: Dubai Ports World is essentially owned by the Sultan of Dubai, like much of Dubai itself. Even if it was state-owned, tell me: is it a good thing that the morons in Washington are blowing money on figuring out ways to further stymie foreign investment in this country? Dubai Ports World owns port concessions all around the world. They are first and foremost a profit-seeking entity, which means that if they screw something up, they could go out of business. They would do just as good a job as any other, except that maybe they might have a few employees who actually speak Arabic, therefore making them even more competent in screening for terrorist activities and goods. Furthermore, nobody has granted any contracts to this company — it bought a company that already had these contracts.

Anyway, nobody is "defending the idea that state-owned firms should have free reign to operate in the USA." But Chris Deliso and Justin Raimondo have pointed out the sheer idiocy and yes, racism, that provoked the sudden concern of very non-lame-duck members of Congress to oppose this deal.

Only libertoidal maniacs obsess over the exact corporate structure of companies from other countries and think the US government even knows what a libertarian is or that there is even a slight chance a state may behave in a manner that is not in its nature, that is, justly. The world doesn’t order itself according to your personal political principles. So we take what we can get, and with DPW, we could get port security as good as any we could possibly get given the circumstances.

Gen. Pace to Troops: Don’t Nuke Iran

Mr. Hirsch,

Sir, your article today at is the absolute best ever regarding illegal/immoral orders and the responsibility connected to them.

I remember being in boot camp in the Marines in the summer of 1968 and hearing a lecture on the UCMJ. I forget the exact article discussed, but do remember that we were all told that it was our DUTY to disobey any and all unlawful orders. An example, the shooting of unarmed prisoners could result in the Marine who did that being charged with capital murder, even though it may have been done in a war zone. This is a direct result of the Nuremberg trials. American forces were not to be permitted the Nazi excuse of “just following orders.” In other words, we were going to be better than that. We were going to war, to fight and kill the enemy, but, we would obey certain laws and human rights. Puts the combat folks in some awkward positions at times, but I think it was designed to help us remain as human as possible under the circumstances of being in a war.

Yes, we were trained to kill the enemy, but, we were not just to become wanton murderers of innocent civilians and unarmed troops. We were to try to remain human beings.

The terrible shock of hearing Ollie North use the Nazi defense of “just following orders” during the Iran-Contra hearings eroded much of that. He was allowed to get away with the excuse and now Shrub and company can do as they please with no accountability.

I, for one, still think the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan do not want to be wanton killers. I have to believe that they wish to be as human and humane as they can be. It is the leadership(?) at the highest levels that are the true criminals here. Shrub and Cheney and Rummy, none of whom ever really served in our military are leading a charge to make our armed forces just hired killers in the service of empire.

I have a deep sympathy for the troops on the ground in those war zones. They are faced with huge moral choices every day. I applaud General Pace for his honesty. I only hope he will be heard by the troops and their commanders. I wish he would be heard by the political “leadership” of this country as well.

Our troops are doing what they were trained to do, fight the “enemy.” They have been lied into a war they would never have wanted.

Actually, the troops are more antiwar than almost every civilian. They are trained to fight and kill, but they know it is they who will be doing that fighting and killing when there is a war. The signs I remember all around the training depot were painted with the slogan, “Train for war, pray for peace.”

Yes, I was a trained killer. The Marines did a damn fine job of that, they still do. But the troops know they will be doing the dirty work of war, not the civilians nor the political folks who send them off on a fool’s errand in some foreign country.

Your article is one that every American needs to read. I wish that all of our troops have access to it.

Thank you for your excellent analysis and commentary. Thank you also for your time reading this reply.

One more quick comment. When I enlisted, I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. When I was released from active duty, also, when my discharge was final, I was never asked to revoke that oath. As many veterans who replied to an essay I wrote for Counterpunch last December reminded me, that oath is still valid. Nearly every veteran of any branch of the military, from every war, agree that we must still defend our Constitution. Please remember that we who have served this country in uniform love our country. Many of us are appalled by the abuses to our system and the Constitution. We are antiwar.

As General Smedley Butler said: “The only two reasons for war are to defend our homes and the Bill of Rights. All other war is a racket.” General Zinni and General Pace seem to be cut from that same cloth.

~ Charlie Ehlen, Glenmora, LA

Jorge Hirsch replies:

Thank you Charlie for your heartfelt comments and for sharing your experiences. I share your belief that the vast majority of people in the military are victims rather than perpetrators, and have deep sympathy for their moral quandary. We civilians and the (almost uniformly) spineless politicians in office are impotent to stop this madness, and I am becoming increasingly convinced that if anybody it will be the military, led by Gen. Pace and others with equally strong moral fiber, that will rise and shout stop! enough! and pull America back from the moral abyss it is sliding into. I am afraid General Pace’s days as CJCS are numbered otherwise, as are America’s days as the “leader” of the free world.

Please continue spreading your ideas as much as you can!

American and Iran: At The Brink of The Abyss

I want to commend and Jorge Hirsch for his continuing efforts to sound the alarm over the probable U.S./Israeli preemptive air strike on Iran – which would widen the war in the Middle East and likely cause nuclear devastation.

American citizens should ask themselves: How does an airstrike on Tehran, Iran differ from the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 – “A day that shall live in infamy”? If anyone can then justify a premeditated attack on Iran then they would also have to agree that the Japanese attack was justified.

By the way, I was greatly influenced by Jorge Hirsch’s writings on when I penned my scenario, “Day One: The War With Iran” (available on Google).

~ Douglas Herman, USAF veteran

Jorge Hirsch replies:

Thank you for your comments and for your efforts. I hope your colleagues in uniform get inspired by your article and disobey illegal and immoral orders.

A Sense of Déjà Vu

U.S. Representative Ron Paul is disturbed at the disproportionate attention Iran receives for its nuclear development program.

France, Britain and the U.S. – have in recent years publicly announced that they are prepared to make a first strike with nuclear weapons, potentially against non-nuclear armed or allied protagonists. This is notwithstanding that the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was formulated on the understanding that the 5 “recognized nuclear weapons states” would not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear armed adversary except in response to a nuclear attack (or a conventional attack that is mounted in alliance with a nuclear weapons armed state). Inducement and hence threats “likely to encourage nuclear arms proliferation” are specifically forbidden. The NPT bars any expanded deployment of nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has for years warned its member states of the slow erosion of the international compact that underpins the nuclear nonproliferation accord. Britain’s 3 March 2006 Sunday Times includes an article about the Trident nuclear weapon replacement program, with the advice: “We’ve got to build something that we can never test and be absolutely confident that when we use it, it will work.” Although IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed El Baradei confirms there is no evidence whatsoever of the diversion of nuclear materials by Iran for weaponization, Iran’s foreign affairs spokesman Hamid Reza Asef complains of the U.S.-led conspiracy that seeks to manipulate the IAEA process to his country’s disadvantage.

More than one million dead serve as a reminder to Iran that the rule of international law alone is no safeguard against attack. The IAEA and the UN Security Council derive their authority from the UN Charter and hence share the Charter’s responsibility to promote international peace and respect for International Law. Iran seeks to remind the IAEA that it has obligations to safeguard the interests of all nations, particularly those who are not nuclear armed.

The time is ripe for all states to seek a reaffirmation of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – with an unequivocal condemnation of any future potential “first strike” threat! This would effectively relegate the worlds nuclear stockpile to a relic role as deterrence against any future use, anywhere. Iran can be thanked for being a catalyst. Until complete assurance is given, any threat of preemptive nuclear aggression is one that no nation can take lightly.

~ John Stretch, Carnarvon, Western Australia

Rotten in Denmark

Dear Raimondo,

So how would YOU feel about Israel demanding an official U.S. apology from President George Bush for something YOU have written? How would you feel about Jewish and Zionists organization all over the world working themselves into a frenzy and demanding top-level diplomatic discussions about something YOU have uttered? How would you feel about the most fanatic Jewish fundamentalists issuing death threats against you?

Would you still say this was not an issue of free speech? It would be indeed, and it is hardly a mitigating circumstance that Irving’s rights are also denied!

As you say: “…and, in any case, the protesters are just practicing their right of free speech, now aren’t they?”

Absolutely, and no-one here in Denmark has questioned this right, not even the right to burn Danish flags!

They have questioned the demand that a government take responsibility for the expressions of a free press. And they have questioned the decency, but not the right, of certain fundamentalist Muslim immigrants seeking help from Middle Eastern dictatorship in a clear bid to impose their own religious dogmas on a country that received them when they escaped from prosecution.

~ Tarik Hussein, a Muslim in Denmark (of Iraqi origin)


In all likelihood the opinion shapers in the West will use the death of Milosevic to continue their relentless demonization of the Serbs and concomitant whitewashing of the Croats, the Bosnian Muslims, and the Kosovo Albanians, as well as of their patrons: first the Germans, then the EEC/EU, and finally the U.S.

No mention will ever be made of Izetbegovic’s ties with international Islamist terrorism, of Tudjman’s Holocaust denials and defense of the Ustashe, of the disenfranchisement of Croatia’s Serbs by the incipient German-protégé state before their eventual expulsion, of the roles of Helmut Kohl and Hans Dietrich-Genscher in pushing for unilateral recognition of Greater Croatia with perfectly predictable consequences, of the presence of many hundreds of putative Qaeda mujahadin in both Bosnia and Kosovo, of the elimination of the tens of thousands of Serbs from the area around Srebenica by the very same militants who are said to have died in that town at the hands of Serb forces, of the eyewitness accounts that put the blame for the Sarajevo market shelling on the Bosniak army and not on their adversaries, of the single greatest act of ethnic cleansing in the wars of the Yugoslav succession, Operation Storm, in which the Americans under Clinton aided the Croats in creating a Serb-free Krajina, of the pogroms in Kosovo in the spring of 2005 under NATO’s watchless eye and the resulting destruction of dozens of Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries and their priceless iconography, or of myriad other instances of the one-sidedness and partiality of the treatment of the Yugoslav wars and those who fought them by the very forces who intervened and aggravated them to such a great extent.

Milosevic was no angel, but neither was Izetbegovic or Tudjman, who were both allowed to carry their exclusivist programs out without let or hindrance, and then permitted to peacefully meet their Islamist and Crusader makers, respectively. And neither are del Ponte, Solana, Clinton, Albright, Holbrooke, and all the others who continue to enjoy the approval of liberal opinion, despite having behaved no better in the pursuit of imperial prerogative than the Bush clique that succeeded them. And special mention must be made of Tony Blair, who has played on both teams with equal finesse.

I suggest that anyone with even a minimal interest in fairness look beyond the obvious and easy sources of information. Instead of CNN, look into what Chomsky or Michael Parenti might have said. Or for that matter Harold Pinter, whose eloquent words on the Iraq War were welcomed by so many on the occasion of his award of the Nobel Peace Prize. Take a moment to note what he said about the Milosevic trial:

“The U.S./NATO court trying Slobodan Milosevic was always totally illegitimate. It could never be taken seriously as a court of justice. Milosevic’s defense is powerful, convincing, persuasive and impossible to dismiss.”

But Serbia offers its own best defense. Of all the Yugoslav successor states, it is the one which represents the greatest diversity of language, culture, and religion. EU candidate Croatia has been wiped clean of all but Catholic Croatians, finishing the task begun by Ante Pavelic under German supervision in the 1940s. Bosnia, which was a multicultural republic in the Yugoslav federation until the EU recognized an Islamist government’s declaration of independence, has been torn asunder, although stooges of empire like Paddy Ashdown are doing their best to patch over the differences and reestablish unity by decree – a surefire way to bring about abject failure. Kosovo is about to be given independence as an Albanian national state in which Serbs have no rights to life or property, under a government headed by an accused war criminal.

The Hague lacks the infrastructure needed to house all the guilty parties were they to be brought to book. But the West lacks the resolve and the decency to do so. It is easier to blame the Serbs and put them on trial, while enthroning the murderers of Serbs in the various client states that have been carved out of the former Yugoslavia.

~ Thomas Yohannan

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