Backtalk, May 25, 2006

The Administration That Won’t Stop Lying

Without a free press, the U.S. will continue to follow the neocon agenda for the world and the bombs will continue to ravage the earth. The Taliban in fact are the successors to the mujahideen, who were America’s friends and partners in the decade-long war against the Soviets; the Northern Alliance on the other hand were Soviet agents. Today, of course, the Taliban are the personification of all evil and the Alliance are the good guys.

Could someone please define good and evil?

~ Sam Kashmiri

A corrective note to state the historical activities that the United States was in business with the Taliban to negotiate oil deals prior to 9/11. In addition to Karzai being an oil man.

~ Chad Ivey

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The Taliban, apparently, signed a contract with the wrong energy consortium.

No Game of Chess

I am a citizen of the USA who will be going to Kosova in several months to help drug addicts in that area. In order to be most helpful, I have been reading about the history and culture and, of course, know very little despite my best efforts.

But one thing I can definitely say – every ethnic and religious group absolutely HATES every other ethnic and religious group. That is very clear.

I believe that the only solution that will work is for the various groups to separate themselves out and have no interaction for a long time. Maybe then things will cool down. But maybe not. Someone said to me, I do not know if it is true, but it could be – that Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs attacked the Kosovars six hundred years to the day after the Albanians won a victory over the Serbs.

Six hundred years later, one side gets revenge against the other. And ALL the various ethnic and religious groups do the same or similar things. Revenge is, “An eye, for an eye!” And soon, you are all blind.

A truly great and powerful man is like a king, who is absolutely in control of himself – no one tells the king what he will do. And a truly great and powerful man is like a king who has so much power that he has no need to demonstrate it – he can FORGIVE. It is a weak man and a weak king who must always have punishment and revenge – he is afraid.

Revenge and punishment is not always a sign of power – it can be a sign of weakness, and of fear.

~ Walter vdH

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Dear Mr. vdH,

I can see by the names you use (“Kosova”) and the preposterous myth about “Kosovars” being attacked on the anniversary of the Serb defeat (at the hands of Ottoman Turks, not Albanians) that you really ought to do more reading about the region – and not from the ersatz “short histories,” either. The conflict in Kosovo is not about vengeance, it’s about land, and who has the right to claim it on the basis of what principle. I admire your decision to help drug addicts, but surely there is something bitterly ironic in your choice to do so in a region that has, since its “liberation” in 1999, become a major center of European drug trafficking.

The USA and Britain set a precedent when they indicted Slobodan Milosevic for any war crimes committed by his military because he was head of state. George Bush is more than head of state. He is a commander in chief.

If in fact it is shown conclusively that the Marines and others have massacred civilians in Iraq – in the most shocking of circumstances – the world will expect an indictment of George Bush.

He is ultimately responsible – the buck stops there. The United States set that stage in the Hague.

~ Elizabeth, Herts, England

Nebojsa Malic replies:

In theory, yes. In practice, the U.S. rejects the jurisdiction of any international court, be it the illegal ICTY, the treaty-created ICC, or even the ICJ. There is abundant evidence of war crimes in Iraq, but who can actually prosecute them? The world is aware of that, and therefore does not expect a Bush indictment; having watched the farce at the ICTY, just about everyone knows by now that “international law” is a dead letter, used only when the Empire needs a pretext to bully a small country.

A Foreign Policy of Fools

Doug Bandow opens his article with a reference to John Winthrop and the Puritans:

“A shining city on a hill. A light unto the world. That’s what early Americans hoped their land would become. A beacon of liberty, beckoning others to follow. A place of refuge and hope for those fleeing tyranny or seeking opportunity. An oasis in the midst of conflict and chaos. This once described the United States. But no longer.”

That is an optimistic and erroneous assessment of the early American experience, even if we exclude the Puritans’ behavior toward the Indians, once described as “they fell first upon their knees and then upon the aborigines.”

The Puritans always sounded nice when they were a dissenting minority, but in Massachusetts they were a majority, and practiced the first tyranny of the majority in our history.

One of their favorite tortures, while chasing out people like Anne Hutchinson or Roger Williams, was ramming red hot irons through the tongues of dissenting Quakers – some “light,” some “shining city.” This has always been the other side of American history, and the torturers in our history, from the Philippines to Iraq, have a long tradition. Charles II had it right when he observed that the Puritans killed more men in that godforsaken wilderness than ever he did to avenge the death of his father.

~ Bill Marina, professor emeritus in history, Florida Atlantic U. & exec. dir., The Marina-Huerta Educational Foundation

A beautifully presented summary of the situation as I see it, and have seen it since the Kosovo adventure. So many loyal friends of America, grateful for its principled leadership in the Cold War, are no longer able to support a U.S. administration whose acts are now criminal.

~ Vincent Howard, once director of defense policy at the British MOD

American Gangsterism

Your piece on American gangsterism brought to mind a book called Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb. It is a very curious and anomalous text which covers many themes, but one interesting subject is the historical complicity of the Italian state in the workings of Cosa Nostra. The author documents how this complicity had the blessing of the CIA inasmuch as such an unholy alliance helped to keep Italian Communists from entering into government coalitions. It is a labyrinthine tale of unsolved murders and acts of terror which suggests that the U.S. government’s fascination with seemingly anti-state criminal organizations is not new.

~ Frank Spadaro

In the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2003, the eve of the invasion of Iraq, he said, “All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have had a different fate. Let’s put it this way. They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.”

Television cameras then swept the chamber showing what appeared to be all members of both political parties rising with prolonged applause. They and the president appeared to be enthusiastic not only for the culture of gangsterism, but even for its Hollywood jargon.

~ Frank Sullivan

Why We Cannot Talk With Hamas

“Polls show that a majority of the Israelis support negotiations with Hamas.”

I‘d like to see one, liar.

~ Nimrod

Ran HaCohen replies:

Here you are: “62% [of Israelis] think that Israel should talk to Hamas if this is required in order to reach a settlement with the Palestinians while 37% think Israel should not do it”; poll conducted March 16-21, 2006, jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. See:

Your calling me a “liar” for stating this simple truth is good evidence for the common Israeli prejudice: the same poll adds that “Only 33% of the Israelis, however, believe that this is the majority position.” As usual, the state and media propaganda convince the majority that it is actually a minority, contrary to the facts.

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