Backtalk, July 17, 2006

The Reality Beneath the Flag-Waving

Paul Craig Roberts pulls no punches, nor should he, in describing the war crime that is the Iraq invasion and occupation.

Lieutenant Ehren Watada also speaks without reservation against the war, or rather gives voice to his opposition by putting his career and his personal freedom on the line. Watada is the first officer to defy the orders of Rummy the Warmonger and refuse to deploy to Iraq. See

~ Bob Struble, Bremerton, Wash.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Watada is a first-class person. There are too few of his kind in America.

Paul Craig Roberts,

I found myself reading your article after being directed to it from I do not deny the validity of your comments.

I do have a quibble. Let me provide some examples. By saying “America has become a land of evil” you brand every citizen as a co-conspirator. I assure you that at least 10 percent of the population totally oppose evil actions, about 80 percent are willfully ignorant, and 10 percent actively love creating evil. (Those who create evil would not call it so.) A country is not evil. People within the country have the privilege of being evil (or not). Lumping everyone under one banner (“America”) is tribalistic and lets the guilty and apathetic hide from their individual responsibility. Nationalism is no longer a workable concept. Only individuals can make the future just and prosperous.

~ Gus S. Calabrese, Denver, Colo.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

The reader is badly confused. The Soviet Union was a land of evil under Stalin.

It did not mean that every Soviet citizen was a Stalinist.

Germany was a land of evil under Hitler. It did not mean that every German was a Nazi.

The Soviets and the Germans were not able to do anything about Stalin and Hitler. Americans could do something about Bush.

No Evidence of Secret Enrichment by Iran

Gareth Porter has apparently never read the Iranian Safeguards Agreement, pertinent reports by ElBaradei to the IAEA Board, or the Iranian rebuttals to ElBaradei’s reports. Had he read them, he would never have written this:

“Instead, since October 2003, the IAEA has repeatedly found evidence of nuclear activities that Iran had not declared.

“The most serious of those discoveries involved the P-2 centrifuge. After details of Libya’s purchases from A.Q. Khan’s network were revealed to the IAEA in 2003, Iran had to acknowledge that it had purchased drawings of a P-2 centrifuge in 1995 from the same network.”

Under that Agreement, Iran is under no obligation to “declare” the actual purchases of equipment intended for the chemical/physical transformation of “source” or “special nuclear materials” (from A.Q. Khan or anyone else), much less drawings, until 180 days before introducing NPT proscribed nuclear materials into that equipment.

ElBaradei has found no evidence that the Iranians have even yet constructed operable P-2 centrifuges, much less introduced NPT-proscribed nuclear materials into them.

The activities the IAEA claims the Iranians should have reported, but didn’t, involved the physical/chemical transformation of very small amounts of plutonium and uranium. Other countries, most notably South Korea, have been cited by the IAEA for similar failures.

If Porter is writing a history of this outrageous affair, he should carefully read the entire Iranian “dossier” posted at the IAEA Web site. The dossier that was “reported” – not referred – to the UN Security Council.

~ Gordon Prather

Misreading Macedonia’s Elections

[Christopher Deliso] … talks about a “proliferation of weak and even failing states,” but doesn’t say which states he’s referring to. In any event, EU member states are, by definition, not weak.

He then tries to assimilate Montenegro, an old-established independent state, to Kosovo, long part of Serbia. I assume that is intended to be some sort of smear of Montenegro. In fact, the whole “subtext” of the article is a condemnation of the breakup of the artificial Yugoslav state and, thereby, a denial of the right of self-determination of those who inhabit its components.

In 1918, it was believed that small states could not survive. My own country, Ireland, achieved independence in the teeth of that fundamentally racist ideology and went on to prove them all wrong, and then proved the enormous advantages of EU membership for small and poor countries. The shotgun wedding of 1918 was propped up by the communist dictatorship, but one that fell, the unresolved issues of 1918, and in particular, the dissonance between the political and ethnic boundaries, came to the fore. Macedonia itself was an artificial creation within the artificial creation, having been carved out of Serbia by Tito and consisting essentially of territory taken from Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War, which had itself taken it from Turkey in the First Balkan War, the latter event permitting modern Albania to declare its independence.

The solution to all this is to get everybody into the EU, which will lead to open frontiers and free movement. That way, nobody loses except the American hegemon. Of the Left as well as the Right!

~ Kenny Michael

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The former soldier who is alleged to have killed an Iraqi girl (after raping her) and her family, was discharged from the Army for having an antisocial personality disorder. One of the news stories defined this as “chronic behavior that manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others” and said someone with the disorder “may break the law repeatedly, lie, get in fights, and show a lack of remorse.”

Hmmm. If antisocial personality disorder is grounds for dismissing a lowly grunt, why not a commander in chief who displays the same symptoms in spades?

~ Steve Smith

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