Backtalk, July 22, 2006

Israelis Are Dying: It Must Be an Escalation

I am willing to take your word for the coverage you saw, and if things are indeed as you describe I wholeheartedly agree with your admonishment of the BBC. However, I just had a look at their Web site; there were two articles on the conflict on the front page, both centered on Lebanon, both first mentioning Israeli attacks and then Hezbollah. I was especially pleased to see the following passage – “More than 200 Lebanese citizens have been killed since Israel launched air strikes last Wednesday. Twenty-four Israelis have died – 12 as a result of Hezbollah rocket attacks”which clearly juxtaposes the habitual difference in scale between the two sides’ killing. Perhaps there is still hope for the BBC, at least its online version.

~ Charles Chapple

Jonathan Cook replies:

Charles, remember that news organizations usually make sure the facts are somewhere in the story. It’s about tone and presentation, the background to the coverage if you like. These are often things we don’t notice unless we know a lot about the story or have feelings strongly in the opposite direction. Most viewers don’t notice the bias because they’ve heard it so long and so often that it doesn’t sound like bias to them (the bias just gets reinforced day in, day out). Those of us who haven’t had our minds cast in this mold (or have broken the mold) can see the bias clearly. I am trying to throw that bias into relief for viewers who maybe have stopped noticing it.

The Summer of 1914

Although I agree with the larger point of your article, how is an across the border surprise attack on Israel (or any country) “taking on a country on even terms”? Likewise the Chechens – with a surprise attack on a grammar school? These aren’t “brilliantly executed” acts of war; they are classic acts of terrorism. See Algiers, Vietnam etc., etc. On even military terms, Hezbollah wouldn’t stand a chance against the superior weaponry and armies of Israel. My point is it’s disingenuous to equate these acts of terror (and I use the word in its classical pre-Bush sense) with classic military stratagems.

~ Reuben Leder

Israel Crosses the Line

What a breath of fresh air amid all of this genuflecting within our government to everything that Israel does – most of which is destabilizing to the international community and to U.S. security. It is very, very sad that American interests are being subordinated to Israeli interests and to vampire corporate interests. We need more honest and patriotic voices like yours. How will we ever reclaim our country?

~ Herb Calhoun, retired State Department diplomat

Playing the Sunni Card

To Justin Raimondo,

Allow me, as “Saddam’s minion,” allegedly responsible for negotiating the Niger uranium deal, to question your theory about President Bush being kept in the dark about the authenticity of the Niger documents. All the names and shenanigans of a cabal of conspirators may be true, but I doubt that the While House was totally unaware of the forgeries. Even assuming that the conspirators deliberately withheld Joe Wilson’s report from the White House, surely staff members, and even the president himself, must have heard ElBaradei’s debunking of the documents as forgeries in the Security Council. Is it not more likely that the White House too was actively involved in finding any evidence as an excuse to launch the invasion? Besides, the Niger “evidence” was not the only cropper exposed. All the others too, the uranium tubes, the chemical and biological evidence Colin Powell paraded in the Security Council and Saddam’s connections with bin Laden and with 9/11 all proved to be fabrications. Was the White House totally cut off from the administration?

I’m forwarding what I had written in July 2003 about my visit to Niger, and Christopher Hitchens’ article explaining his own theory on the existence of a genuine document which is still being hidden! It appears that there is a spate of other theories floating around.

~ Wissam Al-Zahawie

Russia and the Making of a Multipolar World

Dear Mr. Ahrari,

I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. Your statement in reference to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan “Bush was quite justified in that judgment” is troubling and suggests that you too do not get it. Were we to examine a political scorecard, we would see that the U.S. squandered numerous opportunities to snare bin Laden prior to 9/11. Furthermore, we also see that Bush had made plans to invade Afghanistan and so informed the Pakistanis (Niaz Naik, foreign secretary) in June of 2001 at a UN-sponsored conference on Afghanistan, long before 9/11, and this is a matter of public record (BBC). So, let’s look at where Afghanistan is today in the wake of your support of Bush’s “judgment” to invade. According to the University of New Hampshire, some 35,000-50,000 people have been killed as a result of Bush’s judgment, the country is littered with depleted uranium from American weapons, Afghanistan has morphed from a virtually narcotic-free country to the word’s leader in opium production. Hamid Karzai, the U.S. lapdog has no writ beyond the muzzles of his American bodyguard’s weapons, the real power in the country rests with the so-called war lords, allies of the U.S. and a band of collaborators who sold their allegiance to the Soviets and by any stretch cannot be considered as reliable friends of the America. The Afghan people are still being brutalized by this same bunch that sold them out and preyed upon them once before.

For the record, Bush’s decision has nothing to do with terrorism. Bush’s judgment to attack Afghanistan was primarily motivated by Taliban’s decision to give UNOCAL the boot in favor of an Argentine concern to construct the Trans-Afghan Pipeline: an American ploy to deny Iran and Russia a stake and or control in the development and transit of energy from Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean. It seems to me that Bush’s “judgment” smacks more of imperialism than fighting the so-called war on terrorism in the name of protecting the American people. The facts just do not support your statement that “Bush was quite justified in that judgment,” which reads more like Washington-speak, code for global hegemony.

~ Bruce G. Richardson

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