Backtalk, December 18, 2006

Libertarian Warmongers?

The famous mathematician Kurt Godel long ago proved that no logical system can be both complete and completely consistent at the same time. So why strive for the perfect political purity when no system is attainable? And when it may lead one to embrace morally repugnant positions at the same time? For me the genius of real democracy lies precisely in its tolerance and synthesis of inconsistencies of all kinds. Like the blind men and the elephant, conservatives, liberals, and libertarians each have a handle on things that can be helpful to society and things that are not. Let’s embrace the diversity of thought that is America’s greatest wealth.

~ Bill Wedin

9/11: The Roots of Paranoia

Dear Editor,

I appreciate the free psychotherapy provided by Christopher Hayes in “9/11: The Roots of Paranoia.” If readers of are happy being lied to then feel free to take his ideas on board.

The 9/11 Commission itself considered bringing perjury charges against some government witnesses.

Sen. Bob Graham, head of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry from February through December 2002, was interviewed on PBS NewsHour in 2002:

“[I] was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States….

“I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing – although that was part of it – by a sovereign foreign government….

“It will become public at some point when it’s turned over to the archives, but that’s 20 or 30 years from now.”

9/11 conspiracy theorists are happy to let the chips fall where they may. But unless you think the U.S. public should be denied the names of those countries that assisted the terrorists I can only suggest you have Christopher Hayes write to Sen. Graham and encourage him to get back on his medication.

~ Ken J. Williams

Remember Pearl Harbor

Dear Mr. Prather,

Thank you for your excellent article. However, I’m baffled by one statement within: “Roosevelt et al. never dreamed that the Japanese would – or could – come all the way to Hawaii to wipe out the Pacific Fleet.” This is at odds with information reported in Robert B. Stinnett’s very important book Day of Deceit. It’s based on declassified information – now reclassified since this book was published – which paints a picture of a Franklin D. Roosevelt who seemed to know full well that an attack on Pearl Harbor was imminent.

A reply from you would be most appreciated.

~ Carla Howell, president, The Center for Small Government

Gordon Prather replies:

It was one thing to know in December 1941 with absolute certainty that the Japanese would attempt to destroy the American embargo fleet (which had largely been withdrawn from our naval bases in the Philippines Islands to the safety of Pearl Harbor, thousands of miles away) and it is quite another to even imagine that they could have been so successful. It was a stunning achievement, the details of which – unlike the details of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers – were kept from us for years.

Catastrophe Still Awaits

Paul Craig Roberts makes the most poignant points in his articles, including the last one, “Catastrophe Still Awaits.” Occasionally he makes an historical error like the suggestion that the Democrats got us into Vietnam. Actually both political parties did. It was Eisenhower who sent the first “advisers” there.

The most significant part of his argument is accurate. Without resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict, there will be no peace in the Middle East. And it is Israel which is the main stumbling block in its refusal to withdraw from the occupied territories entirely. International guarantees would secure their true borders and safeguard them against terrorist attacks. Jimmy Carter called for this years ago, but no one listened to him.

~ Bill Goldman, Annapolis, Md.

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

There is a large difference between advisers and 500,000 troops. Essentially, Vietnam was LBJ’s war.


First let me explain that I am not representing the military, nor am I criticizing my commanders or the president of the United States. I represent only myself, and my feelings are those of an American citizen who just so happens to be on active-duty in the United States Army.

I’m not trying to embellish my deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, or my military service whatsoever.

When 200 Iraqis die in one day, whether it’s due to “sectarian violence” or “civil war,” either way there are 200 human beings who died violently. No amount of American firepower can dictate the desire of Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis and Shi’ites to live peacefully with each other. Three years of American occupation in Iraq has proven this.

For the U.S. to “win” in Iraq it requires the Iraqi government to be left stable, able to sustain itself economically, defend its borders, and remain a democracy. I don’t believe the slim possibility of all that happening is worth the loss of life that further occupation in Iraq will cost the United States. I believe it is time for the troops to come home and for this war to end.

~ Mark Mackoviak

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