Backtalk, July 30, 2008

The War Party’s Credo

Great essay.

The problem on the left is, of course, Marx. There are far too many who believe that Marxism failed because of (well, fill in the blank) but notwithstanding the murder, mayhem, and environmental destruction, Marxist analysis is still valid. It just needs a purer, more humane application, they say.

Well. No! Marx was wrong about so many things that a saint could not have made Marxism work – given his basic assumptions of historical inevitability, his confusion between what he calls capitalism and industrialization, or his absurd contempt for agriculture. Marxism failed because it was based on 9th-rate economic and social analysis. Unfortunately, that is the fact an old-time Marxist like Leupp cannot admit. So he tends to get a lot wrong.

So from an old veteran of the antiwar left, I say congratulations for getting this right. …

~ Jonathan Larson

Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

Thank you for yet another courageous “tell it like it is” article by Mr. Roberts. Knowing there are writers like this who are Americans gives me hope.

Thanks also to the other fine writers on – Justin Raimondo and Charley Reese to mention two – who give us hope, and the information we need and want.

~ Joneve McCormick

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I strongly criticize the tyrannical and unconstitutional policies of the Bush regime, and that doesn’t make me anti-American. I criticized Soviet policies, but no one said I wanted to kill all the Russians. Every individual, every government, and every people needs to be held accountable. People in my generation were taught to hold themselves accountable. We had to “look ourselves in the mirror” every morning.

People ask me if I were still in the Treasury would I speak so freely. I would speak freely, as I did. I caught a lot of flack, but I never made it impossible for the President of Treasury Secretary to support me.

Everyone’s Favorite Villain

Regarding Trifkovic’s article:

“Bosnia itself was not much affected by international intervention. The war took longer than it would have done and the Serbian position is more uncertain, but the settlement that followed Dayton is not unlike a plausible compromise that seemed within reach in Lisbon in April 1992.”

But the question is what happens next:

“The answer will become known only when the outside powers lose their present interest in upholding the constitutional edifice made in Dayton.”

In the case of Kosovo, the Kumanovo Agreement which ended the NATO bombing was more favorable to the Serb side than what was offered in Rambouillet but nontheless nine years later it did not make any difference since Kosovo’s independence was recognized by “the outside powers.”

Is Bosnia moving is the direction of unitary Islamic state despite Dayton?

~ Zoran Coric

Nebojsa Malic replies:

There are certainly elements in the West – whose position is, for example, articulated by Richard Holbrooke – that wish to see a “united” Bosnia. The Muslims are not capable of achieving this by themselves, however, and even if they were, they still fully expect the “international community” to do it for them, much as it was the case with the war. After years and years of ceding powers that Dayton explicitly guaranteed them, the Serbs appear to have drawn a line and said “this far and no further” under the leadership of Milorad Dodik. The question now is whether Dodik is serious, or if he embraced the defense of Serb rights as a way to gain and keep power (like, say, Slobodan Milosevic some 20 years ago). Only time will tell.

Follow That Story!

Regarding the accusations about Yushchenko by David Zhvania, who now claims that Yushchenko “was first diagnosed as suffering the effects of pancreatitis, herpes and facial nerve inflammation.” This statement was made by Zhvania only after Ukraine’s prosecutor initiated proceedings against him for forging documents in order to fraudulently obtain Ukrainian citizenship. So – a disgruntled former associate makes a claim, and this claim is taken at face value as the Truth. Zhvania also stated “These kinds of poisonings happen a lot, to every third person in the world. It was a stomach infection.” Should this statement also be believed? Does “every third person in the world” really end up with a face like Yushchenko’s?

Your epic effort to oppose neocon propaganda and warmongering is commendable. But even the neocons aren’t wrong 100% of the time. A knee-jerk reaction of “since the neocons support it, we must oppose it” isn’t necessarily objective, and this lack of objectivity is reflected in blindly taking for granted the words of someone like David Zhvania. This is not the sort of “fact checking” to be proud of.

As for the poisoning controversy, you forgot to mention that Dr. Wicke is a radiologist, not a toxicologist or bacteriologist. He could have ruled out a Polonium plot but his specialty doesn’t have anything to do with what happened to Yushchenko. Indeed, since the Viennese clinic did not even have the equipment to test for dioxin, Wicke’s rule-out was baseless. Several toxicologists such as Bram Brouwer of the Free University of Amsterdam have tested Yushchenko’s blood and stated that he was indeed poisoned with dioxin on a scale previously seen only in an industrial accident. The British medical journal Lancet even has an article describing how Yushchenko’s dioxin poisoning has led to a breakthrough in treatments of dioxin cases.

Personally, I don’t have any idea who poisoned Yushchenko and I doubt the truth will ever come out. Intriguingly, the poisoning must have occurred weeks prior to Yushchenko’s infamous dinner and (according to Brouwer) it was likely not a murder attempt because the poison was not a fatal kind. Unless Yushchenko became the third person in the world to be contaminated in a textile factory, it seems that someone was trying to incapacitate and/or disfigure him, rather than kill him (unless they were quite incompetent).

Arguing that it was just a health problem is like arguing that the moon landing was faked. You discredit an otherwise fine source of information by repeating such accusations.

~ Andrei Vidal

Justin Raimondo “poisoned” for me an otherwise highly believable “Orange Revolution” debunking by including (complete with scientific-looking reference) the words “dioxin – a substance that has never been known to kill a single person…”

I believe that statement to be dangerously inaccurate and I cite as my authority the late Matthias Seefelder, a chemist who was then the chairman of BASF, now the world’s largest chemical company. He told me of the tragic deaths of four of the company’s employees in the plant incident in which the effects of hitherto undocumented poison, dioxin, was first observed by industry. Hearing that I had a college engineering background, Professor Dr. Seefelder then proceeded with gusto to diagram the carbon rings (I’ve saved the press folder he wrote on) involved in the freak reaction that yields dioxin when the temperature is not quite right in an ordinary industrial process used to produce a commercial compound.

I was his dinner partner at the time at an evening event of VCI, the German chemical industry association, during the spring Hanover industrial fair in the late 1980s. At that time Bhopal had not yet happened but Italy’s infamous Seveso dioxin poisoning incident was again in the news because some of the dioxin contaminated chemical drums had just turned up in an abandoned site in Alsace, although some waste management company had long before been given the contract to dispose of the stuff properly. Seefelder’s description of dioxin and its dangers came up in the context of my press question as to whether the lethality of dioxin was being overblown by the alarming new reports of the day. “No, not at all,” he said to my surprise. “You know, we discovered dioxin…. Apart from some natural things like spider poisons, it is the most lethal substance on the planet.”

As Justin Raimondo says, media myths never die. And the industry propaganda depicting dioxin as harmless is one of them. … Although the U.S. government and several chemical companies have reluctantly forked over hundreds of millions to U.S. soldiers who were sickened in Vietnam by documented traces of dioxin in Agent Orange defoliant, we still hear this stuff. My own infantry company unwittingly operated in an area that was drenched with this defoliant. But, believing what the leadership said, I never took it seriously until the time came long afterwards to make claims affidavits for fellow soldiers who were dying in statistically significant numbers of dioxin-related cancers. Seefelder’s expertise dispelled any doubts I still had about the benign nature of dioxin. It’s deadly.

~ Edward Roby, Steinbach, Germany

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