Why I am Opposed to War with Iraq

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Mr. Lemisch is Professor Emeritus of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York.

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The New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD) is circulating a statement entitled "We Oppose both Saddam Hussein and the US War on Iraq: a call for a new, democratic US foreign policy." As the title suggests, the statement offers an important take on the war in Iraq, while stating a comprehensive position on U.S. foreign policy. The statement, along with a list of initial signers, may be found on the ZNet website (this list will be periodically updated). The statement with initial signers will be published as a two-page advertisement in the Nation, 1/6/03, which comes out December 19. As space and finances allow, there will be publication in other newspapers, magazines, websites, blimps, etc. Meantime, it is whizzing around the Internet, has already gotten 800 signers, and the numbers are increasing rapidly. Initial signers other than historians (see below) include: Medea Benjamin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsberg, John Leonard, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Katha Pollitt, Edward Said, Alan Sokal, Naomi Weisstein, Cornel West.

This statement is not intended to be by, or limited to, historians. As it happens, however, historians are involved. CPD co-director Thomas Harrison is a high school history teacher; co-director Joanne Landy has an MA in history from Berkeley. Although I am not an officer of the Campaign, I support this effort and have been distributing the statement to many, including fellow historians. Historian signers so far (partial list) include: Rosalyn Baxandall, SUNY College at Old Westbury; Laura Lee Downs, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences; Melvyn Dubofsky, SUNY Binghamton; Ellen Carol DuBois, UCLA; Linda Gordon, NYU; Temma Kaplan; Robin D.G. Kelley, NYU; Nelson Lichtenstein, UC Santa Barbara; Peter Rachleff, Macalester; David Roediger, Illinois; James Weinstein; Barbara Winslow, Brooklyn College, CUNY; Howard Zinn. More are of course welcome.


Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison, Jennifer Scarlott, Co-Directors,
Campaign for Peace and Democracy

We oppose the impending U.S.-led war on Iraq, which threatens to inflict vast suffering and destruction, while exacerbating rather than resolving threats to regional and global peace. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who should be removed from power, both for the good of the Iraqi people and for the security of neighboring countries. However, it is up to the Iraqi people themselves to oust Saddam Hussein, dismantle his police state regime, and democratize their country. People in the United States can be of immense help in this effort--not by supporting military intervention, but by building a strong peace movement and working to ensure that our government pursues a consistently democratic and just foreign policy.

We do not believe that the goal of the approaching war against Iraq is to bring democracy to the Iraqis, nor that it will produce this result. Instead, the Bush Administration’s aim is to expand and solidify U.S. predominance in the Middle East, at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian lives if necessary. This war is about U.S. political, military and economic power, about seizing control of oilfields and about strengthening the United States as the enforcer of an inhumane global status quo. That is why we are opposed to war against Iraq, whether waged unilaterally by Washington or by the UN Security Council, unaccountable to the UN General Assembly and bullied and bribed into endorsing the war.

The U.S. military may have the ability to destroy Saddam Hussein, but the United States cannot promote democracy in the Muslim world and peace in the Middle East, nor can it deal with the threat posed to all of us by terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, and by weapons of mass destruction, by pursuing its current policies. Indeed, the U.S. could address these problems only by doing the opposite of what it is doing today -- that is, by:

-Renouncing the use of military intervention to extend and consolidate U.S. imperial power, and withdrawing U.S. troops from the Middle East.

-Ending its support for corrupt and authoritarian regimes, e.g. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Egypt.

-Opposing, and ending U.S. complicity in, all forms of terrorism worldwide -- not just by Al Qaeda, Palestinian suicide bombers and Chechen hostage takers, but also by Colombian paramilitaries, the Israeli military in the Occupied Territories and Russian counterinsurgency forces in Chechnya.

-Ending the cruel sanctions on Iraq, which inflict massive harm on the civilian population.

-Supporting the right of national self-determination for all peoples in the Middle East, including the Kurds, Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Ending one-sided support for Israel in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

-Taking unilateral steps toward renouncing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and vigorously promoting international disarmament treaties.

-Abandoning IMF/World Bank economic policies that bring mass misery to people in large parts of the world. Initiating a major foreign aid program directed at popular rather than corporate needs.

A U.S. government that carried out these policies would be in a position to honestly and consistently foster democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere. It could encourage democratic forces (not unrepresentative cliques, but genuinely popular parties and movements) in Iraq, Iran and Syria, as well as Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey. Some of these forces exist today, others have yet to arise, but all would flower if nurtured by a new U.S. foreign policy.

These initiatives, taken together, would constitute a truly democratic foreign policy. Only such a policy could begin to reverse the mistrust and outright hatred felt by so much of the world’s population toward the U.S. At the same time, it would weaken the power of dictatorships and the appeal of terrorism and reactionary religious fundamentalism. Though nothing the United States can do would decisively undermine these elements right away, over time a new U.S. foreign policy would drastically undercut their power and influence.

The Administration’s frantic and flagrantly dishonest efforts to portray Saddam Hussein as an imminent military threat to people in this country and to the inhabitants of other Middle Eastern countries lack credibility. Saddam Hussein is a killer and serial aggressor who would doubtless like nothing better than to wreak vengeance on the U.S. and to dominate the Gulf Region. But there is no reason to believe he is suicidal or insane. Considerable evidence suggests that Saddam Hussein is much weaker militarily than he was before the Gulf War and that he is still some distance from being able to manufacture nuclear weapons. But most important, unlike Al Qaeda, he has a state and a position of power to protect; he knows that any Iraqi act of aggression now against the U.S. or his neighbors would bring about his total destruction. As even CIA Director George Tenet has pointed out, it is precisely the certainty of a war to the finish against his regime that would provide Saddam Hussein with the incentive he now lacks to use whatever weapons he has against the U.S. and its allies.

Weapons of mass destruction endanger us all and must be eliminated. But a war against Iraq is not the answer. War threatens massive harm to Iraqi civilians, will add to the ranks of terrorists throughout the Muslim world, and will encourage international bullies to pursue further acts of aggression. Everyone is legitimately concerned about terrorism; however, the path to genuine security involves promoting democracy, social justice and respect for the right of self-determination, along with disarmament, weapons-free-zones, and inspections. Of all the countries in the world, the United States possesses by far the most powerful arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. If the U.S. were to initiate a democratic foreign policy and take serious steps toward disarmament, it would be able to encourage global disarmament as well as regional demilitarization in the Middle East.

The Bush Administration has used the alleged Iraqi military danger to justify an alarming new doctrine of preemptive war. In the National Security Strategy, publicly released on September 20, 2002, the Bush Administration asserted that the U.S. has the right to attack any country that might be a potential threat, not merely in response to an act of military aggression. Much of the world sees this doctrine for what it is: the proclamation of an undisguised U.S. global imperium.

Ordinary Iraqis, and people everywhere, need to know that there is another America, made up of those who both recognize the urgent need for democratic change in the Middle East and reject our government’s militaristic and imperial foreign policy. By signing this statement we declare our intention to work for a new democratic U.S. foreign policy. That means helping to rein in the war-makers and building the most powerful antiwar movement possible, and at the same time forging links of solidarity and concrete support for democratic forces in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

We refuse to accept the inevitability of war on Iraq despite the enormous military juggernaut that has been put in place, and we declare our commitment to work with others in this country and abroad to avert it. And if war should start, we will do all in our power to end it immediately.

List of signers in formation. Affiliations for identification only
Michael Albert, ZNet/Z Magazine
Stanley Aronowitz, Professional Staff Congress, AFT, NYC
Rosalyn Baxandall, SUNY at Old Westbury
Mel Bienenfeld, NYC
Richard J. Brown, MD- Physicians for a National Health Program-NY
C. Carr, Village Voice
Ramón Castellblanch, SF State Univ
Margaret W. Crane, The Write Formula
Richard Deats, Fellowship magazine
Melinda Downey, New Politics
Laura Lee Downs, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
Karen Durbin, writer
Barbara Ehrenreich, writer
Daniel Ellsberg
Carlos R. Espinosa, architect
Sam Farber, Brooklyn Coll, CUNY
John Feffer, writer
Barry Finger, New Paltz NY
Thomas Harrison, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer
Judith Hempfling
William F., Henning, Jr., CWA Local 1180
Michael Hirsch, New Politics
Marianne Jackson, Rescue Health Care NY
Julius and Phyllis Jacobson, New Politics
Robin D.G. Kelley, NYU
Joanne Landy, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Jesse Lemisch, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
John Leonard
Sue Leonard
Rabbi Michael Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine
Nelson Lichtenstein, UC Santa Barbara
Martha Livingston, SUNY Coll at Old Westbury
Betty Reid Mandell, Bridgewater State Coll
Marvin Mandell, Curry Coll
Selma Marks, NYC
David McReynolds, War Resisters League
Carol Miller, Public Health Activist
John M. Miller, War Resisters League
Ros Petchesky, WEDO (Women's Environment & Development Organization)
Katha Pollitt, The Nation
Omar Qureshi
Adolph Reed, Jr., New School Univ
Sonia Jaffe Robbins, Network of East-West Women
Leonard Rodberg, Queens Coll
Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Edward Said, Columbia Univ
Charles Scarlott, Tucson AZ
Jennifer Scarlott, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Stephen R. Shalom, William Paterson Univ
Ann Snitow, Network of East-West Women
Sid and Sandy Socolar, NYC
Alan Sokal, New York University
Bernard Tuchman, NYC
Judith Podore Ward, NYC
Lois Weiner, New Jersey City Univ
James Weinstein, founding editor, In These Times
Naomi Weisstein, SUNY Buffalo
Cornel West, Princeton Univ
Reginald Wilson, American Council on Education
Arnold Jacob Wolf, Rabbi Emeritus, K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation, Chicago
Kent Worcester, Marymount Manhattan College
Howard Zinn, historian


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More Comments:

Erikita Pompom - 11/6/2003

i am cool. are u? that is not my real address.

Ken Johnson - 3/5/2003

I am an American and I have worked in Saudi Arabia for the last ten years. I would like to give some food for thought. In one month in Saudi Arabia, there are more Muslims killed on the roads here than all of the Muslims that have died in Palistine since they have started fighting the Jews.

Ron Hertel - 2/6/2003

Gus, you stated:

"Wrong on my discomfort-until- there- are-no-Republicans-in-the-White House divination. I do not view a dire world security issue as a Republican – Democratic engagement. I would be satisfied with evidence of weapons and a threat from said weapons, from any credible source. I would be satisfied if all diplomatic possibilities were used and an international consensus for action emerged and was implemented. No matter the President’s party. It is an international problem."

I'm wondering if you're willing to stand down now, or if you're going to take the Iraqi stance that all this information was fabricated (as if US foreign policy is to commit perjury in front of the UN with world-wide television broadcasts). You asked for evidence, and Colin Powell presented it to you and the world. All that we've asked for is for the UN to honor resolution 1441 (which was unanimously signed). This resolution DEMANDS MILITARY ACTION (nowhere does it mention renegotiation for the ump-teenth time). I think you believe that beauracracy is the answer to all of the difficult questions that have been posted on this topic. I think in Iraq's case, we have a clear case of "talk is cheap." And frankly, I agree with the president that Iraq IS tied directly to terrorism (as are many other countries, but one at a time, ok?) and I also believe that sanctions and threats mean nothing to a man that has absolute power. You can talk all you want, but in the end talk has never stopped a tyrant with a lying tyrant with a god-complex from achieving his goals.

To relieve any suspicions, I am not a blind Republican follower. I'm still trying to get over Reagan getting away with Iran-Contra. However, the flaw I see in your (Gus's) argument is your naieve faith in the goodness of the UN. Seeing France wants to be the poster child of this campaign, I'll start there. First of all...the French are trying to do the same thing as Iraq: look strong by standing up to US authority. They're not a super power anymore, so they have to flex by standing up to one. Furthermore, no one of the European nations has more interests in Muslim business than France, from North Africa, to undermining UN sanctions w/ Iraq in oil-futures. So they're motivated by $$$MONEY$$$ and ***POWER***, not peace.

Well...since I don't know if anyone's going to continue this topic any further, I'll quit for now. My vote is...12 years of waiting for change and putting up with the lies is enough. The UN steps up, or it stands aside.

Steve Brody - 12/30/2002

Peter, I don't agree with your characterization that the issue was underplayed. As I've said, the issue was well covered.

I'd like to know your source that US helicoptors were used to "drop those bombs". I really doubt that. Almost all of Hussein's military hardware was obtained from the USSR (if you doubt that look at some old Gulf War photos) with money no doubt obtained from selling oil to the French and Germans. You don't specify where they fall on your blame matrix.

You could be right. It probably would only have taken a few harsh words from Rumsfeld, maybe only a glare to have dissuaded Hussein. I mean we have had so much success influencing his actions without force.

p.s. You know, I'm constantly amazed how the New York Times, Washington Post and LA times (not to mention NBC, CBS, and ABC) consistently bury embarrassing stories about Republicans.

Peter - 12/29/2002


Pardon my lack of clarity. I was of course referring to the underplay the issue received in the 1980's...

It would be mere speculation, but what do you think might have happened to the Kurds at Halabja in 1988 if Donald Rumsfeld had made any waves about Iraqi mustard/nerve gas attacks on the Iranian army in March 1984? The NYT reported those attacks the DAY he arrived in Baghdad to begin the process of "normailization of relations". Would they have dropped those bombs from helicopters made somewhere other than the US? Maybe, and if they had, the Bush I and Bush II rationale for war, "he gassed his own people" might come across as less than crass and hypocritical.

P.S. If you hadn't noticed, in this country, one only needs to barely lift a corner of the carpet to hide almost anything from the public.

steve brody - 12/28/2002

Peter, if everyone knows about it, just how far under the rug could it have been swept?

steve brody - 12/28/2002

The list of terrorists taken into custody and then later released by the Europeans is long and distinguished. I won't bore you with the details, but of course Europeans make deals with terrorists. Remember the Italians releasing the Achille Lauro terrorists after our F-14's forced down the plane they were escaping in? Remember the weapons lab/nuclear facility the French built at Osiraq? Do you really think the French built it for the money? Do you believe that Hussein did not put pressure on the terrorist groups that he sponsored to lay off the French? That the French were later subject to terrorist attacks only shows that you can't trust a terrorist.

I'm glad we agree that all those European planes were flown by all those European pilots at the behest of all those European governments. Which shows that the Europeans have not learned to deal " peacefully with Muslim nations" as you contended.

Gus, I KNOW the Europeans don't always agree with us and I never said they did. I also KNOW that some Europeans disagree with our position on Israel and Iraq. I brought it up in the first place. What I did say is that I believe that the Europeans are starting to come around to our position on Iraq. The statements now coming out of the French and Russian governments can only be read as being more supportive of the US position and this has been widely reported in the press.

What I also said was I believe that European anti-semitism explains alot of the antipathy that SOME Europeans feel towards Israel. I believe that Europe has a long and proud tradition of anti-semitism. Sometimes it boils over like now and in the 1930's and 40's and sometime it is just under the surface. But it's alway there, Gus. IF the current wave of anti-semitism is based on Israeli agression, then what caused it in the 30's and 40's, Gus? You say that many Europeans helped Jews during WWII. A few did, the vast majority didn't. You say that the "current anti-muslim persecution" in this contry is some how related to the anti-semitism in Europe. What "anti-muslim persecution?" Name a Mosque that has been burned down. Have any Muslim's been machined gun as they prayed in this country? This country has nothing like the anti-semitism now sweeping Europe or anything even close to the anti-christian persecution that routinely occurs in Muslim countries.

There IS a problem with the information coming out of the Palistinian Authority (PA). It's often wildly exagerated. And no , Gus, 28 isn't to few to mourn, but 28 isn't 500 either.

Gus I looked at the B T'selem website. The problem with the numbers from that source is that it doesn't identify whether the Palistinians killed were engaged in combat at the time of their deaths. Some Palistinians have decided to engage in a type of warefare that far to often places other Palistinians in danger.
Where being a "civilian" is not synonomous with being a non-combatant. Every Palistinian child that dies in this war is a tragedy. That some Palistinians send their children off to kill and die is an ambomination.

The fact that you use so much of your missive to defend and justify Palistinian terrorism belies your declaration that "you do not support terrorism". It also makes suspect your judgement that the Palistinian cause "is now morally superior to the Israelis".

It was widely reported that Barak offered Arafat 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. And the relocation of the settlers. That seems like a good deal. The news has reported that many Palistinian leaders are starting to question Arafat's rejection. They are also starting to question the wisdom of the second intifad (or intifada thing, as I sometimes call it). You state that the offer "was a subversion of the Madrid and Oslo process" Apparently, a number of Palistinian leaders disagree. And answer me this: You are on record as describing Clinton as an "honest broker" in these matters. Clinton brokered this deal. He also expressed shock, dismay and consternation when Arafat turned it down. Is Clinton involved in a conspiracy to subvert Madrid and Oslo and deny Palistinians a home land? I don't think so.

You asked me what I would do in the Palistinian's place. I would have taken the deal, Gus. What I would never, ever do is turn my child into a bomb to kill the child of my enemy. But you're right about one thing. There is a difference between Palistinian and Israeli violence. The Palistinian's direct their violence at innocent civilians; women and children going about their business. Israeli's target The Palistinian terrorists and their terrorist leaders. Sometimes innocent Palistinians are killed and that is tragic. But the Israelis don't target innocents.

You seek to somehow justify this by contending "each and every Jewish citizen is a member of the military." Even the 6 and 8 year olds, Gus? I guess that is true in any country that has universal military service, by your measure. That would make most Swiss legitimate targets, I guess. You also note that "terrorism is the only weapon these conquered people have left", as though "if only Hammas had tanks and bombers and gun boats they would stop killing innocent Israelis" Rubbish. Do you really believe that if Palistinian terrorists had more weapons they wouldn't use them to kill more innocent Israeli's?

And by the way, with all the name calling and personal invectives you direct against Bush, are you really going to begrudge me one measly coy remark about Clinton? Sheeesh!

I agree that NK is a threat. But trying to blame Bush for NK's Nuclear program is preposterous, That one belongs to Clinton. And saying that NK told us about their nuclear program is a little disingenuous. Bush sent an emissary who confronted NK with our evidence and they denied it. The next day, They admitted it. That not really telling us about it.

Gus, trying to communicate with you on two different strings is getting confusing. If you intend to reply, please do it on the other string and we'll continue on that one, if that is acceptable. happy holidays.

Steve Brody - 12/28/2002

Gus, another magnum posting! And call me Steve.

It really isn't accurate to say we've done nothing for 20 years abput Iraq's chem weapons. In 1990 we fought Iraq and while WMD's were not the main issue, since 1991 they have pretty much been the only issue. So let's don't pretend that Bush somehow resurrected the issue from 20 years ago.

Now, as to why not much was done in the 90's about Iraq's WMD programs, that is a good question. For Clinton. Actually, there were some on again off again inspections, and a few airstrikes by Clinton, but basically he dropped the ball. With 9/11, it's a much more pressing issue.

I agree that Bush will need to show at least some of his evidence RE Iraq's WMD programs before force is used and I believe he will.

I'm not sure I follow your argument on the UN issue. In one paragraph you accuse me of "harkening back to the use of force". In the next, you cite the cooperation of China , the USSR, France and the UK in the Gulf War, which was the largest use of force since Viet Nam, as an example of the UN working. But you make my point. The UN can pass all the resolutions it wants; ultimately force or the threat of it is usually neccesary to gain compliance. And yes the other nations you mentioned provide symbolic contributions, but can you name one UN action where the US didn't provide the overwhelming majority of military assistance?

Gus, you still haven't answered one of my questions. If you truly believe that UN resolutions should be binding, will you support Bush if the Security Council approves force against Iraq.

Regarding despots in the UN. Sure we have aligned ourselves with despots in the past. We allied ourself with France during the Revolutionary War and Stalinist Russia during WWII. Both very despotic at the time. Was this wrong? My point is, we should not give these despotic regimes a say over our national security. In other words, should NK have a vote over us?

I can't agree that the reason Hussein no longer slaughters Kurds from the air is because he made peace with them. It has been widely reported that the Kurds will be our allies if we use force against Iraq. The real reason that Hussein stopped killing the Kurds is because we stopped him and continue to stop him-with UN approval.

The video footage of AAA fire I refer to is not against a drone but rather two manned F-16's. The footage was widely distributed.

My reference to your perspective on this matter is this: You have big problems with US policy on Iraq and Palistine. You excoriate Bush for this. In reality, these are the same policies (the no-fly zone and Israel) that Clinton carried out for eight years. You give Clinton a pass. Thus my reference to "your perspective" on this matter. I believe your perspective is partisan rather than principled.

I agree that NK is a biggg problem. The problem, however is that once a nation is nuclear capable, a different approach may be neccesary. That is why I favor action in Iraq before it "goes nuclear". But in reality, diplomacy is being used in both places at present. After today's developements in NK, I'm not sure force won't be used there also.

Your denial that the NK deal was Clinton's is interesting. HE certainly thinks it was his. I'll attempt to quote:"... and with North Korea, I just kinda figure I left the next President with a foreign policy victory." A few words may be off, but it's close and certainly conveys the message. I don't know how you can let Clinton off the hook when insists ( before all this went south) that it was his accomplishment. You further state that "you can't blame one person", yet you have stated several times that Bush lost NK. After making the statement, you spend three paragraphs blaming Bush for everything that happened since he took office.And, Gus, you are flat wrong about India and Pakistan becoming nuclear under Bush. India has had nuclear weapons for decades and Pakistan for at least a decade.

You say " so what" to the fact that much of the planning for 9/11 took place on Clinton's watch. I refer you to your own words (which you applied to Bush) " He is responsible from the day he took office for what he pays attention to and what slips by him".
It's clear, Gus, that Clinton was not paying attention to much and let much slip[ by him. You ask why Bush didn't implement the " Clinton Plan " after taking office. I ask you, if Clinton had a plan, why didn't he implement it? He knew as early as 1993 that we were being targeted. If anyone wasn't "keeping his eye on the ball" it was Clinton. And if anyone is whitewashing here,Gus, it's you.

You say I can't compare Clinton to Bush. At last, something we agree on. Bush has done so much better. And I'll stop "obsessing", as you put it, on Clinton when you give up on Nixon. And when the Country stops paying the price for Clinton's terrible inattention to his presidency.

You claim that the military action taken by Clinton is irrelevant. That's your opinion. I think academia and the media's silence is indicative of hypocrisy and screams "whitewash". But you're right, the circumstances are different. The provocation Bush faces is much greater.

Gus I'm well aware of the history of our conflict in SE Asia and you've got it almost right. A few of your details are off. JFK didn't just continue the policy of Eisenhower. JFK placed advisors and special forces into Viet Nam and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed under LBJ,not JFK, who placed what eventually became 500,000 combat troops into the theater. Nixon, whose secret plan was "Vietnamization", of the war, began turning over the actual ground fighting to Vietnamese troops and withdrawing US ground forces. Any fair interpretation of the facts must conclude that JFK and LBJ got us involved in that war.

I've got to completely disagree with you as to whether there was ever any serious peace offer "on the table" prior to Nixon taking office. Gus, it just wasn't there.

You and I will just have to agree to disagree about Cambodia. Suffice it to say, I disagree with your facts and analysis.

Peter - 12/27/2002

"I don't remember anyone sweeping Iraq's use of chemical weapons under the rug. To the contrary, it has been well reported for many years. "

I recall that the "sweeping" occurred to protect a US/Iraq grain deal that would likely have fallen through if it were overplayed that the US was dealing with the first country to repeatedly use chemical warfare in 60 years. Anyone remember the details?

Gus Moner - 12/27/2002

Sanctions have yet to be proven to work anywhere, with despots or not. Appeasement has not ever been a good option. Nor was I proposing that, although apparently you interpret diplomacy as appeasement. I opine that diplomacy can be used more effectively.

It’s a pity you don’t remember the past chemical weapons issues regarding Iraq, Mr. Brody. The US did not push for any sanctions or condemnation of Iraq after the UN ascertained they were indeed used. Why? Because current-hero Rumsfeld was busy negotiating with them to re-open diplomatic and commercial relations in exchange for further satellite intelligence and promises not to sell spare parts to the Iranian air force. In coordination with the USSR which supplied the military hardware, the superpowers allied with Iraq to keep Iran, then perceived as the big threat in the area, bleeding and weak.

So, you are right it has been well documented and reported, however, nothing was done about it for 20 years. Why? It was not a threat to the USA or others, that’s why. Moreover, it would have been viewed as dastardly to help a nation condemned for using chemical weapons. So, it was best to sweep it under the rug. Why is it suddenly a problem? Does any of this shake your memory, sir?

In fact I am in favour of ‘resolving this non-problem’; however, I want to know there is a problem first. We have been lied to before: the Gulf of Tonkin and throughout a number of other confrontations that I shan’t go into now. I refuse to be dragged into another conflict and watch my relatives and friends die on faith in our leaders alone.

The whole imbroglio is anyway all very smelly, at the least. North Korea represents a much more active proliferation of weapons case than Iraq. They are equally mad or more so, and are much more active now in their mischief. Iraq is cowed and seeking reconciliation.

If you need anymore proof of this, it’s in the US responses to each scenario. If we have chosen the diplomatic route with a state that assassinates ministers of SK, attacks US and SK warships, seizes Japanese bathers off Japan’s beaches, starts a war in Korea and violates nuclear treaties, it’s because they DO have WMD. If we have chosen the military route with Iraq, for vague (so far) reasons, it’s because we KNOW they do not have them. If you read between the lines, you can see that.

Wrong on my discomfort-until- there- are-no-Republicans-in-the-White House divination. I do not view a dire world security issue as a Republican – Democratic engagement. I would be satisfied with evidence of weapons and a threat from said weapons, from any credible source. I would be satisfied if all diplomatic possibilities were used and an international consensus for action emerged and was implemented. No matter the President’s party. It is an international problem.

If it is a US security problem, simply declare war and go after them. Simple enough for you? But don’t go trying to bamboozle the planet with vague accusations of Iraqi threats and try to get them all ‘on board’ for your own oil and personal interests.

I was not privy to the conversation either, but I agree that Saddam was probably threatened with retaliation if he used the weapons in 1991. He seems in violation of the UN agreements, yes. So, we are of the same mind there. All UN resolutions are binding and all nations have to enforce them and follow them. Do we agree on that? So the point is how to make him comply. To that effect, the UN is now inspecting again, thanks in large measure to Bush’s insistence and Iraq’s desire to avoid war. Let’s build on that, peacefully.

Pardon me for insisting, Mr Brody, but Bush said if the UN did not do as he bid, he’d do it with a ‘coalition of nations’. To me that’s a dictate. You call it a stick. It’s a semantic difference you prefer. If the UN hasn’t a good history it’s because the Security Council seldom is in agreement. These leading nations need to work together better. The US is just as responsible as the others. China, the USSR, France and the UK were on board for the so-called Gulf War. There are indications that when the big powers there agree, the UN can work.

You keep harking back to the use of military power and the USA’s role, as if that were the only solution to these issues. It’s distressing to always be hearing attack threats; it makes people and nations nervous. It is contributing to the escalation of nuclear nations and tensions in general. Iran will undoubtedly seek these weapons now that India, Russia, China, Israel and Pakistan all have them. What’s being done to make people and nations feel they needn’t get a WMD to feel protected? It’s clear as a Canadian lake that if you are in NK or Iran, named as part of a group of evil states and one of those states, the weakest, is about to be attacked, you’d logically think you could be next and try to get a deterrent. NK has just got theirs.

If you want our very own security interests defended, the UN is not the place, it’s through the diplomatic corps. There are plenty of other nations that contribute soldiers and materiel to the UN. India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Brazil, etc.

We have another point of disagreement in that I DO believe the LON experience is relevant today, so I beg to differ. Yes, there are many despotic nations in the UN; many are allied to the USA. Remember that. Why allow them to be allies? I appreciate that Bush is working with the UN, and I congratulate his group for listening to world opinion on this.

We are not just shooting back, we are initiating attacks, just on 26th December we saw that on TV. And if I do believe that we provoke Iraq, (admittedly, it is an arguable point); and if it says ‘much about my perspective’, as you say, what do you mean by that? You disagree with my perspective, that’s clear, stimulating and fair. But are you trying to disqualify my opinions based on my ‘perspective’? Off base. I do not disqualify yours on perspective. I try to deal with facts and my deductions from them, admittedly arguable, I do not attack people for their philosophical perspective.

You admitted to shooting back, yes. Nowhere did I pretend you didn’t. If it sounded like that, it was not my intention. I have re-read it and found no such inference, but if you picked that up, I might well have expressed myself poorly.

Hussein has not used the air space to slaughter innocent civilians for many years in part due to the imposition of this zone. More importantly, however, it’s due to the fact he’s made peace with all the groups he was in conflict with. Let’s not ignore that. It is an anachronism today, used to needle Iraq.

I did not miss the footage of a drone flying and the remnants on the ground. Nowhere did I see the Iraqi shoot-down save on simulation. Anyhow, it’s not important. The drone is not patrolling the air space to protect innocent civilians, as you would have us believe but rather to prepare a military attack. The USA protested little as a result. Too often people listen to what is said, but seldom listen for what is not said. Silence speaks louder than words in this administration.

Mr. Brady, I am pleased that my NK assertion took your breath away. After you get it back, please do consider the facts. It was not Clinton’s deal; Japan, China, the EU and SK were signatories. Your blaming Clinton does show where your politics lie, (I am good naturedly allowing myself the same insinuation you made of mine, OK?). These nations were monitoring the situation. They failed. You cannot blame one person, or government. However, something has to be done And fast, as 3 nations in 12 months have gone nuclear and we are in a dangerous spiral of spreading WMD and rising political belligerence. The results could be calamitous. I have been saying NK is a more serious threat since long before they went public.

Remember that India and Pakistan also went nuclear under Bush’s nose. These nations feel the rising tensions, in their case only partially fuelled by increased US belligerence in the region. You have tried to white-wash Bush’s responsibility and that sounds odd. He is responsible from the day he took office for what he pays attention to and what slips by on his watch.

He’s had his nation attacked, 3 nations go nuclear and failed to capitalise on the international goodwill obtained after the 9-11 attack by going cowboy on the world. That’s four major foul-ups in 2 years. In baseball, it’s 3 and you’re out. He’s been looking at the wrong places on the map, and it’s beginning to show all over the planet as the problems mushroom. It’s all part of his policy of belligerence and military madness as a panacea for all ills. It’s his mess.

He’s the CIC. What did he do about any of it after he got elected? Did he go after al Qaeda? Did he pay attention to the Clinton Plan for dealing forcefully with them? No, he decided to “review” it. 3,000 dead later, he discovers these guys are serious. He’s lost control of many situations, and he’s out of control on Iraq. It’s all happened on Bush’s watch, not Clinton’s like it or not. Bush blow the whistle? Come on. The NK government TOLD him. Enough excuses already.

So, the 9-11 preparations began when Clinton was in office. So what? Hitler began to prepare when Roosevelt was in office. Castro began to prepare when Eisenhower was in power. Saddam attacked Kuwait when Bush I was in power. Perhaps he began to prepare when Reagan was in office. It’s a ridiculous line of argument. What’s the point? Yeah, I know. It’s a rhetorical query, it’s Clinton’s fault, right? They did not attack until they felt the situation was unsustainable anymore. That is Bush’s doing. Blind support for Israel, disdain of Arab grievances, ignoring the plight of Palestinians, withdrawing from the Middle East negotiating process. Bush had a hand in what happened and the investigation is clouded by his efforts to not have it look into it.

As for the terrorists escaping from Afghanistan, MANY did, SOME didn't. “Bush warned us from Day 1 that this was going to take a long time and that some of the victories and failures might never be known”. Sure, nice way to cover his behind. I partially agree that ‘Bush is attacking the terrorists proactively’. However, I believe that in general, he’s not keeping his eye on the ball. Rather, his team are not. Obsessed with Iraq (‘they tried to kill my dad’ as if his dad hadn’t tried to off Saddam and Reagan hadn’t killed Khaddafi’s child, JFK/LBJ/Nixon hadn’t tried to assassinate Castro, etc.), there’s little anti-terrorist activity happening, and a lot of civil liberties are being trampled.

You cannot compare Clinton and Bush. The game was different when Clinton was there. He was perceived as being more of an honest broker between the sides. This is Bush’s game, not Clinton’s. When is everyone going to stop obsessing on Clinton? He’s history.

The military action Clinton took and the silence of academia are not relevant or comparable issues. Clinton did what he thought was a measured response to the circumstances he faced. Bush seems over the top, turning into the ugly American very fast, an image we had begun to lose.

I thank you and accept your apology on Serbia and forget the matter, as I sometimes get carried away too. In general, I am concerned that you are treating these issues in a Democratic-Republican milieu, and I am not. I care not that Democrats did the same as the Republicans. I despise it no matter who does it. Do two wrongs make a right?

Yes, they argued about the shape of the table and the colour of the ink. But there WERE terms on the table before the killing spread. You are trying to cover it up with a humorous comment, I’ll smile, for it was clever, but I won’t bite. The NVA were using these nations as sanctuaries, true. But they did not attack these nations nor their people. The USA did. And a holocaust ensued that the US left unfolding. Bad business to enlarge the war, attack and destroy, divide people, destroy their institutions and create an inferno where there was none.

You wrote that “your denial in a previous posting, that our involvement in that war started under JFK and LBJ is staggering.” I haven’t the piece anymore and can’t recall the statement, but I admit I remember making a statement about that, in context. It seems out of context as you put it. I’ll try to clarify.

The war in Indochina started in 1940, when the Japanese seized Indochina after the fall of France to the Germans. The French tried to re-conquer their colony after the war. They met resistance from a nationalist communist leader, Ho Chi Min. The US was involved throughout the colonialist war until France was defeated at Diem Bien Phu and signed a partition treaty creating a divided nation and then S. Vietnam went under US auspices.

It was madness to divide the nation. The southern region became a US satellite, corrupt dictator after corrupt dictator whittled away any opportunity to create a functioning democratic state. The South refused to hold the plebiscite agreed in the treaty. A guerrilla war began. The US, under Eisenhower, began to prop-up these SV regimes. JFK continued that policy, culminating in JFK’s Gulf of Tonkin and Nixon’s ‘I have a Secret Plan to End the War’. End of crash history course.

You also stated: “And for whether Nixon set the stage for POL POT, a communist, to commit the genocide in Cambodia is far from clear”. I disagree. He and Kissinger had leading roles in that catastrophe, but of course, the exact magnitude will always be debatable.

P.S. on the P.S.
I don’t like to get personal, Mr. Brody, however I’ll make an exception as a goodwill gesture. I still have a very happy and fulfilling life coupled with a profession that is rewarding and satisfying; I often speak about what I later write in chats with friends, so it’s easy to write. Notwithstanding, if someone takes the time and makes the effort to have me understand their point of view, in my opinion that person merits a well-thought out response. Whether it’s “right” or not that’s up to the reader.
Happy and Peaceful Holiday Season and New Year.

Tom Jones - 12/26/2002

Mr. Moner, there is no need for you to go any further. In your response, you have clearly established the fact that you can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

Have a Happy New Year, if you can.

Steve Brody - 12/26/2002

Gus, you're right that "there are plenty ways other than military power to obtain a change for the better". Sanctions and appeasement are two. The problem is that neither of them work very well with a despot like Hussein.

I don't remember anyone sweeping Iraq's use of chemical weapons under the rug. To the contrary, it has been well reported for many years.

You say that no one has explained the US's national security interests. Maybe not to your satisfaction, but I sense that you will never be satisfied as long as there is a Republican in the White House. Saddam has certainly had WMD's for years, and I wasn't a party to the conversation, but I beleive that he was probably threatened with massive retaliation if he used them during the gulf war. He certainly agreed to get rid of them after the Gulf war, and to UN inspection to assure his compliance. But he has never really kept that agreement. That's the point. All Hussein has to do to avoid all of this is do that thing which he agreed to do at the end of the gulf war, disarm himself of WMDs and allow unfettered UN inspection.

You say that Bush is dictating the problem and the solution. That's really not true. The UN has long recognized the problem of Iraq's WMD's. They set up a system of inspections to ensure that Iraq got rid of them. All Bush did was challenge the UN to enforce their own pronouncements. So he never "dictated" the problem or the solution. And yes, he did use a stick to get them moving, because the UN has a long history of doing nothing until the very moment of disaster. And then, when action is unavoidable, inevitably it is the US that provides the military to carry out the UN action. That is what I mean when I say that we should consider our own security interests in this matter. If we are going to place our Troops in harm's way to enforce UN mandates, we should should have a big say about when and where and how.

Or do you believe we should turn over control of our military to the UN? The problem with making UN decisions binding is as I've said " who they gonna call"? US, thats who. Ultimately, someone has to back up these decisions with force. The other problem is that many nations in the UN are despotic dictatorships. Why should we allow same to have any control over our country? All that aside, Bush is working with the UN and the league of nations really isn't relevant.

And I allowed that we were shooting back at the Iraqi's in the no-fly zone. So don't pretend that I ignored that. Your statement that WE have been provoking Iraq for a decade by patrolling the no-fly zone says much about your perspective, Gus.
Hussein uses the air space to slaughter innocent civilians and we are the bad guys for stopping it. Then we patrol that same airspace, to make sure he doesn't do it again, it's provocation.
I guess you must have missed the video footage that was widely broadcast of the Iraqi's shooting at the coalition aircraft.Or maybe you're OK with that. I haven't seen any reports of collateral deaths in our return of this AAA and SAM fire, but if there was, you really have to blame Hussein for it.

You're blame of Bush for NK going nuclear is breathtaking in its disingenuousness. Clinton made a deal with NK in 1994, agreed to build two light water reactors and give them food and oil if they agreed to give up their nuke program. Clinton then does nothing to monitor NK and when Bush discovers what they are doing and blows the whistle he some how is responsible for this fiasco. Gus, that nuke program in NK startes under Clinton, not Bush. I'm not sure which other nations went nuclear under Bush, but I'm sure if there are any others, the programs started and were allowed to flourish long before Bush was elected.

Gus, the evidence is clear that the preparations for the attacks in NY and WDC also started when Clinton was in the White House. As for the terrorists escaping from Afghanistan, some did, many didn't. Bush warned us from Day 1 that this was going to take a long time and that some of the victories and failures might never be known. The point is that Bush is attacking the terrorists proactively. Clinton never really got into the game.

Regarding my Serbian remark, it was snide and I apologize for that. The hypocrisy that I was referring to Gus, is the deafening silence of academia and the media in response to the military action that Clinton took when compared to the outrage that they are now displaying. And also your laundry list of dictators around the globe with which Republicans have dealt.
The truth of the matter is that Democrats dealt with all those dictators, too Gus.

As for my spin on the invasion of Cambodia, Gus , it's true that the NVA was using Cambodia and Laos as a sanctuary to attack our troops from. That was well documented , both at the time and subsequently. As to "term's that were on the table", Gus, there were no terms and there was no table, because for months the parties argued about the shape of the table.

I'm not defending our involvement in that war and I'm not a Nixon lover, but your denial in a previous posting, that our involvement in that war started under JFK and LBJ is staggering.
And for whether Nixon set the stage for POL POT, a communist, to commit the genocide in Cambodia is far from clear.

P. S. On a personal note, Gus, where do you get the time for all these long postings. I've got a wife and kids, man, and they are calling me now. Happy Holidays

Gus Moner - 12/26/2002

Mr. Jones,
Here's a response after a quick read. More thought on this will undoubtedly generate a more reasoned response. I'll mull it over and get back to you- I'll post it following this thread, even if it drops off the main list to the weekly one.

Thanks for passing it on.

Lest we forget why we have been fighting the al Qaeda terrorists and are now ready to invade Iraq, we should remember some basic facts about the present war.

What is its immediate cause?

Clarification: Terrorists from two US ‘allies’, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and perhaps one or two other Muslim nations. Moreover, you have exaggerated the economic consequences of the attacks; however, it’s not significant.
Why did they attack us in such a manner?

Conventional weapons and tactics are also terror weapons. Our enemies had no conventional armies, so they attacked as they did. They felt US and Israeli attacks on Muslim nations were terrorist acts as well. Not saying they are right in attacking us, mind you, however, all does need to be said. So, ask the real question, why did they attack at all?
They felt they were taking the same punishment Israel and the US mete out regularly to Muslim civilians to the heart of the 'Evil Empire' (their description, not mine) that perpetrates or supports such acts.
‘Concessions’ to Arafat? No, how about dealing with the Palestinian refugee problem and Israeli subjugation of the Palestinians whilst populating their land with Zionist settlers? The reason these organisations exist is because the US and Israel are failing to solve the area’s problems, giving rise to popular discontent personified by the creation of these groups.

But who exactly are our enemies?

Well, an exaggerated number of militants. But, OK, it’s not significant either. It’s true that without tacit support from the common people they couldn’t survive. So, ask the really relevant question if you dare: why do the common people support the terrorists? Moreover, a huge gap exists here between reality and the fiction we are asked to believe. If these terrorist groups are our real enemies, why are we all rabid about Iraq?

What do they really want?

They have clearly stated what they want. They want the end of the subjugation of the Palestinian people and the end of attacks on unarmed Muslims by the Israel and its surrogate, the USA. They want foreign troops off Muslim nation’s soil and the end of support for corrupt, dictatorial regimes, puppet regimes backed by the USA but not the subjugated people they rule without mercy. They have said they do not wish to destroy the West, rather just to accomplish the above goals. All the adjective-laden gibberish you have written here about is worthy of a KGB communiqué, not a reasoned document on political affairs.
Do they have any support?

They would tell you that blowing up Arab women and children using fancy weapons is just as terrorising as suicide bombings. The comparisons to Hitler are absurd. They are solar systems apart.
But why would any in the Middle East follow such a pitiful band of cutthroats?

Unfortunately, from the western perspective, they are regarded as self-induced. Not one Muslim nation, US allies included, practices open democracy. So, the number of enslaved Muslims is nearly 1,000 million.
So who are we really at war with?

At present, who is giving the terrorists haven or safe harbour? That is the question today. You have provided nothing here to answer the question today.
Who is winning?

An interesting observation, leaving out of the statistics the 4,500 Afghan civilians and 2,000 Northern Alliance killed in the process. Perhaps they do not count for you, as they are Muslims. The Taliban are not gone. The entire world is terrified,, not just Iraq, at the prospect of cowboy justice, without proof, trial, or anything, becoming the norm in the world. Prove the terrorists are where you say, demand their expulsion or attack.
Could we lose?

We can lose, by invading Iraq; we’d lose the heats and minds of those not in power, the vast majority. ‘Hand over 1/6 of the world to them?’ It’s their land, their nations, not for us to ‘hand over’ or take, sir.
How will we know when the war is over?

You have failed to mention that Israelis who attack Palestinians are terrorists just as the Palestinians who attack them. You just like your terrorists better than Palestine’s. Fair enough. But tell the truth. When you remove the causes of terrorism, terrorists will not have a place to live.

But won't they just attack us again and again?

In the end, nowhere does Mr. Hanson provide reason to attack Iraq. He gives no proof of WMD, of harbouring terrorists or other ‘evil-doing’. I do not know that they have these weapons. What I am certain of is that before we attack, we ought to show and tell, so we can have a consensus of nations and people that we are indeed facing an imminent threat to our security. That case has yet to be made, not even by Mr. Hanson’s propaganda.

Gus Moner - 12/26/2002

Thanks for clarifying that for me. I had some doubt, as I wrote that, which is why I couched it with 'if I am not mistaken'. For some reason, I seem to not recollect the sequence of events and I shall look into it further.
Thanks again.

Gus Moner - 12/26/2002

Mr Brody has tried to make the point that European nations “cut deals with Terrorist groups to be left alone. The French are particularly famous for this”. He has done this without presenting one iota of evidence. Has he inside information? Is he privy to the French President and PM’s deal-making? Moreover, with that statement he displays a unique ignorance of reality, totally ignoring the wave of Muslim terrorism in France during the 1990’s. Where was the cut deal then?

The people flying the European jets in the Gulf War were indeed Europeans, Mr Brody, as everyone knows. They did so in defence (right or wrong can be argued) of a despotic Muslim nation, Kuwait. They were also there in defence, right or wrong being arguable again, of Muslim Albanians in Kosovo. Is this perhaps part of the deal-making you allude to (without proof)?

It is not a point of fact that Europeans agree with and support US positions on the Middle East, and Palestine and Iraq as good examples. From the Pope on down, in France, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Norway (need I continue?) people oppose the belligerent militaristic approach to a sensitive international problem with potentially dangerous repercussions in their neighbourhood. These people lived through two carnages and the massive destruction of their nations in the past century. The clamour, knowing the alternatives provided by war, is for a peaceful solution.

So, I believe you are dead wrong, on facts. Only the British people, by a slim margin on opinion polls, support the US position. In the other nations, based on polls (never, by the way, receiving airtime in the USA), measurable support for the US position ranges from 18% (Spain, similar in Portugal and Italy) to 40% (France). Very few governments are supporting the USA in spite of their citizens opposition (Italy, and Spain). Thus, on this evidence, I disagree that Europeans are coming round to the US belligerency.

I agree with you that anti-Semitism is in the rise in Europe and that European’s disagreement with the US stems from Israeli aggression and oppression, (which is largely responsible for the anti-Semitism). Europeans understand the plight of conquered Palestinians after having been conquered by Nazis during WWII. They find it repugnant that a persecuted people would become persecutors.

Forget not that despite the anti-Semitism that has existed there, many Europeans helped Jews escape during the persecution by Nazis. Also, do bear in mind it was Europeans who made Jewish immigration into Palestine possible. Also bear in mind that the current anti-Muslim persecution in the USA is the twin sibling of anti-Semitism. Is it that you prefer one to the other?
You say that ‘the problem with the charges you make is that they sound an awful lot like the charges the Palistinians always make’. So what is the ‘problem’ with that? Are their charges wrong because they are Palestinians? Only the Jewish Zionists’ charges are right? Is this reverse anti-Semitism? Haven’t Palestinians the right to human dignity and their own government and land? The many deaths and still missing in Jenin didn’t turn out to be 500 as originally claimed, this is true. Is 28 Palestinians killed too few to cry about, then? There’s much more to it, sir. For example, read this from the Jewish web page B’T selem :
In the Occupied Territories proper, not Israel, year to date 24th December 2002 there have been:
“1,694 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces' gunfire in the Occupied Territories, of whom 311 were minors under the age of 18.
At least 86 of the Palestinians killed were extra judicially executed by Israel. In the course of these assassinations 40 additional Palestinians were killed.
25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians, including Three minors: One was age 17, One was age 14 and One was a two month- old baby girl.

Six foreign Citizens were killed by Israeli security forces gunfire.

169 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians, 28 of them were minors under the age of 17: Five were aged 17, Five were age 16, Seven were age 14, Two were age 13, One was age 11, Two were age 9, Three were age 5, One was a 10 month-old baby girl and One was a 5 month-old baby boy and one was a one day old baby boy.

Seven foreign citizens were killed by Palestinians.

139 members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians.

One Palestinian was killed by Palestinians while being force to serve as a “Human Shield” by Israeli Security Forces.
169 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians, 28 of them were minors under the age of 17: Five were aged 17, Five were age 16, Seven were age 14, Two were age 13, One was age 11, Two were age 9, Three were age 5, One was a 10 month-old baby girl and One was a 5 month-old baby boy and one was a one day old baby boy.

Seven foreign citizens were killed by Palestinians.

139 members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians.

One Palestinian was killed by Palestinians while being force to serve as a Human Shield by Israeli Security Forces.

22 Palestinians were killed by Palestinians while in the Palestinian Authority's custody”
Bear in mind this carnage excludes Israeli territory proper! Who is right?
The carnage sir, is both ways. Your ignorance of the history of Jewish occupation in Palestine is abysmal and surprising for a person reading this web site. Thy coy remark about Clinton has no place in this debate. The ‘best deal the Palestinians have been offered’ as you say, did nothing to resolve the plight of 4,000,000 refugees scattered throughout Palestine and elsewhere who have been made landless by Israeli seizure of their lands (without compensation).
Jews have been generously compensated by various nations and organisations for their persecution and losses. Why not the Palestinians? Would you ever agree to a deal that left 70% of the original US land mass in an occupier’s possession and 60% of US citizens homeless in refugee camps throughout the continent? I think not. I would not.
The Palestinian situation is not about terrorism, it’s about a land grab without compensation that has left 4 million homeless in refugee camps. Terrorism is the result of that. Once you come round to understanding that core point, you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on there.
Palestine hasn’t an army to defend itself. In Palestine, the Israeli army of occupation is not fighting another army, but rather killing mostly defenceless civilians and the odd members of liberation groups they catch. Terrorism is the only weapon these conquered people have left to seek their freedom from their incarceration in their own homeland, where they have been placed in camps by Israelites. It is historically significant that Jews resorted to the same terrorist tactics to rid Palestine of the British mandate, masking their annexation of Palestinian territory easier.

And yes, you are right; I have not condemned Palestinians for I understand their desperation. Nor have I stated my support for their actions either, as I do not support terrorism. The world, despite yours and Mr. Bush’s efforts to paint it so, is not black and white. However, I believe their cause is now morally superior to the Israelis, at a minimum since 1956. Their means are as reprehensible as the Israelis’. What is the difference in an Israeli army murder of civilians and a Palestinian terrorist attack? Nothing. Both are acts of terror outside the law, killing civilians without due process.

Each and every Jewish citizen (except the religious fundamentalist Zionists, curiously) is a member of the military. Their ‘political’ leaders are all veterans of the armed forces. It is the most militarised society engaging in war in the world. The blood on Israel’s hands is that of an organised army breaking the rules of war, civility and morality, committing crimes against humanity. The blood on Palestinian hands is that of an oppressed nation desperately seeking to break the yoke of conquerors. Both are lamentable, however, there is a difference.

What would you do if you were disarmed, without an army and your nation was occupied, Mr Brady? Would you not use any mean available to free your homeland and avenge the death and disappearance of your fellow citizens? You too would ambush your occupiers, using any weapon or means in attempting to drive them out of your ancestral home.

The second Intifada (not the intifada thing) was the result of the Israeli state’s subversion of the Madrid and Oslo processes. By refusing to give up conquered land in violation of various UN resolutions and the treaties signed in those cities, they violated the step by step process established. If ‘getting it’ means blindly believing what we get in the US media, then no, I am thankfully not getting it.

As for the sanctions, and the brutality of the dictatorship in Iraq, if the US knows (as they do) that the result is the decimation of the civilian population’s health and welfare, then the sanctions are indeed wrong, as they are in Cuba and wherever else they damage people’s welfare. That is totally independent of the brutal crimes that can be directly attributable to the Iraqi regime.

We agree on one thing. The sooner Saddam is out of power, the better for all. The question is how important is it, how will it be carried out and when. For I believe the sooner that Bush and his team of warmongers is out of power, the better for the planet. Ditto for Putin and his team oligarchic KGB capitalist converts raping Russia’s wealth and decimating Chechnya. Ditto for the N Korean hereditary dictatorship, the Myanmar junta etc. But I would not acquiesce or approve of sanctions or extra-judicial killings to accomplish what I believe to be good, moral and just causes.

I believe the democratic process must be followed where possible, and international organisms must be used to deal with international problems that haven’t another avenue. And since Bush has come to power, the number of conflicts the US is involved in has been growing exponentially, many caused by his administration’s blindness and lack of objectivity and diplomatic skills.

Personally, I have always seen NK as a much graver threat to stability than Iraq. I would welcome the same type of UN effort being made with Iraq on NK. The reach of a nation’s weapons is the limit of their sphere of influence and ability to apply pressure. Thus, everyone who disagrees with the US feels threatened. They have been named as an Axis of Evil power and have watched as the US has gone about orchestrating the demise of the one of them. They have reacted to the threat they feel. By raising tensions to this level, Mr. Bush has ‘lost’ NK and has put the security of SK and Japan (and US troops in both places) in jeopardy as a result. I’d let the UN continue to pressure Iraq and give some real serious thought and resources to sorting out that new threat. On Bush’s watch, three nations have gone nuclear. Does that not indicate he’s watching a different match?

However, I would not want sanctions hurting the welfare of my family because of our government’s actions. In Iraq the democratic process does not exist. The UN must be the body that determines the course of action to be followed, not the Bush petro-executives ready to kill innocent people for oil and power. Haven’t they inflicted enough damage on the Iraqi people already? Who is going to suffer the bombs, destruction, resulting infrastructure deficiencies and hunger? Not the leaders of the USA or Iraq.

If Iraq is to be destroyed, I want proof of the dire necessity to do that. Otherwise, I cannot approve.

Gus Moner - 12/26/2002

There are plenty of ways other than military power to obtain a change for the better. The US is not the UN. The UN represents the entire world.

The US represent the interests of the nation as perceived by the special interest groups dominating the administration in power at the time. These are ever changing, as Rumsfeld traipsing through Baghdad to cosy up to Saddam 20 years ago and Schultz’ quashing of investigations into Iraq’s use of WMD proves.

Just what are the US’s national security interests in Iraq? No one has explained that convincingly and with proof. If it were true that Iraq had the alleged WMD it would then be the case that they had had them since at least the early 1980’s, through the Gulf War, after it and through the prior inspections period. When Schultz and Rumsfeld courted Saddam and swept his use of them against Iran under the carpet, no one thought it was a national security matter then. Why the sudden importance?

You are right, Bush did try to challenge the UN to ‘regain a modicum of relevance’, as you put it. However, Bush is not presenting a problem and asking the UN to come up with a plan to deal with his perceived threat. He's dictating the problem and the solution.

First he imposed the threat and then he demanded his solution. That is not treating other nations and people’s opinions as relevant. By the way Mr. Brody, in reply to your query, yes, I do not believe the US should act unilaterally and I do believe the UN decision should be binding on all. Remember that the League of Nations was crippled when nations began to go at issues their own way, rendering it irrelevant. It would be the USA who did that for the second timer, as it failed to even join the LON. The US would no be acting as Japan, Germany and Italy did then. There were dire consequences from that miscalculation.

Well, the US and Britain have been provoking Iraq for a decade. They shoot Iraqi radar sites and kill civilians as collateral damage. They claim they are attacked first, or locked on. Lately they have been doing it just to pave the way for an attack. So yes, Iraq has been shot at plenty.

NK presents a conundrum, and there is where you may have hit on a good point. NK as a terrorist nation that has attacked SK ministers in foreign lands, directly attacked SK and constantly skirmishes with it in the nearby seas was also bold enough to seize the USS Pueblo. The US and the EU, as well as other nearby nations promoted the now-rescinded agreement. They have flaunted it and present a grave danger to the area only if they use them for blackmail or other mischief. If it is deterrence, then it’s just what everyone else is doing, no? It’s a tough call.

However, equally dangerous would be any similar madman in any nation with WMD. There are no guarantees the US, Russia, Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and China will always be ruled by reasonable people. The core question is why allow any nation to keep WMD anymore? If one nation has them, others which feel they may be potential adversaries will feel compelled to have the deterrence.

Personally, I have always seen NK as a much graver threat to stability than Iraq. I would welcome the same type of UN effort being made with Iraq on NK. The reach of a nation’s weapons is the limit of their sphere of influence and ability to apply pressure. Thus, everyone who disagrees with the US feels threatened. They have been named as an Axis of Evil power and have watched as the US has gone about orchestrating the demise of the one of them. They have reacted to the threat they feel. By raising tensions to this level, Mr. Bush has ‘lost’ NK and has put the security of SK and Japan (and US troops in both places) in jeopardy as a result. Having jump started the UN, I’d let the UN continue to pressure Iraq and give some real serious thought and resources to sorting out that rising threat. On Bush’s watch, three nations have gone nuclear. None did on Clinton's. Every nation is playing a political game trying to gain an edge, but does that not indicate Bush and his team are watching an altogether different match and things are slipping right by them?

First the terorists attack NYC and Washington, escape from Afghanistan and now the three new nuclear nations.....something's wrong with this picture.
Neither I nor anyone cannot assert with certainty that ‘doing it my way’ will work. However I do assert it needs to be tried and that war, if considered, should always be a very, very last resort in dire circumstances. Regarding the Serbian comment, your snide remark is off base. Where is the hypocrisy? I was not participating in this web at the time. Regardless, were you in favour of it? Why?

Finally… a loud wow! I hadn’t heard that spin on the invasion of Cambodia and Laos for ages. Yes, he got us out of Vietnam, through and into Laos and Cambodia. After having 20,000 + or more US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, in exactly the same terms as had been on the table for years.

The US gained NOTHING from that carnage, destruction and mayhem. Moreover, it set the stage for the Cambodian holocaust. Brilliant. Painful for me to admit what? It should be painful to you that so many lives were wasted for nothing due to an ill-considered policy that led so many into a fiery death or a living hell.

Steve Brody - 12/26/2002

I might have miscounted, so give me a little leeway, but 60 or so signatures in a country of 280 million really isn't many.

Tom Jones - 12/25/2002

You can find Hanson's article in toto in my previous post of Dec. 22, entitled, "A Counterweight. . . "

Gus Moner - 12/25/2002

You're right on my assertion, Mr. Brody, it needs proof and I withraw it for now. However, I disagree that it isn't that many who believe it. You haven't proven that!

Gus Moner - 12/25/2002

Couldn't find the piece by Mr Hanson. Where is it? Proving perhaps that I cant't walk and .....it's embarrasing.

However, if you'd be so kind as to post it, Mr Jones, I'd like to try and perform the feat of reading it.

Ed Schaidinsky - 12/24/2002

"I am not mistaken, it was Bush I, he of the ‘thousand points of light’ and the ‘new world order’ who put the US into Somalia, not Clinton. "

You are mistaken. While criticized by the left for doing so, Bush Sr. placed the US military into Somalia on a humanitarian mission to deliver food to starving Somalians. There were strict rules of interaction placed on the US military personnel when interacting with Somalian warlords designed to avoid shootouts. Three weeks before Bush Sr.'s term expired, he ordered all US military personnel out of Somalia.

Three weeks after Clinton started his first term, he ordered the US military back into Somalia. This time with the intent of removing the warlords from power. This is the episode that the movie "Black Hawk Down" is about, although clouding Clinton's responsibility by insinuating Bush Sr. was responsible.

Steve Brody - 12/24/2002

Gus, your bare assertion that Sean is WRONG doesn't make it so.
" If so many people believe this idiocy ..." But, Gus, it really isn't that many.

You seem to be asking the rhetorical question " How can so many liberal college professors be wrong?" The answer: It happens every day.

Steve Brody - 12/24/2002

The problem with your statement " The UN placed the restrictions on Iraq and it is the role of the UN to do something if it deems fit to do so" is "who they gonna call". Inevitably, it is the US who provides the military muscle to enforce UN action. In a sense, the US becomes the UN. That being the case, why is it wrong for us to consider our own national security interests in this matter.

While we're at it, a lot of people believe that the UN has become little more than a debating society, issuing pronouncements and resolutions and letting it go at that. You imply that Bush bullied the UN into take action. I think he challenged them to regain a modicum of relevance. By the way, Gus, I take it from your comments that, if the Security Council, does decide to take action in Iraq, you're behind them 100%.

You're comments about taking the diplomatic route with North Korea and "with Iraq it is the Wild West shoot first and ask questions later" have their own problems. Nobody has "shot" Iraq (well maybe shot back for all that AAA over the no-fly zone). North Korea presents a perfect example of what happens when you try to "come to an understanding " waith despots. Clinton made a deal with NK and now we find out they're working on nuclear weapons. And worse yet, they threaten us, if we don't continue to honor the deal even as they violate it. NK is Iraq in a few years if we do it your way.

You say that you personally think Serbia was a mistake (now, when it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks). I must have missed all your postings against that war. I don't know, Gus, seems kinda hypocritical.

PS: wasn't the Cambodian war, as you put it, really started by the North Vietnamese who used it as a staging ground to attack our troops for years. And painful as it must be to admit, Nixon did get us out of Viet Nam, didn't he?

Steve Brody - 12/23/2002

You know Gus, one reason that the Europeans "get along so well" with Muslim nations is that for years they have cut deals with Terrorist groups to be left alone. The French are particularly famous for this.

You say the Europeans deal peacefully with Muslim nations? Who were flying all those Mirage French fighters and English Tornado fighters and German Fighter bombers during the Gulf war?

In point of fact, the Europeans have usually supported our positions in the middle east. Where they haven't, it has usually diverged because of their own economic or nationalistic interests. But the Eurpopeans are starting to come over to our position on Iraq.

The main point of disagreement with the Euro's is Israel. I believe one reason that the Euro's and the Arabs get along so well on this issue is a shared history of anti-semitism. Gus, anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe and that can not be disputed.

I find it interesting that you catalogued every complaint against Israel that has ever been made by the Palistinians but give the Palistinians a complete pass on their terrorism. Just cause? When the Palistinians send their own children strapped with explosives to murder Israeli children. The problem with the charges you make is that they sound an awful lot like the charges the Palistinians always make. Many of these charges have turned out to be exagerated. Remember the 500 innocent Palistinians "killed" by the Israelis in Jenin, Gus?.

The interesting thing about this situation is that Clinton, in a bid to have some kind of a legacy (other than that pesky pardon thing) brokered the best deal that the Palistinians have ever been offered. Arafat turned it down and losed the dogs of war. A number of Palistinian leaders are starting to realize what a mistake this whole intifada thing was. They are starting to get it, Gus, but you're not.

And about those sanctions on Iraq. The decimation of Iraq's civil population has to be laid at the foot of the brutal dictator who uses the money from the humantitarian trade to build monuments to his own ego and fund WMD programs. The sooner he's gone the better for everyone.

Kirk Chandler - 12/23/2002

When someone lacks the courage to act, they want to feel the comfort of others who are afraid (to act) also. Misery always loves company.
I'm thankful there are men willing to fight and that we have a leader willing to lead, against Iraq or any other threat. All the while you'll be safe at home in your miserable little bed (campus).
A "coward dies many deaths - the brave die but once".
(Go fuck yourself.)

Tom Jones - 12/23/2002

Mr. Moner insists that he can read as well as walk and chew gum at the same time. So let's take him at his word and see whether he can read and understand Victor Davis Hanson's piece above. Then, if he passes that test, we can always ask him to send a video clip of him walking and chewing gum at the same time. Of course, it should be accompanied by affidavits of reliable people testifying to that feat. But none of them should be signatories of the petition. We'll all be awaiting that evidence, I'm certain.

Gus Moner - 12/23/2002

I can! What's your suggestion for policy initiatives? I can read and write, too.

Gus Moner - 12/23/2002

I would add that it was Rumsfeld who just 20 years ago this month went to Baghdad to re-establish relations with the 'moderate' Arab leader, Saddam Hussein. Soon thereafter Iraq was proven to be using WMD in its war against Iran, and the Schultz Petro-Diplomatic team went into sweeping under the rug mode. The US provided the Iraqis with satellite intelligence to combat the dreaded Iranian Clerical Regime.

Why is it all so important now that 'suddenly' Iraq is a threat with WMD? They haven’t used them in 20 years.

Gus Moner - 12/23/2002

Well, your analogy is flawed. Not taking Saddam out the first time has no bearing on being a warmonger. Warmongering in these circumstances means, sir, that they are looking for a fight with Iraq, when they have not yet enough reason to. Whereas with nations that are everyday more dangerous, like N Korea (just removed surveillance from their nuclear plants, shipped Scuds to the Middle East, helped Pakistan with the bomb and delivery rockets, etc.) we take the ‘diplomatic’ approach, with Iraq it is the Wild West’s shoot first ask questions later. If both are in the so-called Axis of Evil, why pick on the one not doing anything just now?

I cannot agree it’s just the “Demmo Presidents” who screw up. The Cambodian War was started by Nixon, not JFK, whose strategy (‘I have a secret plan to end the war’) with Kissinger expanded the conflict started by not JFK, but the Vietnamese seeking reunification. It’s precisely this sort of meddling in nation’s affairs that gets us into trouble.

Carter was not faced with a war, and when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, placed economic sanctions on the USSR. He also authorised a failed rescue operation in Iran. Clinton oversaw the bombing of Serbia into chaos rubble and attacked al Qaeda bases in Afghan territory in response to attacks.

Bush and Reagan invaded Caribbean nations, armed rebel insurgents in Nicaragua got hundreds of marines killed in Lebanon, and, I am not certain, but if I am not mistaken, it was Bush I, he of the ‘thousand points of light’ and the ‘new world order’ who put the US into Somalia, not Clinton.

Again you seem to have missed critical points of the debate. It’s not about getting the US to force people or nations to do things, which is what earns the US enemies in other nations. The UN placed the restrictions on Iraq and it is the role of the UN to do something if it deems fit to do so. It’s about getting a consensus to act against dangerous states or leaders. By the way, Ms. Albright, sir, was not Yugoslav but Czechoslovak. (Confusing, all these countries, is it not?)

Personally, intervening in Serbia was not a good idea. These people have centuries’ old enmities that they have to sort out, and the UN peace keepers and NATO have but postponed their day of reckoning.

The question is NOT why do they hate Bush so much? It seems that Bush is earning some political enemies and the question is what is he doing to cause this?

Gus Moner - 12/23/2002

Well Mr. Nicholas, what does my religious preference have to do with this debate? Nothing, of course, but to satisfy your curiosity, my religion is not Islam. Moreover, I needn’t convert anyone to my point of view to feel contented in life.

That aside now, your take on bin Laden and terrorism is odd, at best. As you put it, to you this is a struggle between their way of life and ours, which sadly shows how little you have learned from the debate.

Agreeing with many aspects of the manifesto, is not about pleasing the world but rather of treating other people and their culture, way of life and social systems with due respect, the same we expect for ours. You could try showing other people’s opinions some respect, but perhaps that doesn’t fit in with your ideological or religious persuasion anymore than it seems to fit the governments’.

Tom Jones - 12/22/2002

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The War
A reminder
By Victor Davis Hanson

Lest we forget why we have been fighting the al Qaeda terrorists and are now ready to invade Iraq, we should remember some basic facts about the present war.

What is its immediate cause?

About a year and a half ago, Middle Eastern terrorists — at a time of peace and without provocation — simply murdered 3,000 Americans. They blew up four airliners together with their crews and passengers, toppled the World Trade Center, and attacked the Pentagon. In addition, they caused billions of dollars in damage to the American economy, threw millions out of work, and forever changed the daily lives of an entire country and of much of the world besides.

Why did they attack us in such a manner?

Our enemies struck at icons of American economic and military power and used terror in lieu of conventional weapons and tactics. Knowing they could not defeat the United States military or appeal for support to the American people, they thought to create a climate of horror and fear to further their own political agendas. Perhaps we were supposed to quietly withdraw our troops from the Middle East, insist on concessions for Yasser Arafat, and grant de facto spheres of influence to al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. Yet just as the fundamentalists gave us no thanks for saving Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Kuwait, and Somalia, so too they would have looked at such dispensation as decadent compassion and been emboldened rather than appreciative.

But who exactly are our enemies?

The hard-core group of Islamic fascists, known as al-Qaeda, involves perhaps no more than 10,000 or 20,000 loosely coordinated killers. But like the Italian fascists, German Nazis, and Japanese militarists, their largely pampered leaders hope to capitalize on latent anger against the West among Islamic populations at large — to bully, threaten, or hijack weak regimes in the Middle East to obtain de facto political power. Post-9/11 cheering on the West Bank or amused smiles in the salons of Beirut and Cairo were seen as initial successes. Without at least tacit support from civilians, the terrorists could not exist.

What do they really want?

It is hard to tell, inasmuch as their grandiose schemes are as illogical as Hitler's — but no less dangerous. But if we take them at their word, their Middle East would look something like the Taliban's Afghanistan or the mullahs' Iran — a vast tribal, patriarchal, and theocratic society on a continental scale. It would be run by zealots and religious extremists who would institute a medieval sort of Islamic law, even as the leaders themselves, like Ottoman grandees of old, would continue to be parasitic on the West — importing their own eyeglasses, medicines, videos, and electronic technology. Politically, they would hope to expand on the model of Iranian theocracy and terror, using vast oil revenues to buy missiles and eventually components for nuclear weapons — first to obliterate Israel, then to either blackmail or attack us. The ultimate goals of demented thugs like a Mullah Omar or bin Laden are, of course, contradictory and absurd — how can one hate and wish to destroy the West, when it is the only source of everything one uses — from oil-drilling equipment and SUVs to machine guns and cell phones? So they are a lot like the Visigoths and Vandals who liked the appurtenances of Rome yet on their own accord could not create, but only ransack them. Take a look at present-day Iran and recent Afghanistan to ponder the ruin and barbarity that their rule could bring to hundreds of millions in just a few years.

Do they have any support?

Criminals like these at first never have real support. But if, like a Hitler or Mussolini, they demonstrate success in stirring up resentments and winning concessions from supposedly weak enemies, then they can win over the masses through their ardor and élan. Most people usually welcome a sense of increased national importance and pride on the cheap — as long as it does not entail real costs. So al Qaeda is like the Nazi party circa 1926, in a high-stakes game for the hearts and minds of the so-called Arab street, which so far likes the rhetoric but is not yet sure of the eventual price tag. Blowing up Jewish kids in schools or shooting a few unarmed Americans is easy and plays well, but being barred from traveling to Europe or America, earning ostracism from the World Bank, and having your entire military obliterated in mere hours — all that and more requires some careful consideration. Wearing a bin Laden T-shirt or bragging that Saddam Hussein stands up to a strong America afraid to use its power is one thing; seeing GPS bombs glide through the windows of mansions in Lebanon and Syria is another.

But why would any in the Middle East follow such a pitiful band of cutthroats?

Fear, for starters — the terrorists can murder newspaper editors, government officials, or military officers who oppose them. Despair plays a role too among the Arab dispossessed. Over 300 million in the Middle East live under regimes that are corrupt and tribal, dysfunctional autocracies without elections or the rule of law. With rising populations and failing economies, despots can only defer reform by using their state-run presses to vent tension against those more successful, such as Israel and the West. Hating the Jews is old stuff for the weak and envious, and so apparently is despising the country that gives you Star Wars, 757s, and vaccinations. A mass, crybaby adolescence has infected the Middle East. At first this pathetic, passive-aggressive view of the West intrigued Americans, then it disturbed them; but now it has become not merely tedious, but downright repellent to us. There are root causes for the spread of terror, but they are entirely self-induced.

So who are we really at war with?

We fight first the terrorist nucleus, and so must hunt all of them down in a global chase where there is little quarter asked for or given. Further, radical regimes that in the past have harbored terrorists, stockpiled frightening weapons, and are either openly or covertly aiding al Qaeda must be confronted to change or be vanquished. In the past where would an Abu Nidal or Abu Abbas have gone without a haven in Syria, Libya, or Iraq?

Who is winning?

It is not even close so far. After little more than a year, and at a cost of fewer than 100 American casualties, al Qaeda is about half ruined. The Taliban is gone. Iraq is terrified. And equally awful regimes like those in Syria, Iran, and Libya are apprehensive precisely because they know they are guilty of spreading murder and mayhem against Western innocents. We know where the terrorists thrive — in outlaw states like an Afghanistan, Somalia, or Sudan, theocracies like Iran, or dictatorships like Iraq. When those regimes are either gone or reformed, the world of our enemies shrinks.

Could we lose?

Militarily, no. Their only hope is to frighten or demoralize us to such a degree that in our wealth and leisure we feel too afraid, smug, or distracted to take them seriously. So far only about 10 percent of Americans — naively hoping that compromises could guarantee our security — would throw in the towel, withdraw, hand over a sixth of the world to them, and thus grant them the power to do the greater evil that they wish.

How will we know when the war is over?

When Europeans and Americans are no longer rounding up terrorists in their countries, when mullahs and sheiks are quite afraid to broadcast calls to kill Americans, and when so-called allies volunteer their help without our own bribes and coercion. I might add, also, when an American diplomat, without qualification or embarrassment, says publicly that he has nothing but support for Israelis who hunt down killers and terrorists. In other words, we will win when a sense of deterrence — lost during the last decades — is reestablished, one that sends the message to our would-be enemies that the killing of Americans is synonymous with their own near-instantaneous destruction. The Nazis and the Japanese militarists alike came to realize the Americans were not necessarily pacifistic and malleable people, but rather scary and unpredictable; al Qaeda's supporters must come to the same conclusion.

But won't they just attack us again and again?

War is tragically endemic to the human condition. We can only do our best in our own time as befitting our station and pass on our lessons to the next generation — even though we sometimes forgot such precepts ourselves. Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union created an entirely new climate in eastern Europe, so too the defeat of al Qaeda, the new government in Afghanistan, and a post-Hussein Iraq will send a powerful message to the lunocracies of the Middle East: join the world of democracy, freedom, law, and prosperity — or perish trying to destroy it.




Tom Kellum - 12/22/2002

You asked: "why do they hate Bush so much?" One reason that I've heard is that some of them fear fascism, and they have learned about the Bush family's involvement during WWII, when the U.S. Government shut down the Bush-run Union Bank in NYC...for "trading with the enemy (meaning the Nazis)."

Poppy Bush intentionally left Saddam in power because it was more strategically to "our" advantage. For one reason, it has helped to keep oil prices high. That's something we all benefit from, right? Then too, recall the recent revelations about all of the millions and millions of dollars that Dick Cheney's firm made doing business with Iraq just a few years ago? I'm not talking about the on-going purchase of Iraqui oil which has never stopped.

Larry Nicholas - 12/21/2002

It's because we tried to work with the UN & a cololition of countries that we stopped short in Gulf War I. Bush couldn't take out Sadaam (if the Repubs are war mongers, why didn't they take him out the first time? and say the hell with the UN).

It's the Demo Presidents that always screw us up. JFK & LBJ got us into SE China and created the holocaust in Cambodia & destableized Loas while the US troops couldn't cross certain lines because it's not "fair". Hell if you go to war, go to war. Carter also was an appeaser, then there is the "great" Clinton & not following through w/ Sadaam and requireing him to observe the surender terms.

Why didn't these professors protest Clinton's wars? Albright got us into Yugoslavia to get revenge for her ancestors, he put us into Somolia, and when Monica was testilying, shot up an asprin factory and shot some missiles into the desert.

This anti-war movement is really anti-Bush. The question is why do they hate Bush so much? They need to obtain some theropy for their anger.
Libertarian Locksmith Scout

Larry Nicholas - 12/21/2002

So Gus, when are you going to convert to Islam? Then you'll need to actively try to convert your neighbors & fellow Profs. Do you require your wife to cover herself? Until we all convert and start repressing women, jailing gays and those who practise other religions, Bin Laden will hate us (and Islamo-facists).

We could just elect Bin Laden president, then maybe the US will be liked? What other ideas do you have that we should enact to "please" the rest of the world?

We should stop all aid to no-republic governments and give them copies of our Constitution to enact. We have shown the way to liberty, prosperity, and peace. Why has the rest of the world choosen to not adopt our form of government.

Libertarian Locksmith Scout

John Barlow - 12/21/2002

"dimwits"? Most of the signers of this petition are university professors so they definitely had some education. Why did their “wits” get so “dim”? Was this the effect of education or the effect of infection with the bacillus of communism? Is it significant that most signers belong to one ethnic group? Are they more prone to infection or do they have a common genetic defect?


Jonathan Burack - 12/21/2002

Well, it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

How about ...
No anthrax in the NY subways.
No rape-tortures in the Baghdad prisons.
No radioactive craters where Tel Aviv used to be.
No small pox for you, no a-bombs for me.

Should I go on? I know you are all historians. And so, you are all wound-up and ready for history to repeat itself (as in "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win.") Sad to say, however, there isn't even the phantasmagoric image of an uncle Ho or a peasant army with rice bowls this time. No indigenous anti-colonialist, nationalist, righteously indignant rebel farmers. No poster-boy Che, no Mao's little Red Book. Only Saddam and his fascist torturers. Good luck getting off on the defense of that. I do not envy you.

Hilary and Susan Evers - 12/21/2002

“However, it is up to the Iraqi people themselves to oust Saddam Hussein, dismantle his police state regime, and democratize their country.” Just as it was the Jews responsibility to save them selves from the oven. Is it actually possible for you people to walk and chew gum at the same time?

Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

Sir, you mention that “The meaningless and, yes, tiresome references to "right wing, neo-fascist militaristic rhetoric" seems to be a good example of exactly what Safranski was referring to.” Well, yes, and I was hoping for just that reaction! It’s all two sides of the same coin, labelling instead of rationalising. Thanks.

You then say that “Of course, Pinochet, Franco, the Argentine junta, the authoritarian goverments in South Korea and the other boogeymen of the left all more or less VOLUNTARILY gave way to democratic governments”.

I beg to differ. Franco died of rot in office, the Shah was deposed, the junta led Argentina to war, defeat and ruin and collapsed afterward. Vietnam and Cambodia went down in flames and war, Suharto was chased out by a popular revolt, Somoza was defeated by the Sandinisata neo-Communist movement in a war (and they surrendered power in free elections), Batista was deposed by war, Trujillo was assassinated, Marcos was chased out of power by a national uprising, et al. Moreover, most of the Communist dictatorships from the Elbe to the Pacific were eliminated PEACEFULLY by popular revolts, with some light bloodshed in Russia only. The remaining three, China, N. Korea and Cuba have yet to collapse. So, I am sorry. You got it wrong.

I seem to recall Kissinger flocking to Santiago and Eisenhower to Spain. Do you not?
Get real. Are you calling the Musharraf military dictatorship’s elections democratic? As the leader of the world’s proselytising democracy I would not support a military dictator in one country and demand the removal of another. Can you not see the hypocrisy? The rest of the world can and does.

Right, Saddam is a socialist. And I am the reincarnation of the Buddha. You seem to have the facts all wrong. Iraq attacked Iran. Fostered by the US, aided and abated by Mr. Rumsfeld himself as Reagan’s point man, who just 20 years ago was in Baghdad paving the way for the re-establishment of relations and the making of Iraq as a US client state as well, for the US approved of Russia arming Iraq in the war. Iran was the enemy, remember?

The US provisioned other assistance to Iraq in the war. Just around the same time the UN condemned the Iraqi use of chemical weapons which George Schultz managed to sweep under the carpet. The US did nothing about these weapons then, nor did it feel they were a threat to world peace even when they were being used!

Thus my statement, which you quote …“onerous weapons and (if) the UN feels it necessary to do something, let them agree and act”.

No, not like in Srebrinica, like in the last Gulf War if need be. Rwanda is not applicable here, I know not why you raised the issue. The point is that the international community must work together on these issues. And the US must learn to work within the framework of the UN.



Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

Well, we may be onto something here. Mightn’t it be possible that if we stop aggravating the situation by persisting with our intrusive neo-colonialist policies that raise the ire of the Muslim world these loonies in al Qaeda would lose their reason for being? Mightn’t it then be likely we’d have more friendly Muslim populations Instead of the US-hating people we now have confronting us?

Why is it that the European nations, many former colonialists in the Middle East and Africa, have learned to deal peacefully with Muslim nations and the USA can’t? They have withdrawn their troops from the region, stopped meddling in their internal affairs and taken a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sanctions on Iraq have decimated the well-being of millions of people without hurting their tyrannical government. What use are they? If Iraq is found to have WMD then that would only point up the failure of these sanctions.

Russia’s colonialist war of atrocities against Chechnya has produced one of the biggest human rights decimations by a ‘civilised’ nation since Vietnam. The scorched earth policy, seizure of young people, systematic rape and torture as well as kidnappings for money being perpetrated by the Russian forces is despicable. I don’t mind being with the Muslims on that one.

Israel’s position in Palestine is nearly the equal of Russia’s in Chechnya except that the barbarism is more orderly. They raze people’s homes, seize young men without cause, perform executions without due process, blow up buildings with civilians in them, kill women and children with their tanks and guns, imprison entire towns and cities, and fail to let the Palestinians have their own nation in their own land. Despite the terrorism from both sides, it’s not hard to see that Palestinian’s fight for self-determination as a just cause.

Al Czervikjr - 12/21/2002

The meaningless and, yes, tiresome references to "right wing, neo-fascist militaristic rhetoric" seems to be a good example of exactly what Safranski was referring to.

Of course, Pinochet, Franco, the Argentine junta, the authoritarian goverments in South Korea and the other boogeymen of the left all more or less VOLUNTARILY gave way to democratic governments. Unfortunately, the socialist paradises imposed at the point of a gun by leftist icons like Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il-Sung, and Castro have shown far less willingness or capacity for democratic evolution.

Moreover, while Lon Nol and others may have received support in the past as the lesser of two evils against darlings of the left such as the Khmer Rouge, I don't seem to recall conservatives flocking to Santiago to worship Pinochet or carrying around little red (brown?) books of the wisdom of Franco.

As for General Musharraf, didn't Pakistan just hold elections? and by the way, exactly, what would your alternative policy towards Pakistan be?

With regard to Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Arab SOCIALIST Party, I hate to break the news to you but Iraq was a Soviet client state throughout the 70's and 80's. While hindsight is 20/20, it does not seem unreasonable for policymakers in the years immediately following the Iranian hostage crises to have concluded, rightly or wrongly, that a toppling of Iraq by Iran would probably not be a positive development.

>>If Saddam has these onerous weapons and the UN feels it necessary to do something, let them agree and act.

Yes, just like it agreed and acted in Srebrinica and Rwanda, right?



Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

May your God help you.

Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

As one Ms. Austen once said, "Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?"

You, sir seem to be WRONG. If so many people believe this idiocy, then perhaps, you need to stop trying to convince yourself you are right and so many others are wrong.

I am unsure if the policy outlined in the article would work. What is certain is that the policy heretofore carried out has been a total failure.

After decades of getting it wrong, is it not time to try something else? We seem to be negotiationg with the madmene in Pyongyang who are spreading WMD everywhere and making nuclear ones under our noses, whilst attacking Iraq who MAY someday do these awfull deeds.

What's wrong with this picture?

Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

Mr Tabaska,

Well, no, the petition does not call for stopping US support for Israel. Read it again. It calls for ‘Ending one-sided support for Israel in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict’ and calls for a more balanced approach. Yours, I am afraid, was but another typical conservative knee-jerk reaction when faced with logical dissent.

As for Israel being a true democracy, one has to look deeply at the situation there to understand that it is a military-run system that holds elections to determine which general or retired general to elect.

Gus Moner - 12/21/2002

One gets rather tired of the same old rehash of right wing, neo-fascist militaristic rhetoric about the US being right and everyone else being wrong. The US has aligned itself with just as many or more unsavoury dictators in the past, who have all had the same moral support on campuses, economic support in business and political support from the turgid smoke-filled back rooms of government.

Can you easily forget Pinochet, Varela, Batista, Trujillo, Franco, the Sha of Iran, sundry Vietnamese and Cambodian luminaries in the 60’s and 70’s, Noriega in Panama, Marcos in the Philippines, Sudharto in Indonesia? Even now we are allied with a military dictator in Pakistan and not long ago Saddam was our moderate in the Arab world. Get off your cloud and look at how the world really is instead of complaining as a knee jerk reaction about everything you dislike.

If Saddam has these onerous weapons and the UN feels it necessary to do something, let them agree and act. Meanwhile, I can do without all the babble and tension being produced by the threatening, nay, bullying Bushmen in power, treating war as if it were a game, using weapons as toys, with lip service but no real concern for the victims and the destruction they are planning to unleash.

The hermint under the rock - 12/21/2002

The signers of this petition believe that their ideas are relevant and important ideas for others to be aware of. They do not claim that their beliefs are absolute truths!Are they not allowed to hold these beliefs?

The responders to this posting remind me of my jr. high school students who forgot to take their ridilin!They use foul language which will result in no critical dialogue with the signers. Several resort to violent epithets and verbal assaults (I do believe that assault is crime).

Shame, shame on them. They are quick to label the signers all as one type of political/social group, suggesting that "Left" or its derivations are pejorative terms. They dissent. What is wrong with dissent?Those on the political right dissent all the time.Would the responders suggest that a "bomb" be place in their rectums as well?

Goodness! I have, in the past, suggested to my students to read this website for critical dialogue on important historical issues and I believe I must rethink this quickly. Resolving conflicts with ones fists (bombs, threats of violence, etc.)is not what I want to teach America's children, and I do not think it is what most parents wish us to be teaching. We teach our youths conflict resolution in school, yet what role models in the "adult world" exist today?!? Not any of the responders to this posting demonstrate a developed sense of conflict resolution.

I will not weigh-in on the Iraq or Israel issues, for now, as it seems none who have responded to this posting are able to sustain a critical dialogue.But simply put, all parties perpetuate the problem, this includes U.S.A. and its allies. Who among us is innocent? Certainly not any of the responders to this posting. Lastly, as I am sure these comments will result in a few who will be quick to label me, I say you do not know my military background or combat experience, so please do not assume I have never had to fight.

Throwing stones...
hermit under the rock, teacher U.S.A.

Mega Dodo - 12/20/2002

And free weed for everyone! Getting a wicked buzz is a human right, and only Amerikkka's war on drugs stands in the way of a new, democratic, womynconciousness

therealprogressive - 12/20/2002

Ah yes, the tired double standard of the Left. I really cannot for the life of me understand how the people on this list can look at themselves in the mirror. This is the typical: "imperialist US foreign policy" chant while of course looking the other way at criminals like Pol Pot, Castro and the grandaddy of them all the Sudanese regime and of course doing this from the comfort of offices in the heart of tat "imperialist regime". Why are there no petitions against a government that has slaughtered 2 million people since 1982 and continues to sell kids into slavery?
I believe that the old adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" applies. Like the brutal Communist dictatorial regimes who committed horrible atrocities, Sudan must be allowed to continue it's holocaust of Christians and Animsts, because like the Communist regime, Sudan shares one important characteristic: a healthy hatred of the US. And now we come back to the people on this list, opportunists without scruples. They will continue to ignore Sudanese atrocities because hey you don't step on the toes of your best friends. Please, continue to align yourself with Sudan, Saddam and Palestinian homicide bombers, you will push the far Left even further down the road of history's forgotten lies.

Danny - 12/20/2002

To all of the above list of signers:

Let me tell you a tale: back in early 20th century Europe there were a group of people. These people, for the most part, were successfull, contributers to culture, caring, innovative, artful and full of life. All they wanted to do was live their lives in free society. When the economy started to sputter the people of society grew restless. They started to blame all their woes on the above group. Then a man came to power. He said to society: "all of our troubles are because of this group of people". The group said and did nothing. A few saw this evil and left. Most stayed with the hope that it would just "go away". When society started gathering this group and shipping them away again, the group did nothing. Some said "oh, they won't come and get me". They were wrong. Alas, there were none of this group of people left.

All of you above signers remind me so much of the same group of people. I pity you. Especially Rabbi Wolf. You of all people should know evil, stand up, and say: "Never Again!"

But have no worries. The majority of the American people are not with you, as they never are. We will stand up and fight, for liberty and for freedom and not as you may accuse, imperialism.

We will protect you. And we will protect you right, as Americans to protest and appease. Please remeber the above little tale the next time you meet.

Dave Tabaska - 12/20/2002

Interesting to see that the petition calls for policies that would "...honestly and consistently foster democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere." Yet, they propose to stop U.S. support for Israel, the one true democracy in the region. Should we support freely elected governments only when they are hostile to the U.S.?

craig luthr - 12/20/2002

Dear Sir,

My suggestion: Why don't you all sit around in a circle -- naked -- singing "Kumbya" while gently fondling one another's genitial.

And after our wonderful U.S. military fires a GBU-31 JDAM up Saddam's ass, I hope we fire one up each of your ass holes.

My very best,

Craig Luther

Sean Roper - 12/19/2002

That pretty much sums up the entire left. You people are full of liars and whacked-out-of-your-minds conspiracy theorists. You would make me laugh if so many people didn't believe the idiocy that comes from your borg-like collective.

Tony Luke - 12/19/2002

"We refuse to accept the inevitability of war on Iraq ... we declare our commitment to work with others in this country and abroad to avert it. And if war should start, we will do all in our power to end it immediately."

I certainly hope you guys don't intend to resort to violence, terrorism, sabotage, and subversion in order to reach this goal.

Richard Aarons - 12/18/2002

Thank G*d you dimwits do not control the government of the United States. I'm positive if you did it would ne this nation's un-doing. The Arab mind knows one things. Power
Until you study history and learn its lessons, you will be doomed. Viva George Bush!

Richard Aarons

James Singer - 12/18/2002

Do you people actually believe the shit you're shoveling??

Al Czervikjr - 12/18/2002

It is rather interesting that the "democratic" foreign policy alternatives advocated by this group -- such as the withdrawal of US troops from the Middle East, the end of UN sanctions against Iraq, and the end of US "complicity" with Israel in the West Bank/Gaza and with Russia in Chechnya (?)-- are virtually identical to those demanded by bin Laden and Al-Queda.

Suetonius - 12/18/2002

"If the U.S. were to initiate a democratic foreign policy and take serious steps toward disarmament, it would be able to encourage global disarmament as well as regional demilitarization in the Middle East."

Unilateral disarmament and withdrawal from the Near East might well encourage 'global disarmament' and 'regional demilitarization' but the various states in the region would still be just as worried about each other and would maintain military forces to protect themselves. The Saudis and Kuwaitis would still fear the Iraqis, and the Gulf states Iran. India and Pakistan will still hold nuclear weapons against one another, whether the U.S. was involved or not.

Any idea that everyone in the world is just looking for an excuse to disarm and to back down from violence and terrorism if only the U.S. would first is a paternalistic, hegemonic and imperialist view of the world that imposes our worldview, morals and outlook on people of other cultures.

mark safranski - 12/17/2002

A pro-forma statement of opposition to Saddam Hussein does little to disguise that the effect of these policies, should they be enacted, would be to arm and strengthen sordid dictatorships like Hussein's Baathist regime - dictatorships that the American hard left consistently aligns itself with time and again. Hussein, Milosevic, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Mao ZeDong all found moral support to be had on campus and in the turgid salons of the American literati