When Soldiers Refuse to Soldier On

News Abroad

Ms. Rosen is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and former Professor of History at the University of California Davis.

PRESIDENT BUSH is busily trying to convince Americans that the war in Iraq is a phenomenal success. Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes found that half of the troops described their unit's morale as low and a third complained that their mission had little or no value. Many viewed themselves as sitting ducks, rather than soldiers engaged in war.

Last year, I heard a historian describe the Iraq war as Vietnam on crack cocaine. It was an apt comment. It took years, not months, before large numbers of civilians and soldiers questioned the sanity and cost of that war.

This time, the anti-war movement started before the invasion of Iraq. It may not be long before GIs refuse to follow orders or ask for discharges based on their conscientious objection to the occupation.

Many groups are supporting such dissatisfaction among the troops, including Veterans for Peace and Veterans for Common Sense. Some of the most anguished opposition appears on Web sites created by"Military Families Speak Out" and"Bring Them Home Now."

Also drawing attention is an"Open Letter to Soldiers Who are Involved in the Occupation of Iraq" posted Sept. 19 on the Internet by two men who know about refusing military orders.

James Skelly, now a senior fellow at the Baker Institute for Peace Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, was a lieutenant in the Navy during the '60s. Rather than serve in Vietnam, he applied for a discharge based on his conscientious objection to the war. When the Pentagon refused his application, he sued Defense Secretary Melvin Laird for being illegally held by the military and became a West Coast founder of the Concerned Officer Movement.

Guy Grossman is a graduate student in philosophy at Tel-Aviv University who serves as a second lieutenant in the Israeli reserve forces. He is one of the founders of"Courage to Refuse," a group of more than 500 soldiers who have refused to serve in the Occupied Territories for conscientious reasons.

"We write this letter," the two begin,"because we have both been military officers during conflicts that descended into a moral abyss and from which we struggled to emerge with our humanity intact." Addressing the terror and moral anguish faced by soldiers who cannot distinguish friend from foe, they write,"From time to time . . . some of you may want to take revenge for the deaths of your fellow soldiers." But they urge soldiers"to step back from such sentiments because the lives of innocent people will be placed at further risk, and your very humanity itself will be threatened."

They explain how soldiers can legally express their moral objections, but also warn of the physical dangers and social consequences that can result from open opposition to the occupation.

Knowing the cost of war to the human heart, they end with these words:"Regardless of what you decide, it is our fervent desire that. . . you ultimately return to your homes with your humanity enriched, rather than diminished."

Reached in Denmark, Skelly told me that although soldiers have not yet responded to the letter, some family members have replied quite favorably. One mother thanked him and wrote,"We are passing it around and surely many copies will find their way into Iraq." The sister of a Navy weapons officer explained why, after nine years in the service, her brother resigned his commission after his application for conscientious objection was denied."Because of all the reasons you describe; I hope some soldiers will hear you and Guy Grossman -- and their own consciences."

"These families know their loved ones are fodder," said Skelly. The question is: What will happen when soldiers say the same thing?

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Lloyd Drako - 11/9/2003

9 Democrats challenging Bush, none of them as yet shot while trying to escape, books by the likes of Al Franken and Michael Moore topping sales lists, frequent public announcements that the President is losing suppost. . . . I think we've a way to go before I have to try to fit into that old brown shirt again.

Lloyd Drako - 11/9/2003

Ibelieve it was Stalin's successors who murdered Beria, not Stalin.

Thomas Hagedorn - 11/8/2003

This right-winger would vote for Andrew Jackson, the first Democrat. He balanced the budget, refunded a huge surplus to the states in 1836 or 1837, which many of them used to start the first public school systems (called the common schools). He famously fought the 2nd Bank of the United States (Dr. Milton Friedman would probably have agreed with him on that. He fought for limited government AND for the common man, which many liberals claim to champion. He wasn't really a King, but the Whigs called him King Andrew derisively, does that count?

Any other nominations for King?

By the way, if you go back to the intellectual history of the revolution, our President basically stands in for the King in the British "mixed" government system. The idea was to balance off the power of the "one" (the King), the "few" (the aristocracy, represented by the House of Lords) and the "many" (commoners, represented by the House of Commons). It's a great country, don't you think?

Thomas Hagedorn - 11/7/2003

As much as you and others may think and hope Iraq is another Vietnam, it is not. Sorry, you will have to hope for some other disaster to befall the US. Meanwhile, don't you think the Democrats are just a little worried that they are perceived as rooting against the US (Iraq, economy) instead of wanting the best for us? The 9 dwarfs are all carping on Iraq, but not one is calling for a pull-out? The 9 dwarfs are all telling us how horrible the economy is, when the 7.2% GDP growth for the last quarter was the best in 19 years! Polls show Americans trust Bush and the Republicans on national defense and the economy much more than the Democrats. Young adults back Bush with higher numbers than the public at large. (Looks like its time for some more teach-ins!)

Jerry West - 11/7/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

One can have "too many" members retained if they are in the wrong career field or wrong pay grades. If too many E-7s or O-4s enlist, you get a top-heavy command structure.


Yes, but it seems that the Army downsized its retention requirements to match the interest in re-upping. Nothing in the article suggested that their were too many soldiers. How do you explain the quote from the Army saying that their retention goals for careerists was unobtainable?

Unless the military has changed radically since my time those in ranks E-7 and above, even E-6, are in for a career, particularly if they are not on their first hitch. When they start bailing out the key question is what is wrong.

As for O-4s, they do not re-enlist or even enlist, they are not enlisted. And a person at O-4 rank is or used to be on a career track, O-3 was normally where the one termers got out. If O-4s and above are bailing out short of 20 without being forced out, ask the same question as above. Of course the article did not address the officer issue, who knows what it is?


The essential point is that there is balance. The desired numbers change as the force structure evolves. An army needed to fight the Warsaw Pact will have a different structure than one pacifying the Sunni Triangle. That is why the numbers continue to change.


And the Army is currently short handed as it is and begging for foreign troops to augument US commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. If Canada and the other countries cut back in Afghanistan the US would be in sewage over its head. Even now they are increasing the commitment of National Guard and Reserves to long terms for the conquest and occupation. This increased use of reserve forces for overseas duty indicates an understaffed regular force. Why would they be revising retention numbers down instead of increasing them? It also seems that they are preparing to re-ignite the draft, not the move of a country that has too many people in military service.

There needs to be a lot more research done than this simple Stars & Stripes article to ascertain the state of the military.


Mr. West, I'm sorry you are put off by a $5,000 signing bonus. Such things are quite common....


Who said that I was put off, you read a lot into what I say. Truth be known I, too, was once a recipient of such a bonus. That does not make them something other than a type of bribe, particularly when the danger level is increased.

You make lecture on bonuses all you want, but doing so is simply attempting to make a mountain out of a mole hill.


Not bad for an all-volunteer force in wartime.


I have yet to see a declaration of war. Would you be referring to the war between terrorists? :)

Alec Lloyd - 11/7/2003

One can have "too many" members retained if they are in the wrong career field or wrong pay grades. If too many E-7s or O-4s enlist, you get a top-heavy command structure.

The essential point is that there is balance. The desired numbers change as the force structure evolves. An army needed to fight the Warsaw Pact will have a different structure than one pacifying the Sunni Triangle. That is why the numbers continue to change.

Mr. West, I'm sorry you are put off by a $5,000 signing bonus. Such things are quite common and in key specialties can run much higher. During the 1990s, bonuses of up to $20,000 were being paid to soldiers in certain fields. Were we on the brink of dissolution while in garrison?

Soldiering is both a patriotic and economic proposition. Having talked to a few reservists, a bonus is a powerful tool to push someone reconsidering getting out to stay in. These aren't offered to screw-ups, either. In the civilian world, talented employees are often offered pay incentives to prevent them from taking their skills elsewhere. Why should the military be any different?

Civilian life has many things to recommend it, not the least of which is that you get paid better, don't have to salute anyone, keep in shape, wake up early and get your hair cut. Some of those 10-year veterans are probably thinking "Gee, I could grow A BEARD!"

A bonus offers yet another reason to stay.

If you require further proof, the Navy has also exceeded its goals, and in fact is forcing some sailors in unneeded ratings to either change jobs or leave altogether.

Not bad for an all-volunteer force in wartime.

Barbara Cornett - 11/7/2003


Barbara Cornett - 11/7/2003

Our Place in the World: Wall more about control than security


Expatriate Israelis, and Americans sympathetic to the Israeli cause, complain about the U.S. media's "anti-Israeli bias." Indeed, upon arriving from Israel last year, the image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict portrayed by U.S. media appeared to me so distorted as to be almost unrecognizable. But the direction of the distortion was rather surprising.

This is the image I keep receiving here: On one side is a democracy stuck in an impossible region and trying to make the best of it. On the other is a demonic entity called the Palestinian Authority, whose heads seem bent on continuing to terrorize Israel's defenseless civilians. Everything Israel's army does is clearly out of self-defense, and as long as there's terror, there's justification to do even more.

How odd, I tell myself. This is exactly the worldview I've been spoon-fed by my establishment and education system from the day I remember myself.

The only true part in this image is that my compatriots in Israel are at risk of terror attacks. All the rest is blatantly false. For starters, the Palestinian Authority is a powerless, almost meaningless body, whose leaders cannot cross the street in Ramallah without permission from an Israeli soldier. Even at its heyday, the authority's power relative to Israel's was akin to that of the King County Council compared with the U.S. government. This little piece of knowledge alone collapses the entire image. It also raises serious suspicions as to who has been shaping the current reality.

That is not all: The ongoing "security fence" project is presented here as a defense measure and claims against it are made to sound as whining. Reporters fail to tell us that this is not a fence but a huge system of walls and ditches. Masked by a clever campaign of deceit, this system is gradually crisscrossing the Palestinian heartland. It rips apart some Palestinian towns and encroaches on the outskirts of others. Were the American public presented with pictures of the massive walls and fences already surrounding the town of Kalkilia, many might wonder whether this is about security or about repression and control.

Millions of Americans now sense the frustration of having their genuine concerns for security abused by officials with hidden agendas, with the willing cooperation of mass media. I have lived practically all my life in this frustration. In the '80s I served in Lebanon, believing there was "no choice." Time and again I was a soldier in the Occupied Territories, depriving Palestinians of their basic rights. The excuse was that "we don't want to do it" but "the Arab culture is different" and we have to "wait until they mature." After long years I've learned to know better, but many people will never forgive me for speaking out loud. Does any of this sound familiar?

My army's current philosophy is that making Palestinian civilians suffer somehow will prevent terror, and so it is a worthwhile "price to pay." But what is the price and who pays?

A few brave Israeli journalists keep us informed. They write about towns and villages that have become open-air prisons, about the daily death of babies, the sick and the elderly due to prevention of medical care, about devastating poverty and malnutrition, about the fears and traumas of Palestinian children robbed of their childhood. The conclusion from their writing is inescapable: The terrible Palestinian suicide bombings are, first and foremost, the result of Palestinian civilization disintegrating under the pressure of Israel's army.

If only a fraction of these stories appear in America, not as contentious "allegations" but with the indisputable credibility that these journalists have earned, the public's entire perspective might change. Here, away from the stress, fear and hatred experienced by Israelis, people would be free to see that my army's policy is not only morally forbidden; it is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. The major force driving the mysterious "cycle of violence" would be exposed. Ask any American journalist on the ground in the Occupied Territories, and they'll confirm what's written here. But their employers back in America, home of the brave, are afraid.

More Israeli essayists warn that the Israeli civilization, too, is on the verge of collapse. What would such a collapse look like? God knows. When the region's top military power starts losing it, anything might happen. The U.S. media must now let the truth from the Holy Land be heard loud and clear, even if it means receiving well-orchestrated campaigns of angry letters. Believe it or not, time is running out for the Jews and Palestinians living there.

Assaf Oron, who is doing graduate studies in Seattle, is an Israeli human rights activist and conscientious objector. Submissions for Our Place in the World can be e-mailed to editpage@seattlepi.com; faxed to 206-448-8184 or mailed to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, P.O. Box 1909, Seattle, WA 98111-1909


Barbara Cornett - 11/7/2003

"What's gonna happen with Feith?”

That, in a nutshell, is the question of the month for the Washington cognoscenti trying to figure out whether a major shift in the Bush administration's unilateralist and ultra-hawkish foreign policy is or is not underway.

The reference is to Douglas Feith, the administration's rather obscure but nonetheless strategically placed undersecretary of defense for policy, who reports directly to deputy secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld.

If the administration is looking for a scapegoat for the situation it faces in Iraq, Feith is the most likely candidate both because of his relative obscurity compared to other administration hawks and the fact that, of virtually all of them, his ideas – particularly on the Middle East – might be the most radical.

A protégé of Richard Perle, the former chairman of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board (DPB) who stands at the center of the neo-conservative foreign-policy network in Washington, Feith has long opposed territorial compromise by Israel.

He was an outspoken foe of the Oslo process and even the Camp David peace agreement mediated by former President Jimmy Carter between Egypt and Israel. His former law partner, L. Marc Zell, is a spokesman for the Jewish settlers' movement on the occupied West Bank.

But, more to the point, virtually everything that has gone wrong in Iraq – especially those matters that Congress is either investigating or is poised to probe – is linked directly to his office. "All roads lead to Feith," noted one knowledgeable administration official this week.

His now-defunct Office of Special Plans (OSP) is alleged to have collected – often with the help of the neo-conservatives' favorite Iraqi exile, Ahmed Chalabi – and "cooked" the most alarmist prewar intelligence against Saddam Hussein and then "stovepiped" it to the White House via Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, unvetted by the intelligence agencies.

It was also his office that was in charge of postwar planning, and rejected the product of months of work by dozens of Iraqi exiles and Mideast experts in the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who anticipated many of the problems that have wrong-footed the occupation.

The OSP also excluded many top Mideast experts from the State Department from playing any role in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq.

And it is Feith's office that, with the CPA, recommended companies for huge, and in some cases no-bid, contracts in Iraq that have amounted, in the eyes of some critical lawmakers, to flagrant profiteering.

Among the firms that have profited most are those whose consultants or officers also serve on the Pentagon's DPB, members of which are chosen by Feith.

In a particularly provocative move that raises a host of conflict-of-interest questions, Feith's former partner Zell has set up shop with Chalabi's nephew in Baghdad to help interested companies win contracts for reconstruction projects.

"Until they get rid of Feith, no one is going to believe that the administration is seriously reassessing its policies," one congressional aide whose boss has been a strong critic of Bush's policy in Iraq, told IPS.

There are hints that Feith has seen his authority dwindle since the first half of October, when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice announced that she would head a new interagency Iraq Stabilization Group (ISG).

The move appeared designed not only to give the appearance that the White House was taking control of a situation that had contributed to a precipitous decline in Bush's approval ratings, but also to ensure that the Pentagon could no longer simply ignore other bureaucracies, Rice included, as it had for much of the past year.

Creation of the ISG followed growing public criticism, even by otherwise loyal Republican lawmakers, of the administration's failure to anticipate postwar problems. It came soon after the appointment of former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill – who was Rice's boss on the National Security Council (NSC) in the first Bush administration – to a special, high-ranking NSC post.

Other hints that Feith's and other hawks' grip on policy has been loosened came in the form of a distinct softening of the rhetoric against the other two members of the "axis of evil" – Iran and North Korea.

Then, last week a top Feith aide, former assistant defense secretary for international security policy J.D. Crouch II, abruptly resigned his position without explanation.

There have been unconfirmed reports that top White House officials decided two months ago that Feith had to go, but were then dissuaded by Rumsfeld who argued that his departure would be seen as an admission that things had gone seriously wrong in Iraq.

It was in that context, according to these reports, that the administration moved to quietly reduce Feith's authority, in part by creating the ISG.

Like his mentor Perle, Feith has long been a hard-liner on foreign policy and arms control. He was an outspoken opponent of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Chemical and Biological Weapons conventions, which he criticized as ineffective and dangerous to US interests.

Among other clients, his law firm represented arms giants Lockheed-Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Also like Perle, Feith has long taken a strong interest in Israel and its security. His father, Dalck Feith, a philanthropist and major Republican contributor from Philadelphia, was active in the militantly Zionist youth movement Betar, the predecessor of Israel's Likud Party, in Poland before World War II.

Both father and son have been honored by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which, unlike other mainstream Jewish groups in the United States, has consistently supported Likud positions and the settlement movement in the occupied territories and actively courted the Christian Right.

Feith also served with Perle on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a think tank that promotes military and strategic ties between the United States and Israel.

Feith first entered government as a Middle East specialist on the National Security Council (NSC) under Ronald Reagan in 1981, but was abruptly fired after only one year. Perle, who was then serving in the Pentagon as assistant secretary of defense for international security, hired him as his deputy, a post he retained until leaving in 1986 to found Feith & Zell.

Three years later, Feith was retained as a lobbyist by the Turkish government and, in that capacity, worked with Perle to build military ties between Turkey and Israel.

In 1996, he participated in a study group chaired by Perle and sponsored by a right-wing Jerusalem-based think tank that produced a report calling for incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to build a strategic alliance with Turkey, Jordan, and a new government in Iraq that would transform the balance of power in the Middle East in such a way that Israel could decisively resist pressure to trade "land for peace" with the Palestinians or Syria.

In 1997, he published a lengthy article, "A Strategy for Israel," in Commentary magazine, Feith argued that Israel should repudiate the Oslo accords and move to reoccupy those parts of the West Bank and Gaza that had been transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

Two years later, he and Perle signed an open letter to President Bill Clinton calling for Washington to work with Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) to oust Saddam Hussein.

In May 2000, they signed a report calling for the United States to be prepared to attack Syria militarily unless Damascus failed to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.


Jerry West - 11/7/2003

I am not sure that Alec's article is a good indication of support any more than the other one is an indication of collapsing morale.

Lets look at it:

"Of those, Vales said, 1,955 soldiers re-enlisted at the last minute, taking advantage of an 11th-hour $5,000 bonus offered in the last two weeks of the fiscal year."

$5,000 is key here, read bribe since the anticipated numbers were not coming in on their own.

"This year’s re-enlistment success comes after the Army dropped its goals twice over the past 12 months. Initially, Army officials had tasked retention noncommissioned officers to keep 57,000 soldiers from getting out of the Army."

Now we are meeting goals because we dropped them to meet not what we need but what we can get.

"“The goal for careerists was totally unattainable,” said Sgt. Maj. Luis Santos Jr., referring to the re-enlistment quota for soldiers who had already spent 10 years in uniform and are widely considered the easiest to persuade to re-enlist because they’re over the halfway hump to a 20-year retirement."

Something is wrong when people closing in on retirement start bailing out, as this indicates.

"“We had to reduce the mission at that point because otherwise we were going to be overstrength by the end of the year,” said Vales."

Overstrength in relation to what? From the previous part of the story it seems overstrength according to significantly reduced goals rather than actual needs.

"Units based overseas — in Europe and the Pacific — were among the biggest contributors to the re-enlistment success,.... about one of every four took advantage of a re-enlistment option that allows the soldier to stay in Europe for another tour, according to Santos.

Santos credits USAREUR’s success largely on a positive command climate and the lure of European culture."

In other words many who did re-enlist did so in a way to avoid duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hardly an endorsement for military support of those operations.

Not mentioned in the article is the retention rate for first term enlistees and officers, the rate of new recruitment, and the rate of retention in the National Guard.

It may well be that there is a significantly different mood in the country and military today than there was on December 8, 1941. More facts would give us a better picture.

Jerry West - 11/7/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

Come on, Mr. West. If you are going to argue that Ronald Reagan poses the same threat to world security from his hospital bed that Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro do, you have undermined your own case.


Did I say that RR posed a threat to world security? I think the issue was crimes against humanity, not current threats to security. Two different subjects.


The Green River Killer has in fact killed recently, and should rightfully be brought to justice. From what you have said, however, our finite law enforcement resources would be better used hunting down symbolic perpetrators rather than actual murderers. I simply cannot agree.


Symbolic perpetrators instead of actual perpetrators? Sounds like an apology for those criminals whose targets you dislike. I would rather see justice applied equally, regardless of political persuasion.

The first step for any country to be honest about this is to clean its own house first, and it should be the most powerful countries that lead the way by setting the example.


Nothing the ICC or its member nations have done .... (yadda, yadda, yadda)


I may be wrong but it seems to me that the ICC has just been established and is still gearing up. Perhaps your judgement is premature?

The fact remains that without a world body with authority that overrides that of any individual country, including the US, we are not going to advance the cause of democracy and human rights beyond that of internally in competing nation states. The world is too close and crowded for that model to continue.

The current path of the US is not for democracy and freedom, but world domination on terms dictated by the US. In the end it will not succeed, but pursuing it for years or decades or even centuries will cause countless incidents of death and destruction. Why not break the mold and do something better?

Jerry West - 11/7/2003

Bingo. Jonathan hits the mark. Fat chance we will see much openness soon, however. Seems that this administration prefers to cover up history rather than expose it to critical review.

Alec Lloyd - 11/7/2003

Apparently the wishful thinking in this article hasn't reached the troops yet. The army reports exceeding its retention goals:


Alec Lloyd - 11/7/2003

Come on, Mr. West. If you are going to argue that Ronald Reagan poses the same threat to world security from his hospital bed that Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro do, you have undermined your own case.

The Green River Killer has in fact killed recently, and should rightfully be brought to justice. From what you have said, however, our finite law enforcement resources would be better used hunting down symbolic perpetrators rather than actual murderers. I simply cannot agree.

Nothing the ICC or its member nations have done would lead a rational person to conclude that they are interested in apprehending current war criminals. Belgium's botched effort to indict our generals is the case in point.

Indeed, if the ICC wanted to burnish its credentials and win American support, why wouldn't it go after the Mugabes of the world, tyrants of truly monstrous character who hands are drenched in blood and who continue to kill daily?

Instead, it indicts aged invalids whose culpability is still a matter of debate and whose conviction would do more to buttress domestic political arguments than save lives or benefit humanity.

If one wants examples of inept diplomacy, the ICC is in a class all of its own.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/7/2003

Mr. Thomas,

While I agree that the opening of former Soviet archives is and should change our historical perception, a final, and properly balanced, understanding of the 20th century must await access to equivalent US records. We also need an historian capable of integrating both sets of historiographies into a single narrative/analysis, one that will likely infuriate partisans on all sides (that may be how we know it's right!).

Jonathan Dresner - 11/7/2003

Ms. Cornett,

I think you underestimate the power of the Irish Lobby in this country: I've lived in Boston, and it's not entirely irrelevant to either local or national politics.

I agree wholeheartedly with your position on alternative energy sources: we should be throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at pure research, applied research and science education in a sustained and public way.

And you will believe what you want to believe about Israel, Zionists, etc. And I'm going to shake my head and ignore you when I can and oppose you when I can't. That's as close to agreement as we're going to get on this subject this week.

Steve Brody - 11/7/2003

Quite right, Josh.

I was wrong to have tagged along on your post. I should have used my own subject line.

Therefore let it be known that my comments with regards to Barbara were in no way triggered by Josh's comments. They were triggered by Barbara's unrelenting denigration of our soldier's education and sophistication. Josh was in no way responsible for them.

Jerry West - 11/6/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

Show me the indictments on Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussain and Hafez Al Assad. Idi Amin died in luxurious exile while the self-appointed "International Court" did nothing.


Well, it is not self appointed, it was created through international agreement, and had not GWB chickened out it would have become law in the US too.

Of course the ICC did nothing in the cases you mention because it did not exist then. I could do things in the future, though it is apparent that the US is not interested in a uniform application of international justice, else it would sign on and put effort into making it work.


When Robert Mugabe is feted in France while charges are contemplated against Tony Blair, the entire concept of international law is revealed as morally bankrupt.


The concept is not bankrupt, the application might be. Why is the US afraid to help fix the application?


Pinochet, Kissinger and Reagan are harmless.


Maybe today, now that they are old and in some cases senile, but their example tells us much about why international justice has not worked well. Along with those you would like to go after, these too should have been cut short and brought to justice.


Using your logic, beat cops should be searching old folks' homes for Prohibition violators while ignoring murderers and rapists roaming the streets. That's a strange defition of "justice."


That is a weird interpretation. In response one could argue that using your logic the Green River Killer, recently apprehended, should be set free since his killings are historic. Silly, eh! :)

Jerry West - 11/6/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

I'm afraid I don't follow you, Mr. West. Are you saying only seasoned soldiers may decide on matters of war and peace?


It helps to have seasoned soldiers on hand when you are deciding such matters. Quite a few seasoned soldiers are in oppostion to this war, and within the inner circle making decisions very little military expertise may be found. Plenty of ideology though.

As you may note both Wilson and FDR stayed out of war initially, unlike the current administration which it appears came into office with a war plan and looking for an excuse to execute it.

You can certainly argue if you want in the former cases that Wilson should have never gone to war at all, and that FDR set up Pearl Harbor to get us into the war.


But even beyond that, I find it strange that people chose to denigrate George W. Bush's military service.


Perhaps you haven't seen the documents. I don't know your credentials, but I can speak as a combat veteran of the war the Mr. Bush evaded. I have no problem with those who evaded that war because the opposed it, or with those who just didn't want to go and ducked out. I do have problem with people who evade war while supporting it, and a real problem with people who push war agendas but haven't the guts to put their own butts on the line.

Learning to fly a jet aircraft is not the same as dodging SAMs over Hanoi or going eye to eye with the NVA in some mud hole in I Corps.


This is why the military gives him a pass but the anti-war left can't.


I would be careful about speaking for THE MILITARY. I know a number of veterans and others who do not give him a pass.


Finally, I must assume that you considered all of Bill Clinton's military decisions equally suspect.


What does Clinton have to do with it?

For the record I am not a Clinton supporter either. But as far as his military record is concerned, he ducked out and left it at that, so what? Maybe the only difference is that he did not get the opportunity to be the sleazeball that GWB is in this area.

Barbara Cornett - 11/6/2003

The money we have given Israel has gone down a black hole and would have been better spent finding alternatives to oil.

I think the money we give to Israel should have conditions attached. There is no excuse for allowing Israel to behave on par with Hitler's Nazi Germany or South Africa during apartiad. They should be forced to abide by international codes of human rights. Given how they behave no one can fault people for thinking they are capable of doing what the FOX report suggested which is knowing what was going to happen on 9-11 and celebrating as they watched. If not for them 9-11 certainly would not have happened and thats a fact.

Having them as a proxy military in the middle east and forcing them to stop oppressing Arabs and make peace are not mutually exclusive. Pandering to their every whim and allowing Sharon his every sick desire is rubbing salt in the wounds of Arabs and creating terrorist enemies against the US unnecessarily.

Presidents before Bush attempted to get Israel to behave like they should but now they are doing things that the US and the UN would object to if any other nation did them. This is completely objectionable and is happening because Zionists control the White House. It is not unbelieveable that Israel did follow Al Queida and wish for them to attack so our hand would be forced.

Israel seems to be out of control and possessed with some kind of madness as they work toward a greater Israel. If we could extract ourselves from the region then I would be content to let them do whatever they want and let the Arabs deal with them. I resent being over there and our dependence on the oil. If oil men and Zionists were not in the WH then maybe we could persue a course of finding alternatives to the oil.

I resent that people run the government whose policies are not at all clear when it comes to who exactly they are running it for. Clearly alternative energy sources are going to have to be found and the sooner the better. Delaying the inevitable and dumping all of our treasury into the middle east is not helping us.

It is obvious that we are in the middle east because of the oil and that in spite of the fact that so many think we protect and support Israel because Jesus was a Jew, if it were not for the oil we would drop Israel like a bowling ball.

If this were Ireland we were talking about we wouldn't even be having this discussion because the US would never sacrifice its own people because of Ireland, we know its a foreign country and the Irish people in US govenrment know it too. The Irish of Ireland do not have powerful groups in the US that lobby on their behalf. If they did I would resent them forcefully because I identify myself fully and completely as a citizen of the United States of America and no other country and do not believe it is appropriate for our government to serve the interests of foreign countries.

Given the rising power of China, Japan and EU and the declining economic power of the US, evidently it was thought to be necessary to seize the world's oil supply to maintain our economic supremacy. Its not working because we are bankrupting ourselves and Russia is trading in EU dollars.

The best course would be alternative sources of energy and leaving the oil where it is. Force Israel to make peace and get out of the middle east. What forces keep us on the course we are taking?

Josh Greenland - 11/6/2003


Josh Greenland - 11/6/2003

My thoughts about Barbara Cornett's post on the intellectual abilities of people in the military are my own, and were not intended to trigger personal vilification of her, as in Mr. Brody's post above.

I share no common ground with Mr. Brody on this issue. He and I are not in agreement.

Alec Lloyd - 11/6/2003

Show me the indictments on Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussain and Hafez Al Assad. Idi Amin died in luxurious exile while the self-appointed "International Court" did nothing.

It isn't this "current crop" Mr. West. The human rights community has utterly abandoned all of its moral capital by pursuing its domestic political opponents with greater zeal than true criminals. When Robert Mugabe is feted in France while charges are contemplated against Tony Blair, the entire concept of international law is revealed as morally bankrupt.

I'll make you a deal: you can go after Reagan when Khaddafi, Assad, Hussein and Castro are behind bars. They have more blood on their hands by far and continue to kill every day. Pinochet, Kissinger and Reagan are harmless.

Using your logic, beat cops should be searching old folks' homes for Prohibition violators while ignoring murderers and rapists roaming the streets. That's a strange defition of "justice."

Alec Lloyd - 11/6/2003

I'm afraid I don't follow you, Mr. West. Are you saying only seasoned soldiers may decide on matters of war and peace? Using your logic, Woodrow Wilson and FDR would have had to resign (perhaps in favor of Pershing or MacArthur?) because, since they hadn't been soldiers, they weren't qualified to lead in times of war.

But even beyond that, I find it strange that people chose to denigrate George W. Bush's military service. He was a qualified fighter pilot. Say what you will about the Air National Guard, it's pilots are trained by the USAF. No amount of favoritism or birth will save you at Mach 2 when a red warning light goes on. People who volunteer for the intensive and demanding training necessary for to fly a fighter deserve respect, whether or not they see combat.

This is why the military gives him a pass but the anti-war left can't. For the Left, anyone who hasn't got a necklace of VC ears must be a hypocrite if they advocate military action. For the rest of the country, the question of war and peace is properly considered on its own merits.

Finally, I must assume that you considered all of Bill Clinton's military decisions equally suspect.

Starship Troopers, here we come!

Josh Greenland - 11/6/2003

And there it is at the end of the pamphlet as you said. Thank you for locating and posting this.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/6/2003

Ms. Cornett,

No, Ockham's Razor strongly suggests that the Israelis, like every other person with a camera in New York, pointed it WTC-wards when they realized something was happening. Ockham's razor suggests that the Israelis probably recognized the likely impact of the event; Ockham's razor suggests that in the event of an Israeli plot, the people they sent out to take pictures would not be the ones who actually knew what was going on. Ockham's razor suggests that the people who claimed credit for the attack were actually the ones who carried it out.

Frankly, yes, I don't think Ariel Sharon is clever or creative enough to think up this plan, and if he did, the likelihood that it would have succeeded would be nil. He's just not that good. As for the theory that the Israelis knew about the plot but didn't act to prevent it, that also fails Ockham's test, because preventing such an attack would be almost as effective as letting it happen, plus making the US directly grateful to Israel for its assistance.

I'm the wrong person to ask about the benefits of our policy in Iraq (though that hasn't stopped you before). I think it has much more to do with strategic resources and regions than it has to do with benefiting Israel. I think Israel has long been a US pawn, our best ally and distraction in the Middle East, and the US has gotten its money's worth from the support it's given Israel.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

My negetive comments about Israel are the result of what they are doing that I believe is wrong. People who defend them no matter what they do are acting reflexively. They should be treated according to their behavior and not given special treatment. Israel is a foreign country and should be treated no differently then the Arab states surrounding it. Unless you can tell me why it should get special treatment? Why? Why not hold them to standards of international behavior?

Another reason I make negetive comments about them is because I do not want the US to end up being like the middle east where there is continual killing and people have to fear acts of terrorism. Giving Israel our support and refusing to acknowledge their wrongs has caused the US to become a target of terrorists. I am not willing to allow that to happen because of our blind and unfair support of Israel.

Every US citizen should think about what is best for our country and for our people. We have no obligation to put Israel first! Giving them billions of dollars every year should come with demands that they make peace and obey UN Resolutions and behave according to acceptable international behavior.

Characterizing our withdrawal from the rearrangement of the middle east as 'cut and run' is misrepresenting the facts. We should never have been there in the first place. Israel should make peace with the Palestinians and their refusal to do so because they know the US will support them is exactly the cause of the dilemma in the middle east.

You act as tho there is something wrong being done by anyone who would dare question Israel. I question Israel. I'll question any nation I feel like questioning. To hell with Israel. My country doesn't exist to serve the whims of Israel or anyone else. If you don't like it tough titty.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Well Mr Dresner given the acts of the Isralies and how they benefit from dragging the US into the middle east, according to Occam's razor it seems to be a fair conclusion that their intellence apparatus is guilty. Would you put it past Ariel Sharon? I wouldn't. The way they have treated the Palestinians and the extent they are going to at the presence certainly makes them look guilty to me. I wouldn't put anything past them.

I would love for you to tell me how the US is better off as a result of our presence in Iraq. Perhaps if I could see the benefit to the US I could understand why we are there.

Why did Bush and the white house have to lie to us in order to take us into Iraq if it was for our benefit?

Israel wanted us over there and even tried to get us to attack Syria.

Explain to me why you think I'm wrong. It seems fairly obvious to me that giving us a reason to go after Arabs would benefit Israel.

Why would FOX report such a thing? The news didn't come from an arab source.

Jerry West - 11/5/2003

I see that your critics are unable to give a point by point refutation of the 14 points and disassociate them from the current adminstration.


Jerry West - 11/5/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

Essentially, the standard of international justice is we throw the book at jaywalkers, but shrug when confronted with murderers and rapists. And people wonder why no one takes it seriously.


When you say no one Alec you really mean the current crop of miscreants in the administration and their sycophants and similar groups in other nations. A lot of people take it seriously, including a number of more progressive and enlightened countries and are working to make it more effective. Whether it works or not when there is so much at stake for the miscreants who also happen to hold considerable power and influence, it is too early to tell.

Granted, Saddam and others you mention should have their day in this court, but so shoulk Kissinger, Reagan, their buddy Pinochet, and a whole raft of others I can mention. The world would be a better place if we could indict and try them all. A big step forward in that direction would be for the US to get on board. The US absence of support is indicative of their fears that their transgressions would have to be addressed, and that they would have to answer to a higher moral authority than their own. One maybe not so good for corporate profit taking.

Jerry West - 11/5/2003

Steve Brody wrote:

Jerry, I think you’re unclear on the issue here.


Depends on which issue you are referring to.


Barbara writes a truly despicable post stating that our soldiers are uneducated, unsophisticated, and uncaring and couldn’t get a real job. I suggest that Barbara is lacking in the common decency department, and you’re going to quibble with me about whether the soldiers were defending their country?


I didn't address Barabara's post, as you may have noticed. But you pointed out that these soldiers were defending their country, a very subjective and highly questionalbe statement, and I took issue with it.

As you may recall, I refuted Barbara's point of view on the composition of our military myself in another post. Unless you really think that she has a good point on this, there is no reason to continue discussing it.

Alec Lloyd wrote:

Try again. That canard has been repeatedly refuted. (re GWB's military service)


Disputed might be a better choice of verbs than refuted. Granted if it were to go to trial he may possibly be acquitted for lack of solid evidence. On the other hand if our system was guilty unless proven innocent then it would go the other way. I haven't seen the proof that would wipe away all reasonable doubt.

It is hard to give this administration much credibilty on military matters or war when for the most part the movers and shakers are also shirkers better known as chicken hawks in this case. Colin Powell is a rare exception. Trusting them to fight a war is like trusting a sous chef to perform open heart surgery.

Stephen Thomas - 11/5/2003

At one time, I believed, as you do, Mr. Dresner that Lyndon Johnson was a "war criminal." And I was a Democrat then, as I am now.

Was even a leader of the antiwar movement.

Upon long reflection, I no longer believe such things, nor do I believe that any U.S. leader can be so indicted. Will think about this and respond at another time. It takes some thought. Two intellectual currents have dominated my thoughts for the past 15 years. One is the demise of the Soviet Union and the opening of the Soviet Archives. Everything that we ever thought has to be measured against this. We discovered that the Soviet Union was even crazier and more criminal than any of the the red baiters had thought possible.

The other was Pope John Paul's visit to Nicaragua in (I believe) 1983. You'll recall that the Pope scolded Ernesto Cardinal, a Catholic priest, for his involvement in the Sandinista government. At that time, I too believed that the Sandinistas offered some hope for change in Central America. John Paul's words, in essence were: "You think you have found the answer in liberation theology. It is just another manifestation of Marxism. I have been through this, and I am telling you that, no matter how great your grievance, the path that you are taking will lead you to much worse."

I am a great admirer of John Paul, and I have been trying to understand his words ever since.

The domestic policies of Johnson and Clinton are like bookends. Johnson was the designer of the Great Society welfare state. Clinton, although his supporters rarely acknowledge this, dismantled most of the worst of the welfare state. At the time that Johnson enacted his policies, I supported them. By the mid-80s, it became apparent that the dependency and illegitimacy of the welfare state was a very destructive influence in the black community and in the black family. As much as I loathe Mr. Clinton's conduct in office, I have to give him credit for reversing this.

Stephen Thomas - 11/5/2003

Haven't heard from you for a long time. Yes, you are right about Ms. Cornett's reflexively negative comments about Israel.

There is a truth here that bears stating: The U.S. is the guarantor of the continued existence of the Israeli state. I think that this is probably a good thing.

It is obvious, however, that those who want to cut and run will see the Israelis as the cause of the U.S. dilemma in the Middle East.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/5/2003

Properly speaking, you should describe her as "nutty as a fruitcake". Fruitcakes themselves are unobjectionable (and make terrible metaphors, though I'm very fond of them with a little whipped cream and a cup of coffee on the side), though it is true that bad fruitcake is worse than many other kinds of bad cake.

What I find really interesting about this is that Ms. Cornett has repeatedly and consistently attacked the US government's policy of long detentions and secret interrogations with regard to mostly innocent Arab citizens and residents, but in the case of Israelis takes it as holy writ evidence of their guilt.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/5/2003

Mr. Thomas,

In the spirit of bipartisanship I would point out that Lyndon Johnson is widely viewed by "the left" as being a perpetrator of an unjust and unnecessary war. And I've never accepted the post-1991 sanctions regime against Iraq, mostly carried out under Clinton, as being anything but an undeclared and abominable war against the people of Iraq. (Nor am I alone in this, though you do have to look pretty far left to find it.)

As much as I am a fan of the domestic policies of Johnson and Clinton, it is hard to define our Iraq or Vietnam policies as war crimes without including them. So I do.

Stephen Thomas - 11/5/2003

You are a master of the leftist purge tactics, Barbara.

Now, repeat after me... Stephen is a registered Democratic. Repeat again. Remember? People can be Democrats and disagree with you. Well, they can now. If you had your way, you'd purge all who... well, you fill in the blanks.

Now, I know that you want to purge all those who are ideological impure. Is that one of the 14 characteristics of fascism?

How do you expect the Democrats to ever win an election using these purge tactics? Let's see, you want to purge anybody who opposes racial and sexual quotas, purge anybody who opposes abortion, purge all Asian women. Any others?

You might want to check out the fate of Lawrence Beria, the chief of Stalin's secret police. He purged and purged and purged and purged, always thinking he would never himself be the subject of the purge. He was wrong. Any historian out there who'd like to remind me of when Stalin had Beria murdered?

Do you hum the Internationale every morning while you brush your teeth? Do you hear radio transmissions through your fillings?

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

The following is from informationclearinghouse website

NOTE: Unconfirmed report

Can any of our Scottish readers verify the following report:

Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes on Libya in the1980's as well as the first Gulf War.

It is thought that the planes have flown on a route from the US over the north pole to bases in Europe and the Mediterranean. The size and scale of the movement suggests that the US may be preparing to strike at a country in the Middle East in the next week to ten days.

I have been getting a lot of email referring to this report. If you have information in relation to the above, please email me at Thank you.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

You've got the republican tactic of personal destruction down pat. why don't you stop attacking me and stick to discussing what I post. How many of the 14 characteristics refer to our nation Steven? Care to talk about that?

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Israel Is Spying In And On The U.S.: This report has been removed from the FOX News web site.

Video & Text

Stephen Thomas - 11/5/2003

Haven't read it in full, but I would assume you are talking about yourself.

You've got the scapegoat one down pat, but you've got more than a few.

Will return at a future date for verification.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, wrote an article about fascism which appeared in Free Inquiry magazine, a journal of humanist thought. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.

The article is "Fascism Anyone?," Lawrence Britt, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidat es, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Waging aggressive war is a war crime. Bush is like Hitler and should be tried at The Hague.

If you disagree then please give the reason why which will be more helpful then talking about boilerplate.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

I personally perfer to be a dark chocolate cake with creamy chocolate frosting. Whatever kind of cake I am has nothing to do with the fact that Israel and our policies toward them has brought Arab terrorists to our shores and made the US a place where terrorist acts happen to innocent people.

The only ones to beneift from our presence in Iraq are Israelies and Zionists.

The people at PNAC stated that we "need a Pearl Harbor" in order to convince the American people to invade Iraq which they had been planning for years.

You have yet to explain why you blindly support Bush and this White House policy of continual war against terrorism which is directed at Zionists and has nothing to do with the people of the United States of America.

The reasonable solution is to change our policy toward Israel and treat Palestinians and Jews equally and fairly.

I do not want to live like they live in the middle east and I do not support having Zionists in control of the White House along with ExxonMobile and Haliburton.

Call me a boston creme pie or a strawberry shortcake or anything else you like but it might also be nice if you resorted to explaining and defending why Bush has our soldiers fighting in Iraq since you think so highly of him and his policies.

Terrorism is not a country or an army. It is people anywhere in the world who do not have a military and who fight against those who do have militaries that target them and their people. You can't defeat terrorism by occupying soverign nations or reacting like Israel.

We controled Iraq's airspace for 10 years and shot down their planes on a regular basis. Now we occupy their country. We have done more harm to them then Saddam ever could have.

Stealing the Iraqi people's oil and turning it over to Shell and ExxonMobile is a funny way to free them. Giving the oil to the oil companies and forcing the American people to pay to rebuild Iraq while Haliburton reaps all of the profits is a hefty price to pay for the freedom of the Iraqi people. I didn't know rightwingers were so concerned about freedom that they would justify so much on the part of the many for so few.

Our soldiers are mercenaries and they should quit and tell bush and PNAC to shove it. Israel is a rouge state and they probably knew that 9-11 was going to happen. Let Israel pay to rebuild Iraq.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

The Pentagon spends millions of dollars recruiting the poor and minorities and there is even a term for it, poverty draft. Put these terms in a google search and read the articles for yourselves.


I am flattered by your ad homin attacks Steven because I see them as attempts to compensate for your inability to make logical, factual arguments against my statements.

The fact is there are thousands of working class and poor soldiers fighting in Iraq for Israel and ExxonMobile and businesses associated with the the Bush, bin laden and Cheney families.

There is not one way in which our families benefit from the agenda of this White House. We get to pay for their business investments with our blood and money while they reap the riches from the plunder of the Iraqi people's oil resources.

Soldiers are within their rights to refuse to fight.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003


Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 ...

Were they part of a massive spy ring which shadowed the 9/11 hijackers and knew that al-Qaeda planned a devastating terrorist attack on the USA? Neil Mackay investigates

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.

Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. To those who have investigated just what the Israelis were up to that day, the case raises one dreadful possibility: that Israeli intelligence had been shadowing the al-Qaeda hijackers as they moved from the Middle East through Europe and into America where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause.

After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: “It’s very good.” Then he corrected himself, adding: “Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans].”

If Israel’s closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world’s only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorists who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second intifada dragged on throughout 2001.

It’s not surprising that the New Jersey housewife who first spotted the five Israelis and their white van wants to preserve her anonymity. She’s insisted that she only be identified as Maria. A neighbour in her apartment building had called her just after the first strike on the Twin Towers. Maria grabbed a pair of binoculars and, like millions across the world, she watched the horror of the day unfold.

As she gazed at the burning towers, she noticed a group of men kneeling on the roof of a white van in her parking lot. Here’s her recollection: “They seemed to be taking a movie. They were like happy, you know ... they didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was strange.”

Maria jotted down the van’s registration and called the police. The FBI was alerted and soon there was a statewide all points bulletin put out for the apprehension of the van and its occupants. The cops traced the number, establishing that it belonged to a company called Urban Moving.

Police Chief John Schmidig said: “We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side. Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down.”

By 4pm on the afternoon of September 11, the van was spotted near New Jersey’s Giants stadium. A squad car pulled it over and inside were five men in their 20s. They were hustled out of the car with guns levelled at their heads and handcuffed.

In the car was $4700 in cash, a couple of foreign passports and a pair of box cutters – the concealed Stanley Knife-type blades used by the 19 hijackers who’d flown jetliners into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon just hours before. There were also fresh pictures of the men standing with the smouldering wreckage of the Twin Towers in the background. One image showed a hand flicking a lighter in front of the devastated buildings, like a fan at a pop concert. The driver of the van then told the arresting officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”

His name was Sivan Kurzberg. The other four passengers were Kurzberg’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were dragged off to prison and transferred out of the custody of the FBI’s Criminal Division and into the hands of their Foreign Counterintelligence Section – the bureau’s anti-espionage squad.

A warrant was issued for a search of the Urban Moving premises in Weehawken in New Jersey. Boxes of papers and computers were removed. The FBI questioned the firm’s Israeli owner, Dominik Otto Suter, but when agents returned to re-interview him a few days later, he was gone. An employee of Urban Moving said his co-workers had laughed about the Manhattan attacks the day they happened. “I was in tears,” the man said. “These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, ‘Now America knows what we go through.’”

Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”.

This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them.

After the owner vanished, the offices of Urban Moving looked as if they’d been closed down in a big hurry. Mobile phones were littered about, the office phones were still connected and the property of at least a dozen clients were stacked up in the warehouse. The owner had cleared out his family home in New Jersey and returned to Israel.

Two weeks after their arrest, the Israelis were still in detention, held on immigration charges. Then a judge ruled that they should be deported. But the CIA scuppered the deal and the five remained in custody for another two months. Some went into solitary confinement, all underwent two polygraph tests and at least one underwent up to seven lie detector sessions before they were eventually deported at the end of November 2001. Paul Kurzberg refused to take a lie detector test for 10 weeks, but then failed it. His lawyer said he was reluctant to take the test as he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.

Nevertheless, their lawyer, Ram Horvitz, dismissed the allegations as “stupid and ridiculous”. Yet US government sources still maintained that the Israelis were collecting information on the fundraising activities of groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Mark Regev, of the Israeli embassy in Washington, would have none of that and he said the allegations were “simply false”. The men themselves claimed they’d read about the World Trade Centre attacks on the internet, couldn’t see it from their office and went to the parking lot for a better view. Their lawyers and the embassy say their ghoulish and sinister celebrations as the Twin Towers blazed and thousands died were due to youthful foolishness.

The respected New York Jewish newspaper, The Forward, reported in March 2002, however, that it had received a briefing on the case of the five Israelis from a US official who was regularly updated by law enforcement agencies. This is what he told The Forward: “The assessment was that Urban Moving Systems was a front for the Mossad and operatives employed by it.” He added that “the conclusion of the FBI was that they were spying on local Arabs”, but the men were released because they “did not know anything about 9/11”.

Back in Israel, several of the men discussed what happened on an Israeli talk show. One of them made this remarkable comment: “The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event.” But how can you document an event unless you know it is going to happen?

We are now deep in conspiracy theory territory. But there is more than a little circumstantial evidence to show that Mossad – whose motto is “By way of deception, thou shalt do war” – was spying on Arab extremists in the USA and may have known that September 11 was in the offing, yet decided to withhold vital information from their American counterparts which could have prevented the terror attacks.

Following September 11, 2001, more than 60 Israelis were taken into custody under the Patriot Act and immigration laws. One highly placed investigator told Carl Cameron of Fox News that there were “tie-ins” between the Israelis and September 11; the hint was clearly that they’d gathered intelligence on the planned attacks but kept it to themselves.

The Fox News source refused to give details, saying: “Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.” Fox News is not noted for its condemnation of Israel; it’s a ruggedly patriotic news channel owned by Rupert Murdoch and was President Bush’s main cheerleader in the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.

Another group of around 140 Israelis were detained prior to September 11, 2001, in the USA as part of a widespread investigation into a suspected espionage ring run by Israel inside the USA. Government documents refer to the spy ring as an “organised intelligence-gathering operation” designed to “penetrate government facilities”. Most of those arrested had served in the Israeli armed forces – but military service is compulsory in Israel. Nevertheless, a number had an intelligence background.

The first glimmerings of an Israeli spying exercise in the USA came to light in spring 2001, when the FBI sent a warning to other federal agencies alerting them to be wary of visitors calling themselves “Israeli art students” and attempting to bypass security at federal buildings in order to sell paintings. A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report suggested the Israeli calls “may well be an organised intelligence-gathering activity”. Law enforcement documents say that the Israelis “targeted and penetrated military bases” as well as the DEA, FBI and dozens of government facilities, including secret offices and the unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

A number of Israelis questioned by the authorities said they were students from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, but Pnina Calpen, a spokeswoman for the Israeli school, did not recognise the names of any Israelis mentioned as studying there in the past 10 years. A federal report into the so-called art students said many had served in intelligence and electronic signal intercept units during their military service.

According to a 61-page report, drafted after an investigation by the DEA and the US immigration service, the Israelis were organised into cells of four to six people. The significance of what the Israelis were doing didn’t emerge until after September 11, 2001, when a report by a French intelligence agency noted “according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida, from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells”.

The report contended that Mossad agents were spying on Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehi, two of leaders of the 9/11 hijack teams. The pair had settled in Hollywood, Florida, along with three other hijackers, after leaving Hamburg – where another Mossad team was operating close by.

Hollywood in Florida is a town of just 25,000 souls. The French intelligence report says the leader of the Mossad cell in Florida rented apartments “right near the apartment of Atta and al-Shehi”. More than a third of the Israeli “art students” claimed residence in Florida. Two other Israelis connected to the art ring showed up in Fort Lauderdale. At one time, eight of the hijackers lived just north of the town.

Put together, the facts do appear to indicate that Israel knew that 9/11, or at least a large-scale terror attack, was about to take place on American soil, but did nothing to warn the USA. But that’s not quite true. In August 2001, the Israelis handed over a list of terrorist suspects – on it were the names of four of the September 11 hijackers. Significantly, however, the warning said the terrorists were planning an attack “outside the United States”.

The Israeli embassy in Washington has dismissed claims about the spying ring as “simply untrue”. The same denials have been issued repeatedly by the five Israelis seen high-fiving each other as the World Trade Centre burned in front of them.

Their lawyer, Ram Horwitz, insisted his clients were not intelligence officers. Irit Stoffer, the Israeli foreign minister, said the allegations were “completely untrue”. She said the men were arrested because of “visa violations”, adding: “The FBI investigated those cases because of 9/11.”

Jim Margolin, an FBI spokesman in New York, implied that the public would never know the truth, saying: “If we found evidence of unauthorised intelligence operations that would be classified material.” Yet, Israel has long been known, according to US administration sources, for “conducting the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any US ally”. Seventeen years ago, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian working for the American Navy, was jailed for life for passing secrets to Israel. At first, Israel claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but the government later took responsibility for his work.

It has always been a long-accepted agreement among allies – such as Britain and America or America and Israel – that neither country will jail a “friendly spy” nor shame the allied country for espionage. Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Boston’s Political Research Associates and an expert in intelligence, says: “It’s a backdoor agreement between allies that says that if one of your spies gets caught and didn’t do too much harm, he goes home. It goes on all the time. The official reason is always visa violation.”

What we are left with, then, is fact sullied by innuendo. Certainly, it seems, Israel was spying within the borders of the United States and it is equally certain that the targets were Islamic extremists probably linked to September 11. But did Israel know in advance that the Twin Towers would be hit and the world plunged into a war without end; a war which would give Israel the power to strike its enemies almost without limit? That’s a conspiracy theory too far, perhaps. But the unpleasant feeling that, in this age of spin and secrets, we do not know the full and unadulterated truth won’t go away. Maybe we can guess, but it’s for the history books to discover and decide.

Steve Brody - 11/5/2003

Barbara, in your latest slap at the military, you demand proof that our soldiers are not uneducated. Let me say this, Barbara: If you are the standard that our soldiers must better to be thought of as educated, then it really not a contest. Based upon your facile postings, every soldier that I know (and I know many) is more sophisticated, more knowledgeable, more coherent and more intelligent than you.

Barb, let me also correct you on some of latest comments;

“The soldiers in Iraq have been screwed over by you NOT by me”, Barbara Cornett, 11/4/2003

Barb, I never accused you of screwing the soldiers in Iraq. But then, I really don’t know what you do in your spare time.

“ I knew that Saddam had no WMD”, Barbara Cornett, 11/4/2003

You did! Why did you keep it such a secret? Did Sean Penn tell you?

“Those who demand that others be silent and tell people to see their shrink and take medication should go live in China where they won’t have to deal with people like me”, Barbara Cornett, 11/4/2003

Barb, I never told you to be silent, and I bet there are a few like you in China.

“ I’m Defending freedom”, Barbara Cornett, 1/4/2203


Barbara, medical literature describes a condition first identified by Hans Asperger that is known as “Asperger’s syndrome”. Sufferers of this syndrome exhibit marked impairment in social skills. They have severe difficulty with any sense of appropriateness. They say and do incredibly obnoxious and insensitive things. They cannot understand why others take offense, because the part of their brain that would allow them to understand doesn’t function properly. Sufferers of Asperger’s Syndrome are simply referred to as “Aspergers”(pronounced “ass burgers”). I know this sounds incredible, but it's true and can be verified.

Barbara, I explain all this to you so that in the future, if I should refer to you as an “Asperger”, you’ll understand that I mean Asperger, the medical condition and not “ass burger”, the term of derision.

Stephen Thomas - 11/5/2003

The left has repeated the same verbiage ad naseum for as long as I can remember... at least 40 years.

This is boilerplate. Take out the names, slug in the new ones, recycle.

No thought here. There always a new "war criminal" and it always happens to be a Republican president. Predictable. Well... before WWII, it was also applied to Democratic presidents. Never, you'll notice, to the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, etc.

Probably borrowed from the commie party press of the 1930s. Any historians out there know where this boilerplate comes from?

Alec Lloyd - 11/5/2003

Still waiting for that indictment of Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad and Fidel Castro.

I guess Tony Blair's mistake was he didn't commit the really BIG crimes. Errant bombs? Why that's murder. Running state sanctioned torture chambers? Nah, give 'em a pass.

Essentially, the standard of international justice is we throw the book at jaywalkers, but shrug when confronted with murderers and rapists. And people wonder why no one takes it seriously.

Alec Lloyd - 11/5/2003

Try again. That canard has been repeatedly refuted.

Of course, I'm dealing with someone so mind-bogglingly prejudiced that she thinks everyone who joins the military must be either homeless or stupid, and probably both.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

It is sickening to hear people talk about Bush knowing what is best and the rest of us should trust and go along with whatever he decides.


Gore Vidal and history


Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

John Pilger: `Bring the criminals to justice’

[This message was sent by journalist John Pilger to the October 22, 2003 Sydney protest against the visit of US President George Bush.]

This demonstration, and our anger, is not simply directed at a foreign politician we don't like and like to poke fun at. It's directed at the criminality of George W Bush. In attacking Iraq, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and PM John Howard broke every rule of international behaviour and every convention of international law.

To call them war criminals is not to take a cheap shot. It is to speak the truth. In 1946, the judges at the Nuremberg war crimes trials said that unprovoked aggression against another state was, and I quote, “the supreme international war crime because it contains all the evils of other war crimes.

There is now no doubt that at least 10,000 civilans were killed in Iraq by Bush and Blair's forces, backed by Howard. If you count the Iraqi teenagers conscripted into the army, the figure is probably more than 30,000.

That's 30,000 lives destroyed needlessly the criminals Bush and Blair and their accessory, Howard. We must tell these war criminals that, regardless of the trappings of their power, they are criminals, and they must be brought to justice.

From Green Left Weekly, November 5, 2003.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Blair waged war illegally, say leading lawyers
By Severin Carrell
02 November 2003

Tony Blair is facing a formal complaint to the international war-crimes tribunal by a panel of senior international legal experts for unlawfully waging war in Iraq.

The panel of eight law professors, including experts from Oxford University and the London School of Economics, is studying evidence that alleges Britain has broken international treaties on war and human rights in Iraq.

The allegations centre on Iraqi civilian deaths caused by British cluster bombs, the targeting of power stations and the use of toxic depleted uranium shells against tanks.

Lawyers advising the panel allege that these tactics have led to thousands of avoidable civilian casualties - in breach of the Geneva Conventions. The case against the Prime Minister is strengthened, they claim, by his failure to get UN sanction for the war.

The panel will meet in London on Saturday to decide whether the evidence is strong enough for a formal complaint to the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Under the Rome statute that set the ICC up in 1998, the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, an Argentinian who investigated atrocities by his country's former military junta, can launch independent inquiries into war crimes complaints.

The inquiry's organisers think it highly likely the panel will find enough evidence to justify a complaint, but it remains unclear how the court will react. Earlier complaints about the war in Iraq, by groups of Greek and Belgian lawyers, were rejected.

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Steve does that mean bush was dumb when his father used his senatorial position to get him put ahead of thousands of other so that he could get into the guard and fight the Viet Cong in Texas and Alabama?

Barbara Cornett - 11/5/2003

Dave I am talking about Leo Strauss who was a professor and whose philosophy the people at PNAC follow.

Project for the New American Century is the group that has been planning the rearrangment of the middle east for over ten years and are using Bush to carry out their agenda.

Saddam having WMD was a lie. The philosophy of these people is for leaders to lie to the people because we are considered to be too weak to do what is necessary which is to conquer thur continual war. Continual war, according to them, keeps the people in a patriotic fever and forces us to think and act rather then becoming content and lazy consumers.

Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush and others are members. Put PNAC and Leo Strauss into a google search. There's all kinds of info on the web about them.

Strauss's philosophy is according to his interpetation of Plato, if you know anything about that which big surprise I don't!!

Steve Brody - 11/4/2003

Jerry, I think you’re unclear on the issue here.

On the day after 16 soldiers died doing their duty, defending their country (yes, Jerry, defending their country), Barbara writes a truly despicable post stating that our soldiers are uneducated, unsophisticated, and uncaring and couldn’t get a real job. I suggest that Barbara is lacking in the common decency department, and you’re going to quibble with me about whether the soldiers were defending their country?

Yo, Jerry, this isn’t about who victimized whom or whether the soldiers are “being abused by the government” People can legitimately disagree about those things.

The issue is a self important elitist named Barbara and her contemptible comments questioning our soldiers education, sophistication, and ability to understand negotiation and diplomacy. All made on the day after 16 of them died.

Christ, Jerry, in her latest comments she demands proof that her remarks are inaccurate. She just doesn’t get it.

Do you?

Steve Brody - 11/4/2003

Jerry, I think you’re unclear on the issue here.

On the day after 16 soldiers died doing their duty, defending their country (yes, Jerry, defending their country), Barbara writes a truly despicable post stating that our soldiers are uneducated, unsophisticated, and uncaring and couldn’t get a real job. I suggest that Barbara is lacking in the common decency department, and you’re going to quibble with me about whether the soldiers were defending their country?

Yo, Jerry, this isn’t about who victimized whom or whether the soldiers are “being abused by the government” People can legitimately disagree about those things.

The issue is a self important elitist named Barbara and her contemptible comments questioning our soldiers education, sophistication, and ability to understand negotiation and diplomacy. All made on the day after 16 of them died.

Christ, Jerry, in her latest comments she demands proof that her remarks are inaccurate. She just doesn’t get it.

Do you?

Jerry West - 11/4/2003

What I get Steve is that you didn't read my post very well and attacked what you wanted me to be rather than what I am.

You will note that I disagreed with Barbara's characterization of the military. From experience I know that the make up of the forces is quite varied.

My quarrel is not with the members of the military, but with the government that is abusing and misusing them.

And, also to address your aside, I too have friends and family in the military. They even served with combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, I am still serving in the reserves. :)

Stephen Thomas - 11/4/2003

We don't perform music for political reasons, Barbara.

Liberal feminist women refuse to listen seriously to Asian women, period. They don't ask for that Asian woman's political views before they refuse to listen. The reason is precisely the one you outlined, the belief that Asian women are backward, stupid and subordinate.

My wife makes more money than you, Barbara. I guarantee it. She has two careers and makes money in both. Why are you the judge of how she relates to her husband?

The issue here is competition. Feminism is a racist ideology. What feminist women really hate is competition, and Asian women are tough competitors for the favors of men. Asian women are usually well educated, profesionally competent, action oriented, smart and they know how to make marriage and family work. This is what you really hate, Barbara, the competition. You can't win here and you know it.

Stephen Thomas - 11/4/2003

"To say that you are a republican because liberal women won't listen to asian women who believe they should be subordinate to their husbands is an example of the reasons many working class people are republicans."

1. I'm not a Republic, as I've told you. I'm a registered Democrat.

2. Your statement about Asian women is racism. Feminism is so adamantly and unashamably racist toward Asian women that it often leaves me scratching my head. You'd think people would be ashamed to express it, but they never are.

Other women do not agree with you, Barbara. In particular, Asian women, at least the great majority, don't agree with you that traditional marriage means subordination. There is a tremendously angry fight going on between white and Asian women that virtually nobody notices, unless they happen to be attached to an Asian woman. Asian women are the least likely ethnic group to adhere to feminism. That they don't agree with you doesn't make them stupid and backward. In fact, Asians are the most successful immigrant group in America, precisely because they value traditional family, marriage, religion and hard work.

You could learn a lot from Asian women, but feminist liberal women refuse to do so. And the reason is what we call racism. Thanks for illustrating my point.

Dave Livingston - 11/4/2003

Ah the draft.

Barbara, kiddo, why not the draft? It should never have been halted. This is the first war we've fought, save the Indian wars, with the assets on hand upon the onset of the war. It looks despite Alec's reluctance we are going to raise the seven or eight Army divisons I deem now necessary.

An all-volunteer Army is too expensive with the constant demands to raise soldiers' pay in order to attempt to compete with the civilian job market. After all, not every generation is idealistic as the one that came of age when J.F.K. was in the White House, ergo the need for the draft.

Finally, Rumsfelt may have come to his senses, techie toys are fine, but even todsy the rifleman is indespensible. No war is won until a rifleman is standing in the office of the enemy leader.

In response to quer, whom ill our boys be defending? Has 9/11 been forgotten already?

IMHO the biggest failure of the Bush administration was in not telling the American people the true reason why we invaded and conquered Iraq. We went in to establish a permanent, I say again,PERMANENT,dominating military precense in the heart of the Middle East in order to persuade other Islamic states to rein in al-qaeda's recruiting and fund-raoising operations within their borders--with the implication that if they fail to do so, we'll do it for them & in the meanwhile establish there governments more to our liking.

That Saddam and his family and cronies were beastial brutes toward their own people was beside the point. Likewise,WMD, whether or no they, other poison gas, which we know Saddam employed against Iraq's Kurds and against Iran in the 1980-88 war,exist.

The Bush Administration understands that 9/11 was a continuation of the thousand-year long war between militant Islam and the West, but it has been too gutless to say so to the American people. Too gutless in part because people such our Barbara is unwilling to face the reality that there are people, a civilization, out there which cannot be persuasded we just want to love them.

Dave Livingston - 11/4/2003


Thanks mucho for this item.

Now I understand where you acquire so much of the drivel you spout, "Salon.com" a Left-wing site that has proven a finanical failure,but is masintained by Leftist donations.

All that said, please, please, stay, post on "HNN." As weird some of your ideas are, we need you for balance.

If you truly are a classical music fan, you might visit kcme.org. As said previously, Colorado Springs home to five large military facilities is also home to one of the only two remaining entirely locally funded (no, government money)classical music stations in the nation.

But then, KCME is a reproach to the nation illustrating the decline in our culture. As recently as eight years ago there were seven locally funded classical music stations in the U.S., as recently as two years ago there were three. Now, only two, both in military towns.

Steve Brody - 11/4/2003

You and Barbara just don’t get it.

You want to tee off on Bush, go head.

You don’t like the war, fine.

You think it was a mistake, fair enough.

Barbara’s comments attacked the soldiers as unsophisticated, too uneducated to get a real job, and uncaring. That you apparently endorse her remarks and their timing makes me think your pretty deficient in the common decency department, too, Jerry.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Jerry, I have many friends, relatives and colleagues in the military and to a man and women they are more sophisticated, more decent, more caring and more erudite than you or Barbara will be on your best day.

Got it, Jerry?

Barbara Cornett - 11/4/2003

There is a difference between being stupid and being uneducated. I am not saying that the working class and poor who end up in the military are stupid, I am saying they are uneducated. If you have evidence to the contrary then by all means show me. In contrast to people like Bush who are stupid.

People who come from working class backgrounds are less likly to get a college education because they cannot afford one or because getting a formal education is not something that is stressed in working class and poor families for whatever reasons. Because of this and because in the sorry bush economy they cannot find a job they see the military as the solution. Jessica Lynch for example.

One reason democrats don't like the Pentagon is because it takes so much of our budget pie while spending is being cut for social programs such as Headstart which would help kids to get a good start with education.

After the cold war we could have afforded all kinds of things such as higher teacher pay and better schools, universal health care or any number of things. What happened? The Pentagon sucked up every available dollar of our windfall. Democrats don't like that and I am not referring to the democrats in Congress who go along with a lot of this. I am talking about real democrats. Because the money goes to industry, republicans love it. Tell me how that makes sense for you personally or for your families.

When you consider things like that then lame reasons such as 'I'm a republican because they're against affirmitive action' seems illogical or like straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

With the cold war windfall we could have made college public and send every citizen to college instead of pouring money down the black hole of the Pentagon. For what? So they can rearrange the middle east and build schools for Iraqi kids while the oil is turned over to ExxonMobile? Saddam may have butchered his enemies but while he was there the oil resouces were owned by the Iraqi people. Now ExxonMobile and Shell own them and our soldiers were nothing more then mercenaries for industry and Israel.

Global military spending

US 399 Billion

US allies 225 Billion

Russia 65 billion

China 47 billion

axis of evil 7 billion

federal spending

pentagon 399 billion

children's health 41 billion

k 12 education 34 billion

humanitarian 10 billion

head start 7 billion

reducing reliance on oil 2 billion

The military is necessary and there is no higher calling then defending the US and democracy. We are spending all of this money not to defend freedom but to enrich corporations. Being a republican represents using the US gov for the rich and big business and oppressing the people and forcing us to work, not for better lives but so our money can go to the rich.

To say that you are a republican because liberal women won't listen to asian women who believe they should be subordinate to their husbands is an example of the reasons many working class people are republicans.

Just like your calling me names and suggesting I hate the soldiers and am not supporting them and that I hate the military.

I don't hate the soldiers and this is not about liking or hating soldiers or liking or hating America. It is about policies. When you support the republican party you support their policies and you cannot distance yourself from them. Whether its about stealing elections by using fixed Diebold voting machines and then using office to plunder the US on behalf of corporations, when you support republicans that is what you support.

or supporting republicans because they convince you democrats are trying to take your guns or supporting republicans because they want to force poor women to have unwanted babies while they pay for their girlfriend's abortions or for whatever reason.

when you support republicans you support that they have just given us a debt that totals every budget deficit of every administration going all the way back to Harry Truman. You support republicans because they cut taxes (for the super rich), well who do you think is going to have to pay for this debt? If tax and spenders are bad what about spenders who don't tax?

If you look closely at the issues rather then getting carried away with emotion then you may see things differently.

I am defending freedom. The US is all about debating issues such as the military and soldiering. Those who demand that others be silent and tell people to see their shrink and take their medication should go live in China where they won't have to deal with people like me.

The soldiers in Iraq have been screwed over by YOU, not me. I never wanted them to go to Iraq in the first place. I knew that Saddam had no WMD. I tried to tell people like you but you accused me of hating American and being an unpatriotic traitor. You sent them to Iraq because of your support for the republican party. You are keeping them there because of your support for the republican party. You cannot distance yourself from that. You cannot distance yourselves from the lies that Bush has told time and time and time again. All of which you ignore because democrats believe in social programs for the poor and giving the kids of poor and working class families a chance at life thur programs like Head Start.

The people in the military are the ones you can convince since they are the ones who are becoming disillusioned. Ask them how they feel about soldiering as mercenaries. Ask them how well mercenaries get paid these days. Ask them would they perfer to be honorably digging ditches at home or being mercenaries for Haliburton and Dick hiding in his bunker Cheney and Rummy can't wage the peace Rumsfeld.

Jerry West - 11/4/2003

Steve Brody wrote:

....on the day after 16 soldiers died defending....


I don't agree with Barbara's characterization of military people, but the above part of your reply is a stretch.

Defending what? No one on this continent except maybe some corporate business opportunities. Our service people deserve a lot of respect for what they do. They also deserve better than to have their lives frivolously squandered in foreign conquests for the glory of the likes of Haliburton and their flunkies in the administration.

Our soldiers are victims of our own government.

Steve Brody - 11/3/2003

Barbara I knew you were pretty sappy from reading your puerile comments, but I didn’t realize just how despicable you really are until I read your latest rant against our soldiers.

Most people would be embarrassed to even entertain these thoughts about our military in a time of war. For you to post these kind of vile remarks on the day after 16 soldiers died defending your sorry existence leads me to believe that you are tone deaf when it comes to common decency.

Tell you what, the next time you feel that you have to dump on our soldiers in order to feel better about yourself, do it somewhere else. Better yet, start seeing your shrink again, and get back on your medication.

Steve Brody - 11/3/2003

Barbara I knew you were pretty sappy from reading your puerile comments, but I didn’t realize just how despicable you really are until I read your latest rant against our soldiers.

Most people would be embarrassed to even entertain these thoughts about our military in a time of war. For you to post these kind of vile remarks on the day after 16 soldiers died defending your sorry existence leads me to believe that you are tone deaf when it comes to common decency.

Tell you what, the next time you feel that you have to dump on our soldiers in order to feel better about yourself, do it somewhere else. Better yet, start seeing your shrink again, and get back on your medication.

Josh Greenland - 11/3/2003

I could go point by point through your post, in places pointing out some real howlers, but I'll summarize by saying that military people are not the grossly unintelligent mass that you say they are. I wouldn't say they are encouraged to think for themselves about everything, especially the lower ranks, but that isn't the same thing as saying they are as a rule too stupid to understand politics and diplomacy or get a real job.

Dave Livingston+ - 11/3/2003


I agree that we need more & better intelligence operations in Iraq. Unfornately, as was recently reported in our local paper, this military town, the Bastard from Hope's administration gutted Army intelligence by deactivating two battalions then in Europe. But we yet disagree that more infantry isn't needed on the ground in Iraq. For one thing, we are going to be in Iraq for a long time, despite the whimpers, "Let's pull up stakes & run." Just look at Germany. American troops have been Germany for 59 years, ever since troops during WWIII first took some German soil. We are in Iraq until we've defeatIslamic terrorism, regardless what the weak sisters among us want. That is to say, for at least the next thirty-five years. To do otherwise will be to concede the destruction of Western civilization to Islam.

Never mind the administration is doing a fancy toe dance avoiding expressing the reality we are at war, have had a war imposed upon us, with militant Islam. We roll it back or we die.

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


You may be correct about soldiers being lowbrow enough not to be Strauss fans. I don't care for his sissie waltzes. But I like Bach, Handel, Haydin, Mozart & Teliman.

Too, this county, El Paso, Colorado, is where five large military facilities are located, Fort Carson, 10th Special Forces Group, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, elements of the zFourth & 7th Infantry Divisions, the Air Force Academy, Peterson ir Force Base, Shrirevner Air Force Base, & NORAD, the North American Air Defense command. Moreover, a full ten percent of the county's more than half million poulation is composed of retireed military personnel. Retiree families are in addition to the retirees.

Colorado Spings is the home of one of the two,only two, fully, 100%,community financed classical music FM stations in the nation. But probably you wouldn't like our classical music station,because each workday is kicked off at 6:00 A.M. with twety to twenty-five minutes of military march music. John Philips Sousa is a favorite, of course. And would you care for the Gregorian Chant & Plainsong frequently aired of a Sunday?

Gregorian Chant is a favorite with G.I.s, as approximately a third of the troops on active duty here are Catholic.

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

My brother-in-law was an Air Force doctor.

He paid for his medical education through military service.

He's one smart guy.

Alec Lloyd - 11/3/2003

I just finished a rather obscure book culled from my father's copious bookshelves: "The Rise and Fall of an American Army." Shelby Stanton.

The thing I picked up from it was that the US buildup in Vietnam was counterproductive. When you expand regular forces too quickly, you dilute them. In an environment of massed attrition-style warfare (such as WWI and WWII) this isn't much of an issue. The new divisions far outweight the loss of proficiency.

But in counterinsurgency operations, you can critically undermine your superiority. The US military cannot "pacify" Iraq simply by flooding it with riflemen. Sending 100,000 more troops would do nothing but strain our logistics. Raising another 500,000 recruits would dilute our pool of NCO and officers, flood our training facilities and erode our qualitative edge.

That edge is key. When our troops shoot, they hit. Our infantry is probably more proficient than it was even during the Cold War. Light infantry, especially, is where we are beginning to come into our own.

What we need are two things: intelligence and local support. More troops give us neither.

We need to identify the insurgents and neutralize them. We also need Iraqis to take responsiblity for their own defense. Sending in another army corps will only send the message that we'll handle everything. That's what we did in Vietnam and it cost us.

A more deliberate campaign of specialists, slowly phasing local troops into day-to-day patrols, will defeat Saddam's goons and the wannabe jihadis.

Three infantry divisions will just get in the way.

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


Our Barbara is a delight & a delightful example of the seemingly growing diconnection between the armed forces & the populace of this nation. We nned such as she in these chatrooms, to remind us that there really are such people running loose unattended in our society. She is a beautiful example of what is referred to in theological circles as invincible ignorance. She doesn't know anything about the armed forces, nor is she willing to learn anything that rebutts her preconceived ideas about them.

Barbara, there evidently is some truth to the notion that some in the armed forces are there because it is a steady job.
But your overall thesis, "...who cannot afford a college education and who cannot find good jobs fails on two grounds:
1. the armed forces have an up or out policy, which means one, officer or enlisted, advances in rank & responsibility or one leaves the SService. Therefore, the number of those coasting in job slots, no matter how stupid, until retirement is quite limited.

Secondly, on average, the officer corps of our armed forces (& the British, the French, the Russian, the Chinese, etc.) is far better educated than the civilian populace it defends. For instance, each of the four commanding officers(at the battalion level), each a Lieutenant Colonel, under whom I served in Viet-Nam had earned a Ph.d at a proper civilian university. One's Ph.d was in PoliSci, another in Nuclear Physics, the other two, I dunno. In addition, to obtain the rank of Second Lieutenant one must have earned a B.A. or B.S. Moreover, to advance to Field Grade rank, i.e., Major, one must have earned a M.A.

As far as not able to hoid a good job, I can offer only personal evidence. In my own instance, working class background,one of those to whom Thomas Reeves objects, I one who could not have afforded having gone to college without incurring a large debt, which I was unwilling to do, without the benefit of the stipend, so-called scholarship,paid by R.O.T.C., the final two years of school.

But so what? The Army enabled me to get a college education, I repaid it by accepting a commission as a Second Lieutenant. As far as I'm concerned, that was a fair trade. Actually, it turned out to be an especisally good deal financially for me, retired ast age thirty with a lifetime paycheck, albeit I paid for that too, by getting shot up very near the nominal end of my second tour of fighting in Viet-Nam. A lot of fighting!

But everyone who soldiers need not do so because it is a job. Again, in my own case, as a qualified Army aviator(helicopter pilot) had I chosen to leave the Army could have landed a high-paying job as an airline pilot. Landing such a job would have been made easy because a first cousin was a senior Delta Airlines pilot & he offered to assist me with getting on with Delta. I chose to remain in the Army & go to 'Nam for a second tour. That was a dumb move by materialistic standards, but I did what I wanted to do rather than what society thought was clever. Anyway, having worked as a secondary school teacher for a couple of years before accepting my commission idealism was a factor in choosing the Army over Delta, we then smackdab in the middle of the Cold War.

Moreover, my C.O. the second half of my first tour in exotic SE Asia is another example of someone putting Duty, Honor & Country before his personal comfort--he reputedly a guy with a net worth well in excess of $100. million.

Barbara, believe it or not, soldiering can be very rewarding in personal satisfaction.

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


Don't like my frequent typos? My friend, I generally do my one-fingered hunt & peck best. But yes, there are times when in a rush I become lazy & don't bother spell-check.

If Shakesspere could,& he did, make up words, why might I not? :)

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


My bet is these complaints are about specialized care, for which one may wait in line. For instance, retired, my access to medical care inm military facilities is on a space available basis, but there is no wait at all for emergency care. Another thing that may be at play here is if one, a G.I. or retiree, needs medical care that isn't available in a military facility, one may utilize civilian facilities. BUT, in such an instance one may have to pay a co-payment charge. For instance, a couple of years ado there was a medication preferred by me not available in the military hospital to which I went. IMHO the substitute I could obtain free of charge didn't work as well as the one I preferred. As a consequence, I could obtain the one I preferred at a civilian pharmacy--ifI paid a $29. co-payment fee for a 90 day supply.

Ironically, recently the military dropped the substitute & picked up the medication I know works better for me. As a consequence, I now get the pills free of charge. Even so, the $29. co-payment was hardly a bad deal for me, not paying $29. for medication that cadt, at a pure guess in the neighborhood of $300.

One reason the military now carries that medication is because the patent expired on it & mucho cheaper generic versions are available. The V.A. operates on the same principle, using as much as possible generic drugs. This is a good thing thing for us taxpayers.

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


We disagee. For one thing, like the Administration, it appears you want to take a minimalist approach. I prefer overkill. Having had my hide placed where Little Brown Brother tried his darnest, a few dozen times, for me massive overkill is just barely enough firepower. The best way to use firepower is to have enough to overawe the enemy--then, hopefully, one won't actually to engage in shooting. That was Bush, the Elder's failure in the Gulf War, stopping short of kicking Saddam out of power then.

If one tangles with an enemy, the halfas... and halfhearted approach only sets one up for having to do the job properly later on, usually at a higher cost in lives & treasure than would have been expended the first time.

For another, we now are not prepared to fight a second war, in Korea, for instance--if necessary. The surest way to start a war is to project, as Chicken Willie did, an impression of weakness. And that is one thing for which I fault Bush & Rumsfelt, failing to build our active duty forces to the strength we need. Relying upon techie toys doesn't cut it in the cruch, as Iraq has porven. Like it or not, to hold ground, riflemen, infantry, are needed.

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

Mr wife is Asian, Filipino-American to be precise.

We discovered that liberal audiences would not listen to us. Feminist liberal women hate Asian women with a passion because they won't toe the feminist line. That's what they mean when they say that Asian women are "oppressed." Translated, it means Asian women don't agree with them. We tried to play for liberal audiences and they refused to listen to my wife.

The formula, Barbara, is exactly the opposite. White, liberal women refuse to socialize with or listen to my wife seriously precisely because she is Asian. Normal, conservative working folks will socialize with and listen to my wife.

Now, what is racism? Is it how people actually treat one another or is it whether they vote the way you want them to?

Dave Livingston - 11/3/2003


Not because this administration distrusts standing armies, but in line with the Founding Fathers' vision of citizen participation.

Nonetheless, there has developed in recent years, especially during the Bastard from Hope's time in office, a striking disconnection between the values & beliefs held by the armed forces & the civilian populace. One means of preventing this disci=onnection to grow to a dangerous point is to restore the draft &/or utilize more more reservists & Nat'l Guardsmen on active duty.

I am not at all satisfied that the latter is a concious decision made by the Administration, but it looks to sewrve the same purpose, nevertheless.

The disconnection between the armed forces and civilian society was made plain during the last general election in Florida, when the Dempocrats attempted desparately to invalidate the absentee votes cast by G.I.s. And poll after poll showed that soldiersm, airmen, Marines & sailors by a wide margin were to vote for Bush rather than Gore, especially in the most likely to vote officer corps. Evidently, officers voted something like 98% for zBush. Chicken Willie said he loathed the military and the sentiment was returned--in spades. Indeed, among the three score or so of retired and former G.I.s with whom I natter now & then but one said he supported Gore. That was my former C.O. the second half of my second tour in 'Nam & his value system became perverted after he retired because he taught history at Ohio State--that corrupting academic atmosphere.

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

"So what if you and working class conservative people attended an event where there were minorities and gay people and none of you openly scolded the gay people for being sinners and blamed them for 9-11 or made speeches against affirmitive action."

Barbara, you need extended rest.

Make an attempt to know the people you think you despise.

Speeches against affirmative action, better known as quotas, are not symptomatic of bigotry.

I've been suggesting for a while, Barbara, that it is you that is operating out of bigotry and ignorance... just against a different group of people.

The left is now the organ of racial and sexual bigotry and ignorance. Has been for some time. The left got left behind by decent ordinary Americans. Read your comments for the evidence.

Barbara Cornett - 11/3/2003

What does any of this have to do with why soldiers are considered to be republicans who are becoming disillusioned?

In the article sited there was no effort to state WHY the soldiers are republican other then superficial reasons such as that the republicans know how to appeal to the soldiers and democrats don't. Democrats are interested in issues and policies which appeals to the intelligence and knowledge of the soldiers while republicans make simple minded emotional appeals as Senator Dole did. Which do the soldiers respond to and what does that tell you? It certainly doesn't make me a bigot or a brain, I'm just stating the obvious.

So what if you and working class conservative people attended an event where there were minorities and gay people and none of you openly scolded the gay people for being sinners and blamed them for 9-11 or made speeches against affirmitive action.

Everytime you support a republican you are doing those very things and mingling with these people will not change what your support for republicans brings about.

In the article it was stated that local republicans are distancing themselves from Bush and the neo-cons. Why is that not reflected in the way republican members of the Senate and House vote?

Republicans cannot distance themselves from policies they bring about and the ones who put them in office cannot distance themselves from what the party stands for either.

Why have parties for vets when you support the Republicans who are cutting their pay and benefits, cutting funding for veteran's hospitals and who have dragged our soldiers into a war that benefits no one but Israel and industry?

You cannot distance yourself from what you stand for. The fact that you and the republicans are trying so hard should tell you something.

If you have facts that show that our soldiers are highly educated and from professional and well to do families I would like to see it.

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

As for the dreaded "racists" and "rightists" so often demonized on this board. My wife and I performed music at a party for Vietnam vets and their friends on Saturday night. We’re talking strictly redneck folks here, most of whom make their living with their hands. They hunt and fish. Among the party participants were black and Asian folks in just about their representative numbers in the populace. At other functions I’ve attended with these folks, bi and gay folks have been in attendance and their presence didn’t even cause a remark. Remember, these are conservative, redneck, working folks. Don’t think my experience is that unique. The great racist, sexist, homophobic infestation so often referred to on this site and throughout academia just doesn’t exist.

Barbara, are you listening?

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

Amazingly enough.

So, Barbara, everybody who disagrees with you is either bigotted or stupid.

These are your recurring themes.

How were you endowed with such superior intelligence and divine enlightenment? Was it your genes? Heroic effort?

By the way, have you ever bothered to actually talk with and listen to the hordes of people you deem bigotted and stupid? Or are these remarks made in the blissful ignorance.

Stephen Thomas - 11/3/2003

Run for office.

Mr. Bush is president now, and Commander in Chief.

Our foreign policy is and will continue to be executed by Mr. Bush, thank God.

You are welcome to rant and rave about the horrors of industry, Israel and Zionism to your heart's content.

Talk about being lost in the past. I hope that you and your ilk continue to rave about the last presidential election. The next one will be over and Mr. Bush will be reelected by the time you realize that you are cutting your own throats.

You are not a reasonable person, Barbara. These issues are not for you to decide. There's an element of delusions of grandeur in your insistence that you should be the arbiter of issues that we entrust to elected officials. Nobody elected you, and you are quite aware that you are very unlikely to win elective office.

Alec Lloyd - 11/3/2003

I don't think the Founding Fathers are really relevant here. In an environment of high-tech equipment, one simply can't rely upon a militia for defense. The best we can do is the National Guard and reserves, which provide a vital link between the military and civil society.

I agree that the regular forces should be augmented, but I think your buildup is overdoing it. What we need most are two brigades of MPS, with another brigade of light infantry.

I think the Pentagon understands this, and the new Army Chief of Staff is openly discussing eliminating corps HQs and moving to independent brigades as the main maneuver element. Divisions are great for slug-fests, but not for open warfare.

Alec Lloyd - 11/3/2003


Last sentence:

"The anti-war movement here and around the world must give its unconditional support to the Iraqi anti-colonial resistance."

So they're not really anti-war; they're for the other side.

Barbara Cornett - 11/3/2003

It seems to me that the military is mostly made up of people who cannot afford a college education and who cannot find good jobs at home so they join the military in order to receive training and have a place to live and work. They are not people who have any debth of knowledge about government policy. They do not make distinctions about having a job or having a life. To them getting a job and working all their lives will be their life. Whoever waves the flag and talks about loving America will seem to be the most patriotic and waving the flag and having great PR is what the republican party is all about.

The soldiers must be very turned off by talk of PNAC or Strauss. They would probably get very bored and impatient with negotiating, mediating and diplomacy. The policy of deterrance is something they are not even aware of. They never heard of the cold war victory and if they ever knew of the questions of how we would use the money that resulted from not having to wage the cold war any more it is all forgotten now.

That the inspections worked in Iraq is also lost on them. In their minds Saddam would have nuclear weapons in ten years and they simply ignore that North Korea already has them or that the current US aggression has caused the EU to begin to build a new combined military in order to counter the US or that Japan has now begun to build a military. They don't wish to be bothered with details. They forget how much they hate ragheads when they are saving them from the evil Saddam and his WMD. Its not surprising that these people are republicans.

They can't figure out that becoming cannon fodder for the military/industrial complex is not fighting to keep America free. They do not study the history of the US military and why wars were fought nor do they understand about recent military actions in Hatti, Granada or Panama. They cannot possibly understand why democrats or specifically, a man like Clinton would not be interested in becoming part of the military. They have no knowledge of the fact that Clinton used the military in more places then any other recent president. They don't know that democrats have more respect for them then republicans. They don't know that our military actions have become so profit motivated and so lacking in any benefit to the US and our govenrment and our people that the Pentagon is hiring more and more authentic mercenaries to replace these American soldiers because it is becoming more and more difficult to convince even them that the wars are about defending freedom.

Perhaps that is what the article about military disillusionment means.

Barbara Cornett - 11/3/2003

I stated in an earlier post that many perdicted at the beginning of the Iraqi holocaust debacle that the White House would either have to impose a draft or use nuclear weapons before it is all over. It looks as though that is a correct perdiction.

The White House treats national issues as ad agencies treat commerical enterprises, releasing their propaganda and sell campaigns at pre-planned times for the maximum positive effect.

This White House is secretly and quietly getting ready for a draft because of the ramifications their actions will have on upcoming elections. They shouldn't worry about their dittohead following because they have shown themselves to be remarkably capable of denial and selective thinking. I suppose its those who might vote for either party that concerns the WH.

You will have to read ads in order to read the entire article at Salon and you can also click on links provided by the writer in order to get more info.


Josh Greenland - 11/3/2003

A story in the Washington Monthly about the growing dissatisfaction of military families and voters with Bush and the Iraq War, plus some history of US military voting patterns:


Josh Greenland - 11/2/2003

And is waiting weeks and sometimes months for medical treatment the normal thing in the military?

Josh Greenland - 11/2/2003

"...recently I've been wondering if the Administration's increasing reliance upon weekend Warriors isn't in line with what the Founding Fathers had in mind. What do you think?"

Because of their distrust of standing armies?

Josh Greenland - 11/2/2003

"actually, ANSWER has offered unqualified support of the "insurgents" as they call them"

When or where have they done this? I've seen this assertion before, but haven't yet seen the evidence for it.

Steve Brody - 11/2/2003

I noticed that this article repeats the myth that members of the Bin Laden family were allowed to leave the US without questioning two days after 9/11. Not so.

Although the article got some of the facts wrong, it is correct when it states " The fifth estate found NO credible evidence in the public domain to prove the U.S. government had any specific advance knowledge of exactly what would happen on September 11, 2001."

Alas, another conspiracy theory down the drain.

Jerry West - 11/1/2003

Dave Livingston wrote:

The copies of the letter provided the G.I.s by their Commandong Officer to tell the truth about what was going on in Iraq was created at their request of the troops themselves....


Maybe you have it right with the word Commandong. It certainly wasn't a bright move on his part. Merely informing them that they should feel free to write letters home should have been enough. He could have even said if you don't feel comfortable with your writing skills, get a buddy to help. Producing what appears to be a form letter shows a lack of judgement that should be present in field grade officers. :)

I still wonder if there was any peer pressure involved and a mental check list by the senior NCOs. Seen it too many times.

Herodotus - 11/1/2003

The French are apparently supposed to reveal a more refined public version of this strategy later this year.

Dave Livingston - 11/1/2003

Here I'll agree with Jerry on several points, to wit:

Yes, many of the regular soldiers on active duty too have mortgages, car loans, etc. Been there, done that.

Re-instating the draft with no college deferments has my support

Yes, guys who accepted commissions or enlisted in the Guard were big boys when they did so & must accept the consequences.

Yes, the sorrow felt by each & every loved one at the loss of G.I. is nothing about which to be caviler. In that light, there was the young boy whose Daddy, an Army chopper pilot was one of few losses in the Gulf War. He grew up absent his Daddy & that wasn't good.

Considering the risks they at times must take, no, we never have paid our G.I.s nearly what they were worth. But many soldiers, most officers, don't sign on for the pay. Half decent pay is a bonus to support the other motivations, including, Duty, Honor & Country.

The copies of the letter provided the G.I.s by their Commandong Officer to tell the truth about what was going on in Iraq was created at their request of the troops themselves and certainly wasn't in the same league of one's platoon sergeant hovering over one on payday to induce one to purchase a savings bond. Regardless of what the Left would prefer, as the balloting in Florida the last general election showed, soldiers don't sign away their rights as citizens when they join the Service.

dave Livingston - 11/1/2003


Thank you that link. And, score one for you. According to the quiz I'm said to be "Most likely a neo-con." That is news to me. :-))) Even so, "most likely" isn't definitely, eh?

Once Episcopalian, but long Catholic the arrows of anti-Jewishness don't cut me, albeit I'm mildly pro-Israeli.

Dave Livingston - 11/1/2003

Es nada but anti-American propaganda

Dave Livingston - 11/1/2003


This article unimpresses me. As said before, the troops aren't content unless they are belly-aching about something.

Somewhat acquainted with the military medical system, having spent ten months and three days in the system subsequent to being WIA in Viet-Nam, see this as typical complaining by soft civilians unused to not being pampered in hospital. Indeed, the wife when our first son was born in a military complained so much about her having to change her own sheets and otherwise pretty much care for herself in non-critical regards that I broke down to send her to far more costly civilian hospitals for the births of our other children. Even so, I yet receive nearly all of my medical care in military facilities.

Some other things our citizen soldiers perhaps failed to understand,& which I learned the hard way myself, about military medical facilities are 1) a patient is subject to military discipline every bit as much as he was before he entered hospital. In this instance, the customer isn't always right. 2)personal amenties, such as bath soap, shaving cream, toothpaste and the like are not furnished by the military. If a G.I. wants a ttothbrush, he must purchase it himself.

Dave Livingston - 11/1/2003


You fall for lying propaganda that easily, the "Aljazeea" article? It is junk science. AKA lies. Thew are indeed DU rounds, but like tank armor they aren't the threat as this B.S. article says. U.S. tankers have handled DU rounds for better than a couple of decades. Ditto tank armor. Where then are the G.I.s who should have contracted cancer from it?

This article reminds me of the stories generated by Communist fronts that surfaced during the Viet-Nam War about U.S. troops using poison gas--pure humbug!

Dave Livingston - 11/1/2003

Barbara, Sugar,

Evidently, you've developed your own reality divorced from the one the rest in which the rest of us live. Nattering with someone playing Chicken Little over a problem that doesn't exist is a futile waste of time. As once an Armor officer I learned a thing or two about tanks, armor & ammunition. Your fretting over depleted uranium is on a par with (Lester?)Brown's worrying over world over-population, another supposed problem thst doesn't exist.

Instead of weeping over a situation about which you can do nothing, whether or no the problem actually exists, why don't you do something that we all know will do some good, however little, join the Peace Corps? Talk is cheap and effortless, but action takes some work. And if you'd join the Peace Corps you just may have to live in a non-climate controlled environment, as awful as that may seem.

Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Thanks Mr Brody, I'll have a look.

Barbara Cornett - 11/1/2003

check these







Gus Moner - 11/1/2003

Thanks for the links, Ms Cornett. Have you any information links concerning the mini nukes debate?

Steve Brody - 10/31/2003

Gus, A few European newspapers have recently referred to a new French nuclear policy that would retarget French nuclear weapons at “rogue states” which are believed to possess WMD’s. This policy would also involve development of “mini nukes” to minimize civilian casualties.

This was reported in one of the French daily newspapers and then reported by the English newspaper The Telegraph.


Jerry West - 10/31/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

Guard troops have mortages, car loans and many are suffering a steep loss of income while serving overseas.


Regular troops also have mortgages, car loans and so on. Some even have second jobs to make ends meet. Whether this contributes to their dissatisfaction or not is another debate, but don't think that NG troops are the only ones hard put.


The size of our regular component must be increased,....


I agree, the draft should be re-instated and NO exemptions other than physical allowed. Also, no one should be allowed a commission until after reaching the rank of E-4 on active enlisted service.


For me to be activated would be a tremendous inconvenience;....


Tough! You signed up for it. If one thinks that their activation is outside of the reason for the NG then they should execise their democratic right and publicly protest.


But friends of mine on active duty don't mind the long deployments at all. They have configured their lives in such a way as to handle it.


And some complaints that I have heard were coming out of the Marine Corps. It is a mistake to believe that because troops are doing their duty that they agree with it. That is what makes them professionals. Not being afraid to complain and protest is part of what makes them American.


We are dealing with a post-war society riven by fissures and suffering from three decades of cruel dictatorship.


Three decades is hardly a scratch on the surface if one is trying to get a handle on what is going on here. Bare minimum one needs to go back at least to 1917.


And while I certainly would not underestimate the sorrow of each US life lost, the cost is amazingly low. The US has lost fewer troops in six months than six days of heavy combat in any other war. In military terms, the cost is negligible.


This is very subjective. One could also argue that this low cost, negligible loss of life is needless. It is one thing to lose lives in a live or death struggle for the survival of the nation, another to throw them away for political purposes and the gain of private interests. This war is an abuse of our military.

Using the negligible argument one could just as easily say that the loss of life on 911 was nothing compared to many other events in history, so why the fuss.

Dave Livingston wrote:

No, no-one in the Administration provided a letter to be signed by the troops. What happened was some of the less than articulate & expessive kids in a unit upset by the lying news reported here back home about what is going on in Iraq complained about the Leftist lies. So....


First it is debatable whether the news is lying or rather that it just reports events from one area that those in other areas don't experience. I think that both the "good" and "bad" news have facts behind them and outright rejecting one or the other is a mistake.

As for what really happened about voluntarily signing the letter, who is to say but my experience tells me that the message is "here is a letter to sign" with the unstated message that those who do not sign will be remembered. Saw it happen many times in regards to Savings Bonds and other such drives in the command.

Steve Brody wrote:

Military pay raises were parsimonious under Clinton. They have been much more generous under Bush.


Military pay has always been too little. We pay are enlisted personnel not nearly enough and our defense contractors too much.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003


Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003


Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Thanks Mr Brody. Are there any links to the French development of these weapons?
As for the elections, it's not the topic here.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

Conspiracy Theories:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's, "The fifth estate" investigates the labyrinthine and surprising ties between the Bushes and the Bin Ladens.

What they find out may startle you as much as any conspiracy theory.

A Must See Documentary: Video:

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003


Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

US defeat? For me to be rooting for the US to be defeated there would have to be something for the US to win.

The Iraqis have done nothing to us. They were not a threat to us.

Our soldiers are fighting on behalf of Israel and industry. If they refuse to fight and demand to come home it won't hurt the US. We never should have been there in the first place. This war is draining our treasury and enriching corporations who sabotague our democracy by using their wealth to buy public office. The millions given by corporations to the Bush adm have paid off in contracts in Iraq.

Our soldiers are not defending or fighting for the US. They are fighting for the policies of a bunch of Zionists and politicians.

Treason is when you turn against your own country. The Bush adm and those supporting our Iraqi policy are the ones who have turned against the US. Our agressive attack against another soverign nation is anti democratic and against everything the US has ever stood for. Breaking international laws is against what the US is supposed to stand for. The Arabs are not my enemies.

I am defending the United States of America against a group of facists who seized office in a Supreme Court coup and who are crushing freedom at home thur the Patriot Acts and who plan to subvert democracy in the next election by using fixed touch screen voting machines.

The Taliban is back in Afganistan and we are bogged down in Iraq as Rumsfeld's leaked memo demonstrates. The enemies of the US are in the White House.

You have no right to say that I am committing treason just because I think the middle east policy is wrong. No soldier should have died because of the lies of the neo cons and the stupid Bush.

If you cannot defend Bush's policy then don't stoop to suggesting other people commit treason. This issue wouldn't even come up if our soldiers thought they were fighting for a good cause.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

NY Guy I hope you have your own show at Comedy Central.

The only people I know who are getting welfare are the airline industry, Israel, Haliburon, ExxonMobile, Shell and Root and Brown. They just got another 87 Billion of our hard earned tax dollars which we have borrowed so the Iraqi's oil can be turned over to rich corporations who gouge us.

Women who will have their taxes raised in order to pay for our historic debt do not think Bush cares about them or their children.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

you're a conservative alright. You don't know what a neo con is and you have no idea about depleted uranium and you twist everything around to fit what you have already decided is the truth. FYI you are supposed to look at all the facts objectively and then find the truth.

Put 'depleted uranium cancer' into a google search and then get back to me.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

Yo Dave, do you know the rightwing spinners personally? Perhaps you should sit in the lobby of PNAC. Please don't say anything to the Zionists there because they think goyen are stupid and you don't want to prove it for them.

Dave Livingston - 10/31/2003


Your point that many of the troops in Guard (& Reserve) units are taking a big paycheck hit, but while I have taken the same position as you about the need to increase the size of our standing army (IMHO by perhaps six divisions of infantry & one or two of Armor) here recently I've been wondering if the Administration's increasing reliance upon weekend Warriors isn't in line with what the Founding Fathers had in mind. What do you think?

Dave Livingston - 10/31/2003

Right on, Steve!

Wasn't it in Democratic machoine controled Chicago that the expression "Vothe early and often" became common currency? And wasn't it there where the scandal of voting the dead reached such scandlous proportions it coulkd no longer be ignored?

Dave Livingston - 10/31/2003


No, no-one in the Administration provided a letter to be signed by the troops. What happened was some of the less than articulate & expessive kids in a unit upset by the lying news reported here back home about what is going on in Iraq complained about the Leftist lies. So a battalion commander, i.e. a Lieutenant Colonel, decided to assist his boys. He complied a coherent and honest report about what their unit was accomplishing & handed it out to any soldier who wanted to send what they think is the truth home.

No wonder this P.O.s the Left, it doesn't believe in objective reality, truth. So the Left hating truth when it cnflicts with their preconceptions belly-ache about a commander in the field in Iraq lending some of his boys.

Barbara, again I urge you to go sit in the lobby of your nearest V.A. hospital fdor an hour or two, but please, for your sake, don't blabber to the guys about your freaky points-of-view concerning G.I.s & the Armed Forces--for your sake.

Dave Livingston - 10/31/2003

Barbara, Honey,

I may not interject casuality figures from WWII into the discussion for comparison's sake? Ah, come on, doll, this is the HISTORY News Network.

Of course, each of the Bush's are acquainted with soldiers on active duty.

Kid, FYI St. Barbara's feast day is the day celebrated by all
U.S. Army artillery units, in garrion with a dinner, dance & ball. Saint Barbara is the patroness saint of gunners, aka, artillerymen.

Depleted uranium is not nearly the horror story you attempt to make it out to be. For starters, our Main Battle Tank, the M-1 has depleted uranium armor. Consequently, our tankers are around & touching the material every day they are on their vehicles. My authority for this information? Yours truly is a Captain, U.S. Army (Armor branch) retired. I.e., much of my military sevice was in and around tanks. This regardless I became an Army chopper pilot as well and when WIA late in my second tour was fighting with an Air Cavalry unit. And in Germany between my tours fighting in Viet-Nam I served with a Pershing I missile (nuclear warhead) battalion--so please, don't attempt to feed me baloney about nukes.

What's a Neo-con? Perhaps indeed I once a Democrat & yet a strong fan of J.F.K., but now a Prohibitionist, one of the few Catholics in the movement. Yes, I'm strongly Pro-Life & pro traditional familyand a strong advocate of the Standard Model position on the Second Amendment. Does classify me a Neo-con in your book? I'll acknowledge to be a social conservative.

Herodotus - 10/31/2003

tip of the hat.

Stephen Thomas - 10/31/2003

What exactly is the difference between this and treason?

Not much really.

Ugly, ugly stuff.

You've got the right to publish it. Others have the right to regard you as insane for doing it.

NYGuy - 10/31/2003


I really enjoyed your letter. I always felt a man with a good sense of humor can’t be all that bad. :)


GW cheerleader is back.


I am not a cheerleader, perhaps a visionary? :)

As for women, yes I do like them. And when I speak of their achievement it is from experience and with pride. I am talking about those millions of VP’s throughout the country not just the Presidents of major companies, although there are many of them. And of course we can’t forget our Congresswomen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, entertainers and a whole host of other rich women. As you are probably aware men work so very hard that they die early leaving the wife with all the money.

We do not have poverty in NYC that exists in CA. Anyone who is a winner can get a job in the big apple. Yes we do take care of the victims who usually go on welfare.

As for the UN we should turn it into a profit making company and sell shares. That way it will be able to function properly. Who needs a peacekeeping organization that cuts and runs when the going gets tough, telling the terrorist they can have full reign. Although GW did not do it on purpose, he has assumed the leadership for the world which has made that UN organization obsolete. Perhaps we should just stay with the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders and get rid of the UN. But, that would be too much of an economic strain on the fancy restaurants on the East side and the NYC wine and cigar businesses.

I am from the old school, Master of my house. But, please don’t tell my wife.

Gus, the reality is that the economy boomed in the third quarter, consumer confidence and the purchasing manager’s indices are rising. The stock market is hitting new highs every day. Now do you see GW’s economic genius in getting us out of the Clinton recession?

Happy days are here again. Look around you.


Steve Brody - 10/31/2003

The device in question is called a “low yield earth penetrating nuclear weapon” or “mini nuke”. It is designed to take out heavily fortified, high value targets, such as North Korean nuclear weapons labs, while at the same time minimizing surrounding damage. The Bush Administration has indicated a renewed interest in developing them. A lot of observers believe that the development of these weapons might induce NK to be less intractable in negotiations concerning their nuclear weapons program.

This is similar to the strategy used in the development of the 280mm nuclear cannon. In the later stages of the Korean War, both sides had settled into defensive emplacements that were more or less impervious to conventional bombardment. Armistice negotiations were dragging on over POW return issues. The development of a tactical nuclear cannon, capable of destroying these emplacements, is widely believed to have made the North Koreans finally conclude negotiations for an armistice.

Thus Barbara is clearly in error when she says in one breath that Bush is developing “mini nukes” in order to “destroy whole Arab cities”. That is not what they are designed to do.

Regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. I have not heard, seen or read any credible reports that such is the case. If Barbara has authority for the statement that there is a plan afoot to deploy nukes to the middle east, she should cite it.

Regarding the Bush’s military pay policy, Barbara is just plain wrong. I’m a retired federal employee and have many friends, relatives and colleagues in the military. Military pay raises were parsimonious under Clinton. They have been much more generous under Bush.

Regarding the “form letter” from Iraq. These are the facts: Lt. Col Dominic Caraccilo drafted a form letter for his troops to sign, on a voluntary basis. The letter pointed out the positive aspects of what we are doing and accomplishing in Iraq. Many soldiers signed the letter and sent it home. Some of the letters ended up in local newspapers. Now come on, Gus, If Lt Col Caraccilo is “someone connected to the Administration”, then I guess when Clinton was in office, then Major Caraccilo was “part of the Clinton Administration”. It’s a pretty far stretch to say that every officer in the military is “someone in the Administration”.

Should Caraccilo be sacked? I don’t think so. His motives were undoubtedly to boost his troops morale. I can’t see that as a “firing offense”.

Regarding some plan to “disenfranchise certain voters”, I say bullshit (politely). If you’ve got some evidence of this, get your butt into the hornet’s nest and start swattin’. Because what has been widely reported is that most of the counties that had problems with over- and under-votes were counties that had Democratic Election Commissioners. What has also been established by a full recount, conducted by a consortium of Florida media outlets, of all the votes is that GWB won Florida in any likely recount scenario.

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Well, the GW cheerleader is back.
Your ingratiating and condescending treatment of women is shameful. You said, sir that “many of the women are also top executives” . I suspect you know it is false, as less than 1% are top executives, whilst they represent 52% of the population and +40% of the full time workforce.

Ah, MY Guy the crowded skyline is perturbing your view. Are there too many buildings in NY keeping you from seeing the dozens of millions in poverty?

I see the light now, especially about Iran, N Korea and the UN. Shall we disband the UN?

Being a man has made you especially dense on some topics, perhaps you have experienced Gerald Ford syndrome, too much contact sports.

Stock prices soaring? From what level?
Get a grip on reality.

Alec Lloyd - 10/31/2003

Actually it matters a great deal.

Guard units have a very different outlook than regular formations. It is entirely understandable that they want to return home and get on with their civilian lives. Unlike the regulars, Guard troops have mortages, car loans and many are suffering a steep loss of income while serving overseas.

I would suggest you survey those Guard units deployed stateside. You will find that they, too, would rather be back at home.

The size of our regular component must be increased, either through actual enlargement or a better use of existing troops. National Guard troops are there to fight and come home.

For me to be activated would be a tremendous inconvenience; it would naturally affect my morale, regardless of my belief in the necessity for action. But friends of mine on active duty don't mind the long deployments at all. They have configured their lives in such a way as to handle it.

That is a telling difference, one this author (and the Stars and Stripes poll) did not take into account.

Alec Lloyd - 10/31/2003

Please do not put words into my mouth, Mr. Moner.

We are dealing with a post-war society riven by fissures and suffering from three decades of cruel dictatorship. Expecting an instant transition to a Swiss-style federation (complete with civil society and fine manufactured goods) is ludicrious. "Going well" is therefore a relative term.

But it is also appropriate. The terrorists are now attacking civilian targets - hardly something that will win over hearts and minds. This is the same mistake the Muslim Brotherhood made in Egypt two decades ago and it cost them popular support. This same process is now at work in Iraq.

You see, Mr. Moner, this is a war, and wars have many facets. Even in a discrete military event (say a field battle of two centuries ago) there were successes and failures for each side. A commander cannot strive to win at every point on the line, but rather to achieve success in the aggregate, which is precisely what we are doing.

The unrest is, for the most part, remarkably confined. And while I certainly would not underestimate the sorrow of each US life lost, the cost is amazingly low. The US has lost fewer troops in six months than six days of heavy combat in any other war. In military terms, the cost is negligible.

But not all wars are fought in purely military terms. War is in fact an extension of politics. National will is more important than military power, and this the terrorists know quite well.

Thus they seek to demoralize our forces and compel an ignoble retreat. The anti-war movement is their de facto ally (actually, ANSWER has offered unqualified support of the "insurgents" as they call them). Our morale will fail long before our military does - or so they hope.

My point is that this article is wishful thinking. Our troops aren't demoralized and we aren't losing, though we will, once we think we are. That isn't the "party line," as you put it, it is a statement of fact.

I'd rather see us succeed than fail. I am not so sure about others.

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Well put Mr West.

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Firstly, let me welcome a new female contributor to this male-dominated nest of vipers. Perhaps it will add some diversity to our postings and debates.
Person Herodotus, on your comments:

1) I cannot address this until I get more info on this mini-nuke business. Can anyone help me with facts and not rhetoric?
2) As far as I know, to date, I’d have to agree with the Herodotus person's point. I have not heard of any change in this policy.

3) I AM CONFUSED. If as Herodotus person claims the administration is NOT intending to “deploy nuclear weapons instead of ground troops”, why is it said in the very next comment that “nor is it doing so because it cannot draft people.” Either it is or is not. Which is it, please?

4) Limiting an expected pay increase would require a reduction in the expectations of the amount of increase. It reduces the increase and cuts projected pay.

5) Someone connected to the administration did this. Having soldiers sign form letters pro-administration policy written by others is wrong. Has anyone been sacked because of it? No. They admit being associated by keeping this person or these people. The entire letter was incorrect, facts aside. Repugnant.

6) There is evidence (I shall not enter that hornet's nest here) that tactics used by the Republican governor in Florida disenfranchised certain voters. Bizarre, yes. But not the posting, the fact it happens with impunity.

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Might either person Herodotus or Ms Cornett give me a link to these reports? I haven't heard a thing about these developments.
Thanks in advance

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Mr Lloyd,
Thanks for your observations, I'd like to expand on them some.

The US is doing a bit more than you cared to mention. The US has invaded and occupied Iraq, eliminating the institutions of the country. It is now finding, as it did in Germany after WWII, that you cannot run a nation without is institutions or people.

Moreover, it is an occupier with interests beyond the well-being of Iraqis. Economic contracts are playing a role here. Political re-organisation of a foreign land, indeed a region, as the Israeli-US Republikud coalition proposes to do is fraught with danger.

Iraq will likely fester for decades, if it ever manages to even recompose itself as a single entity from this body blow. There are now 4 governments operating in Iraq, and people are choosing which to follow according to creed. A unified one seems a distant dream at best.

That being said, it is true and we both agree that we’ll have to wait to see if this incipient resistance or repulsion in the US militarygrows. It is not like Vietnam, this is mainly a volunteer force; but as more reservists get the call up, we may see more ‘resistance’.

Civilian deaths are not being tallied as in Vietnam, so we’ll never have to worry about the silent dead haunting us. And according to your tale, everywhere else but in your cited triangle people are happy as pigs in mud. So, things are going well, then, Mr Lloyd, just as you said. Every time they attack is because we are being successful, right? Do I have the company line down pat now?

Herodotus - 10/31/2003

Wow, that was actually fun to read.

Gus Moner - 10/31/2003

Thanks for the clarification. My use of terminology was perhaps erroneous, or insufficiently thought through at the least.

Battle fatigue is indeed one element here and I failed to consider it. Your comment was helpful.

There may have to be another category, 'Moral repugnancy' or 'Morally Revolted' created to accomodate what I referred to, the correlation between seeing the brutality, hopelessness and illogic of the situation and the 'turning away' from participation in the war.

I did express my doubts regarding this CO situation due to the volunteer nature of the armed forces. I wonder how many people in the services who reach this point are actually transferred to hospital services and the like. I suspect relatively few.

NYGuy - 10/31/2003


You got to lighten up and focus on the genius of GW. He put in a tax cut that favored both the rich men and rich women, many of the women are also top executives. And of course there are many women working to support themselves who will benefit from the booming stock market which is causing 401K and and other retirement plans to grow. GW is a women's man. He not only likes them, he respects them and provides the economic leadership to make them self-sufficient.

Except for those on welfare, who are these poor people you are talking about?

Meanwhile, with GW's leadership we are bringing nuclear countries like North Korea and Iran under control, while the peacekeepers from the UN are turning tail and bailing out.

Maybe it is because I am a man and have played sports that I can appreciate the importance of a good offense being the best defense.:)

With the economy booming and stock prices soaring, all ships rise with the tide. And one of the biggest beneficiaries are the women of America. You should be happy with GW.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

1. This administration is planning to use min-nukes in its efforts to rearrange the middle east. We should not be using any nuclear weapons nor should we have used depleted uranium which is devastating the people of Iraq who survived the bombing. This adm was willing to drop tens of thousands of pounds of bombs on a defenseless people in order to shock and awe them and now they are planning on using nuclear weapons to further show the ability of the US to domoniate thur war and power. They are planning on using these weapons against Syria, Iran and any other place where Arabs live.

They are leaving our borders and nuclear facilites unprotected and when the US is attacked and our people killed, rather then caring about that they will use it as a further excuse to attack and murder Arabs in the middle east. We have no protection at our ports where any weapon could be smuggled into the US. ABC news smuggled weapons on board airliners in order to demonstrate how vunerable we are and that we are not being protected. They are turning us into another Israel. The neo-cons in this adm are my enemies. Not the Arab people.

2. The policy of the US has always been to attack other nations only if we were attacked first. It became illegal and criminal after Nuremberg to aggressively attack another soverign nation who has done nothing to us. Bush and the terrorist neo-cons do not stand on civility and international laws. They are already war criminals so save the bs for some stupid dittohead who is eagar to believe it.

3. Wanta bet?

4. How sweet of the multi-millionaires in the White House inner circle and in the Senate which just voted inself a pay increase to simply limit pay increases of soldiers dying in Iraq so Haliburton and Dick hiding in his secret bunker Cheney could get richer. Why these soldiers knew what they were signing up for when they joined the military and if they didn't want to fight on behalf of Israel and the military industrial complex then they should have taken that job at WalMart or Dairy Queen.

Of course it should be obvious to everyone that we need to cut corners. The obvious place to do that is to stop furture pay increases for soldiers. We can't give tax breaks to the rich and afford big salaries for min wage workers like soldiers. They'd just be making minimum wage if they were at home working and the way I see it they are getting to travel and everything. They are learning about new cultures and getting a broadening experinence. We are doing them a favor. Its not like they are working hard like our senators and the neo-cons in the White House who actually got an education and learned about philosophy and everything. Its not easy studying Strauss. These hardworking entrapranuers deserve their pay and benefits. Soldiers who go to boot camp instead of college cannot expect to get paid like a CEO or a philosopher for God's sake. Limiting soldier's pay is not a pay cut.

I want to enbroider that on a pillow. Limiting a soldier's pay is not a pay cut. got it.

5. This administration did not write the letter. I'm sure they were 100% against it and the one who did write it has been fired.
If you say the letter was factually correct then I'm sure it must be and that makes it 100% ok.

6. Thousands of blacks were prevented from voting in FL where the idiot bush's brother is governor as they were illegally purged from the polls. The state where Jews vote for Buchanan.

Barbara Cornett - 10/31/2003

How many soldiers do George Bush and the sorry neo-cons know personally? They have done nothing to benefit soldiers and everything they can to hurt them. You have refuted nothing that I have stated about how the bush adm treats our soldiers and veterans. They lie about freeing the Iraqi people at the same time they are callously exposing them and our GIs to depleted uranium. May God have mercy on the people in this adm because I won't. I hope they burn in hell.

No wonder Bush and the neo-cons know they can lie and do any dastardly deed they want. They know that people like you will blindly support them anyway.

I am well aware of the conditions of veteran's hospitals in the US because members of my family are veterans who have to travel miles in order to visit a hospital and then receive shabby treatment when they get there. Bush and the neo-cons have cut funding for VA hospitals so your support of this adm and your claims of knowing and caring about vets is illogical.

The soldiers now soldiering in Iraq and Afganistan are not paying duty and sacrifice for the United States. They are serving for Israel and ExxonMobile. The price they pay is not in defense of the US and that is the point of this thread.

Herodotus - 10/30/2003

You have several factual errors here in your two posts.

(1) This administration reduced the number of nuclear weapons in the arsenal by thousands following a historic agreement with Russia in 2002. It is not increasing the stockpile.

(2) The administration is not planning to use mini nukes to obliterate Arab cities. The United States has nuclear weapons, and the stated policy, as always, has been to use them if someone hits this country with one first.

(3) The administration is not intending to deploy nuclear weapons instead of ground troops, nor is it doing so because it cannot draft people.

(4) The administration raised pay for soldiers last year. There is talk now of limiting the future pay increases. Limiting a proposed increase is not a cut.

(5) The administration did not write a letter and then force soldiers to sign it. A battalion commander--that is, someone in charge of several hundred soldiers--took it upon his own initiative to do this. This is not a disputed issue. Little in the letter was factually incorrect.

(6) the rest of your posting is merely bizarre, particularly the part about keeping blacks from voting.

Jerry West - 10/30/2003

Barbara Cornett wrote:

We have committed a war crime by waging aggressive war against another soverign nation and that is no small thing. Bush and the neo-cons are war criminals.


Evidence supporting this is the administrations refusal to sign on to the ICC or heed the advice of most of their allies. One could be charitable and say that they have made a stupid mistake, but that isn't the case. This is a calculated agression in defiance of the well being of our country and what it stands for in order to serve selfish political ambitions and the interests of certain special interest groups.

In my estimation neither the bozo horny Bill nor the organ grinder's monkey George have served our country well. The American people deserve far better than what money has been buying for them.

Jerry West - 10/30/2003

Alec Lloyd wrote:

As I have pointed out, morale among US regulars is quite high and outside of the Sunni Triangle, things are going quite well.


This may have changed with the recent attacks on occupation forces south of Baghdad.

Also, I have been picking up a bit of chatter regarding the troops and though many of them may still be supportive it seems quite a few are not, and it matters not whether the dissafection is in the regular force or the Guard. Without the Guard our undermanned and over extended forces would be in a desperate position.

I can also speak with more than a passing knowledge of troops and complaints. It isn't the complaints or lack thereof that is the most important. It is the topic of the complaints and the number of them.

Barbara Cornett - 10/30/2003

You cannot justify what is going on in Iraq by bringing up WW2 or any other war. None of our young people should have lost their lives because of the lies of this adm which bases their philsophy of lying to the people on Leo Strauss's teachings.

We were lied to by this adm and were taken into Iraq in order to destroy one of Israel's enemies and in an effort at empire building. We have committed a war crime by waging aggressive war against another soverign nation and that is no small thing. Bush and the neo-cons are war criminals.

The white House has forbidden the media from coverning the events where body bags come home. People like you hear only the cheery propaganda put out by the WH and you believe what you choose to believe. Rumsfeld's recently leaked memo suggests that I'm right and your wrong. You would be screaming to impeach Bill Clinton if he lied about anything but you make excuses for this lying WH.

The White House also knowingly exposes our troops to depleted uranium everyday in addition to all of the other things that I stated they are doing to them.

We don't need to start another nuclear buildup around the world which is exactly what the neo-cons are accomplishing.

Please explain who you think is going to have to pay for all the spending this adm is doing. You'll be screaming like a banshee when someone rasies taxes in order to pay off our historic debt.

I hope our soldiers do refuse to soldier. They would be within their rights to refuse to occupy Iraq at Camp ExxonMobile while Halibuton and the neo-cons plunder Iraq and steal their naturnal resouces for big corporations and their rich friends angering the Arab world even more.

Dave Livingston - 10/30/2003

Ms. Cornett,

Tell me, please, are you yourself acquainted with a single G.I. on active duty, whether or no a called up reservist? Or are you acquainted with a single military or naval family, a family that has a son on active duty? My bet is the answer to both queries is, a resounding "No,no way!"

Lady, if you'd truly care to learn a little something about the horrible effects of warfare, consider sitting for an hour or so in the lobby of any V.A. hospital in the country, observing the prices paid by some G.I.s for "duty, honor & country." Otherwise, please keep your crocodile tears to yourself & those of a like-mind.

Dave Livingston - 10/30/2003

Barbara doesn't know what ehe's talking about. Troop morale has improved tremdenously across the board, in all branches of the Service, in both officer & enlisted ranks, in the couple of years since Geo. W. took office. As said elsewqhere, re-enlistment rates in active duty units, a barometer of morale, are quite high.

Low-yield nuclear weapons, including 8" artillery rounds, have been in the inventory for decades and they are nothing to begin fretting about now.

Ninnies fretting about how awful our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan consider their plights to be should associate with G.I.s & their families a bit rather than sulking in Liberal ghettos weeping crocodile tears with like-minded sissies, including Leftist journalists.

Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began I've read literally tens of emails from the troops in the field and traded messages with families with sons in the field. Practically without disagreement moral is shown to be high & families here at home are proud and strongly supportive of their boys in the field.

Yes, we lose a boy or three every day in Irag, but in Viet-Nam we lost approximately a hundred a day on average. In WWII we lost more, &in a time frame shorter by half thasn during the Viet-Nam War. Moreover, the losses during WWII were suffered by an America with not much more than a thoird of today's national population.

Dave Livingston - 10/30/2003

IMHO, based upon my experiences during my tuncated military career decades ago & continued frequent but quite casual associations with G.I.s,both NY Guy's & Alec Lloyd's assessments are accurate, nearly point-for-point.

The time to begin to worry about the troops is when they cease to complain about nearly everything under the sun. Based upon local newspaper reports, Colorado Springs home to five large military facilities, Ft. Carson, 10th Special Forces Group, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, presently in Iraq, and elements of two infantry divisions, the Air Force Academy, Petwerson Air Force Base, including Northern Command, the command responsible for the defense of North America, Shrivner A.F.B. & NORAD, North American Air Defense HQ buried in Cheyenne mountain, troop morale is high, reenlistment rates are high, military families are well supported and seemingly reasonably contented

Alec Lloyd - 10/30/2003

Mr. Moner it is an interesting development, and we shall see how long it lasts.

However the US experience and the Israeli one are quite different.

The US is attempting to pacify a country and prepare it for self-government. As local forces become more proficient, the US role will decline. Israel has no clear "exit point," save for an escalation to total war.

Every conflict has had individuals who have lost faith in their cause and desire to end it, even on unfavorable terms. The question is whether this movement is growing and how prevalent it becomes.

But the two items are very different because the circumstances are very different.

As I have pointed out, morale among US regulars is quite high and outside of the Sunni Triangle, things are going quite well.

Thus the central thrust of this article is false.

NYGuy - 10/29/2003

Gus Moner

"It seems there is a correlation between the illogic of a war and the numbers of CO. The more people see their acts as barbaric and illogical in a useless or ridiculous adventure, the more repulsed and repugnant the war becomes. It would be an interesting barometer to observe, as this war drags on and the increasing number of civilian deaths hits soldiers who also have children and families, to determine just how many people try to opt out."


I am not sure you understand what a CO is in the service. Yes there are those who object to war and killing for various reasons, often based on religion, and they are called Conscientious Objectors or CO's in the U. S. services. This determination is generally determined during a time when we have the draft and recruits can claim that position since they are being called into service involuntarily. CO's who oppose killing generally don't join the service as volunteers.

Those who claimsCO status are generally put in the medical Corp and many of these CO’s became highly decorated soldiers in their efforts to save lives. You also know that only a small percentage of the servicemen see real combat and they would primarily be the people you are talking about and the condition you are talking about is battle fatigue.

Therefore the argument that the number of CO’s will increase as the war continues does not show a strong correlation.

Soldiers always complain which shows their moral is high. While you may be right that some may rebel against doing their duty, I don’t think the number would be large.

Herodotus - 10/29/2003

You may be interested to know that the French government made it known earlier this week that it would be pursuing mini-nukes as well in order to be able to use them against rogue nations with WMD.

Barbara Cornett - 10/29/2003

This administration is planning to use mini nukes that will penetrate underground bunkers and can oblierate whole Arab cities. Many people stated at the beginning of the Iraqi holocaust that we would end up having to either start a draft or use nuclear weapons.

So many people are against the war and soldiers are refusing to remain in the military so rather then a draft the neo-cons are resorting to nuclear weapons. They are undoing every effort that has ever been made to stop the use of nuclear weapons and the history of the last 50 years where the US used them for deterrant purposes only.

Also, no one can deny the fact that it is military families that are doing much of the protesting and who are speaking out about the treatment of their family members.

Bush and the neo-cons have attempted to cut soldier pay while soldiers are under fire. They have tried to cut benefits to families of soldiers while soldiers are under fire. They have cut veterans benefits and cut funding for veterans hospitals while our soldiers are under fire. They have left wounded solders in horrible dirty rooms without treatment in Iraq and they have charged soldiers for meals and treatment. They have even forced soldiers to buy their own plane tickets if they wanted to come home for PR. No wonder soldiers are complaining.

The Bush adm wrote a letter and had several soldiers sign it and it was published in newspapers across America and was nothing but pure propaganda and more lies. With all the lies that have been told by this adm I would sooner believe the devil and I don't think for a minute that our soldiers are being treated well and they are disgusted with what is going on.

Soldiers have even started their own political party because they are so sick of how they are treated.

When a nation goes to war EVERYONE should sacrifice to win the war. The rich and big corporations have gotten three tax cuts and one on the way. Corporations are making a killing, no pun intended, in Iraq while soldiers continue to die. The Sunni are waiting for the right moment and then they will make Iraq into another Vietnam.

People at home are encouraged to shop and spend and go on with their lives. Just trust us, says the administration. I hope the republicans get to use their fixed diebold voting machines in the next presidential election. Thats the only way they'll win. Maybe they can keep more blacks from voting and this next time they'll have to keep soldiers and their families from voting too.

Gus Moner - 10/29/2003

My post was in reply to Mr Lloyd's, I failed to mention it.

Gus Moner - 10/29/2003

Well, you may be at least partially correct. Yet, we have recently seen an increase in moral objections to the inhumane acts the Israeli military is obligating its soldiers to perform. There is a small number in the 20's I believe, of Israeli pilots who refuse to bomb Palestinian areas anymore because of the known inevitability of 'collateral damage'. Conscientious Objectors they are called, CO.

It is unsurprising in any war to have people become sickened by the barbarism war requires, and as you say it’s inevitable that troops will gripe. In other wars there have been significant cases of this dissent and depending on the conflict, more or less people opted out or at least tried.

It ought not to be exaggerated; however, it is a significant development. It seems there is a correlation between the illogic of a war and the numbers of CO. The more people see their acts as barbaric and illogical in a useless or ridiculous adventure, the more repulsed and repugnant the war becomes. It would be an interesting barometer to observe, as this war drags on and the increasing number of civilian deaths hits soldiers who also have children and families, to determine just how many people try to opt out.

It ought to be lower than in other wars since this is, after all, a volunteer, professional army. Presumably the enlistees knew they could go off to war.

Dave Livingston - 10/29/2003

Alec knows what he's talking about, Rosen doesn't. For instance, in "The Gazette," Colorado Springs it was reported a day or two ago that reenlistment rates, morale and satisfaction with their mission are all high in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has its home post Fort Carson, Colorado Springs.

That active duty, rather than Reservists & Guard, troops are confident that they are accomplishing something well worth doing is confirmed in message after message from the troops in the field.

It is not so terrible some of the troops are complaining. Troops always complain. As the old saw goes, "The time to worry about the troops isn't when they are complasining, but rather when they've gone sullenly quiet."

At least this tussle in Iraq has made the civilian populace once again aware that we do have an army.

NYGuy - 10/28/2003


Good post. Just shows Ms. Rosen does not know about Army, or service moral. When the troops stop b______ing, that is the time to start to worry.

Just another library critic.

Alec Lloyd - 10/28/2003

for those who care


Alec Lloyd - 10/28/2003

I would suggest Ms. Rosen read the Stars and Stripes article, rather than the main-stream spin put on it. The poll was far from scientific, particularly in the types of units that participated.

National Guard and Reserve components naturally want to go home, and will complain of low morale, lack of mission, etc. Additionally complaints about the "clarity of mission" may have more to do with the fact that artillerists are being deployed as infantry than confusion about the task at hand.

Retention figures among the active components are actually up, not down. If anyone is engaging in wishful thinking, it is the anti-war movement.