Blogs > Cliopatria > Iraq and Vietnam, the Anti-War Movements

Oct 1, 2005 4:44 pm

Iraq and Vietnam, the Anti-War Movements

Mr. Johnson is a professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

It seems to me that the differences between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq far outweigh the similarities. But it’s still useful to think of comparisons between the two. To date, there’s been a considerable difference between the two movements opposing the administration’s policy. On the one hand, public opinion has consolidated remarkably quickly against the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq, while for most of the 1960s, the anti-war position lacked majority popular support. On the other hand, the movement against the war in Iraq has had almost no policy impact, while the movement against the Vietnam War had a considerable impact in Washington, and at a relatively early stage.

Four years after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the only two senators to vote against it (Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening) lost their re-election bids—partly because of their strongly anti-war positions. Public opinion polls from 1968 showed a majority either supporting LBJ’s policy or favoring an escalation of the conflict. Yet by this time, the Fulbright Hearings already had made challenging Cold War foreign policy respectable. In 1967, Congress passed a resolution sponsored by Mike Mansfield urging a negotiated settlement to the war. And congressional critics had scored important victories in curtailing Johnson’s military aid policy, as well as blocking the administration’s efforts to expand its commitment to Thailand. In short, the movement against the Vietnam War affected policy well before it ever enjoyed majority public support.

By this calculus, American troops should now be out of Iraq. Why aren’t they? Partially, of course, the explanation lies in the differences between the Congress of 1967 and that of 2005. As the United States has moved toward a quasi-parliamentary system, Congress has fewer and fewer members willing to challenge their party’s leadership on any issue of substantive importance.

But the character of the two anti-war movements also differs in ways that work against the current anti-war movement affecting policy. The Vietnam protest movement always had a radical contingent, which peaked in 1968. But from its start it also contained a powerful political arm. Sometimes the politicians were as radical as the grassroots protesters, as with Morse and Gruening in 1964. But, more often, the political arm took a more moderate position, allowing politicians who didn’t want to risk their careers to still challenge LBJ’s policies. By late 1967, William Fulbright, George McGovern, and Robert Kennedy (among others) could be identified as prominent politicians associated with an anti-war position.

Who, among today’s members of Congress, could be similarly identified? Political timidity might be one explanation for this reticence; the increasingly cookie-cutter nature of today’s politicians is another. But the nature of the public wing of the anti-war movement has also worked against politicians affiliating with it.

From its start, the conflict has generated intense opposition from forces on the extreme left of the American political spectrum—a stark contrast to Vietnam, where radical and more moderate anti-war voices developed simultaneously. As a result, the left extreme has been allowed to pass as the voice of the anti-war movement.

A reminder of this problem came in last weekend’s anti-war protest march in Washington. Earlier this week in Slate, Christopher Hitchens offered a savage and persuasive critique of the ideological agenda behind the march. Postings by some march supporters unintentionally reinforced Hitchens’ portrayal. According to Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Yale professor of genetics until December 2004 who in recent years served as faculty adviser to Yale’s Arab Students Organization, the protest march was “literally a sea of Palestinian flags (the most dominant flag at this demonstration).” Having the Palestinian flag as the dominant one at an anti-war demonstration is a political problem for the anti-war movement.

Quimsiyeh’s post came at the Yahoo group “Professors for Peace,” which describes itself as “an international network of educators committed to promoting non-violent solutions to global conflicts and to countering racism and anti-immigrant aggression,” since “as educators, we recognize our responsibility to foster constructive dialogue in our classrooms, on our campuses, and in local, national, and international forums.”

The former Yale professor offered some other fantastic insights, including a claim that Israeli security agents trained “US troops in methods of urban warfare’ (read collective punishment and other war crimes)” and “are now in New Orleans getting taxpayer money to occupy our US cities.” Qumsiyeh added that Democratic members of Congress boycotted the anti-war rally not because of its extremist message but because AIPAC “put out the word that any member of Congress who appeared at the protest, where some speakers were to represent pro-Palestinian views, would face the political wrath of AIPAC,” a message allegedly conveyed by Barney Frank.

With this kind of agenda, it’s no surprise that Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, known for indulging occasional anti-semitic conspiracy theories, was one of only three members of the House to address the rally. (No senators did.) The close linkage between the movement against the Iraq war and other issues (especially hostility to Israel, but also opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act ) that enjoy widespread popular support helps explain why the only politicians we see taking strongly anti-war positions are those like Cynthia McKinney.

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Frank Smith - 1/22/2008

That was what Bush or one of his lieutenants claimed. But does this guy look dead to you?

His death by torture and suffocation was covered up by packing his body in ice, so it wouldn't decompose, and spiriting his corpse out of the prison.

caleb cambee - 12/13/2007

I think your correct and I would like to add that although no two things are alike there can still be some similarities. I just saw this documentary, Sir! No Sir! Which is about the G.I. movement during Vietnam and how they made underground newspapers about what was really going on. It reminded me of the soldiers in Iraq blogging about their experiences. Here’s their website.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The U.S. was not attacked by Iraq on 9/1/01 regardless of what the most ignorant half of the American electorate may or may not believe.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Good points, but is not another likely reason, for more troops not being sent to Iraq, that additional U.S. military (basically trained for half a century to defend West Germany against a Russian invasion) are not going to "do nation building", in a disfunctional Mideast state - as G.W. Bush himself suggested in the 2000 campaign (and then conveniently forgot when he and Rove decided they wanted a "war" as an campaign issue in 2004) ?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is a cold day in hell when I find myself tending towards agreement with comment board fusillades of Mr. Heuisler, but all the idealess energy being expended on this page must be drawing massive heat from somewhere. I will confess that the relatively high quality of Mr. Johnson's article made it easier to overlook its location on the fringes of the website, and that the quality of past remarks by this blog's caretakers made rather unexpected the degree of pointless shouting and gratuitous insulting now going on here.

It may be a fine line between a deliberately screwy political opinion uttered with disruptive and tangential intent by a non-public official in a public forum, and an outright lie, but the line exists, and because this website is mainly about politics, (notwithstanding a facade of being mostly about history), that distinction ought to be respected by people who ought to know better than to make dozens of energetic back-and-forth "did-not-did-so" assertions concerning a phenomenon that is as close to the raison d'etre of this particular forum as it is remote from the essential argument of the article to which these comments purportedly relate.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You can accept or reject my assertion, but please have your eyesight adjusted so you can actually see all the words I wrote, especially:

attacked B Y I R A Q !!!

as in

"NOT attacked BY IRAQ"


"not attacked"

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"We're supposed to be historians, David Horowitz excepted" ?

(Mr Philips in #69145 above)

Not even close.

The name of this website has in reality little or nothing to do with the purpose of the comment boards.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Johnson is on the correct track, but like most of the articles on HNN this one suffers from an excess of prefab journalism and a deficit of real history.

The mislabelled War in Iraq has actually been a bungled invasion to achieve regime implosion, followed by a chaotic set of insurgencies. Three years after it was authorized by a spineless Congress, it shows signs of possibly developing into a Sunni-Shia civil war. It is not yet that.

Completely differently, war (first for independence, then a North vs South civil war) raged for decades in Indochina before American body bags began coming out regularly. Unlike in Iraq, there were clearly two opposing sides, and an identifiable enemy for our side to negotiate with, had there been much to negotiate other than the terms of American ending what at least in retropsect was clearly its folly in intervening massively in an unwinnable war where no serious American interest was at stake.

Because we are dealing here with a comparison between a war (Vietnam) and a non-war (Iraq) it should not be surprising that the so-called antiwar movement against the bogus war in Iraq, is itself bogus. The plethora of Palestinian flags says it all. Are Americans dying in Iraq either to defend the independence of Palestine or to suppress that independence?

Of course not. Nor are most Palestinians in favor of either (a) innocent civilians being beheaded and mosques being suicide bombed or (b) hundreds of thousands of American soldiers bumbling around a complex society trying to figure out how to do an impossible job they were neither trained for, nor should have been sent to do by the corrupt arrogant chickenhawks who are squandering their lives and our future.

The small minority of Vietman War protesters who engaged in counterproductive displays of Viet Cong flags were misguided, but at least had a crude understanding of what the conflict was about. The airheads marching behind Palestinian flags to protest a war that is neither a war nor has fundamentally anything to do with Palestine are living in a foolish fantasyworld.

Now before someone gets all hot and bothered and points out that the number of Palestinian flags in the recent Washington marches was actually small, or that Palestine is, like Iraq, an example of the general failings of America's Mideast policy: hold off, please. I am using the Palestinian flag, as Johnson did, symbolically.
In these bogus marches (which of course, of course, of course, are attended by many genuinely concerned citizens - but not ORGANIZED by them), there are a sea of irrelevant chants and slogans about everything under the sun, from native American rights, to WTO, to oil pipelines thousands of miles from Baghdad, to Roe vs Wade, to you name it. These bogus antiwar rallies are all about acting dumb and feeling good. They do not have, and were never intended by their organizers to have, any real influence of American policy.

Geniune reform can only come when a bogus fake reform movement is exposed and opposed.
In that limited but important sense, Johnson's piece here is welcome.

Frederick Thomas - 10/12/2005

I appreciate your going after both sides, but think you miss the point: Republicans from "outer suburbia" have the presidency, majority of both houses and governors, and soon the ideological majority in the supreme court, and the margins are growing.

And try as he might, felon George Soros, with convictions in Europe and Malaysia, can't buy an election.

Arnold Shcherban - 10/11/2005

Both major American parties have completely compromised themselves as being corrupt and elitarian, loyal servants of corporate power and therefore having practically nothing in common with the real socio-economic interests of the majority of the US population.
Until that majority won't
push them together with their corporate sponsors to the sidewalk from the major socio-political and economic road, there will be no cardinal changes (like universal health care, high quality
school education, and overall significant rise in the quality of life of lower, lower middle and middle middle class folks.
There will be no cardinal changes in
hegemonistic, and therefore militaristic foreign policy with agressions and occupations of other
countries, support for the most reactionary and brutal right-wing regimes over the world and ignited by the latter actions antagonism of the majority in the world towards this country.

Andrew D. Todd - 10/9/2005

Outside of the deep South, the Republican Party, being the party of property, is centered in outer suburbia. Outer suburbia tends to be politically balkanized. It is almost always distributed across different municipalities, often across different counties, and sometimes across different states. The practical result is that a Republican politician whose appeal is effectively limited to outer suburbia (a Grover Norquist type) cannot aspire to a higher elective office than the mayorship of a town of 50,000 people. After that, the demographics go wrong. There are too many voters who are not in the top half of the population in terms of income. The militant Republican politician has generally gained influence in outer suburbia by adopting a position (e.g. tax cuts) which tends to actively antagonize great sections of the larger population. When he tries to run in a larger district, this tends to work against him. Such politicians would do better under proportional representation, but we don't have much of that in the United States. The result is that such a politician's normal ambition leads him into the position of being an "aspiring crony," that is, someone who hopes to be given an appointive office by a Republican state governor, or by the Republican President, an office which does not require the advice and consent of a legislative body. One characteristic of an aspiring crony is his complete mental subservience to the policies of the prospective patron. It is assumed that the patron will take a list of a hundred or a thousand aspiring cronies, cross off the names of any who have ever exhibited mental independence, and choose officeholders from the remainder. When you find an intelligent and capable man who does not admit that the George W. Bush can do anything wrong, ever, but who is not visibly beholden to the President, you have probably found an aspiring crony. This is confirmed if you find that your man has been persistently banging his head against demographic realities in local elections. Another characteristic of the aspiring crony is his tendency to resent legislative restrictions on executive power, without stopping to think what this will mean when there is a Democratic president. The aspiring crony becomes, in effect, a "closet royalist." I am going to suggest that such individuals should be given no more credence than one would give to a paid administration spokesman. They are simply working "on spec."

Of course, I should add, there is a Democratic opposite number. The Democratic Party is the party of welfare. The poor are geographically concentrated in slums. You cannot electorally represent the top tenth of the population, but you can represent the bottom tenth. The ambitious Democratic politician makes his way to a city with a large urban underclass, eg. Detroit or Cleveland, and starts working his way up through the party machine. The Democratic politician simply does not need to take more than a mechanical interest in national politics until he becomes mayor of a city with a population of a million or so. At that point, of course, he has his own power base, and feels free to thunder at Democratic state governors and Democratic presidents alike.

Arnold Shcherban - 10/9/2005

Mr. Luker,

US-US-uber-ales types want the answer
to the premises based on which
they build their apologetic logic in support of the US agression in Iraq
and continuing occupation.
They pretend to be unaware that a single argument/fact of even medium sufficiency is absent to support those
premises, making them false, or at the very least dubious, thus undemining the entire body of their
They want answers, let them hear the answers, one by one.

<1. Iraqi givernment becomes stronger, terrorists weaker">

If by "Iraqi givernmnet" Mr. Lederer
meant what GIs/US gives to make the
the current military rule of the puppet Iraqi government stronger, i.e. as oppressive as the Saddam Hussein's was (and in some aspects, perhaps, more oppressive), consequently affirming the puppets hand in destruction of the Iraq's sovereignity, and splitting the country into two-three protectorats of the US, Britain and Turkey, I heartily sign up under this #1 premise.
The weakening of terrorist and/or anti-occupation activity is not happening at all, and if accounting
for the fast increase of the new regime's terrorist activity (to what
have already been several media reports), and the abysmal historical record of many other US-installed and
sponsored governments around the world, that weakening can hardly be discerned on the horizon.

<2. relative morale, U.S. and terrorists>

Not sure, therefore, cannot comment on this one. Would like to mention, however, that this premise is the least important in the set.

<3. Terrorists losing support of people
4. People increasingly informing on terrorists>

These two comprise just one fundamental premise: #3.

What makes this one (along with the
previous ones I commented on above)
tricky, I would say, logically illegitimate, is Mr. Lederer's implicit assumption that all acts of
armed ressistance to the current puppet Iraqi regime (provided many Iraqis see it this way, and all independent reports coming from Iraq indicates that they do) is nothing more nothing less than terrorist acts, and done exclusively by terrorists. The latter constitutes not just a mistaken opinion, but a certified LIE, akin to defeated and therefore abandoned by the US official propaganda recently lie about
the predominance of "foreign fighters"
in the resistance/guerilla groups.
In any case, the evidence of a loss of popular support for those, whether one calls them terrorists or resistance fighters (and many of them are one and the same) postulated by Lederer is also non-existant and provided almost exclusively by White House reports, Pentagon, some CIA
analysts and the US-Iraq pro-governmental media sources.

<5. Sunnis looking to political compromise, unable to agree to boycott constitutional referendum which they expect to lose.>

Sunnis in their overwhelmimg majority
are strongly oppose existing government, US occupation, and consequently any constitution-to-be
created in these conditions.
They do expect to loose and Shiite's
corrupted by the $$$ elite which is in power now, together with their American sponsors will make sure that
Sunnis loose, but the loss will only make their political and armed resistance to the puppet regime stronger, converting the last premise into the argument defeating the initial purpose of the premise.

I'm not talking already, that certainly Iraqi people were and still are not ready to sacrifice, perhaps, many hundreds of thousands of people eventually just to get good-looking (on paper) constitution and relative peace under the military regime, leading on top of that to the split
of the nation into two-three ones with all other accompanying tragedies.

But, of course, we can't expect
more from such historians as Mr. Lederer and Mr. Heuisler
are, than the concern about accomplishment of the "US goals" in
Middle East.
That's their prayer, that's their religion.

Bill Heuisler - 10/9/2005

English is your second language, and I sympathise with - and admire - your courage to debate in English.

That being said, your dismissive response to my citation of Hanousek shows that you just don't understand what we've been disputing.

You wrote:
"...not a word on the neccesity of "criminal intent" per se for establishing the crime of negligence, still leaving us with a puzzle..."

But we're talking about the crime of criminal negligence not negligence.
Sorry you're having such trouble grasping the basics.

Once more:
Hanousek shows quite clearly how the Federal courts have distinguished between negligence as a tort or petty offense, and criminal negligence as a more serious crime since 2003.

Recall the dispute began with your accusing FEMA of criminal negligence. I responded by writing how mens rea, guilty mind, and intent show criminal negligence. Is it language? Or has hatred of Bush affected your mind?
Either way, you have my sympathy.
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/9/2005

Bill, You forgot to sober up, but you clarified things a bit by calling me "anti-American" and other people "scum." Good to know who the name-caller is here.

Bill Heuisler - 10/9/2005

Mr. Lederer,
Interesting how anti-American drones won't accept your easily-proved words about easily researched conditions.

Luker's nasty ad hominem opinions don't qualify as history. So don't bother responding to his petulance.

Historians suppposedly want facts. Luker provides only noxious, nay-saying and provides no facts at all.

Here's part of an August briefing from one who knows the facts:
Washington -- The outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he found U.S. troop morale to be very high on his around-the-world farewell trip, but he expressed concern about "a growing gap" between what soldiers are saying about the future and the translation that people are hearing in the United States.

Air Force General Richard Myers, who returned August 24 from a 10-day trip around the world, briefed journalists at the Pentagon August 26. He said he visited 18 military bases, traveled more than 25,000 miles, and encountered well over 15,000 service members, contractors and Defense Department civilians.

U.S. military morale "remains very high," Myers said, "Our troops know the mission. They know and accept the challenges that they've been given … [a]nd they particularly want to finish the job at hand."

Myers then contrasted his first-hand experience with "what appears to be a growing gap between what people are hearing … in the United States … with what we saw on this trip." He said it concerned him.

Contrary to recent press reports, Myers said the percentage of active military members who choose to continue in military service has risen to 131 percent.

"[L]et me be very clear; this is a very positive sign," Myers said. He said the retention rate for reserve forces also remains strong, "particularly among those who are deploying or who have deployed."

Myers said successful recruitment and retention depends "not only on how people feel the military is fulfilling their needs, but also on what they hear from their friends and … community leaders…. I think we should make every effort to ensure [that] the youth of America are getting a very clear picture of what we just witnessed on this trip."

Luker will probably scorn these words by attacking Myers' integrity and the integrity of the Bush administration, the way he attacked Horowitz and you.

The Left believes the Guardian and the Nation and Newsweek. They trust scum like Wilson and Blix and Ritter whose integrity and words shifted with their status, but people like the President and the Chair of the JCS are surely not to be trusted.

Your post was appreciated due to its portrayal of reality - a scarce commodity these days.
Bill Heuisler

John H. Lederer - 10/9/2005

I gave several conclusions:

1. Iraqi givernment becomes stronger, terrorists weaker

2. relative morale, U.S. and terrorists
3. Terrorists losing support of people
4. People increasingly informing on terrorists
5. Sunnis looking to political compromise, unable to agree to boycott constitutional referendum which they expect to lose.

Which do you disagree with?

Why do you not think these are not indicative of the US attaining its goal and the Terorists losing theirs?.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/8/2005

Bill, John Lederer's statement cited no evidence and offered no facts whatsoever. It was a statement of faith. No more than that. Sober up before attempting to reply

Bill Heuisler - 10/8/2005

As usual, your response lacks any facts. Mr. Lederer made at least four direct statements about the situation in Iraq. You inquired about his personal habits, mixed metaphors and added nothing to the conversation.

You and Arnold don't like anything favorable about the US, and defend anything unfavorable. Are you capable of self-examination? Do you read your own posts? Can't you see you come across as a dogmatic, anti-American airhead with no dogma and absolutely no arguments?

Read your responses in this stream; look for facts. Look for insults. Ralph, do you really belong on a history site, or would you fit in better trading insults Kos' site?
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/8/2005

John, Your ear seems to be about as close to the ground in Iraq as GWB's. Are you reading tea leaves or smoking grass?

John H. Lederer - 10/8/2005

The anti-war movement is starting to gather support. The war will end. But not because of them. They are too late.

If May 2003 was the end of the beginning, January 2005 was the beginning of the end.

The indicia are there. The Iraqi government becomes stronger. The terrorists become weaker. The people turn from them.

Morale among U.S. Forces is very high. Morale among the terrorists is low and getting lower. People have become a productive source of intelligence about the terrorists, even in Sunni areas. They no longer see the terrorists as representing their interests. The Sunnis increasingly turn to a political compromise, unable even to agree to boycott a constitutional referendum that they now are resigned to losing.

U.S. Forces will begin to scale down after the parliamentary election, if not before. Our role will increasingly become one of providing the Iraqis with security from Iran and Syria by helping control the borders, logistical support, and air support.

There will be some future spasms, a possibility of a "Tet Offensive" around one of the elections is high, but we near the end.

Arnold Shcherban - 10/8/2005

Mr Luker,
You can see for yourself now, from Mr. Heuisler's uninvited response to me (since I told him then that I stopped communicating with him on the reasons I wrote about in my last post), the core of the troubles
with him I indicated before:
a lot of quoting, but not a word on the neccesity of "criminal intent" per se for establishing the crime of negligence, still leaving us with a puzzle as to what exactly those prove and how their contents relate to what I asked him to produce - what was the essense of the argument.
So I yield the rapping floor for this
US-US-uber-alles type, let him entertain himself, which is the only thing he's good for as pseudo-historical buffoon - the only type he has been proving to be for years.

Jeremy Tschudin - 10/8/2005

Comparing US involvement in Iraq to Vietnam is apples and oranges. There will never be the opposition to Iraq as there was to Vietnam because there is no draft. So few people are directly affected as compared to Vietnam with the threat of the draft for men and their immediate family. What we have here is the law of unintended consequences. The seemingly good idea of an all-volunteer army has in effect given the president greatly expanded powers to commit troops to combat. Not what the original advocates of the idea had in mind I’m sure.

Arnold Shcherban - 10/7/2005

No matter what American right-wingers
or self-proclaimed liberals think and
rap about the Iraq war and regardless of how it all will palyed out, the great majority in the world has delivered its judgement on this war two years ago: it was/is an ANGLO-AMERICAN AGRESSION against sovereign state under deliberately falsified and self-served pretences, actually one more chapter in the widely proclaimed and clearly hegemonic directive of speading freedom and democracy (read: plutocracy and theocracy) at its own will through violence, change of any regime that doesn't play ball with the American elite and deterrence of real freedom and democracy at their traditional definitions.
Peter Clark being mostly right about
current American super-militaristic-US-US-uber-alles administration, often tries to whitewash the not so different heritage of deterring real freedoms and democracy, i.e. those meant for the 90% of the demos, not for the rest 10%, all over the world left to it by the many previous, Demo-Con (or, to be more exact, Con-Demo), presidencies.

The spread of terror against this country and some other Western states
has been largely pre-programmed, though, perhaps, unconciously, by the
ideologues and creators of the Plan Grandioso (strife for US world hegemony) that provided wholesale support and all kinds of aid, including the one that could have been used (and actually was used) for developing WMDs almost exclusively to
brutal, often openly murderous, terroristic, anti-populus regimes (including the Saddam's) practically in all regions of the Third World: Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kongo,
South Africa, Rodesia, Mozambique,
Angola, Central and South America.
Today, despite its widely advertised
war on terror, and in full accordance with its traditional economo-political position to suppress
any nore or less popular movements and
regimes not willing to explicitly lick
Washington's quasi-altruistic hand/club, i.e. the very pro-democratic movements the US allegedly sacrifices everything to support and cherish, it works hard to undermine or
physically eliminate those at every respective country: Venezuela and Philippines, Columbia and Haiti, Bellorussia and Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Birma. It barks at Russia for
alleged violation of human rights of Russian oligarchs, but doesn't sound a single utterance at the adress of pro-Nazi regimes in Latvia and Estonia, where WWII SS veterans are
officially greeted as heroes and receiving state pensions, while anti-SS veterans are being ostrasized and occasionally assaulted, not mentioning other human rights violations, officially approved by their goverments.
The so-called blow-back theory once
presented by CIA, can provide a solid underlying reason for the hate this country's policies filled with superpower arrogance, super-egotism and militarism invoke in many regions
of the world. The pattern is stable
and transparent: first it widely supports "friendly", modesltly speaking, anti-democratic regime (while constantly rapping about struggling for freedoms and democracy), thus gradually creating the atmosphere of distrust and eventually disgust and anger against itself, then when even that support
becomes insifficient under the tremendous pressure of the populus majority, it drops it taking observing
position and waits. If, the other less bloody pro-American groups claim
the governmental power, then the previous flow of support is being chanelled to them. However, if really
popular, pro-democratic group happens to get to the governmental wheel, the group that wants to do something good for the majority of the populus, not
for the few riches, then the US applies tremendous economic, political and propangandistic pressure
to break the will of the nation for
real independence and national sovereignity. If that pressure doesn't help either, then more drastic
measures are taken: military coup, assasination of the political leaders, economic blocade, terrorists
named freedom fighters and other well-known democratic measures authorized and paid for by the USG.
And finally, if the latter is successfully prosecuted, the new
even more murderous regime is imposed
through pompously advertised
"free democratic elections", under which half a population doesn't vote at all, and the other half that does understandingly prefers pro-US candidate and relative peace to the unambigiously hinted (in case of the different vote) continuation of terror and violence, the results of which is ALWAYS announced as absolutely fair, despite frequent and clear indications of electorial violations.
The whole process described above, or the part of it has happened many times: in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq,
Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand,
Birma, Indonesia, Kongo, South Africa, Rodesia, Angola, Cuba, Urugvay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brasil,
Chili, Haiti, and wherenot in Central and South America.
That is the essence of the democracy and freedoms this country's economo-political elite spreading throughout the world with its most greediest grabbiest hands.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/7/2005

Bill, I was quite specific in citing the evidence that Horowitz was lying. In point of fact, subsequently you even gave more specificity to it by citing the votes in each house of the Congress. You can't have it both ways. The fact is that Horowitz is a liar, but you want to believe him, even though the evidence that you cited proves otherwise. No need to extend this conversation.

Bill Heuisler - 10/7/2005

You say you share Captain Fishback's
"values". He accused fellow soldiers of criminal acts, but won't provide names, dates or specifics to McCain's Senate Committee.

You accused Mr. Horowitz of lying, but will not provide specifics to any of the many posters who have asked.

Joe McCarthy accused Dr. Oscar Shaftel of being a Communist and was castigated by the New York Times for not providing specifics.

You apparently do share certain
"values". Congratulations. You would've been an efficient prosecutor in Arnold's old homeland.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 10/7/2005

Ignorance of law is understandable, but ignorance of English plainly stated is just dumb. Then to crow about your ignorance - to boast of your benightedness - illustrates a certain lack of equilibrium and self consciousness that usually asserts itself in bombasts, spoiled children and sociopaths.

I gave you the Federal cases. You never looked them up. They clearly state that the difference between negligence and criminal negligence in Federal case law. FEMA is under Federal Court jurisdiction.

Here are the brief beginning paragraphs of testimony by an acknowledged expert on negligence. Please look the rest up using the headings below.

-Testimony to the United States Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water
Oversight hearing on the implementation of the Clean Water Act

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Statement of Robin Greenwald
Clinical Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, Former Assistant Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, Department of Justice (1995-99); Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York (1984-95)

"Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, thank you for considering my comments on the oil industry’s proposal to amend Section 309 of the Clean Water Act to require human endangerment as a prerequisite for criminal negligence. Based on my experiences spanning more than ten years prosecuting environmental crimes cases, including prosecuting negligent Clean Water Act cases, I am submitting this written testimony in opposition to the proposed legislative amendment and to encourage the Committee to reject its proponents’ “smoke and mirrors” argument that Section 309 of the Clean Water Act impedes safety investigations conducted by the National Safety Transportation Board. Recent decisions by the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals have not changed the standard for prosecuting negligent Clean Water Act cases and, to date, Section 309 has not impeded NSTB investigations.

In the cloak of concern for comprehensive NSTB investigations following oil spills, the oil industry is pressuring members of Congress from oil-rich states to weaken substantially an important, and sparingly used, Clean Water Act criminal provision, Section 309 of the Clean Water Act, which carries misdemeanor penalties for negligently violating the Clean Water Act.[1] In fact, under federal law, section 309 has not interfered and should not interfere with NSTB investigations, and in those precious few cases in which a negligent CWA criminal investigation and a NSTB investigation are proceeding simultaneously, there are procedures available, when appropriate, to ensure that an important and time-sensitive safety concern is fully and expeditiously investigated.

The recent interest in this statutory amendment appears to be the prosecutions of two negligent CWA cases, United States v. Hanousek[2] and United States v. Hong[3]. Neither of these cases, however, represents a departure from the type of negligent CWA prosecutions brought by the Department of Justice since Congress amended the Clean Water Act in 1987 to add Section 309, nor do the decisions affirming the convictions in Hanousek and Hong constitute a departure from well-established criminal negligence law. In each of these cases, neither defendant was prosecuted for what was a simple “accident”, as the oil industry suggests. Indeed, in the case of an “accident” that results from conduct that was reasonable under the circumstances, the type of conduct to which the oil industry refers, no criminal liability would attach under Section 309. It is only when a person causes an event that violates the Clean Water Act, such as a catastrophic oil spill, as a result of his or her failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would have taken under similar circumstances that the person is subject to negligent CWA prosecution. This is precisely the type of criminally negligent conduct that occurred in the events leading up to the Clean Water Act criminal violations in the Hanousek and Hong cases, and it is the very type of criminal negligence prosecutions Congress contemplated when it enacted Section 309.

A review of the facts in Hanousek and Hong illustrate these points. In Hanousek, the defendant was engaged in rock blasting operations adjacent to what defendant knew was an old pipeline. Hanousek’s predecessor had created a protective work area around the blasting operations to ensure that the pipeline was not compromised during the blasting operations. When Hanousek became the manager of the operations, with full knowledge of the pipeline’s proximity to the blasting operations, he stopped protecting the pipeline. As a result, the pipe broke when workers drove over the pipeline with a backhoe. To make matters even worse, well before Hanousek knew the type of enforcement case the government was contemplating, Hanousek mislead government investigators and hid pieces of the pipeline from investigators. Clearly, the break of the pipeline here was not an unavoidable accident, and Hanousek did not mislead investigators because he knew they were investigating him for criminal negligence. Had Hanousek taken the care that the former manager of the blasting operations took to protect the pipeline, the pipeline would not have broken and Hanousek would not have been subjected to criminal prosecution. It was Hanousek’s failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would have taken to protect the pipeline under the circumstances, and his subsequent efforts to mislead the government, that resulted in his conviction."

Greenwald prevailed.

Now I can't hold your hand and read to you, but the terms used here are
"It is only when a person causes an event..." "...when defendant knew..."

These are ways to establish intent. Intent or mens rea is the distinction between "accident" and criminal act.
Facts are troublesome to those on the Left, particularly when they try to twist them to their purposes. You are wrong; I forgave your debt.

You should be thanking me rather than misquoting the case-law I referenced.
Bill Heuisler

Arnold Shcherban - 10/7/2005

Mr Luker,

Bill Heuisler is one of those types,
who never ever admits any of his own logical, ideological, or factual
faults, and consequently, either the
faults/crimes committed by his ideological compatriots - right-wing politicians.
This is not abstract kind of accusation, it is most rigorously derived from my own multiple exchanges with him on this very board.
To give you just one (out of numerous) 'undeniable' factual evidence, he once commented on my usage of the term "criminal negligence" that according with the letter of this country's law to be 'criminal' the negligence has to have "criminal intent", ironizing at my legal illiteracy.
I responded with the definition of criminal negligence taken from the most respected and comprehensive legal dictionary that didn't have any mentioning of intent, as one of the specifications/conditions for establishing the crime of criminal negligence (and, of course, could not
have, since the very meaning of the term 'negligence' claims the absence
of any intent, criminal or not.)
But, as you might already realized, stubbornly following his above mentioned life credo, Mr. Heuisler,
continued to insist on the "intent" thing. To resolve the impasse I offered him a public bet of just $20 (not to scare him off) for him to win, provided he would be able to show or refer me to any legal source that spoke about the neccesity of
establishment of intent in any criminal negligence case in this country in recent times.
The best he could come up with was
a couple of excerpts from some negligence cases which contained neither a word 'intent', nor a hint at it?! But... in the same message he claimed winning the bet, albeit altruistically refusing to claim the money!?

There you have his traditional modus of operandum and "proof".

Ralph E. Luker - 10/6/2005

Bill, You're old enough to know how to read by now. I share the captain's values, if not his experience. You share his experience, if not his values. He makes me proud to be an American. You, unfortunately, don't.

Bill Heuisler - 10/6/2005

You consider yourself like Captain Fishback? You don't pack the gear.
People like you and Philips disgrace brave soldiers who risk their lives in Iraq by repeating rumors and condemning troops without facts.

Over your head, as usual, you didn't read the PBS interview. Fishback and Philips cast accusations, but have no facts to back up their smears. The Captain refused McCain's request for names or testimony to his committee.
He may have an agenda of his own. But at least Fishback served. Until he provides eyewitness testimony or names of witnesses, his words will have no weight with anyone but those of you who wish them to be true.

At least he was there. When you and Philips spread hearsay to injure our troops, you disgrace yourselves and deserve our scorn. Show everyone the facts, proof, or actual eye-witness testimony to murder and torture by our sons and daughters. If you can't, you are beneath contempt.

Inability to recognize a rational defense of our troops speaks quite clearly of your bias in favor of anyone who attacks the US war effort.
Supply one fact, or ask yourself why any one should care what you think. Readers of HNN should also notice how you so often call people names, but say little else of any value.

Another thing, Ralph, you have no idea what a "scene of battle" is. If you did, you and the other drones might have more respect for the men and women who fight for this country.
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/6/2005

Bill, Your fevered attacks on those of us like Captain Fishback, who believe that American treatment of prisoners of war should not match in inhumanity the treatment our enemies give their prisoners, are disgracing yourself. You ought to retire from this scene of battle and do a little soul searching.

Bill Heuisler - 10/6/2005

Fishback will not name names either, and he didn't bother to report any of the so-called abuses while stationed there at the alleged scene:
PBS News Hour 9/28/05
"I talked to a peer of Ian Fishback's that was at the same fire base exactly the same time that knew him, was in the same type of unit. Ian didn't say anything to him over there and in fact, some of the evidence that is cited as evidence he refuted." Look it up.

Captain Fishback wouldn't describe actual incidents, he called "smoking" prisoners, abuse and he also refused to testify for McCain's Senate Bill on Torture. His charges are hearsay.
"Smoking" is exercising prisoners.
Fishback is turning out to be just as phony as Mr. Philips.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 10/5/2005

Ms. Goetz,
My mistake. Rather than look up the Clinton Justice Department indictment of Osama Bin Laden in 1998 that connects OBL firmly with Iraq, you choose to parrot misinformation about policy changes and about WMDs every Cabinet official in the Clinton Administration knows Saddam possessed.

Or rather than look up the Joint resolution of Congress in October 2002 where the vote was 296 to 133 and 77 to 23 in the Senate, with the Democrat leadership voting aye, you continue the politics.

And I thought you were serious.
Bill Heuisler

Rebecca Anne Goetz - 10/5/2005

The policies of the first president Bush, continued under President Clinton, argued for containment of Saddam rather than removal. The second Bush has never proven to this American why that policy needed to be changed. As far as I know, there are no credible intelligence reports linking OBL and Saddam, and we have not found any WMD in Iraq. I'll concede the point when credible evidence emerges for the existence of either.

John Edward Philips - 10/5/2005

I'm not going to get suckered into issuing any indictment online, and neither will I get suckered into a debate about whether deaths at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere were "murder", "homicide" or "manslaughter." The military itself ruled Manadel al-Jamadi's death a homicide.

However, I can't resist noting that your message got to me almost simultaneously with William Pfaff's column where he wrote "Few understand why American forces now practice torture, sometimes torture to death." Argue with him, I'm done with you.

Or how about you argue with Captain Ian Fishback, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina? He wrote to John McCain <>; that US troops had committed "a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment." According to your logic he is all the names you call me. Take it up with him. I find you incorrigible.

The Bush administration admits abuses but tries to blame them on a few scapegoats. You won't even do that.

It's not I, or Captain Fishback, who give the anti-war position a bad name, it's you who give the pro-war position a bad name. I think that even most Americans who support the war in Iraq would denounce your position.

John Edward Philips - 10/4/2005

Deriving facts from fevered ideology rather than from reality is often self-defeating.

What an ironic comment for you to end with! Thanks for giving me a good laugh. You should read your own messages. You might laugh too.

1. Indonesia is not now and never has been part of the Arab world (al-alim al-Arabi). There is a BIG difference between Arabs and Muslims. Maybe you should learn something about Muslims before you write about them.

2. We should attack Muslim terrorists, or any terrorists (Christians such as Tim McVeigh) who attack us. We should not indiscriminately attack all Muslims or Arabs at random.

3. Not only do you have trouble distinguishing between Arabs and Muslims, you have trouble distinguishing between Muslims and terrorists. This is why I think you are a bigot, but in fact your confusion seems even deeper.

4. I was speaking of public opinion as measured in opinion polls. You seem to be speaking of governments, popular or not. I have known many Muslims, both anti- and pro-American. Frankly, the pro-American ones tend to be as ignorant as the anti-, but they did use to be a substantial minority.

5. Most opposition to the United States in the Muslim World centers on our support for Israel. Most of them don't understand why the US would support Israel unless the allegedly Jewish media were brainwashing us, etc. etc. (it can quickly degenerate into crude conspiracy theories, but it does have causes). Personally I think that American support for Israel and support for Bosnia are understood best in context of an American self-image as victims of European religious persecution, but such understanding of Americans is almost entirely lacking in the Muslim world.

6. I don't advocate currying favor with anyone, and I don't even support ending our support for Israel, but I do think the United States has a national interest in settling the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Unfortunately, most Palestinians probably don't accept the existence of Israel and the Israeli government doesn't really accept the existence of Palestinians. Not Arabs, I think Arab nationalism is bull. Go to the SIL website and you will see that Arabic is not even a language any more. Arabs have to come to terms with the fact that their language is dying and that soon there will be no more Arabs than there are Romans.

But to explain that to you would require a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern affairs than you have demonstrated here, and a willingness to learn about it, which you have also not shown. All you want to do is to demonize Arabs and Muslims while you confuse the two.

Go read something serious about the issues before you start foaming at the keyboard.

Deriving facts from fevered ideology rather than from reality is often self-defeating.

Good advice! Take it. :-)

Wait, I have even better advice:

"My country right or wrong. When right to be kept right, when wrong to be put right, but my country, right or wrong." -Senator Carl Schurz (R-MO)

They don't seem to make Republicans like that anymore. Too bad.

Bill Heuisler - 10/4/2005

Mr. Philips,
You have not named names or sources for your fatuous statements. You declare the presumption of innocence while awkwardly accusing US soldiers of murder and torture, and while accusing me of bigotry.

Does hypocrisy mean anything to you?

You give the anti-war position a bad name and I will no longer waste my time on your foolishness.
Bill Heuisler

John Edward Philips - 10/4/2005

Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Not only are the people held in Abu Ghraib entitled to that presumption, most of them were picked up at random and there was no evidence against them at all. Had there been evidence there would have been trials. Most of them were not terrorists or even political when they were picked up. Unfortunately a lot of them are probably terrorists now.

I swore an oath to defend the US Constitution and I believe in that Constitution. How dare you call me "anti-American" for supporting that Constitution and insisting that the government follow it! Even Nat Turner was entitled to his day in court. Are you fewer saying that Arabs have fewer rights than rebel slaves?

I'll deal with the evidence of your bigotry in a response to your other message because it's even clearer there. But it's clear even here that you consider all Arabs to be terrorists whether they are or not.

My real anger with the administration is that they let bin Ladin get away so they could focus on someone who wasn't a threat. As General Clark said in the campaign, "I'm not running against George Bush because he's fighting terrorists, I'm running against him because he's NOT fighting terrorists."

Bill Heuisler - 10/4/2005

Mr. Philips,
My more complete answer is below.
However, one claim of yours is even more misbegotten than the others:
"Before Bush's invasion of Iraq a good third or fourth of the Muslim world was pro-American."

This is nonsense. Excluding Indonesia and the "stans" in Central Asia, the Arab world has preached hatred for the US for decades. The exclusions mentioned above are just as pro-American as they have ever been, if not more so since the Bali bombings.

And what would you have us do to curry their favor? Since 1983 our troops and our civilians have been murdered by Muslim terrorists on a regular and wholesale basis. Even though we defended Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia and Kuwait, they still continued to attack our cities, embassies, soldiers in nightclubs and even tourists on cruises.

Deriving facts from fevered ideology rather than from reality is often self-defeating.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 10/4/2005

Mr. Philips,
You jump to anti-American conclusions not in evidence; you make ridiculous defenses of known terrorists and you accuse me bigotry and of defending criminals. Where is your evidence or proof? Do you deny Abu Ghraib prisoners are terrorists? Why do you think they're there? Do you consider them political prisoners? Why?

Specify exactly who tortured and killed innocent people. No one has been convicted of killing an Abu Ghraib prisoner. The one death we both cited is inconclusive. To call every death a murder is naive and moronic. Mocking and piling prisoners and dressing them in lingerie, while disgracing US Army professionalism, isn't torture by any stretch of the language. If you think that's torture you should undergo Marine or Ranger or SEAL training. More men die in San Quentin each year than have died in all our military prisons since 9/11.

Get some facts.

Tell the HNN readers which innocent was killed. Explain how you got the information about the torturers and murderers who "just happen" to be US troops and how you can proclaim any of the prisoners innocent. Name names. Explain what exhaustive research you've done that shows Bill Heuisler is a bigot.

This is the second time I've asked you to explain yourself and explain your accusations. You obviously know absolutely nothing about me or Abu Ghraib or Iraq, and you seem to think slinging insults makes you appear terribly chic and outre. But you're apparently just a Leftist with a lot of hatred and a big mouth.

I do not enjoy having light-weight ideologues dredge down through their ignorance to call me names. Cite facts, define terms or don't expect any one to bother with you.
Bill Heuisler

John Edward Philips - 10/4/2005

(Sorry, this was posted separately from the message it was a response to for some reason. Apologies for posting twice.)

You defend the torture and killing of innocent people. On what grounds? The only grounds you have come up with are that "men like those prisoners blow up our troops every week". You have yet to explain or defend that accusation.

What do you mean?

I would be very surprised if you can come up with some explanation other than ethnic or religious bigotry on your part.

As for not engaging in civil conversation, accusing others of lying, or not understanding the issues involved, you are in no position to throw such accusations around, especially when you have repeatedly been shown to have lied right here.

What you really need to understand is how these scandals are making Muslims see us as the enemy. That's the issue.

Before Bush's invasion of Iraq a good third or fourth of the Muslim world was pro-American. afterwards that percentage fell below the margin of error. Do you think that that's good?

John Edward Philips - 10/4/2005

You defend the torture and killing of innocent people. On what grounds? The only grounds you have come up with are that "men like those prisoners blow up our troops every week". You have yet to explain or defend that accusation.

What do you mean?

I would be very surprised if you can come up with some explanation other than ethnic or religious bigotry on your part. As for not engaging in civil conversation, accusing others of lying, or not understanding the issues involved, you are in no position to throw such accusations around, especially when you have repeatedly been shown to have lied right here.

What you really need to understand is how these scandals are making Muslims see us as the enemy. That's the issue.

Before Bush's invasion of Iraq a good third or fourth of the Muslim world was pro-American. afterwards that percentage fell below the margin of error. Do you think that that's good?

Bill Heuisler - 10/4/2005

Mr. Philips,
Ignorance posing as censure would be comic if it weren't so pathetic.
Your inability to distinguish between death and murder is perhaps a serious disability, but accusing people of bigotry with insufficient knowledge borders on the irrational.

You obviously have no conception of the issues at hand or the ability to engage in civil conversation.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 10/3/2005

Ms. Goetz,
Your post seemed to me to be the most reasonable and heartfelt in the mix of posts. Thanks.

You mentioned me. I do understand.
We disagree about one major point:

You wrote, " Americans were misled into supporting this war by an administration that fabricated Iraq's ties to 9/11, bungled intelligence reports about WMD..."

This is simply not true. I'll not bother quoting or copying Clinton speeches, Clinton Administration indictments of OBL and Saddam as a single problem, Congressional authorizations and votes to stop Saddam's dangerous rearming and threatened aggressions, and UN resolutions listing reasons for stopping Saddams policies and behavior. You can look them up.

Saddam was considered a clear and present danger for years before the current administration. His WMDs were cited in nearly every admonition for many years by many Democrats - and others - who now criticize Bush.

Read the OBL indictment, read the Congressional authorization done after the embassy bombings and prior to the Clinton missile attacks on Afganistan and on the hospital that used an Iraqi precursor for VX gas.

No one fabricated anything. Everyone believed Saddam was a danger to the US and everyone knew about the Iraqi who conspired in the '93 World Trade bombing, the attempts to purchase yellow cake and the agreement to buy ICBMs from North Korea that fell through after we invaded in 2003.

Look this stuff up. Nobody likes war, but sometimes it's the only answer.
Take whatever position you want, but become informed before you do.
Thanks again,
Bill Heuisler

John Edward Philips - 10/3/2005

So you now admit you were wrong when you said "no one died"? I don't care if it was one or a hundred, murder is murder. Government murder of innocents is . . . words fail me. Let's just say it is unworthy of the United States.

Let's look at the report:

"Manadel al-Jamadi, was found dead in a shower at Abu Ghraib after being turned over to the Central Intelligence Agency for interrogation. A photograph of his body, wrapped in plastic and packed in ice, has been made public. No one has been charged in the death." that's from

How about Charles Graner's testimony?

"Sir, I nearly beat a military intelligence detainee to death with military intelligence there," he said at

Abu Ghraib is just the tip of the iceberg, there are other prisons, Guantanamo, and probably places we don't even know about.

You defend the torture and killing of innocent people. On what grounds? That they come from the same ethnic group or religion of the people who attacked us on September 11th? How are you different from an anti-Semite, anti-Catholic, or any other disgusting bigot? You are a disgrace to America!

The Bush administration is making enemies faster than the US military can kill them. That ought to be scary for anyone.

Bill Heuisler - 10/3/2005

Mr. Moise,
Since we all know Tet was a major strategic and tactical victory, calling it anything else was certainly not the truth. Also his report began the media pessimism that many conclude cost us any chance of victory, prolonged the war and cost American lives.

"It seems now more certain than ever," he said, "that the bloody experience of Vietnam is a stalemate." He also urged the US to negotiate with the North Vietnamese. Some reporter.

Yes. The resistance in Fallugia was led by Al-Sadr. The Marines wanted to surround the city and kill the insurgents. The politicians decided to negotiate. Eventually we lost many more Marines than necessary in the final reduction of Fallugia,
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 10/3/2005

Mr. Philips,
It is you who are wrong.

Other than Manadel al-Jamadi, who died after interrogation (11/03)under unusual circumstances still under investigation, please enliven your challenge with names and details of all those prisoner deaths in Abu Ghraib you accuse the US of causing.

If you can't, please tell me why you call yourself a historian.
Bill Heuisler

Jeff Thomas Dube - 10/3/2005

As it turns out Abu Ghraib was just the tip of the iceberg if you believe Captain Ian Fishback. Additionally, charges of a liberal media deception and giving aid and comfort to the enemy belie the fact that the Bush admininstration should have known that a policy of prisonner mistreatment could blow up in their face and fuel the enemies, anger.

Frederick Thomas - 10/3/2005

Mr. Clark:

I presume that you feel that an attack by a nominally non-governmental organization, Al Quaida, is cause for asserting "we were not attacked" on 9/11.

How then do you explain the start of WW I? Gavrilo Princip and his gang had about the same number of terrorists as 9/11, attacked suicidally, and was non-governmental on the surface.

I note that Al-Quaida was part of the de facto government of Afghanistan, such as it was. It was actually more "governmental" than Princip's gang, which covered up its connections to Serbia.

Compared to, say, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 was a bigger, more deadly attack. Sorry, but I just cannot accept your main assertion here.

Edwin Moise - 10/3/2005

Cronkite did not characterize the Tet Offensive as a defeat for the U.S. He said it had been "a draw," neither a victory nor a defeat for the U.S. This was _very_ different from calling it an American defeat.

I am also puzzled by the statement "We believe Fallugia's al Sadr was coddled." Are you under the impression that some significant fraction of the people the U.S. troops fought in Fallujah were followers of al Sadr?

Peter Mark Williams - 10/3/2005

Half of the American electorate believes that Iraq had something to do with the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 speaks to the success of the Bush administration campaign of falsehood. Prior to HIS unprovoked attack on Iraq, which has killed far more Iraqi civilians than were killed here, the president always spoke of Iraq and Al-queda in immediate juxtaposition. But when called on that would claim "there is no evidence linking Sadaam to 9/11."

Their aurgument later was to attack opponents of the war with, "well, I suppose you think Iraq would be better of with Sadaam in power..." -- a complete Red Herring.

With the exception of immedeate participants and their families,and there are far fewer of them than in Viet Nam, Americans have been asked to sacrafice little in this war and the oppostion to it allowed itself to be off-tracked by specious aurguments about how bad a dictator Sadaam was rather than discussion of the true danger of this precedent and how far into the future the Iraq war will negatively affect the citizens of this country

Rebecca Anne Goetz - 10/3/2005

This was an interesting and thought-provoking post. I was especially intrigued by your mention of the changing nature of Congress--I think you could explore that theme very profitably on this blog.

There were posters all over Cambridge for the DC March. As a person who has been anti-Iraq War from the get-go, I was completely turned off by the connection of Iraq with all sorts of other side issues (Israel-Palestine being just one of them) on those posters. If I'm going to protest our involvement in Iraq, I'm going to do it because Americans were misled into supporting this war by an administration that fabricated Iraq's ties to 9/11, bungled intelligence reports about WMD, and then led a poorly planned and poorly executed "war" that, despite the mission supposedly being accomplished, seems to grow more deadly every day. (That's just an impression--I know actual casualty numbers fluctuate.)

Unfortunately, nobody seems to be marching for those reasons. Instead, as KC has noted here, it seems like the most strident, and frankly, the most incoherent, voices on the far left are dominating the anti-war "movement"--even if one can call it that.

Folks like myself are uncomfortable with that. We're also leery of denigrating US troops, and unfortunately it is really hard to convince some people that one can be pro-troops and anti-war at the same time. We're also leery of pulling out and leaving a bloodbath behind. In other words, I think opposition to this war is extraordinarily complex and most of us are not engaging in a knee-jerk reaction to the war. We are thoughtfully anti-war, and there are few Congressional voices speaking up so far.

I wish David Horowitz and Bill Heuisler could understand how thoughtful and complicated dissent on the Iraq war really is. KC has posted something thoughtful tackling these issues from an interesting. We should thank him rather than attacking him.

John Edward Philips - 10/2/2005

no one died in Abu Ghraib, but men like those prisoners blow up our troops every week

I can't allow that to go unchallenged while you people engage in mud-wrestling about Horowitz and the Dean campaign, especially when you ask to be shown where you lie.

Prisoners did die at Abu Ghraib. Furthermore, the people arrested and interred at Abu Ghraib were picked up randomly off the street in the hope that some of them could provide information. There was no evidence against them.

If "men like those prisoners" are all terror bombers then we are at war with the entire Arab and/or Muslim world. Even Bush, with his obvious incompetence, doesn't claim that.

We're supposed to be historians, David Horowitz excepted. Let's try to base our argument on the facts, not our biases.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

No, Bill, it isn't all about me. It was about David "The Struggle To Be Heard" Horowitz He told a lie about the Democrats. I called him on it, even though I'm a Republican. I told Sergio what the evidence was. I've never seen any evidence change your mind about anything, so I suppose it makes no difference whether you look at it or not.

Bill Heuisler - 10/2/2005

So, Ralph,
We're dupes. Nobody reads your posts. Nobody has seen your evidence. David Horowitz is a liar and it's all about you. Sounds serious.

Maybe you should seek professional help. Nah! They're all liars too.
You're a fine example of an academic.
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

Pardon me, Mr. Ramirez, but I've told you why Horowitz's statement is a lie. I've given you the evidence. Either you didn't bother to read it or no amount of evidence has evers put a dent in your opinions anyway.

Edwin Moise - 10/2/2005

Johnson states that the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War "affected policy well before it ever enjoyed majority public support." As examples he gives:

"In 1967, Congress passed a resolution sponsored by Mike Mansfield urging a negotiated settlement to the war." This resolution had no detectable influence on policy.

"And congressional critics had scored important victories in curtailing Johnson’s military aid policy, as well as blocking the administration’s efforts to expand its commitment to Thailand." I have no idea what Robert Johnson is talking about in regard to either of these points. I would be grateful if he would explain.

When I compare actual impact on policy in the two wars, I note such things as: In 1968, more US military personnel were clearly needed for effective conduct of the war in Vietnam, and Lyndon Johnson defied the antiwar movement by sending about 50,000 more, increasing the number from about 486,000 to about 537,000 during that year. Today, more US military personnel are clearly needed for effective conduct of the war in Iraq, but George W. Bush has no intention of sending 50,000 more men.

It is not that the US armed forces could not easily have been expanded to a size that could support a commitment of 50,000, or indeed of 150,000, additional military personnel to Iraq. A country the size of the United States could have done that with one hand behind its back. The decision not to carry out such an expansion, instead leaving the US forces in Iraq seriously short of the men they need to do the tasks in front of them, was a political decision. I find it hard to believe that the lack of public support for US policy in Iraq has not been a factor in that political decision.

Sergio Ramirez - 10/2/2005

I'm not hardly a Horowitz dupe--I think he generally does a disservice to his own positions--but Bill is right on this one. Horowitz stated an opinion, and a pretty uncontroversial one at that. Ralph's content-free attacks on him really have no place here.

Bill Heuisler - 10/2/2005

Mr. Johnson,
Excellent article. One omission seems relevant to the differences in wars and in anti-war composition, effects and membership: We were attacked.

Unlike the Tonkin casus belli, 9/11 was an unprovoked attack on civilians on the US mainland. Setting aside the arguments about Iraq connections to terror, doesn't the fact that half the electorate believe there's a connection answer your speculation?
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

If you'd bothered yourself to read the thread, you'd find the evidence that Horowitz is a liar. It won't make any difference how many of his dupes ask me to retract the truth.

Bill Heuisler - 10/2/2005

...on an internet web site are evidently meant to be private.

How magisterial. How peremptory.
How phony.

Earth to Ralph: When you're rude on the HNN site (as you often are) your bad behavior becomes embarrassingly public. Mr. Horowitz wrote a response to an article. You insulted him. Suffer the slings or assume a modicum of class. Choose, but don't whine when called to account.

You've been asked by three different posters to explain your accusation. Do so or apologize to Mr. Horowitz.
Bill Heuisler

Oscar Chamberlain - 10/2/2005

Wrong again, I did not change the subject. I moved forward in time for an example to make clear that opposition to "how" the administration has acted need not be the same as opposition to the goal. Perhaps I should have inserted a transitional sentence.

Robert KC Johnson - 10/2/2005

Interesting to see Pallone speak out against the war--given that he wants to run for Corzine's Senate seat. And maybe Holt's and Pallone's speeches will have some effect. But I doubt it.

I remain struck by the fact that in, say, 1965, figures of political power opposed the war and articulated (convincingly) their reasons for doing so; while in 2005, the framing of the anti-war position has fallen much more to figures on the ideological extreme.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

Bill, You intruded on a conversation about why Horowitz's claims were false. That conversation was marginal to KC Johnson's post at Cliopatria, which this "article" is. If you want to have the conversation about KC's article, why interrupt a conversation about Horowitz and then criticize me for continuing that conversation? You don't even ask to be excused!

Bill Heuisler - 10/2/2005

"indefensible lies"? What lies? You don't have the moral or intellectual authority to accuse without facts.
Pretending to be superior to the hoi polloi won't work. I read your little sermons about the primary election and consider them nothing more than avoidance of the real issue. How many of the Democrat candidates actually supported the war? One. Lieberman. The others held the specious position that they supported the troops, but not the war or that they thought the war was being fought badly for all the wrong reasons.

All of which you scrupulously avoid.

If you can't address issues in articles, admit your shortcomings. Your petty dislike of Horowitz is of little interest to any one who wants to discuss the article. Do you have anything to say about the anti-war movements in the two wars?

Probably not. Sorry I woke you.
Bill Heuisler

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

If you'd bothered yourself to read the rest of the thread before popping off, Bill, you could have saved yourself the trouble of trying to defend Horowitz's indefensible lies. Lost cause, Bill. There's nothing noble in defending what is obviously false.

Bill Heuisler - 10/2/2005

Calling opposing opinions, lies, is an efficient way to avoid debate. But such tactics don't reflect favorably on the user. Where did he lie?

His point: anti-war fervor arose among Dems during the Dean boomlet, but died with defeat in the primaries. A lie or an opinion?

The difference in social upheavals during the two wars is 9/11. Also, the US is no longer afflicted with oligarchic news media molding opinion with unchallenged, repetitious anti-war propaganda. US public opinion didn't turn decisively until Cronkite mischaracterized Tet as a defeat for the US. Tet was a huge US victory.

The major media continue the fiction.
The reason the Left must maintain their totally untenable position: (no Iraq connection with al Qaeda and no WMDs in Iraq) is that disconnection allows attacks on the war while avoiding charges of cowardice/treason during self-evident self defense.

The Left gets away with such nonsense because many national media organs allow deception without demurral.

The difference in 2005 is that over half of the US electorate knows we engage an Islamofascist enemy in more than one place...and that major news outlets that used to set the debate are filled with Dan Rathers. But the disconnect becomes awkward when the Left are reminded of anti-war marches before Desert Storm and that ANSWER protested the invasion of Afganistan.

A last point: Few on the anti-war Left want to recognize that much of the dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq comes from my side. We believe Fallugia's al Sadr was coddled. We believe our troops are fighting with too many restrictions. We believe the Abu Ghraib scandal was overhyped by a media overjoyed by a chance to hurt the war effort - a media that ignores death-camps in Cuba, but dishonestly hyperventilates over an Iraqi wearing women's underwear. Recall, if you can, no one died in Abu Ghraib, but men like those prisoners blow up our troops every week.

Both anti-war campaigns resulted in (and are giving) aid and comfort to the enemy. Both cause/caused many unnecessary American deaths.

My opinion? Becker and his Leftist, anti-American cohorts rejoice with each report of American casualties. Am I lying too, Ralph? Show me where.
Bill Heuisler

Sergio Ramirez - 10/2/2005

It's not at all wrong. If I oppose the timing and strategy, I oppose the war. Notice Mr Chamberlain didn't refute, he merely changed the subject.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

Why offer a riposte that you know in advance to be wrong?

Sergio Ramirez - 10/2/2005

"to oppose the timing and strategy is no different from the war itself."

Yes, you heard my riposte correctly.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

Ah, do the research, Sergio. David's problem is that he rarely, if ever, does it _before_ running his mouth. U. S. troops invaded Iraq in March 2003. Dean announced for President in June. Disappointing results in early primaries led to the early collapse of his candidacy: 3rd place in Iowa, 2nd place in New Hampshire, 3rd place in Wisconsin. By March 2004, Dean's candidacy was _over_. What evidence is there that Dean's candidacy influenced any other candidate's position -- much less than that it forced the leadership of the Democrats to abandon support of the war. Count the evidence. Have a majority of Democratic members of the Congress _ever_ voted against military appropriations to support the war? No. Of course not, but does that modify Horowitz's lies? No. Of course not. The truth is not in him.

Oscar Chamberlain - 10/2/2005

What's not true: Among other things the assertion "the Democratic Party leadership, under pressure from the Dean campaign defected immediately from the war."

In point of fact the Democratic party split, with a number of major leaders, including its presidential candidate supporting the war, though somtimes opposing the timing and the strategy.

I can hear a riposte now: to oppose the timing and strategy is no different from the war itself.

But lets look at things now, less than two years later. Some of the harshest critics of the strategy are people who strongly supported the invasion. And it was the timing that Bush chose for the invasion which guaranteed the first crucial strategic error, an insufficient number of troops to begin establishing order upon arrival.

Sergio Ramirez - 10/2/2005


What's untrue about Horowitz's statement above?

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

Does anything true ever escape the mouth of David Horowitz?

david horowitz - 10/2/2005

One reason why the anti-Iraq war movement gained immediate traction is that the war was prosecuted by a Republican this time, and the Democratic Party leadership, under pressure from the Dean campaign defected immediately from the war.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/2/2005

As someone who has apparently never published anything except manifestos in comments at HNN, Peter K. Clarke here declares his expertise in bogosity and himself the arbitator of what is "false history."

Louis N Proyect - 10/1/2005

The reason the war in Iraq has not ended by now is that there is no draft. The draft mobilized far more many male students in the 60s than are mobilized today. But that is the quandary for the USA. Unless it puts sufficient ground troops in Iraq, the insurgency will continue. But if it resorts to the draft to come up with them, they will face an insurgency at home.

Jonathan Rees - 10/1/2005

Starngely enough, I read this:

just before i came over here.