I am an adjunct
political philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame. I gave a lecture
on Abu Ghraib a few years back in which I basically expressed the ideas that
you articulated in this column. So, thanks for putting it in print.
When I was in
college back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had a history professor who
warned us about the mess that would happen, beginning with the first Iraq war.
He was a bit of a quixotic fellow who very few students or other professors
took seriously. When I found Antiwar.com last summer, I was pleasantly surprised
to find some real journalism for the first time, perhaps since my college days.
Despite my meager
resources, I made a contribution
I do wish you the best of success.
J. Langan, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
As an antiwar
Catholic conservative who deeply admirers and depends upon your Web site for
the truth, I am very sorry that I have no means of contributing anything to
its survival. I was once eastern director of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute
(1978-1979) and then saw how contributions dropped after Ronald Reagan was elected
president in 1980. Conservatives seemed to feel that "the problem" was over
once their man was in office. Apparently antiwar Americans today believe that
"the problem" is finished because of the election of a Democratic Congress and
do not want to cough up what is needed to finish the job of defeating the warmongers.
It was a mistake for conservatives to believe what they believed then. It is
a mistake for shortsighted peace lovers to entertain illusions now. Please remember
that there are many of us without financial means who are at least praying for
your continued survival. Courage!
~ John Rao, D.
Phil., Oxford; associate professor of history, St. John's University
Colonial Stag in Rutting Season
Berg writes contemptuously that "the one stable democratic ally in the
region, Turkey (with 98 percent Muslim population), awaits chastisement from
Pelosi's House in the form of a resolution declaring it guilty of genocide against
the largely Christian Armenians in 1915."
If Turkey is Ann
Berg's example of "democracy" and "stability" in the region, then one cannot
help but seriously question her judgment and worldview, since Turkey is neither
democratic nor stable. Incidentally, neoconservative luminaries such as Richard
Perle, Douglas Feith, Frank Gaffney & co. wholeheartedly agree with Ann Berg
on this issue: even a cursory check would reveal that whitewashing Turkey's
past and present atrocious human rights record has been one of the central tenets
of neoconservative foreign policy.
Also, Ann Berg
may find it useful to learn that when Raphael Lemkin coined the word genocide
in 1944 he cited the 1915 annihilation of the Armenians as a seminal example
of genocide. Again, Berg has some influential like-minded company as far as
the denial of the Armenian genocide is concerned. Yes, years ago the very same
Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, were peddling an identical denialist line on
the Armenian genocide – and making lots of dough while perpetuating Turkish
governments' revisionism and doublespeak.
~ Robert Adontz
the article's one mention of Turkey, I was neither disputing nor confirming
the language contained in Congress's non-binding resolution (these date back
to 1960, I believe) to recognize the Ottoman Empire's genocide against 1.5 million
Armenians. Rather, I was expressing my cynicism over Congress, led by House
Speaker Pelosi, which is flexing its muscle to oppose Bush’s appointment of
ambassador to Armenia and reverse the posture of the previous Speaker Dennis
Hastert (who mysteriously flip-flopped on the resolution in 2000). In general,
I oppose extra-country resolutions – should Turkey propose a resolution recognizing
centuries of U.S. genocide against Native Americans?
I don’t believe
my description of Turkey (a NATO member) as "democratic" is a wacky worldview.
Turkey was officially declared a secular republic in 1923 – renouncing the Caliphate
and giving women the vote a year later. Indeed, it was Turkey's parliamentary
decision not to allow the U.S. military to plan its invasion through its eastern
territory that so irked Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that two years later he was
blaming Turkey for the Iraqi insurgency. Because of its improving economic position,
it has become more responsive to its citizenry than to IMF strong-arm tactics.
As for stability,
I have lived and worked on and off and traveled extensively in Turkey for over
10 years. I also plan to teach there (without hesitation) this year on economics
and derivatives markets at a university in Izmir, a booming town where capital
markets are thriving. It has its share of issues – black markets, human rights
abuses, corruption, etc., but is economically and politically better positioned
than any of its neighbors to help restore some stability to the region if the
U.S. wanted to forge a "peace coalition."
Tuesday, Feb. 20, as reported in the press, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit court upheld a portion of the recently enacted
congressional Military Commissions Act that stripped Guantanamo detainees of
their right to habeas corpus. Writing for the majority, Judge A. Raymond Randolph
stated that to overrule the legislation is to "defy the will of Congress." Writing
in dissent, Judge Judith Rogers wrote the Congress may only suspend habeas corpus
"When in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it," but
since Congress did not invoke such powers, it had in fact "exceeded the powers
of Congress." Both sides agree that this case will be reargued before the U.S.
Over and above
the actual constitutional questions raised in this important case, the issue
of government intentionality remains. What, it may be asked, is the government’s
intention in denying detainees the right to petition for redress? In response,
government lawyers argue that in times of war, the commander in chief has the
constitutional right and obligation to prevent enemy combatants from returning
to the battlefield, an obligation that has informed every American president
since George Washington. Indeed, President Bush is doing nothing more than any
other wartime president has done in the past. Accordingly, the suspension of
habeas corpus for Guantanamo prisoners is consistent with the traditional powers
of the commander in chief during war.
Were this in fact
the case, there would be no public alarm, but unfortunately the government's
arguments miss one crucial difference: previous wars have been of a specific
duration and were fought by "legal" uniformed enemy combatants who represented
internationally recognized sovereign states. Guantanamo detainees, as is well
known, have been designated "illegal" enemy combatants of no internationally
recognized state. Rather, the detainees were rounded up on the battlefields
of the war on terror, and herein is the problem: when captured, none of the
detainees claimed to be affiliated with the armed forces of a sovereign state.
They were not wearing any recognized uniforms and were not affiliated with any
government, thus the designation "unlawful enemy combatant." They were, in short,
picked up in a U.S. military dragnet, and because of their proximity to the
fighting, were assumed to have been targeting Americans. By designating these
men illegal enemy combatants and putting them in Guantanamo, the government
asserts that we have removed terrorist threats from the global community, and
as a consequence, American are safer.
Yet without the
right to petition, how exactly does the government know that these detainees
are actually terrorists? What proof is there that these men specifically targeted
Americans? That they were in proximity and were arrested is not in and of itself
proof that they shot at U.S. soldiers or that they are members of al-Qaeda.
Such knowledge can only be determined in a federal court of law where one can
challenge and present evidence on both sides, thus upholding the time honored
principle of innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, by the government’s
own admission, the War on Terror may last a generation or longer, and absent
the basic right to challenge, imprisonment may be indefinite. How does this
make us "safer"? The denial of habeas corpus will thus only fuel the War on
Terror because such a denial reinforces the belief among those who would harm
us that it is the U.S. which is evil, and as a result, the government’s publicly
stated intention of reducing the terrorist threat to the U.S. is challenged.
But if this is
true, what then is the actual intent of the Military Commissions Act? I submit
that the actual intention is intimidation: if you are anywhere near the sight
of suspected terrorists, you will be thrown into a black hole with no legal
protections whatsoever, a sort of imperial "caveat emptor," certainly no way
to win the hearts and minds of those who would attack us.
~ Jay Hatheway,
Ph.D., associate professor and chair, Department of History, Edgewood College,
Have Lost Their Country
for Paul Craig Roberts. He gets better and better. It is not just his open contempt
for the crude "new Pearl Harbor" propaganda cartoon of 9/11 that recommends
this latest essay.
What really distinguishes the political literature
Roberts is single-handedly creating is its relentless focus on the contemporary
American condition – not the endless distraction of random occurrences in our
far-flung, ever changing war zones. Others ramble on about this and that distressing
confrontation; Roberts tells us where our wars come from.
conservative analysis – almost apple-pie commonplace (Cochran, Mencken, Barnes,
Beard) once upon a time before the Pax Americana – seems to have vanished entirely
from the mainstream national policy debate today. In a post-constitutional welfare
and warfare state that can no longer countenance its own founders' sensible
aversion to interventionism, Roberts is downright revolutionary to imply that
the incubator of foreign conflicts is most likely to be domestic politics. It's
so much easier to blame imperial crimes on the foreign victims.
~ Edward Roby
is people like Edward Roby who justify my hope and determination that Americans
will overcome the neoconservative evil that is a scourge upon the world
The above article is the best one written with the least amount of space. It
covers just about everything. Let's hope the people of America wake up before
their country is in total ruins. The way it stands now they have to change their
national anthem, because the land of the free ceased to exist with the implementation
of the PATRIOT Act. The only thing left to do now is to bring the guilty to
justice to set an example and show the world that there is still a shred of
decency left in America.
~ Robert E.
is right. It is deplorable that Americans continue to tolerate the Bush-Cheney
there any chance this could be sent to each member of Congress and Senate? It
should be required reading, and for those in Washington who can't seem to read
and understand, it should be read to them – word for word.
~ David Zimmerman,
agree with the reader's sentiments. However, I am unsure that the cowards in
Congress would act even if they understood.