Historians Against the War: What We Are Doing to Try to Stop the War in Iraq

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Ms. Power, a member of the Historians Against the War (HAW) Steering Committee, is an associate professor of history at the Illinois Insitute of Technology.

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Public support for the U.S. war in Iraq is dropping and has reached the all-time low of 38%. The Bush administration’s indifference to, indeed criminal neglect of, the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta has further deepened public disapproval of the government. It is in this context that Historians Against War (HAW) is enthusiastically mobilizing for the September 24 march for peace in Washington, D.C. We encourage other historians to attend the protest and to sponsor activities on your campuses in the period leading up to the demonstration as well as after it.

The illegal U.S. war against Iraq has led to the death of some 1,800 U.S. men and women; over 100,000 Iraqis have also died, according to reliable sources. HAW believes that this war was wrong from the beginning and that the pretexts for it have been exposed to be nothing more than lies and distortions. HAW further believes that the U.S. occupation of Iraq violates international law respecting national sovereignty and only serves to increase the suffering of the Iraqi people. For that reason, HAW joins with the hundreds of organizations and thousands and thousands of people who are sponsoring the September 24 March in Washington to call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.

As historians and as educators, we believe we have the particular responsibility and opportunity to educate ourselves and our students about the historical background and current context of this war. We urge professors and students to organize a series of educational activities on their campuses in conjunction with the march and rally. Concretely, we encourage you to organize debates, roundtables, or film showings on your campus. This would be a good time to write letters to your school and/or local newspaper. Perhaps you could ask the student newspaper to publish a series of articles about Iraq and the Middle East, interviews with students discussing the war, or essays about previous anti-war movement. If you have ROTC on your campus, perhaps representatives would like to participate in a discussion about the war or individuals who have served in Iraq or might be sent to Iraq would like to share their personal experiences or thoughts. You could also recruit students and professors to go to Washington, D.C. We understand that many people will be unable to attend the march, for a variety of reasons. Think about organizing an event for the campus or local community during the weekend, so that people can demonstrate their opposition to the war even if they stay home.

HAW is producing a leaflet for the march and organizing a contingent. We encourage everyone to join with us and meet other historians who also oppose the war. The HAW contingent will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the National Archives (how appropriate!), at the Constitution and Maine avenues entrance. We will attend the 11:00 to 12:30 rally and then march, along with thousands and thousands of other people opposed to the war.

HAW will also set up a table in the literature tent. The table will display the materials that we have published in our nearly three years of existence. If you are interested in staffing the table, please let us know. Carolyn Eisenberg, a member of the HAW steering committee, is one of the scheduled speakers at the concert that will take place after the march.

HAW’s participation in the anti-war activities does not end on the 24 th. We will also join many others on Monday, September 26 to lobby our representatives. Demonstrating on Saturday is very important. Speaking directly to our elected officials about our concerns is not only important, but also effective. They need to hear from us why we oppose the war. As historians, we are an informed, articulate, and credible grouping of people. We can use our knowledge and skills to lobby for an end to this unjust war. Civil disobedience activities are also planned for the day and we also encourage people to participate in them.

If you would like more information or to get in touch with us, please contact us at: www.historiansagainstwar.org



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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

No, G.W. Bush the most incompetent U.S. president in foreign policy since Warren G. Harding is not comparable to NATO, the most successful alliance of the 20th century. His Iraq misadventure was a hopeless fraud from the start.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Our "compelling interest" in preventing all-out "Civil War" in Iraq is that America will be largely (and not entirely unjustifiably) be blamed for it around the world, if that war happens after the U.S. cuts and runs. Okay, maybe not in the roughly 0.01% of the globe's population that are active members of the extreme factions within the Likud Party in Israel, which thrive on war, but among the vast majority of the rest of the world's alert and educated people.

Because most of OUR population was too fat, lazy and ignorant to heed the prolific warnings BEFORE March 2003, about owning the broken pottery is not a justification for walking away from the Iraq mess as though we had nothing to do with causing it, starting with the many years of active support for Saddam by the same political party of hypocrites that have torpedoed much of America's foreign policy in order to ineptly reverse their course.

But, there is an even greater compelling interest than continuing to try to clean up our mess in Iraq and that is to start cleaning up our mess in America, namely booting out of power the hypocritical and arrogant incompetents who bungled their way into this disaster. And along with them the wet noodle wimps who would rather search for slightly politically incorrect needle in a haystack of legal comments by a Supreme Court appointee than stand up for what it is in the obvious national interest: namely to stop the maniacs in the adminstration from trashing America's security, its reputation, its moral standing, and its future viability.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

1. Politicians lie:

(a) Clinton about "that woman"
(b) Bush Jr. about France and Germany and the UN Security Council backing his disingenious Iraq invasion of March 2003.

2. Politicians "insanely" pursue "politics at all cost" (Heuisler post #68473 above):

(a) Bush, by squandering America's military and political leadership in the world on a disastrously bungled invasion of Iraq that has created more new long term enemies for America and damage to America's national security than anything Saddam could have done

(b) Democrats such as Hillary, by spinelessly endorsing the blank check authorization for that predictably blunder-ridden fiasco.

3. Hypocrites focus on the "lies" and "insanity" of one group of politicians and ignore the other.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Your list suffers from innumerable factual errors and misunderstandings. Just a few of the many:

1. Whether the Iraq army had 3 million, 3 billion or 300 members in early 2003, it did not fight. Your absurdly labelled "miracle" was in reality one of the most lopsided invasions of all time. In their place would you have thrown your life away ? They may be backward, poorly educated, and misguided, but those Iraqis were and are not stupid fools.

2. Islamic fundamentalists are a different breed, however. Depending on many factors, including but not limited to the idiocy of American foreign policy, and how one defines things, their numbers range from several thousand hard core terrorists, to hundreds of millions of sympathisizers. There is no way in hell that America is going to destroy itself trying to "kill" all of them (a very Nazi like idea, by the way). So far, as even Rummy himself had to admit, they (thanks in part to Bush's folly and blunders) are recruiting new members faster than they are being killed off.

3. You don't know what you are talking about re Germany. Nothing at all is settled there. The recent election was inconclusive with no clear majority or mandate for any party.

4. It is useful that you brought up the French Revolution. It is utterly and totally irrelevant to this discussion about the war in Iraq, BUT it underscores the ridiculousness and historical ignorance of the rampant and brainless repetition of "The Left" and "Leftists" and such anachronistic terms as though they are of any relevance other than to reveal the laziness of those uttering them. The collosal waste of taxpayers' money which our currrent junvenile deliquent un-President is pouring into the Gulf States (in an attempt to cover up his gross negligence there) is something FDR -whatever his other many sins, including a bloated federal bureaucracy- would have been ashamed of. Junior Bush evidently was AWOL when the shame gene was passed around.

P.S. By way of update to my prior post, the most glaring example of "politics at all cost" (Heuisler's phrase) in recent times was probably Congressional Republicans obsessing on Clinton's male appendage while utterly ignoring Saddam (and a host of other critical issues facing the country) in 1998-99.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

All is not yet lost, Robert.

Consider this counterfactual: If HAW, ANSWER, and all the other semi-professional feel-good demonstration-mongers, as well as all the howling Howard Deaniacs, Micheal Moore underwear collectors, and misc. other Democrat junkies had marched on Washington in the Fall of 2002 when it would have taken an ounce of foresight and a gram of courage to have done so,
then it is entirely conceivable that far far fewer Democratic members of Congress would have endorsed the blank check authorization for Bush to blunder into Iraq. Kerry might have found the backbone to be consistent with what he said as a Vietnam Vet in 1971 about Congress having the duty to avert military adventures that are not in the country's interest. Hillary Clinton, Gephardt, Daschle, Feinstein, Edwards and all the other pitiful Democrat wimps might have read the tea leaves differently, and W (given that a few sane Republican senators and Congressmen also had the political cajones to oppose his stupidity) could well have been stopped in his tracks by a failure to get Congressional approval for an invasion. Blix would have finished his inspections, found no WMD, and we would have an army and worldwide support with which to take on the likes of North Korea and Iran whose nuclear threats are NOT contained as Saddam's obviously was.

IF we can learn the right lessons from this recent folly, there is at least a chance of not repeating it in the future. But not as long as we tolerate having historically defunct cowards such as HAW speak for us.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Thomas:

A few polite words at the outset of each post distinguishes you (as a fig leaf distinguishes Adam and Eve), but your warped views of history are beyond my ability to influence. They are also beside the point. Which was (in comment #68651 above) that unscrupulous, double-dealing, lying, sleazy politicians are found in roughly equal measure in both of America's mainstream political parties. Not that the two parties are identical; far from it. But that one-sided propaganda missives from Heuisler etc. that regardless of device or disguise serve to, in essence, incessantly lambast one party only, are factually nonsense. If you disagree with this entirely common sensical position, it is of course your right to remain close-minded and let others do your thinking for you. But please spare us your confused ramblings on unrelated issues.

By the way, Angela Merkel is certainly not going to be designated German Chancellor by any Germanic Supreme Court, or start a bungled and deceit ridden invasion of the Mideast hyped as a war if she bargains her way into office. So hold off on your cheerleading.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks for the article, Robert.

I am not sure what all this "fourth generation" business is about, but the article makes some salient points, about "systemic breakdown" and
re the mess in messopotamia:

"Iraq is becoming the cause of the very problems it was supposed to control . . ”

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Where were these brave leafleteers in October, 2002 when such agitation might have had some relevance, if not impact ?

Neither the bungled invasion and occupation of Iraq under the incompetent Bush administration, nor the religious, tribal, and criminal violence it has unleashed amount to a "war". And a small group of enthusiastic and ignored intellectuals shouting silly slogans would not "stop" this mess even if it were a "war".

It is a pity that many historians cannot get this bit of contemporary history correct, or at least realize that all foreign military deployments after Vietnam are not automatically "wars" automatically leading to a binary choice limited to either blind support of that "war", or historic renactments of the 1960-70s "antiwar movement".

In any event these efforts have had and are having essentially zero effect. The chickenhawks' cakewalk to Baghdad has bogged down, the public is realizing that there is not, never was, and probably never will be a credible plan for putting humpty dumpty Iraq together again, and the pretend president of the U.S. will look for a way to cut and run, but historians trapped in a past they don't even understand have basically nothing to do with this. Except that -by neglecting their duties to help understand past history (in order to partake in dumbed-down feel-good demonstrations)- they help to insure continuance of the sort of widespread ignorance that makes such debacles possible in the first place.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

There was plenty of backseating sniping going on by Republicans in Congress during the Kosovo operation (which was more of a "war" than what has been happening in Iraq) and that intervention, while fraught with mishaps and missteps, was a slam dunk honorable American success compared with the blunder- and deception-ridden Iraq disaster of Bush and his arrogant incompetent crooks. I am by no means a diehard Democrat, but I am against hypocrisy, and it is not hard for any fairminded and historically knowledgable observer to see that the present administration has taken hypocrisy to new heights.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

As my prior post made clear, the "success" of U.S. intervenation Kosovo is relative only. The place is still a mess and still requires foreign occupation. And it was left to fester for a decade before anybody did anything about it. But at least there is a modicum of rule of law there now, Milosevic is gone, and Serbia has a relatively "functioning" democracy (e.g. roughly 10x more functioning than Iraq is and is likely to be for years, by any objective international comparison and forecast).

Your observation about Europeans is well taken, despite its sweeping generality, but it is beside the point here: that for semi-educated Republican propagandists to foam in unthinking vague regurgitatory fashion about "the Left" or "leftists" or "liberals" (by which they mean to stupifying and lumpingly imply everyone from Fidel Castro to Howard Dean) "hoping" for "America's defeat" is stinking hypocritical horse manure. They are in a glass house hurling boulders. Democrats criticism of Bush's Iraq disaster is certainly self-serving, and in the particular instance here downright idiotic, but that does not mean that it is no, in most cases, 100x more justified than the very similar wholesale and "defeatist" calls by many Republicans for America to get out of the Balkans in 1998-2000.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

Is that an allusion to Lord Hawhaw?
How apt.

Matthew Anthony McConnell - 10/24/2005

I don't really support either, they both have legitimage (and illegitimate) policies, although I do slightly favour HAW, I never really went for the whole "invade other countries that can't defend themselves that well" thing America had going, the whole "eye for an eye" statement for 9/11 went way out the window (unless it was an eye for 20 or so eyes).

I wouldn't even call the Iraq War a real "war", most of the Iraqi army surrendered first off, the US Troops have lost more men because of suicide bombings, and then again, the US Army have senslessley bombed and shot civilians, I saw some footage of a black hawk (it was at night) observing 3 iraqi soldiers, no weapons or whatsoever, or at least, not a single threat to the Black Hawk, it fired its weapon, a very powerful and high calibre gatling cannon, 3 bursts at each one, all that's left is a crater, the last guy runs into a truck, they fire at that, it blows up, he manages to crawl out, you hear the gunner chuckle, then he fires at the guy crawling out, oh and then there was the "Highway of Death" in the 1st Gulf War, when the US bombed civilians (ALOT of civilians) and some fleeing military on a highway leading out of Bagdhad. Good on you America *sarcasm*.

glen loban - 10/11/2005

One would think, being an Historian, that some body along the way would add some facts to the anti-war recruiting press release.

100,000 Iraqi killed,,, any wonder some many professors are viewed with distrust.

Arnold Shcherban - 10/7/2005

Nixon and Kissinger were criminals
both by the American legal standards
and the international ones, as was Clinton and is Bush, regardless
whether you like Eisenberg or not.

Frederick Thomas - 9/28/2005

Do not despair, Mr. Clark. Your often elegant words have their impact, and are appreciated even where I disagree. If we do disagree, it is in no wise personal, and is intended only to engage fully on the issues.

Our intellectual forebear David Hume told us how to take care of the partisanism problem you well deprecate: do not let the mob have any direct role, suppress ideologues, personal attacks, libel and crass partisanism through legislation, and make one branch of government counterbalance another at every opportunity.

It has worked, despite FIDDER's efforts to disassemble the supreme court and Warren's later coup d'etat with that same court, over throwing legislation on so many issues, and despite the Civil War, that greatest of unconstitutionalities.

Today the greatest threat may be wild personal attacks from billionaire Soros, althought thank goodness the public totally ignores him, and his money, so far.

Regarding your comments on Angie, my only issue is that the SPD is out of office, because of poor governance, taking Europe's most successful economy, and turning it into the sick man of that continent. Imagine what 13% unemployment would do to Bush? Angie is a convert, of course, having been a minor functionary in former East Germany, and know what a dead economy is all about.

Also, the Supremes did not designate GWB, they properly stopped an unconstitutional effort by Florida's Supremes, who were 7-0 democratic, from overthrowing a twice recounted GWB victory in that state. If you do not recognise the wild partisanship on their part, it weakens any argument of partisanship on the part of the national Supremes.

Thanks again for your comments!

Robert F. Koehler - 9/25/2005

It would have been helpful if I had provided the link to the other site.

Willful Ignorance: How the Pentagon sent the army to Iraq without a counterinsurgency doctrine


Michael Barnes Thomin - 9/25/2005

Great article, thanks for the link.

Robert F. Koehler - 9/25/2005

Mr Thomin

The "Sling and the Stone" is a good starter to explain the evolving nature of war. This may come as a surprise to many here, but there are a host of other works that can be found on this page.

Ten Best Books On Fourth Generation Warfare

Real keepers here are Robert Asprey's classic "War in the Shadows: The Guerrilla in History," and O'Neill's "Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare." Former Marine NCO John Poole's "Phantom Soldier: The Enemies Answer to US Firepower," though not on this list is well worth reading since it underscores just how long it's been understood the uselessness of the material aspects of war, firepower and high-tech toys in the kinds of wars the US has fought during the last third of the 20th century, and what will be the premier method of war during the 21st century or for a long time to come.

A timely article on the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' website: "Willful ignorance: How the Pentagon Sent the Army to Iraq Without a Counterinsurgency Doctrine, "is a well said overall summary on 4GW for those who are confused or mislead on the subject. War is not changing in the sense that 4GW is a new way or method of war, it is fundamentally a regression to the way the vast majority of wars were fought before the Peace of Westphalia and the monopolization of organized force by states during the early modern to modern period. What is aberrant in man's historical experience of war are the past several hundred years of war as practiced by modern states, whereas 4GW is merely how mankind has always fought but with the tools of a globalized, industrialized, cyberized & high tech world.

Its going to be a warm 21st century.

Michael Barnes Thomin - 9/24/2005

For more insight into what Mr. Koehler is talking about check out "The Sling and the Stone" by Col. Thomas Hammes, USMC(ret.).


Robert F. Koehler - 9/24/2005

The 'myth' of Iraq's foreign fighters

You may also find this report concerning the composition of the enemy useful in your discussions with stay at home chicken hawks, who are loud, brave and know it alls when in fact they are the dumbest yella bellies on the face of the earth. We are only now beginning to shape, understand and get our teeth into the enemy, while all the same recognizing we have a great deal more to learn and a long way to go. This is an adversary with some 1,400 years of history who mission plan in 100 year time scales for execution. That's a little fact that required no learning had the fools read their history books.

Robert F. Koehler - 9/24/2005

>>>I am not sure what all this "fourth generation" business...<<<

It depends upon what or whose definition of war you choose that is the operative norm in the world. The generally accepted concept is that violent conflict can only erupt between organized states as we have known such since the Peace of Westphalia. If violence is executed by any other group (criminal, personal, transnational, tribal, religious, etc) than that violence is not legitimate, cannot be defined as war or its combatants covered under the articles of war. Many of the establishments of power within modern states and their armed forces still adhere to this exclusive definition and consequently strongly deny 4GW as just silly nonsense without foundation.

What if our gods are wrong. What if the real motivation in discrediting 4GW is the desire of elites to maintain statism and its monopoly over organized violence. What if the legitimacy of the state is under threat by dimly understood geo-political & historical forces that is undermining order, political association & ideology and the bounds of globalism & modernity. What if our world is entering upon an era of civilizational devolution, where the old is taken down & exterminated and the new is thrust up giving birth to a new age. Lot of BIG ifs, but what if our rulers and all the experts in government, media, higher learning and the military have got it dead wrong. Certainly won't be the first time. A recent instance is the insane path to World War I where whole worlds lost their minds and destroyed their worlds in the prospect.

Lind for much of the past 2 decades was a voice lost in the wilderness with few adherents, but during the 90's and most especially since the so-called war on terror his ranks are blossoming with recruits. The bulk of these believers are the commanders, officers & troops who actually fight (hands-on) today's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and God knows where else, who are learning war in new ways and not as they were trained & taught. Today's warriors are tomorrows Chief of Staffs, Cinc's, divisional & brigade commanders and Lind, who never fought in combat may have the last laugh yet. Reportedly the Marine Corps due to its experiences in Iraq is turning to the principles and ideas of 4GW, that war is not exclusively about a states monopoly, munitions, equipment, high tech toys and which service (including the vermin on the Potomac and what they can plunder, steal & thieve) can slop up the most in funding to pay for irrelevant hardware in the 21st century.

Lind has a much more broader, comprehensive & inclusive view on what is war. Whether that view is revolutionary and the true source for a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is yet to be seen, but I believe Lind is on to something and to ignore his ideas is to do so at our national peril.

Robert F. Koehler - 9/23/2005

Important Distinctions

This article expands into other possible horizons beyond the half-formed view I payed out. The historical comparisons within are interesting but not the meat, or what I believe the core meaning of what Lind here is saying. He follows and builds on the theory of the legitimacy of the state, "systemic breakdown," wherein the masses may feel "betrayed" and lose faith in their system of government. My mind leaps to what follows next? Resurgence? Dissolution? Or something else?

If you think it merits it I am interested in your opinion.

Robert F. Koehler - 9/23/2005

I concur with your analysis of HAW and the so-called anti-war movement on the left. The lefty rank & file are no less motivated & driven by insane partisanship as are partisans on the right who shamelessly slather and slobber at the boots of their gods, all propagating any lie, all upholding any heinous act, all defending any treason their masters & overlords commit. If there are any true anti-war demo's or repub's they aren't wasting their time on that issue in the democratic or republican parties.

I doubt that anything can now be done to thwart Iranian ambitions at obtaining a nuclear capability and inevitably the bomb. They have again successfully b***h slapped the EU 3 down again. Russia & China have disabused all doubts by both declaring use of their vetoes in the U/N/S/C, thereby eliminating the Iranian issue being heard there. The Iranians have also out lobbied the US among the non-aligned nations and internationalized the issue right out of the US's paw's to manipulate & twist to our advantage. But what really ditched the west's nerves was when the Iranians linked their nuclear program with an oil embargo against those nations who oppose them. I could hear the gasps, gulps and the s**t dropping hard from the western reaches of the Irish Isles, straight across to the far eastern marches of the Dneiper River. Oh, yes, they all put a brave face on it, but if our guys think the EU 3 are going to monkey around with those Iranians than their definitely drinking something in their Kool Aid, and it sure as hell ain't sugared water.

As for Korea the horses have left that barn before the goofs in Washington were even aware the doors were wide open. Whatever opportunities there were to keeping the Korean peninsula nuclear free were squandered by both the Clinton & Bush administrations and the jackasses in both parties, using that issue to screw each other over some worthless political point or momentary advantage.

There are many periods in history I have found of interest & puzzlement, one such being the death throes of Rome's republic from the end of the Punic Wars to Caesar Augustus. Once it all seemed mysterious and incomprehensible to me, but after living through the last half of the 20th century and the history of the US from the Spanish/American War to the present, I can appreciate the grave need for the rise of the Generals, Triumvirates and inevitably the establishment of an Imperial Autocracy. When republics become corrupted beyond redemption their elites and leadership are not only ravenous predators to all nations, but also to their own peoples and a danger to themselves. I behold corruption that stands where it aught not upon the Potomac and am convinced our rulers can no more save themselves than they can save the country. Whether those dynamics are the same for us or our corruption is beyond redemption is impossible to tell, but time or should I say destiny will tell.

Frederick Thomas - 9/23/2005

Thank you for your comments, although I was hoping for a more elegant repartee. A few points:

1. The miracle to which I refer is a miracle of military management, and I comfortably stay with that. If you wish an example of the opposite, look at Jimmuh's rescue operation next door in Iran, or LBJ in VN, or Truman in Korea.

2. The Al Queda gang are a few thousand, 80% Wahabi Saudis who get high by rocking back and forth at Taliban. Their Afghan department no longer answers the phone, their top guy seems dead, and by the few lines of usable information coming out of Iran, they are being shot up in large enough numbers to make their future questionable. Don't exaggerate these clowns. They die when shot like anyone, they deserve to be shot, and very many are being shot. I do not know how you can give credence to guys that blow up cars next to groups of Shi'a schoolkids. Do you really and truly think they have universal Muslim support? Ask the Shi'a or Kurds.

3. In Germany, the leftie givernment has ben expelled with Schroeder of the CSU receiving 1 % fewer votes than Angie Merkel of the CDU, a larger margin than Kennedy had. She is forming a coalition which - mirabile dictu! - may include the formerly extreme Greens. If maneuvering forces her into a grand coalition, you can bet socialists won't lead it. QED.

4. What foolishness to play down the French Revolution points! I know that the comparison is painful but they are precisely relevant to your "both sides lie" assertion. The methods of today's libelling leftists are identical to those of Marat, Danton and Robespierre.

Consider billionaire Soros of move-on.org, who says he bought the Democratic party fair and square, and apparently did.

This man was convicted of financial fraud in France, regarding currency manipulations (under appeal), and of treason for the same activity in Malaysia (death sentence in absentia).

He is the modern equivalent of Tallyrand, but has his blog continually attacking righties for vague "Haliburton" issues, though Halliburton has not even been accused of any crimes, such as Soros was convicted of twice. I would not feel real proud of this guy if I were still a Dem.

PS: I do not recall anyone obsessing over Bill's quill, not even the thousands of female government employees who may have seen it.

It seems to me that one of them may have said that it appropriately turned left when flaccid, but no righties were involved in this allegation.

Interesting that Bill can't get anyone to drop to her knees but those dependent on him to sign their paychecks. When he came up against an honest nurse, who did not work for him, he raped her. Go, Bill, go. (Are you real proud yet?)

By the way, the critical issue which faced us in the late 90s was Bill's ignoring the Al-Quaida explosion in the WTC, the Pharma factory bombing, the idiotic Justice department refusing to permit FBI to CIA communicating when the Atta cell was firmly identified. Sheesh!

John H. Lederer - 9/22/2005

Mr. Koehler,

I am quite confident that you have not become "inured" to your wounds.

Frederick Thomas - 9/22/2005

Mr. Clark:

At most times you are as convincing as anyone who posts on HNN. In this case there may be a few holes in your argument.

"bungled invasion of Iraq"

The Iraq invasion was one of the most efficient and effective military operations ever. A 3 million man army on its own turf is defeated in 3 weeks by a tiny five division force, with fewer dead than 2 days on US highways. Rumsfelt was directly responsible for this, and Bush overall responsible. Blunder? I'd say military miracle.

There is practically no native resistence in Iraq. For the great majority of Iraqis, Shi'a and Kurd, the US invasion was a Godsend, and deliverance from great evil.

Almost all of the suicide bombers (their only real weapon) are Saudi, just like the 9/11 gang. It is far better to kill them all over there than in our airports.

"squandering America's military and political leadership"

I would also be cautious about the split with Germany and France. Germany's leftist BK has been dumped by a relatively pro-Bush CDU newcomer, and Chirac, with 13% unemployment, may well be next.

"Hypocrites focus on the "lies" and "insanity" of one group of politicians and ignore the other."

Without admitting to hypocracy, I believe that lefties are far more into artful lying thing than righties.

This started with the expression "gauche" or "left" in the French Revolution, denoting where the radicals and murderers sat in assembly.

Jacobins, Montagnards, and sans-coulottes created a blizzard of hate pamphlets called "Libelles," from which our English expression "libel" came.

These were so horrific that Marat gave credit to his pamphlets for permitting him to recruit and arm 300 street criminals who murdered 3600 priests nuns and monks at St Germain des Pres on his incitation, at the start of Bloody September.

Later in the depths of the terror, the pamphlets, which accused Marie Antoinette and thousands of others of such sexual and financial perversion that the mob demanded the tens of thousands of deaths which resulted. "Let them eat cake" was penned by Marat, not Marie. The Communists paid close attention and followed suit.

The greatest US political liar was FDR. While carrying out a series of 8 illegal military and economic provocations to incite Japan to counterattack (Stennet: "Day of Deceit") he gave dozens of speechs saying "our boys will not die on foerign shores." 440 thousand did.

FDR then turned the recession into a depression by systematically destroying American small business, choking trade, etc while blaming Hoover for it. He sold 200 million Russians into 50 more years of dictatorship, mass murder and slavery while selling Stalin to America as "Uncle Joe." Korea and Vietnam were predictable results of his malfeasance and his excellent lies. No American was better at it.

There are exceptions, such as Churchill, a truly magnificent liar and great foil for Roosevelt, who was conservative. But every time I see Chappaquidic Ted half drunk and screaming in the Senate I get the stink of murdering Marat in my nostrils.

Marat, you recall, was murdered for his deeds by a young, beautiful woman named Charlotte Corday, who was guillotined for it. Kennedy should watch it if anyone named Kopechne shows up in the Senate.

Then there is Hillary.

I hope you can accept my analysis, which gets perhaps too much into the history, but which to me is useful to demonstrate how long this sort of thing has been going on.

Steven R Alvarado - 9/22/2005


Robert F. Koehler - 9/22/2005

Stopping "the maniacs in the administration from trashing America's security, its reputation,..." and ..."its moral standing,..." was a long lost cause from the very advent of this administration. The assertion concerning "... its future viability." is a question pregnant with meaning that could blossom, unfold or lead America down paths anywhere or nowhere. Had the fools in the White House listened to the pragmatists and realists within & out of the foreign policy establishment and not invaded Iraq, the US of A could very likely have had a "cake-wake" throughout the first quarter of the 21st century with its power, security & reputation not only intact, but exalted and admired throughout the world by friend and foe alike.

The supreme duty of our leaders is to husband our power and not insanely squander it by reckless actions & enterprises, using it exclusively to our countries advantage & only in the service of our national interests instead of lame idiocies like spreading demos throughout the Middle East, WMD's, etc. Instead of a Uni-Polar, geo-political world system based upon, ruled under and by an all powerful American hegemony, we now have a Multi-Polar world order of rising powers and competitive regional alliances that do not fear America, let alone two-bit dictators in East Asia, South America and South Eurasia laughing in our faces, with fist fulls of c**k in one hand and gesturing us to "bring it on" with the other. No matter how much the fools in la laa land on the Potomac bluster and pontificate with their 'mirror mirror on the wall' about progress or winning in Iraq, invading Syria or Iran, or that equally sad story going on in Afghanistan, America is in the early stages of retrenchment, retreat and defeat in Iraq and all the disinformation, lies & propaganda in the world cannot prevent or hide it.

The nonsense you responded to is an exact replication of the nonsense that suppurates like a gangrenous wound from that 'Versailles upon the Potomac.' How the US of A can continue occupying or maintaining any position within Iraq solely to "secure" Iraqi oil, once that country devolves into all out civil war is right up there among the dumbest ideas I have heard about our strategic options in Iraq. If anyone thinks that Iraq is an insane asylum now, than I advise they get a solid gorillas grip on their panties, because they ain't seen nothing yet! America's tragedy is its this kind of nonsensical thinking among our elites that has gotten the US into this mess, and if not excised from the counsels of our rulers will get this country ever deeper than what it now is. I echo your "booting from power" in spades! Though I believe if you were anointed with the 'license' you would be more merciful and compassionate in the prospect than I. As far as I am concerned that's an undone job that should have been done some 35+ years ago.

N. Friedman - 9/22/2005


You might try reading CounterPunch. There are quite a number of articles on that website which, I think, fit the bill. If I have some time to review that website in detail, I can give you some exact references. However, you will find the website an eyeopener.

N. Friedman - 9/22/2005


You write: "Okay, maybe not in the roughly 0.01% of the globe's population that are active members of the extreme factions within the Likud Party in Israel, which thrive on war..."

Care to name some names of these people who "thrive on war." Somewhere in that comment, I see a bias, a preconception that is not related to the facts.

In any event, you are mistaken. You confuse people who disagree with your idea for resolving a conflict to which the resolution thereof does not affect you one wit. Or, in simple terms, you fail to understand those you belittle with contempt.

N. Friedman - 9/22/2005


You might try reading CounterPunch. There are quite a number of articles on that website which, I think, fit the bill. If I have some time to review that website in detail, I can give you some exact references. However, you will find the website an eyeopener.

Robert F. Koehler - 9/22/2005

American defeat in Iraq was assured in March of 2003 at the exact moment when the battle order to attack Iraq was uttered. The Penultimate Moron of the Universe and all the skull-f****d, knuckle dragging lunatics of either party, along with the brainless (m)asses that supported this insane adventure are the traitors (and war criminals) who have lead America to well predicted & easily foreseen defeat.

Cut and run is all that America has left to do, whether she does it today or tomorrow is irrelevant. Her only triumph & claim to fame will again be disgrace, humiliation and a pure obscenity upon the face of the earth by the endless excuses, finger-pointing & baseless lies, as the guilty falsely accuses & heinously shifts & dodges responsibility, by putting blame anywhere and everywhere except where it rightly belongs.

That I have to personally endure another sorry, low life, national spectacle of Act, Part II all over again is one thing. My wounds and hate are old and have become inured to the unspeakable, enormic lie that America has become. But today's American Warriors, the truly few who were never enough, who in their youth and patriotism stood boldly to & under the standards, these are the ONLY Americans in this country who have the right to claim paying the horrific & unjust price for Insane Folley! In the end, I wonder how all this plays out with them.

Michael Beatty - 9/22/2005

Peter wrote, "But, there is an even greater compelling interest than continuing to try to clean up our mess in Iraq and that is to start cleaning up our mess in America, namely booting out of power the hypocritical and arrogant incompetents who bungled their way into this disaster."

To which I can only say, "AMEN!" and "HALLELUJAH!"

Bill Heuisler - 9/21/2005

Mr. Mendez,
Now read what President Clinton had to say on CNN.com on December 16, 1998

"Clinton: Iraq has abused its final chance
American president defends timing and need for strikes
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, December 16) -- President Bill Clinton Wednesday defended his decision to order airstrikes against Iraq, saying Saddam Hussein had failed his "one last chance" to cooperate with United Nations resolutions. "So we've had to act and act now."

"Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces," Clinton said during his Oval Office address to the nation.

"Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs, and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the middle east and around the world," Clinton said.

A showdown between the U.S. and Iraq six weeks ago, when again the military action was threatened, ended with Saddam Hussein's promise to give U.N. inspectors unconditional access to Iraqi facilities so they could determine if Iraq was rebuilding its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs.

At the time, Clinton said he "concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate. I made it very clear at that time what 'unconditional cooperation' meant."

The American president said a report by inspectors to the U.N. over the weekend determined that Iraq had failed to fulfill that promise and had instead placed new restrictions on the inspections.

In response, Clinton gave the go ahead for "Operation Desert Fox."

Both directly and indirectly, Clinton addressed the impeachment crisis his presidency is currently facing. He defended the timing of strikes, which his critics have questioned in light of Thursday's scheduled debate and floor vote.

He also said that Saddam Hussein should not believe that domestic troubles in the U.S. would deter the nation from taking decisive action.

"Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate before the House of Representatives would distract Americans," Clinton said. "But once more the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests we will do so."

White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said earlier that the president made his decision Wednesday morning after reviewing the United Nation's report."

Was President Cllinton lying also, Mr. Mendez?

Who's really lying here?
Bill Heuisler

John H. Lederer - 9/21/2005

It seems to me that anyone who demands we withdraw our troops now or in the near term, intends the defeat of the United States in Iraq.

Bill Heuisler - 9/21/2005

Mr. Mendez,

Lies? Oil? You certainly have the Left-Wing talking points down pat, don't you? Well, just in case you'd like to indulge reality, I've copied something for you to read. Now read carefully and pay attention.

"Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq
Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;

Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;

Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

Whereas in 1998 Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in "material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations" and urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations" (Public Law 105-235);

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001 underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949;

Whereas Congress in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) has authorized the President "to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, and 677";

Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1)," that Iraq's repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region," and that Congress, "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688";

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

Whereas on September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to "work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge" posed by Iraq and to "work for the necessary resolutions," while also making clear that "the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable";

Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and

Whereas it is in the national security of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This joint resolution may be cited as the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq".

This resolution was passed by an overwhelming vote of Congress in October of 2002. Kerry and Daschle voted with 77 other Senators and a majority of Dems in Congress also voted to use force in Iraq.

But you - and your buddies in ANSWER -knew better, didn't you? Parroting propaganda doesn't impress people on History web sites. Why bother?
Bill Heuisler

Steven R Alvarado - 9/21/2005


Steven R Alvarado - 9/21/2005

Then you would agree that what Iraq needs is more time. Kosovo has had ten years of NATO stewardship, should we not at least give the same to Iraq?

Sergio Alejandro M?ndez - 9/21/2005

Very simple Mr Heuisler. I never said your review on the work Eisemberg was wrong or right. I simply said I am very skeptical about it, do to what I have seen you post.

On the other side, I see right wingers ranting about how the left is so evil cause it desires US defeat in Iraq etc etc. Who cares of silly generalizations (as some poster noted, the left for this people is a group that includes persons from Fidel Castro to Howard Dean) and ad hominem attacks, when they are done by right wing ideologues? Aside from that, shall I remember that the war in Iraq was fought based on lies that covered the very obvious motives of oil and military expansion and investment?

Michael Beatty - 9/21/2005

Adam wrote, "Staying there indefinitely would be preferable to seeing the country collapse into Civil War." I have to ask, "How so?"

What is our compelling interest in preventing the Iraqis - or, more accurately, preventing those disparate ethnic groups that can in no way be said to constitute a heterogeneous-yet-cohesive Iraqi society - from a fratricidal indulgence of their blood lust?

We have toppled a corrupt, bloodthirsty, genocidal dictator who, even if he didn't actually possess WMDs, at least had the inclincation to acquire them, and who has been proven to have committed mass murder against his own people (thus forfeiting his right to sovereign status).

History is replete with examples of what happens when the king is toppled from his throne (Alexander in 323 BCE, and Henry VI in 1485 CE leap to mind). A power struggle inevitably follows the abrupt vacancy of the throne, especially when no legitimate, generally-recognised heir is immediately present to take up the crown. So it will be, and I submit must be, in the wake of Saddam Hussein's downfall.

Civil war in Iraq will be, and must be, the forum in which the Iraqi cultures work out, for themselves, the power structure by which they will be governed for the foreseeable future.

Is this laudable, as the old surgeons used to speak of "laudable pus" pouring from a surgical wound to show that healing was going on? Probably not.

Is it desirable? As a human being, I have to say, emphatically, No, it is not. But it's happening now, and apparently by design. See the current issue of Time magazine for an article that suggests that the insurgency's shift of focus from coaliation troops to Iraqi "collaborators" may have been by design as a result of a meeting between Saddam (then still on the run) and his internal-security lieutenants.

Is civil war and the bloodshed that will necessarily attend it necessary? Regrettably, I believe it is, unless the U S is willing either to annex Iraq as a territory, and formally, summarily render moot any debate over how the Iraqis will govern themselves. Or, we can simply nuke the place 'til it glows, and avoid genocide by committing genocide. Neither of these options is particularly palatable.

What do we gain by continuing to maintain an enormous military presence in an Iraq that is essentially under martial law? The presence of the "infidels" is an irritant to Islam that Islam will attempt to eliminate the same way an oyster attempts to eliminate an irritant by forming a pearl. Remove the irritant, you remove the need for the response.

It is clear that the insurgency, and the ethnic forces urging Iraqi citizens toward civil war, are two different conflicts. The insurgency, according to all the reports I've seen, is primarily being carried out by non-Iraqi Muslims (who see themselves as true mujahedin, a vision I cannot share) who are swarming into Iraq through its porous border in a misguided attempt to achieve Heaven through pointless violence. Civil war, if and when it comes to Iraq, will be between Iraqi factions that, frankly, have scores to settle after decades of minority-Sunni rule. Is the situation in Iraq at the end of the Ba'ath regime that much different (besides being more volatile) than the situation in South Africa at the end of apartheid? The fall of a minority government will inevitably bring bloodshed as "accounts are settled."

In brief, the insurgency is a foreign response to the "infidel" presence in Iraq; civil war will be, not merely a home-grown conflict, but also a necessary part of the healing process, allowing Iraq to come to terms with its past, move on and take its rightful place among democratic nations.

And last, The $64,000 Question, "What about the oil?" Okay, so we maintain a sufficient presence in the oil-producing parts of the country to secure the oil-production infrastructure. But to do that, we'd have to admit that the continued deployment of military assets to Iraq is literally "all about oil." Does this Administration, or any administration that will come after it, have the political cojones to admit that? I know not.

Steven R Alvarado - 9/21/2005

The probelm with the "success" of the Kosovo operation was that it once again allowed to the Europeans to forgo their responsibilities to themselves and the world. To Clinton's credit he tried to persuade the Europeans to address "their" problem. The sniping by the Republicans only began after Clinton caved to the Europeans and ordered American troops to once again lead the way. The Europeans need to stop worrying so much about how they are going to keep the good life (without working) and realize that the "barbarians are once again storming the walls.

Michael Barnes Thomin - 9/20/2005

Mr. Friedman,
Long time no "see."

"More seriously, I have read some people on the Left - although not traditional liberals - who really do hope the US is defeated. "

I have read a lot on the left and right, as I am sure you have as well, but I have not come across anyone who has come out and clearly stated that they hope the U.S. is defeated. Perhaps you would be so kind to send me a link to those that write the things you (and others) claim?

Best regards,

Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/19/2005

Mr. Friedman,
I have written so much on HNN under the name Adam Moshe, I figured I would go back to it since that it what my old friends (and sparring partners) here at HNN known me by. Always a pleasure to hear from you, by the way.

I have little doubt that of the people who want the US to fail for personal and ideological reasons, they probably all/most come from “the left,” usually those types who view the world as a battle between imperialist America (or sometimes “the west” in general), and everyone else. It is also true that some of these people vote Democrat (although I would argue the bulk of them tend to either vote third party or not vote at all). After all, I take pride in the fact that International ANSWER, the most prominent of these groups, protested the DNC in 2004 as well as the RNC (or as they call them, the "Twin Parties of the War Machine").

However, I would argue that the mainstream of the Democratic party, certainly every Democrat that I am aware of, and most liberals who still believe in the pre-1968 definition of the term, want the US to succeed in Iraq. Indeed, it is precisely our national interest that have prompted so many to oppose this conflict, and even now wish that the administration has conducted it more competently.

What will happen in Iraq? Frankly, I think we have reached a point where we simply have little control over what happens there and the country will stand or fall based on the actions of its own people and leadership rather than the actions of us (this is not the way things could have gone had they been handled differently in the beginning). In any event, I am not optimistic. One thing is clear however, and that is that the stakes in Iraq are simply too high to have us fail. Staying there indefinitely would be preferable to seeing the country collapse into Civil War.

N. Friedman - 9/19/2005


Have you changed your name again? Is this the new real you or the old real you? Just kidding. [SMILE]

More seriously, I have read some people on the Left - although not traditional liberals - who really do hope the US is defeated. And, there are some connections between these offensive Leftists and some of the core constituencies of the Democrats (as well as some among the far, far right of the Republican party).

As for Iraq, I think there are too many problems there for us to succeed, if the real goal is to create a democracy. It would, of course, be nice if the admistration gave their real reasons - or, perhaps, if George Friedman is correct [i.e. that the government was intially unable to explain for tactical reasons and now it is too late to explain and be believed], could give its real reasons so that there is a record available for historians and others - .

If, as George Friedman suggests, the WMD issue and democracy goal are merely cover for a war conducted in order to place pressure on the region's governments - most especially Saudi Arabia - to clamp down on the Islamists, then there may be some benefit.

More than likely, the entire war is a folly that has no good ending. But, I certainly hope I am mistaken.

Brian R Robertson - 9/19/2005

Comment withdrawn at poster's request.

Steven R Alvarado - 9/19/2005

He cannot,insults and threats are the bastion of small minds and groupthinkers.

Bill Heuisler - 9/19/2005

Mr. Mendez,
My eyesight is 20-20 with glasses and my rabies and distemper shots are up-to-date. Right-wing needs definition. A book, however, is words, paragraphs and chapters that are quotable.

Please explain where I am wrong about Eisenberg's book. Cite specific words or sentences and I'll gladly engage in discussion without squinting evilly or foaming on the keyboard.
Bill Heuisler

Anthony Brundage - 9/19/2005

HAW claims that it is determined "to educate ourselves and our students about the historical background and current context of this war," yet it is perfectly clear that they have already reached firm conclusions, and that the sole aim of the gathering is to spread their predetermined views. The educational value of such an undertaking is dubious at best. "Teach-ins" never had anything to do with education; they are an exercise in propaganda, pure and simple. There is nothing wrong with propagandizing on behalf of one's beliefs, but please, don't call it education unless multiple points of view are to be considered.

Sergio Alejandro M?ndez - 9/19/2005

Knowing your record as a rabid and miopic right winger on HNN, let me show my skepticism concerning your reviews of Eisenberg work, ok? :)

Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/19/2005

I should start by saying that I do not support HAW’s effort, nor do I support withdrawing US troops at this time. That being said however, the above post by Mr. Jim B. Harris is, I believe, both unfair towards HAW, and completely misrepresents their argument.

I will respond to those parts of the post I consider to be most egregious:

1) “Which side to the HAW support… Those on the ground in Iraq seeking to rebuild its country, and attempting to put into place a Constitutional Democracy, or those who are loading up bombs into car's and driving headlong into groups of innocent civilian's?”

This is a fallacious argument known as a “false dichotomy.” There are many people (though I am not among them) who believes that the Iraqi insurgency will loose its popularity and legitimacy once the US leaves the country and that withdraw really is in the best interest of the Iraqi people. Others believe that defeat is inevitable and our continued investment will simply not yield a return. These groups might be wrong, but accusing them of supporting terrorists simply because you do not agree is not only close-minded, it is factually incorrect.

The choice then is not “do you agree with me and President Bush or do you support terrorists” as you imply, but now that we are in Iraq, what course of action will produce the most gain.

As for the comparison to North Korea, it is an empty comparison. The US intervened because the north was going to take over the south and impose Communist rule. Regardless of whether our intervention was right or wrong, the rationale for going in was well known prior to the conflict. In Iraq, by contrast, it turns out that most of the justification for going was simply not true, the fault of which I leave for anyone’s speculation. What difference does this make? Simple: If people support a cause as being just and legitimate, they will endure almost any cost for it (we lost more people in WWII than either Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq combined yet few people complained). If people do not consider a conflict to be just and legitimate, even a single soldier is too much.

One more question for HAW. I would think that at the end of the bloody 3 year Korean War, not too many people would be jumping up and down about what a great and noble cause the war was. 54,000 US soldiers died, not 2,000. No victory was gained, only a stalemate.

2) “I think if the left were willing to admit that any potential action or inaction has a laundry lists of plus's and minus's would make their arguments a little easier to digest.”

As someone from “the left,” I freely admit it, as does anyone, left or right, with a brain. So… what is your point exactly, other than the fact that you believe anyone who does not agree with you is a simpleton?

3) “I have a liberal friend who admits without apology that he hopes things go terribly in Iraq. He doesn't want any future success for those people because he is so against Bush and the Iraqi war. Are there a lot of those folks out there?”

I sincerely doubt it. Perhaps it is because of your friend that you hold such uninformed views about the anti-war position in general, or the suggested solution to the conflict in particular.

Steven R Alvarado - 9/19/2005

Enough to populate many a university.

Jim B. Harris - 9/19/2005

Those on the ground in Iraq seeking to rebuild its country, and attempting to put into place a Constitutional Democracy, or those who are loading up bombs into car's and driving headlong into groups of innocent civilian's?

On 10/15/05, Iraqi's will again be asked to ignore threats of violence and go to the poll's to decide whether or not to approve the first draft of a new Constitution. It is expected that the Sunnis', who as we recall mostly boycotted the first election that sent folks to the convention to form the constitution, will oppose it. Therefore, I don't think we should be suprised if it get's defeated, which will lead to new elections to vote new members who will attempt to come up with a new constitution. It is likely there will be more Sunni particpation this time.

So which side do the HAW support? Zarqawi and the Iraqi-Al Queda?

Sometimes in life you need to draw a line in the sand and decide which side you are going to be on. Whether you felt Saddam was not a threat or not, he is gone, and there is a choice to be made today on who you will support.

Who in Iraq today would benefit from the immediate withdrawal of coalition forces?

One more question for HAW. I would think that at the end of the bloody 3 year Korean War, not too many people would be jumping up and down about what a great and noble cause the war was. 54,000 US soldiers died, not 2,000. No victory was gained, only a stalemate.

But from an historical perspective, if you could go back to 1950 and tell the President to either:

1. Go to Korea and Fight
2. Stay home and don't fight.

What would you tell them? Does looking today at the different nations of South and North Korea affect your decision. One, recognized as one of the most evil empires on the Earth today, millions of people starving while its leaders play games. The other, a democracy, a free people, a world economic power, a nation that threatens no one.

Perhaps the decision would be easier knowing what we do today, as we have historical perspective. Something I hope we have on IRaq in 50 years.

I think if the left were willing to admit that any potential action or inaction has a laundry lists of plus's and minus's would make their arguments a little easier to digest.

I have a liberal friend who admits without apology that he hopes things go terribly in Iraq. He doesn't want any future success for those people because he is so against Bush and the Iraqi war. Are there a lot of those folks out there?

Walter McElligott - 9/19/2005

Nice to see you've been against this lie since 2003, bbut where did HAW stand before March, '03? Same lies from Bush, then!

Steven R Alvarado - 9/19/2005

On the same day Historians For the War(HFW) will go about their business and like the rest of the world ignore HAW and the their quest for relevence.

Al Johnson - 9/19/2005

I presume this organization is named after the infamous traitor Lord HeeHaw. How apt.

Bill Heuisler - 9/18/2005

Carolyn Eisenberg will be speaking?
Historians must be overjoyed. She is a paragon of enlightenment.

Eisenberg defends Stalin's good intentions in one of her books*. She thinks the Cold War was our fault. She promotes the amusing theory that, the United States abandoned Yalta and Potsdam, and was pushing "the formation of a Western German state against the misgivings of many Europeans". She writes, "the Soviets had launched the (Berlin) blockade to prevent partition". *Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949, 1996).

Her disapproval of the Cold War and Power's distaste for the War on Terror are bookends for appeasement and parodies of serious politics.

But the Leftist drive for US defeat apparently knows no bounds. Power and Eisenberg have lost all proportion - and even any rational sense of self preservation. They're helping to undermine a defense against enemies of humanity who enslave, abuse and mutilate women just like them. This is politics at all cost. And insanity.
Bill Heuisler

John H. Lederer - 9/18/2005

"over 100,000 Iraqis have also died, according to reliable sources."


Historians Against the War seems to have left professionalism behind.

It is troubling to see supposedly educated professional people carelessly publishing this sort of clap trap.

There are good reasons to oppose the war. They are not contained in a screed filled with conclusory statements that ignore contradictory evidence, contain emotional exaggerations, and unthoughtful repetion of political slogans.

Peoiple are entitled to publish this sort of thing, but they bring discredit on their own skills and on the field of history by suggesting that they reach these conclusions employing their expertise as historians.