Letters to the Editor

(February 27, 2006)


[Ed. As a reminder to Letter writers: If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]

Want change? Make it happen...and, please, help us help YOU make a difference.

Announcement: Walkin' To New Orleans 14-19 March, 2006

[ed. This call for help was sent to 50 other recipients (individuals & publications). In light of the chaos and abominable destruction the U.S. has unleashed on Iraq and her population, based -- it should be repeated again and again -- on lies, deception, prevarication, and arrogant, criminal hubris, we are reproducing it here in full. To contact the sender or any one of the other two contact persons, please replace AT with the symbol @ in their e-mail address. (This is done in order to fool the spam robots that roam Web pages to collect e-mail addresses; sorry for the inconvenience.)]
To the Editor:

Xin Chao Cac Ban,

My usual prefatory comment as to an apology for the unsolicited, unprovoked, etc. nature of this E-Mail. And a further Xin Loi for its communality as well.

All on this lengthy list are involved in the dissemination of the truth. Once I might have written "information" but that common word has now been inextricably intertwined with "entertainment."

Whether by the written word, the spoken word, film, photos, or, as educators. Many of you wear several hats. I could have written these few words earlier and thus have relayed a scoop of sorts but the time for that has surely passed. Much of this may be redundant to some of you.

On 5 August 2005, Cindy Sheehan spoke at the Veterans For Peace Convention in Dallas and indicated she intended to take a trip to the "faux ranchette" of our leader Bush. She asked for a contingent of vets to accompany her. This was done the following day and the sit-down began. And it might be said "the rest is history." The simple question, "What was the noble cause my son died for?" (If she ever gets an answer to that, I have a similar question as to Viet Nam.) And we sat in the ditch until the summer vacation was over and Bush made his rather high fly-over of the area that was devastated by Katrina. It certainly was not the moment for a risky "Mission Accomplished" landing.

These same forces, veterans of our nation's wars and the families of our present day military, will be joined by the survivors of the hurricanes in the South-East USA. We plan to begin a march in Mobile, Alabama on 14 March and culminate in New Orleans on 19 March. The 3rd Anniversary of the present day obscenity in Iraq.

Our intent is simple and focused. We hope to show by our march and our visits with the communities still devastated that there is a startling disconnect somewhere in our government, in our citizenry, that allows money to be found at the drop of a hat for the never-ending war and nothing is available for our own citizens living in conditions akin to a war zone. I know, "We have to Support the Troops." Such bullshit!

So that's the scoop. What I would request from each of you is your support. We look upon you as our intellectual source of strength. That support can range from well-wishing to actual participation. I realize some on this list are of a "certain age," thus there will be no need to actually hump 25 miles or so each day. But all can follow and report on our 5 day trek in any way that might be deemed suitable to your interest and your expertise.

I am a combat veteran of the American War in Viet Nam. I also travelled to Iraq one year into this foreordained debacle. Iraq is worse. For the GIs and the Iraqis. Hard to believe but I feel it is true. Many of you have also experienced Viet Nam and what it did, still does (?), to our national psyche. The aftermath of Iraq will be worse. As hard as we have worked, it still continues, thus we all have failed. But now is the time to dig a little deeper within. If we do not take charge of our democracy, soon, it will be gone. We are acting like a nation of cowering sheep. Being led by a "leadership" of REMFs.

Whatever you can do to help us will be greatly appreciated. Your the 'brains' in this outfit and the 'old' and 'not-so-old' vets will do the grunt work.

If there are any questions, they can be addressed to me and I will hook you up with the designated press person in our group. At present I am in Viet Nam so E-mail works [<bilikelly AT hotmail.com>]. And I will be back "home" 3 March. All data below.

Pushing my luck a little, I quickly will add the fact that I have read, heard, watched or peered at the work of each and every one of you. And, I am forever in your debt. And I? I will keep fighting!!!

Contacts: Stan Goff -- <sherrynstan AT igc.org> or Paul Robinson -- <ziontrevor AT yahoo.com>

Essential web sites. Check out and add to mailing list. You will not be disappointed. Money back guarantee!!

tomdispatch.com & dahrjamailiraq.com & veteransforpeace.org & stangoff.com

I am a combat Veteran For Peace.
I am not, and shall not be, an OXYMORON!!!!

Hoa Binh,

Billy Kelly
<bilikelly AT hotmail.com>
Quan Phu Nhuan, Vietnam (and Stockholm, New Jersey, USA) - February 23, 2006

NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.


Ghoulish metaphors: Charles Marowitz's David Lodge's Author, Author
To the Editor:

Out of respect for Henry James, Charles Marowitz gives David Lodge credit for more than he deserves as a novelist. Lodge's fictionalization of James's life, around the event of the failure of his play, Guy Domville, is undoubtedly full of convincing and titillating details. Lodge is good at that. What it lacks, I'm sure, is soul. Lodge is a glib craftsman, an academic whose non-fiction works include The Art of Fiction. This work is suitable for any Introduction to Literature course, but it's far less memorable than any one of James's quirky, passionate introductions to his novels.

Lodge's two popular novels, Changing Places and Small World, are fictionalizations of a real-life University of California literary hotshot, pursuing career advantage and younger women at the same time. They were instant successes in the small world of literary academics, but are not much read anymore. For a novel about the corrosive affects of literary ambition, Martin Amis's The Information is a hundred times more interesting.

There's something ghoulish about a writer who finds his subject matter in other writers' lives, particularly their literary failures and sexual shortcomings.

Robert Wrubel
Sausalito, California, USA - February 14, 2006


Counter Historical Narrative: Philip Greenspan's Continuing Israeli-Palestinian Historical Trends
To the Editor,

Philip Greenspan tells us that Israel not only wants to keep the West Bank but, in fact it wants to extend the borders of Israel all the way to the Nile and the Euphrates...("Continuing Israeli-Palestinian Historical Trends," February 13). The withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai and from Gaza were just "tactics" in an ongoing struggle, but the aim is "to build an ever expanding state and to expel the indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants." And, he got a confirmation of that assertion from none other than one of the leaders of Hamas, who recently said that Israel has to change its flag because the two blue lines on it depict the two rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates. It appears that animosity to Zionism and Israel can do miracles -- bringing together a left-wing progressive and a regressive fundamentalist Jihadist. Strange bedfellows indeed.

As to the substance of this more than bizarre idea, Ben Gurion never said what Greenspan claims he did. Even the leaders of the right-wing branch of the Zionist movement, like Zabotinski, Begin, Shamir or Nethanyahu, never mentioned the Nile and the Euphrates. They wanted to have a Jewish state on ALL of Mandatory Palestine, including the Kingdom of Jordan. Ben Gurion was one of their fiercest opponents, because he understood early on that a territorial compromise between the two peoples is a must. That is why he accepted the UN partition plan while Begin opposed it. Had the Arabs accepted it too, instead of starting the war of 1947-48, their independent state would have been 57 years old today and there would not have been a single Arab refugee. But, they wanted ALL of Palestine. They refused to accept a Jewish state, regardless of its size. And as they were sure that they could easily overcome the Jewish forces, they started the war of terror against the Palestinian Jewish population which culminated with the invasion of the regular armies of five neighboring Arab states. To Greenspan's great disappointment they lost the war and only brought disaster to their people, causing the refugee problem. Israel paid a very heavy price for the victory -- 6,000 dead -- a whole one percent of the total Jewish population in Palestine at that time. This is like the US lost 2.5 million soldiers in Vietnam.

The fact that the Jewish leadership in Palestine accepted the UN partition plan indicates that the Jews did not want to "ethnically cleanse" anybody. On the other hand, the refusal of the Arabs to accept the partition and their military attack on the Jewish population indicate that they wanted to ethnically cleanse the Jews from Palestine. And in fact, while 130,000 Arabs remained in Israel after the war of 1947-48, not a single Jew remained in the areas of Palestine, which fell to the Arab armies. They were all expelled or killed. Now, that was ethnic cleansing par excellence. Today there are 1.3 million Arabs who are Israeli citizens.

The Israeli-Palestinian historical trends clearly point out to the only solution to the 100 year-old conflict -- the two states solution. If Hamas decides to change its covenant, recognize Israel and start negotiations, I am sure Israel will come to the table. If not, Israel can continue to withdraw unilaterally, dismantle more West Bank settlements, finish the separation fence, and wait, until the Palestinians change their mind. I am also sure Israel will do the best it can to protect the lives of its citizens, whether Greenspan likes it or not.

Yours truly,

Jacob Amir
Jerusalem, Israel - February 15, 2006

Philip Greenspan responds:

Hello Dr. Amir,

Thank you for your critique of my article.

Your comments do not diminish its essential premise that the public statements and agreements are diversions from the real motivations of the parties. Their actions over time if they form a logical pattern can be projected into the future to provide an ideal means of determining the parties' future intentions.

You misconstrue and distort my phrase ". . . an ever expanding state . . ." to mean ". . . from the Nile to Euphrates . . ." The latter term I attribute to Ben Gurion as an indication of his intent not to be limited by what he publicly accepted by the UN's partition. That statement, when judged by what many Jewish historians have written, does not appear unreasonable. Norman Finkelstein, a Jew whose parents were Holocaust survivors and a most meticulous historical analyst is but one of them. In the appendix on page 280 of his Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History this statement appears:
Indeed, right after issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish state proposed by Ben-Gurion, for example, included not just the whole of Palestine, but all of present day Jordan as well as wide swaths of Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt.
The footnote reference to that statement lists additional Jewish authors. "Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War (New York, 1985), pp. 34-35. For the official Zionist map circa 1919 staking out similar territorial claims, see Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York, 1972), p. 85, and Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities (New York, 1987), p. 17." An additional statement on the same page states ". . . both Weizmann and Ben-Gurion saw partition as a stepping stone to further expansion and the eventual takeover of the whole of Palestine. . . . [Ben-Gurion] wrote his son Amos: '[A] Jewish state in part [of Palestine] is not an end, but a beginning. . . . Our possession is important not only for itself. . . through this we increase our power, and every increase in power facilitates getting hold of the country in its entirety. Establishing a [small] state. . .will serve as a very potent lever in our historical efforts to redeem the whole country.'"

Most of the assertions in your letter are reiterations of Israeli statements and agreements. They are the diversions of intent for public consumption that I refer to that were contravened by their subsequent actions. Example: Israel's continued refusal to return areas of conquest in violation of international law is further evidence of their intent for expansion.

You err when you state that I was disappointed that the Arabs lost the 1947-48 war. I was most supportive of the state of Israel through that war, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. It was during their incursion into Lebanon that I had second thoughts. While I was satisfied with the ultimate result, I felt its cost to innocent civilians was not worth it and was criminal in its inception. The intifada together with my reading of numerous Israeli historians and correspondents, my conversations with many who visited the occupied territories, some of whom were Jews including Israelis but none of whom were Palestinians, Arabs, or Moslems, completed my conversion.

Quite a few Israelis visit the occupied territories. If you contact them in a friendly manner they might enlighten you on what they have observed. They might even invite you to come with them. You cannot know what another's life is like until you walk in their shoes. I would welcome your thoughts after such a visit.

Kind regards,

Philip Greenspan

[ed. Since Dr. Amir asserted that, "Ben Gurion never said what Greenspan claims he did," I felt compelled to authenticate the two contended citations.

The first one -- "We must do everything to insure they never do return." -- appears to come from Ben Gurion's diary, July 18, 1948, and was quoted by Michael Bar Zohar in The Armed Prophet, p. 157. I was unable, however, to check Mr. Bar Zohar's book. I found this source in a series of "Instructive Quotations" we published on Swans, January 17, 2005. If a reader has access to the book, please check the reference and let me know.

The second one -- "The present map of Palestine was drawn by the British mandate. The Jewish people have another map which our youth and adults should strive to fulfill -- From the Nile to the Euphrates." -- can be found all over the Internet. Simply Google "Jewish people have another map." However, I did not feel satisfied with what I found. It looked like only pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli sites (two different birds) were using that citation. Furthermore it looked like many, if not all, originated from one particular site. I looked for (Ben Gurion's) "fabricated citations" without any success. Accordingly, I sent an e-mail on February 18, 2006, to Dr. Mitchell G. Bard, the executive director of the Jewish Virtual Library to ask for his help. I specifically asked whether he could direct me toward resources on the Internet that dealt with fabricated citations (in regard to Israel), and whether he knew for a fact that that particular citation was a fake. To date, Dr. Bard has not answered my query. So, I'm unable to authenticate this second citation. Perhaps Dr. Amir will oblige and document his assertion. When all is said and done, I'll be glad to correct the record, if the record needs be corrected. That's the very least of what Swans is all about -- integrity.

Finally, Dr. Amir, a partisan of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even through a unilateral Israeli withdrawal (the Shlomo Ben-Ami "dovish" approach), may wish to read what Amira Hass has to say about the Jordan Valley and the preparations taken by the Israeli government "for its official annexation to Israel." He may also want to familiarize himself with the recent military order signed by Major General Yair Naveh in regard to the "free circulation" of Palestinians within the Occupied Territories (OT) -- not "disputed territories." Here again, Amira Hass provides a vivid description of the situation. (By the way, this is the same Major General who recently claimed that, "Given that Jordan is 80 percent Palestinian, we might -- heaven forbid -- reach a situation in which Abdullah is the last Hashemite king" (see Haaretz, February 23, 2006). For a more wrenching account of what is actually going on in the OT, Dr. Amir would be well-served to read the article by Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre Jennifer Loewenstein, "Watching the Dissolution of Palestine" (CounterPunch, February 24, 2006). As to the Hamas, here is what M.J. Rosenberg, Director of the Israel Policy Forum's Washington office and former editor of AIPAC's Near East Report -- certainly not an enemy of Israel -- has to say:
[The Israelis] are the last people who should be surprised by the Hamas victory. In fact, in the 1980s Hamas -- and previous incarnations of Islamic resistance -- were quietly supported by the Israelis as alternatives to the PLO. Prior to Yitzhak Rabin's election in 1992 and the Oslo agreement, successive Likud governments preferred any alternative to Arafat and his organization, largely because they were not interested in negotiating with the Palestinians at all and the Islamicist -- unlike the PLO -- were not interested in negotiating with them either. But their biggest contribution to the Hamas victory was more recent. After boycotting Yasir Arafat since his election in 2001, it was assumed that the Sharon government would be more forthcoming with his moderate and democratically elected successor who, after all, ended the intifada. It wasn't. Sharon refused to negotiate with Abbas and simply ignored Israel's responsibilities under the roadmap (freezing settlement expansion, for one). Other than calling Abbas a "partner," Sharon treated him no differently than Arafat, and the Americans didn't press him. He ended violence and got almost nothing in return. To Palestinians, Abbas looked like a dupe. ("Who Elected Hamas? We did -- with help from the Israelis and Fatah", The American Conservative, February 27, 2006 Issue.)
All and all, these articles, written by Israeli and non-Israeli Jews, support Philip Greenspan's depiction of the predicament and contradict Dr. Amir's narrative.]


Integrity, did you say integrity? Please, support our work


Supporting Swans
Dear Mr. d'Aymery,

I checked your Website today, and wanted to chip in to your good efforts. However, since I am in London there is a bit of a problem in sending you a cheque -- you'd end up paying high transaction costs etc. If you enable a PayPal option I will beam you $100.

Keep up the good work

Kind regards,

Paul de Rooij
London, England - January 30, 2006
Gilles d'Aymery responds:

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your kind words and offer. As I struggle with the capitalist order I am reluctant to use Paypal (I know, it's a contradiction since I am using the Internet...but, oh well, contradictions are inherent to life...), and, to be candid, I don't even know how to get a Paypal account (assuming I wanted to get one) from a practical standpoint.

If ever you want to send me a check (the address is on the front page), we'll simply have to accept the disagio the banks take advantage of. If your $100 contribution wields $80 it still will be better than $0, and it will help me a tiny bit.

Thanks again.

Best regards,

Gilles d'Aymery


Marc Cooperism: Gilles d'Aymery on Marc Cooper's "Progressive" Rhetoric

Your take on Marc Cooper warmed my heart. Argument by way of "guilt by association" has been thrown at dissidents for decades. Glad to see it taken on.

Martin Murie
North Bangor, New York, USA - February 13, 2006


Truthdig "Liberalism": Gilles d'Aymery on Marc Cooper's "Progressive" Rhetoric

Thanks for your article on Truthdig. I've been a fan of Robert Sheer for a long time, and I mistakenly, apparently, thought the site was his and gave it credit for reflecting his political point of view.

A couple of weeks ago Truthdig published Sam Harris's "Atheist Manifesto," a distillation of his recent book The End of Faith. Harris's Manifesto similarly generated a lot of comment, over 500 the last time I looked. And Harris, like Cooper, re-entered the fray, often petulantly, to defend himself against his critics.

Harris's book seems to be currently popular among leftists, probably because of recent awareness of the dangers of religious thinking in our politics. But Harris's arrogance toward anything but "rational" thought has a tinge of elitism to it, and could easily imply the same political positions as the Leo Strauss school. His position on Islamic fundamentalism, in fact, is exactly the same as the administration's: they hate us because they are evil.

I think it's definitely worth watching Truthdig for further signs of progressive rhetoric cloaking authoritarian politics.

Robert Wrubel
Sausalito, California, USA - February 13, 2006


Short and to the point: John Steppling's The Debacle At The Hague (Aug. 2004)
To the Editor:

Mr. Steppling should stick to being a playwright. Entirely too much drama in his account. Say what you mean and get it over with.

Cheryl Owens
Houston, Texas, USA - February 23, 2006


They/We Survive! Just in from Martin Murie, the author of Trumpeters, a story of life at its best.

Just received a census of trumpeter swans in the Jackson Hole, Green river, Salt River area (north-west Wyoming), from a friend, Bert Raynes (bird expert and former chemical engineer) who writes a weekly column there.
Field notes: Summarizing Susan Patla's trumpeter swan midwinter survey, completed last week. Susan is the nongame biologist for Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Jackson District. She found 471 trumpeters, 55 of which were cygnets, in the Jackson area (from Alpine to the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park). On the Salt River, 161 swans, of which 55 were cygnets. On the Green River, most in Seskadee Wildlife Refuge, were 83 swans, seven of which were cygnets. Overall, not any significant changes in populations, total birds a tad up, cygnets a tad down on numbers. In this region of the Rocky Mountains, these magnificent birds appear composed and relaxed, impeccably groomed and handsome, but are in reality battling for survival.
I'm pleased. Much has happened since that time Olaus and Almer and an eager kid released three adult trumpeters on Flat Creek, Jackson Hole. Of course, I do realize that they are "in reality battling for survival."

Martin Murie
North Bangor, New York, USA - February 20, 2006

[ed. We all do battle, Martin. We all do... Thank you much for the report.]


Circling Around the Great Game [ed. Richard (and readers), see the appended note.]
Dear Editor,

If I might reply to the letter of 13th Feb., in your last issue.

This is where we came in the 1960s when the radicals said "there is no difference between the two parties, since the difference within them is greater, because of the Dixiecrats."

I must also warn it is the reason for the totally negative image of America arising, particularly in English-speaking countries, of basically the only nation to go fascist democratically. But Germany voted Hitler in.

It is also to repeat the mistakes made with Carter and Clinton. In 1975, Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Trilateral Commission went out to find a presidential candidate. They decided they needed as Southern governor who had some interest in foreign policy. When they found Carter, Brzezinski remarked "he's our man!"

Beginning in 1976, and formally adopted as policy in 1979 was the plan which exists of world domination through the domination of Eurasia, and that the degree of that dominance and its length depend on the degree of dominance of Eurasia.

Clinton, another trilateral Commission candidate, carried out the policy determined in NSDD 133 of the attack on and the destruction of Yugoslavia from 1993-99 in order to take control of a strategic corridor from Yugoslavia to Sinkiang. Read Brzezinski's book, "We must take control of a strategic corridor from Yugoslavia to Sinkiang and have ten years to do it."

Then there was Harry Truman, basing his foreign policy on the four reports drawn up by the Council on Foreign Relations and the State Department Policy Unit to take control of Eastern Europe and dominate Eurasia etc., which is where Zbigniew Brzezinski got it from.

Then there was Kennedy who was pushed into starting a pre-emptive war against the Warsaw Pact but received saner advice. Jackie Kennedy -- "I want my children to grow up," Mountbatten -- "these people are insane." Shortly after refusing to do it he was assassinated.

This was the same identical policy of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and arose from the same source. Hitler got it from Haushofer, the German geographer, who got it from the British geopolitical theorist Mackinder. The Council on Foreign Relations got it direct from MacKinder.

Do we have to go around the same circuit next time?

Richard A. Roper
Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK - February 14, 2006

[Rich, you need to specify what you are commenting on, and tell me (repeat) your location -- city, state, country. I can't remember where everybody lives, and there is no reason, but for a reader's laziness or inattention, to make me have to go fishing, hunting for, finding out, what he is writing about... Spare my time, will you? This goes for all correspondents, by the way. Thank you. Sincerely, Gilles d'Aymery]


How to get published? Fairness and balance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am attempting to find a publisher or an agent willing to take a look at my uncle's new book, Das Ende des Judentums - Der Verfall der Israelischen Gesellschaft to see if they might like to take on the project of translating it into English and publishing it here in the United States. The subject is of such interest and relevance. As a rounded-up Jew in Germany, my uncle Hajo barely survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, he is now one of the leading spokesmen in Holland for the cause of Palestinian rights. His basic premise is that he can relate, i.e., he knows first-hand what it feels like to be treated as a sub-human by another group of people.

I have herewith included the amazon.com link to his book. I have also attached a few other articles he has written, which may interest you further.

A final note of interest: about 70% of the cost of translation from the Dutch text into English could be subsidized by an organisation which is interested in promoting translated versions of Dutch texts abroad. They were also involved in the translation of the Dutch text into German.

Thank you very much for your consideration. If you definitively are not interested in undertaking this project, perhaps you might suggest a publisher or a publishing agent to me who you think might be, as I wish to pursue any lead I can.


Vera Meyer
Malden, MA, USA - February 13, 2006

[ed. We are not in a situation in which we could entertain such a project. I unfortunately have no suggestion, but if a reader can help, Vera Meyer can be contacted at <vmeyer AT meditech.com> (replace AT with the symbol @).]


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Published February 27, 2006
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