Letters to the Editor

(February 12, 2007)


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Cautiousness is in order: Philip Greenspan's Another Neocon Disaster Awaits

Dear Editor and Readers:

The neocons are certainly crazy enough to entertain an invasion of Iran as a replay of the invasion of Cambodia, i.e., to turn a failure with a nation into a catastrophe in the region. It's the plan that failed the last time the U.S. faced a grand imperial failure, humiliation, and challenge to total global control.

But in my view, we need to be a bit cautious here. The latest Forward (1/26/07) reflects the views of Israeli elites, who suggested in a recent conference, against the nitwit-hawks, that coalition-building was the safest route for Israel in the region. Such is the collapse of public confidence in Israeli officials after the failed war on Lebanon that Tzipi Livni can propose herself as a future PM (she is now Foreign Minister) by taking a Dove line, with the shamed Amir Peretz (who fought the last election on the most democratic platform in Israeli history...and turned around, as Defense Minister, into a monster, and a failed monster). Our comrades in Israel, fighting for decades against the occupation, throw up their hands at all predictions: they say no one can tell what will happen.

Optimism is unwise, and the Israeli leadership may be only offering a dodge while building up militarily for a technological super-destruction in the next invasion of Lebanon, nuclear Bunker Busters and all, to come this summer. But the realization may have occurred that this is madness, and the greatest threat to Israel's existence lies in Israeli leadership itself.

Paul Buhle
Providence, Rhode Island, USA - January 31, 2007
[ed. Paul Buhle is a Senior Lecturer, American Civilization, at Brown University.]


Another evil Jew: Philip Greenspan's Another Neocon Disaster Awaits

To the Editor:

In his article, Philip Greenspan says: "Accumulate the evil deeds of all of them and they are a fraction of Adolf's résumé."

Tell Mr. Greenspan to get real. He either knows nothing of Hitler, or he is a Jew trying to defame a man who attempted to stop Jewish Bolshevism.

Surely Swans Commentary can come up with better articles than this.

Ronald Knarr
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - January 30, 2007

[ed. Mr. Knarr won the 2005 "Swans' Award for Anti-Semite Idiot of the Year." That says it all.]


Kenneth Rexroth on the Bureau of Public Secrets (BPS)

Dear Editor,

Several Kenneth Rexroth essays on history and historians have just been added to the BPS Web site:

Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War

Tacitus: Histories of Imperial Rome

Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Gibbon's Letters

The Unchristian Crusades

The Sicilian Vespers

Parkman: France and England in North America

A few excerpts:

"Today we know that clowns and blood-drinking perverts climb to the summits of power, pushed on by the enthusiastic applause of the majority; nor is it now unbelievable that a Roman Emperor enjoyed being sodomized on the public stage."

"The great histories of the world have all been integral works of art. They have been so not because of their pretty prose but because of their objective dramatic presentation of the great truth that history, like life, is neither optimistic nor pessimistic but tragic. . . . Gibbon's millennium-long drama is a tragedy presented with a good humor peculiar to himself."

"There is a certain smug pleasure in reading the story of human stupidity, larcenous folly, and just plain foolishness. . . . It is a consolation to know that in 500 years, if there are still civilized men on earth, our own capers will be appreciated on their merits and not in terms of their present justifications. This, I suppose, is the most one can learn from a study of the Crusades."

* * * * *

Other Rexroth essays of related interest at the same Web site:

Herodotus: History of the Persian Wars

Plutarch: Parallel Lives

Machiavelli: The Prince

Marx: The Communist Manifesto

Science and Civilization in China

Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century (complete book)

In solidarity,

Ken Knabb
"Making petrified conditions dance by singing them their own tune."
Berkeley, California, USA - January 31, 2007


Acerbic polemics between Timothy G. Ash, Ian Buruma, and Pascal Bruckner

Dear Colleagues,

The French philosopher Pascal Bruckner wrote a very insightful and polemical article about multiculturalism and Timothy G. Ash, Ian Buruma and others responded to it. Reprints of these articles in your newspaper or contributors would be more than welcome -- please contact us and we'll ask the authors for permission.

Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn't only look beautiful, she also invokes Voltaire. This is too much for Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash, who call her an "Enlightenment fundamentalist." But their idea of multiculturalism amounts to legal apartheid. By Pascal Bruckner. Read the full article:

Freedom cannot be decreed
Nobody is defending honour killing or female circumcision. Such crimes are matters of law enforcement. Trickier is the question of how to prevent mainstream Muslims from being infected with violent ideologies. Ian Buruma responds to Pascal Bruckner. Read the full article:

Better Pascal than Pascal Bruckner
Neither live-and-let-die separatist multiculturalism nor the secularist republican monoculturalism preached by Bruckner work. Policies of integration cannot be based on the assumption that millions of Muslims will drop their faith when they come to Europe. Timothy Garton Ash responds to Pascal Bruckner.

Mr Buruma's stereotypes
Islam is not as diverse as Ian Buruma maintains in his answer to Pascal Bruckner. On the contrary, it is an oppressive social reality, codified in the "Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam." Signed by 45 Muslim countries, this upholds the Sharia as the basis of the Islamic identity. By Necla Kelek

signandsight.com translates outstanding articles by non-English language authors bringing them to a worldwide audience. signandsight.com gathers voices from across Europe on a variety of topics, aiming to foster trans-European debates and the creation of a European public space.


Gabriella Gönczy
signandsight.com - Let's talk European
Berlin, Germany - February 6, 2007


An Honest Republican? An Interview with conservative commentator Jim Pinkerton

Dear Editor,

I'm always interested in the convergence of so-called left and right points of view. With this in mind, for today's podcast conversation I talked with Jim Pinkerton, a Newsday columnist and regular commentator on Fox News, who formerly was a high level Republican political operative in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. Jim is very savvy about Washington and has a lot of insight into the politics of the day. While you may not agree with some of his judgments or views, his perspective is certainly worth considering. Moreover, I believe that he is an absolutely honest interlocutor -- I wish there were more Republicans like him.

We talk about a wide range of subjects, from Iraq to the need to begin colonizing outer space.

I hope you have time to listen. I certainly had a great time talking with Jim and I think you'll enjoy this one.

The podcast entry is here:


Best Regards,

George Kenney
Electric Politics
Bethesda, Maryland, USA - February 9, 2007


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Published February 12, 2007
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