incoming (2007-07)

First he points out that we are illegally occupying Iraq. He did not explain what he meant by illegal since it has been stated many times that if a majority [of] the Iraqis wish us to leave we will. Also he did not point out that the United Nations authorized the use of military force against the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. Not to mention that the U.S. Congress also authorized the use of force. And I did not see where Mr. Switzer pointed out that there are forces of other counties currently serving in Iraq, are they not there illegally as well, or is it just the United States that is?

He mentioned that the Nuremburg Trials set the standards by which aggression can be judged; of course, he did not point out that this was the main reason for the trials, not that German military officers were merely following orders. The trials were for the aggression that Germany used against free nations that were her neighbors. The acts that were used against these neighbors were just some of the crimes that were judged during those trials, but the Nuremburg Trials were first and foremost a trial against the aggression. Mr. Switzer needs to make that clear, which he did not.

Next Mr. Switzer pointed out that President Bush lies to the American people on a regular basis, though he does not say which lie he is referring to. We can either assume that Mr. Switzer believes that every word that President Bush speaks is a lie or he is talking about the usual diatribe about the WMDs that were used as "one" of the justifications for the war in Iraq. Now, we can either believe that this was a bald-faced lie with the intention of deceiving the American people, or we can look at the claim logically to see if it was a bald-faced lie. The following individuals stated that there were WMD's in Iraq: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacque Chirac, and Russian Intelligence, British Intelligence, Israeli Intelligence, (I will not mention the U.S. Intelligence, as I hope I am getting my point across), and the Iraqi military leaders. Does Mr. Switzer wish us to believe that President Bush somehow convinced all of these people and organizations to lie for him? I for one did not know that President Chirac felt that strongly about President Bush, I would think the opposite is true but I am willing to listen to Mr. Switzer's evidence.

Finally, Mr. Switzer stated that President Bush has somehow gotten away with mass murder without stating where, when, or who was murdered. Again, we are forced to assume that Mr. Switzer is talking about the deaths from the war in Iraq, but I do not know if he is talking about Iraqi deaths or other deaths. For all we know Mr. Switzer could be pinning the mass murder charge on President Bush for the tsunami that hit the Pacific region a few years ago.

I love a good debate and feel that the conduct of the war is very much a debatable subject, but let us debate with facts and not with rhetoric. Then and only then can we show the world how great the United States is!

Terry Walker

Drinkin' the Kool-aid

Mark Landis

Blogger Behind Bars

If federal authorities can jail bloggers with impunity, it does not bode well for the future of citizen journalism. And yet it is some of the most real journalism happening because they are free of bosses who may be motivated by self-interest and politics enough to spin the news.

It seems our leaders want to close the door on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; the First Amendment is taking a big hit with this. We have watched as unethical government prosecutors get away with breaking the law by withholding exonerating evidence in order to make convictions. Perhaps we should give the First Amendment some new teeth.

Howard Switzer

Plan B?

Anticipating a civil war between conflicting sects, the Iraqi's wrote laws into their new Constitution, (downloadable from the web--see chapters 4, 5 and 6) that were designed to prevent sectarian violence.

The Constitution creates a very weak federal government and three or four very powerful regions. These regions would result from the citizens in those provinces that want to become a region voting approval. The probable outcome of such voting would be a Kurdish (already created), Sunni and one, possibly two, Shiite regions. Each region can create its own laws, taxation system and armed forces, and can nullify laws enacted by the federal government.

The only important role for the federal government is the operation of existing oil fields (Article 110) "in cooperation with the governments of the producing regions and provinces on the condition that the revenues will be distributed fairly in a manner compatible with the demographical distribution all over the country."

The United States has discouraged Iraq (except the Kurds) from creating these self-governing regions. The reasons for this are obscure and have never been made public. I suspect, however, that we were suspicious that the Shiite region would become a non-democratic and fundamentalist Islamic state and that regionalization would promote Iran's importance in the area. We also feared that the creation of Kurdistan would anger our Turkish allies.

Few, if any, of these fears are realistic. The Turks have already begun to deal with an independent Kurdistan. Moreover, if the Turks began a conflict with the Kurds, existing European Union opposition to Turkish membership in the E.U. would be strengthened.

The Shiite region(s) would have a strong Islamic flavor and solid ties to Iran, but they would not be subservient to Iran. Though they share religious beliefs, Iranis are   Persian and the Shiites are Arabs; many Iraqi Shiites remember the huge number of Shiite conscripts to Saddam's army that were lost in the war between Iran and Iraq in the '80s.

Further, each of these regions have existing armed forces capable of preventing foreign Jihadists (terrorists) from turning their regions into al-Qaeda-like training grounds. They will be strong enough to rid themselves of those terrorists currently there as an unintended outcome of our invasion.

My estimate is that if we encourage the Iraqis to form their regions immediately, we could withdraw all of our troops in six months to a year and leave behind a regionally divided but relatively stable Iraq.

Justin J. Green

Guidelines for Incoming Mail