From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: Antiwar Update
I’m glad to hear that you did not intend to undermine the democratic process.
As to the issues, I support neither religious fundamentalism of any brand (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.), nor am I a pacifiist. But I believe that wars in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are primarily about colonialism, occupation and imperialism.
More generally, I think that genuine socialism would mean not oppression, but rather democratic collective decision-making and individual democratic rights.
>>> [S] 11/5/2003 9:45:25 AM >>>
Why did it take such a reply( to you only) to get a response. I have replied to many of your posting with detailed opinion. You replied to not a one. Management has taken issue with political discourse in the past (Though not to issues which favor their political views). I do believe we should be allowed to voice our opinions. I take issue with opinion without the courage to test such opinions in open discourse. Western civilization is based, among other things, upon open scientific experiment. If theory is shown to fail the test of empirical testing it is discarded. If an opinion/belief is unwilling to be tested and is supported only by a desire to impose such system upon a populace “…unable to see that it would be better for them” then we have dictatorship. Efficient perhaps, but unacceptable.
Western civilization is under attack by religious absolutism. It is my experience that most individuals who reject religion cannot accept that those who base their existence upon it. I have engaged many such persons and always hear some version of the following. They can’t really believe such things in todays world. I I/we could only sit down and talk we could reach some sort of understanding, at least agree to disagree.
Unfortunitly such agreement is impossible. Wahabbi Islam, the source of the death sentence on infidals (including muslems who disagree with their view of islam and islamic law (the s’hira ‘sic’) is intractable. When the only choise is kill or be killed I am forced to choose to kill. The commandment is ‘Thou shant not murder, not thou shall not kill”
Ghandi recognized the need to kill at such times and wrote as such.
I reject your collecaivist utopia and will oppose it whereever and under whatever guise it manifests itself. I would love to have your energy, commitment and activism on my side of the ‘infidal’ fence. I do believe history and logic falls on the side of the individual ovwer the collective and I do not fear a worthy advocate of the collective. I believe the true advocate of the collective is motivated by a desire for the greatest good for the greatest number of the people. I believe, however, that freedom for the individual is the best and only way to achieve same for the homo sapien. I do not believe in the existence of a universal “Socialist Man” A few individuals may choose altruistic behavior for a time but such behavior is impossible for a population. That is why solialistic/communist societies have always degenerated into tyrany and/or intellectual decay and substance abuse.
>>> Michael Letwin 11/3/2003 3:05:06 PM >>>
All Union members have a right to express their views on the ALAA list; that’s what it’s there for, and many people do so on any number of topics — politics included.
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with what’s posted (Lord knows, I often haven’t). You can ignore, block or delete messages that you don’t want to read, respond substantively to the author, or post your own messages to the entire list. You can vote against those whose views offend you, or even call them names. All of that is part of the democratic process.
But I trust, upon reflection, you will agree that it would betray the most basic Union principles to answer messages with which you differ by reporting their authors to Management.
>>> [S] 11/3/2003 8:54:26 AM >>>
You are a coward. You put this collectavist propaganda over the system and refuse to engage with anyone who disagrees and refuse to fellow travel. Do what you will but respond and defend yourself or don’t send this properganda to me. This is the last time I respond only to you. Next time it goes systemwide cc to management which I thought had prohibited such politicing over the e-mail
>>> Michael Letwin 10/31/2003 3:09:55 PM >>>
War and Occupation
**15,000 Iraqi Fatalities
**Brutal Reality of the Iraq Occupation
**US Bulldozes Farmers’ Crops
**U.S. Razor-Wires Iraqi Village
**Thousands of Detainees Sit, Wait in Iraq **Permits Ordered for Palestinians **Death of a Palestinian Town **Elite Unit Savaged Civilians in Vietnam
**Bring Our Children Home Now
**‘You Lied, They Died,’ US Parents Tell Bush **In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest **National Labor Against the War Conference **NYCLAW Buttons **Next NYCLAW Meeting: Monday, November 3, 2003
WAR AND OCCUPATION
15,000 Iraqi Fatalities
Project on Defense Alternatives, October 20, 2003 On the Iraqi side: a review and analysis of the available evidence shows that approximately 11,000 – 15,000 Iraqis, combatants and noncombatants, were killed in the course of major combat actions. (Iraqi casualties incurred after 20 April are not included in this estimate).
[Full text: http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0310rm8exsum.pdf ]
Brutal Reality of the Iraq Occupation
Independent, September 25, 2003
If anyone wants to know why Iraqis set bombs for American soldiers, they had only to sit in the two-storey villa in this little farming village and look at the frozen face of Ahmed al-Ham and his angry friends yesterday. Ahmed’s 50-year-old father, Sabah, was buried just a week ago–35 days after he died in American hands at the Abu Ghraib prison–and the 17-year-old youth with his small beard and piercing brown eyes blames George Bush for his death. “Pigs,” he mutters. Ahmed was a prisoner, too, and his father died in his arms.
[Full text: http://www.counterpunch.org/fisk09252003.html ]
US Bulldozes Farmers’ Crops
Independent, October 12, 2003
Americans accused of brutal ‘punishment’ tactics against villagers, while British are condemned as too soft US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops. . . . When a reporter from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the region, as saying: “We asked the farmers several times to stop the attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn’t tell us.”
[Full text: http://occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=1323 ]
U.S. Razor-Wires Iraqi Village
NY Times, October 31, 2003
American soldiers, working before dawn, surrounded the village with razor wire and set up checkpoints at the exits. They ordered all adults to register for identity cards in the village, about 95 miles north of the capital.
[Full text: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/31/international/middleeast/31CND-IRAQ.html ]
Thousands of Detainees Sit, Wait in Iraq AP, October 8, 2003 The U.S. military is detaining more than 5,000 Iraqi men and women accused of common crimes or of being security threats – people whose legal rights are in dispute and whose living conditions are hidden from public view.
[Full text: http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20031008_1553.html ]
Permits Ordered for Palestinians
Guardian, October 27, 2003
The Israeli military has ordered thousands of Palestinians living near the steel and concrete “security fence” through the West Bank to obtain special permits to live in their own homes. . . . The order said that only Israelis and Jews could enter the designated areas without a pass.
[Full text: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1071616,00.html ]
Death of a Palestinian Town
Guardian, October 27, 2003
With ruthless efficiency, the Israeli army has been crushing and rocketing the Palestinian refugee town of Rafah in a manner which rivals the destruction of Jenin last year. But it is all in the name of stopping terrorism so the international community has remained silent.
[Full text: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1071634,00.html ]
Elite Unit Savaged Civilians in Vietnam
Toledo Blade, October 22, 2003
These Tiger Force soldiers fan out while patrolling the Song Ve Valley in a 1967 photo taken by a former platoon member. The unit committed an untold number of atrocities in the valley as part of a seven-month campaign of terror.
[Full text: http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SRTIGERFORCE ]
Bring Our Children Home Now
Alternet, September 22, 2003
Nancy Lessin, the co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, a rapidly growing antiwar group organized by family members of soldiers posted in Iraq, gave the following speech at a congressional hearing organized by Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Sept. 9.
[Full text: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16812 ]
‘You Lied, They Died,’ US Parents Tell Bush Guardian, September 27, 2003
The father of a soldier killed in Iraq accused President George Bush yesterday of being responsible for his son’s death. Fernando Suarez, whose 20-year-old son, Jesus, was one of the first fatalities, said: “My son died because Bush lied.”
[Full text: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1050949,00.html ]
In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest Washington Post, October 26, 2003 Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators marched in Washington yesterday to call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, turning out in smaller numbers than for prewar protests but making plain their opposition during a noisy yet peaceful procession.
[Full text: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17636-2003Oct25.html ]
National Labor Against the War Conference Znet, October 28, 2003 “Bring the troops home NOW” is not only the slogan of a growing portion of the US peace movement, but it now part of the ratified program of US Labor Against the War (USLAW). Meeting in Chicago this past weekend (October 24-25), 154 delegates representing approximately 500,000 trade union members from all over the country held the first National Assembly of USLAW, and established the organization.
[Full text: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=19&ItemID=4416 ]
To get either of the following two new NYC Labor Against the War buttons ($1/ea), please respond by return e-mail.
#1 (round, red and white on black):
End the Occupation of Iraq
Bring the Troops Home Now
#2 (square, black, red and yellow on white):
US OUT OF IRAQ
NO TO EMPIRE
Appearanace viewable at: http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=77770&group=webcast [scroll down to view]
Next NYCLAW Meeting: Monday, November 3, 2003 The next meeting of New York City Labor Against the War will be held on Monday, November 3, 2003, 6:30 p.m., at DC 1707 AFSCME, 75 Varick St., 14 Floor (1/2/A/C/E to Canal St.). The agenda will include reports on national demos to End the Occupation & Bring the Troops Home Now (October 25), and on the USLAW Chicago conference (October 24-25).