Dear friends,


Although the immediate tasks of the antiwar movement might seem complicated by the apparent triumph of US imperialism in Iraq, there are obvious signs that this war/crusade is far from over. In fact, Clintonista official James Woolsey is as scary as any neo-conservative if this report from CNN is any indication:


"As we move toward a new Middle East," Woolsey said, "over the years and, I think, over the decades to come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous."


It will be America's backing of democratic movements throughout the Middle East that will bring about this sense of unease, he said.


"Our response should be, 'good!'" Woolsey said.


Singling out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, he said, "We want you nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you -- the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family -- most fear: We're on the side of your own people."


I want to underline that Woolsey is a Clinton administration figure since the dialog between you and David Cortwright on the pro-Democratic Party Nation Magazine website is troubling to say the least. ( If the peace movement fudges on the question of imperialism, as characters like Cortwright and Katrina Vanden Heuvel are wont to do, it is up to us to hold their feet to the fire. In light of that, your responses to Cortwright leave a lot to be desired.


To begin with, Cortwright says, "We support the disarmament of Iraq, North Korea and other nations regarded by the international community as potential proliferators." This kind of declaration on behalf of the "international community" is not only hypocritical, it will only lead to future wars. If there is any lesson to be drawn from the Iraq tragedy, it is that North Korea *must* rely on powerful weaponry to defend itself. Presumably, if North Korea does not obey the "international community", it will be forced to submit with Cortwright nodding his head on behalf of the peace movement: "We endorse targeted sanctions (restrictions on the finances and travel of designated elites, and arms embargoes) and other means of containing recalcitrant states."


If the North Koreans don't cry uncle after a healthy dose of economic sanctions, then presumably a few cruise missiles aimed at their cities will do the trick. Of course, it would be naughty if the USA did this unilaterally, but if the UN did it, it would be a nice thing just as was (using Cortwright's logic) the UN war against Korea a generation ago.


One wonders how long it will take for Havana, Cuba to end up in the target of a B-1 bomber at the rate things are going. Just over the past few days, the bourgeois press has been filled with hysterical reports on show trials in Cuba, a country identified as part of the "axis of evil". Needless to say, if any other country had to put up with the provocations of a US "diplomat" like James Cason, it would have taken similar action. In the case of Cuba, it faced a Hobson's choice. Either allow the USA to organize a counter-revolution of the sort that toppled Nicaragua a generation ago, or risk upsetting polite middle-class opinion of the sort that finds a home at the Nation Magazine.


I have read your responses to Cortwright at least 3 times, even reading between the lines, to see some kind of demurral on his humanitarian interventionist appetites, the kind that precisely got us into these messes to begin with. I understand that you are trying to build a peace movement that will have the broadest appeal, but at a certain point we have to come to grips with the fact that these conflicts are rooted in the imperialist system. If we don't take a strong stand against the kind of bullying that is being directed against North Korea today, and Cuba tomorrow, we will be totally ineffective.


We have traditions to build on. The anti-imperialist movement of the turn of the 20th century belongs to the greatest traditions of the American people. As Mark Twain said, "I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land." Words like these should be our inspiration, not yellow ribbons and the American flag even when superimposed with a peace symbol.