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To the editor ...

Why does Dr. Sniegoski play down the race factor in the war on Iraq? Neoconservatism, Judaism, Communism, etc., these are what they believe, race is what they are. By any chance, is Dr. Sniegoski Jewish?

Michael Linsey
November 6, 2003

I have been looking for someone to articulate this view for a long time; it is the only one that makes real sense to me. I note all the current European hassle over anti-Semitism, real and accused.

Please, what next?

Dr. Tim Bushell
Birdham, Chichester, England
December 8, 2003

I'm absolutely convinced that the primary reason for our invading Iraq is Israel's need for water. Israel's only source of fresh water is under the West Bank, and even if they could keep control of the West Bank, the supply is not enough in the long term for the area's population. Desalinated water cannot be used for agriculture and mostly is used only for industrial purposes. Therefore, Israel cannot continue to exist without another source of fresh water. They were not able to buy water from Turkey because they could not transport the water economically enough. If they brought the water in overland, it would have to cross Syria or Iraq, and that was not politically possible. It is too expensive and unreliable to try to transport it by sea. The only option to guarantee Israel a water supply was to change the regime in Iraq and distribute Iraq's abundant water to surrounding areas; and I'm sure in the not-too-distant future, we will see this start to come about.

I believe the American people should be made aware of the real reasons we go to war and spend billions of dollars and lives in such an endeavor; and should be made aware of the reasons in real time and not years in the future when it becomes just a historical debate.

We already know that our headlong rush to invade Iraq was not because of their link to Osama and not because of weapons of mass destruction. It's very clear to anyone with an IQ over 70 that those were just excuses.

The World Bank has made studies and keeps track of every drop of potable water on Earth, and someone with contacts at the World Bank might be able to obtain proposed plans showing how the Bank proposes to distribute the fresh water supplies in the region. There's no doubt the World Bank will be very involved in those projects.

I'm hoping that your group might look into my water theory and keep track of what develops in the future as far as Iraq's water resources are concerned.

Sandy Rice
December 6, 2003

Excellent article by Dr. Sniegoski, and I completely agree with his analysis.

I am married to a Jewish man and live in a heavily Jewish community. The first word of war in Iraq was at a whisper level in this community long before it became a public debate. The vote in Congress was a shocker for me. How do you get the entire Congress to go along with a policy when they tend not to agree on anything? I just assumed something critical was at stake, and there was a lot of Internet talk about the water crisis in the Middle East. Turkey is building a dam that would hurt Iraq and Syria but benefit Israel (if only they could get a pipeline through Syria/Lebanon). In general, though, the water crisis in the Middle East would eventually require some kind of international intervention because although there really is enough water, the political situation is too volatile to get it to where it is needed. In order for everyone to get "safe" drinking water, the Middle East needed to be remade politically. But that should have been an international effort involving the world community and the UN. With just the United States involved, Israel had a better chance of not having to make the difficult compromises necessary — according to some reports, 50 percent of Israel's water is taken out of the West Bank. A compromise that would require sharing of water resources might not suit the Israeli public's taste for Southern California look-alike suburbs with artificially green medians, community swimming pools, and the like. The fact is that pregnant women are drinking dangerously unsafe water just across the Jordan, and a world body would give preference to pregnant women over swimming pools and pretty highway medians.

My sympathies favor the Jews over the Muslims. In fact, it is unfortunate that the Bush policies are going to give Israel a bad name, and Christianity as well, since the Christian right has been so enthusiastic for Israel — right or wrong. But we cannot have a government that is taken over by special interests, and we cannot have an administration that tells lies to us. That is the end of the Republic, so to speak. So the chips just have to fall where they may, and if that benefits radical Islam I suppose we deserve it.

Kathy Berkowitz
December 10, 2003

Nicholas Strakon comments

The economic means are the only means we have of solving resource "allocation" problems in a just and peaceful manner; those means comprise a structure of justly held private property, existing in a climate of free exchange operating through an unfettered price system. The only other means for achieving social ends are the political means; they comprise an unending scrambling for state power and political privilege — the offering of bribes, the drawing of guns, the brandishing of bombs. In circumstances of extraordinary ethnic conflict, we may confidently expect the political means to produce an extraordinary level of crime and violence.

Ever since nation-states have attained a sufficiently advanced "technology of rule," they have restricted or altogether banned justly held property and free markets in natural resources. Instead they have tended to award special privilege, regulate exports, impose outright nationalization, or even pursue "autarchy" and "self-sufficiency," all for their own purposes — chief among which, always, is criminal warmaking.

December 16, 2003

I think the prime element in the Jewish psyche has to do with being recent objects of systematic mass murder. I'm a Roman Catholic but feel American Jews connect the extinction of Israel to their own extinction ... an understandable position, based on not-too-distant history. I have a feeling too, that most Jews in this country oppose the war in Iraq and don't see an Israeli connection. The "leadership" of the West on the Israeli/Palestinian issue has been abysmal. It has neither addressed the suffering of Palestinian Arabs nor done much to convince the rest of the Arab world of the right of Israel's existence. No real leadership at all on our part.

April 7, 2004

Dr. Sniegoski replies

From a liberal point of view, one wonders why a Jewish supremacist state has the right to exist. Why should the Arabs accept such things as expropriation of Palestinian property, expulsion, and second-class citizen status? One would think that liberals would support a Palestine, encompassing Israel and the occupied territories, that was based on racial and religious equality.

April 7, 2004

Strakon comments

Our correspondent alleges that there has been "no real leadership at all on our [sic] part." (By "our" I assume he refers to some combination of U.S. interventionist politicians and bureaucrats.) If only it were true!

April 7, 2004

Brilliant, lucid, well-documented — an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the current state of the Middle East which should be read by every American, Australian and Brit. It might persuade people to get off their backsides and do something about the deteriorating situation of the world, and, more specifically, the U.S.A. and the Middle East. Edmund Burke said "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Peter John Kirsch
April 7, 2004

To Dr. Sniegoski's original article,
"The war on Iraq: Conceived in Israel."


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