Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Re: For Purely Political Reasons There Almost Surely Will Be No Major Release Of Prisoners Held At Gitmo And Other Prisons

June 27, 2006

Dear Captain King:

Thank you for the email, which I strongly agree with. Let me say that the failure to know history, and the belief in American omnipotence (“Desert Storm redux”), are disasters for this country, in my judgment.

I would add, though, that if Viet Nam is a spectre haunting much of the senior officer corps, they have a duty to speak out in legitimate ways, precisely because the politicians are “both dysfunctional and intellectually bankrupt” (not to mention that some are persons who, in the recent words of a columnist, and fitting one definition of coward, ran and hid from the last war, while now blithely sending members of other people’s families off to this one). To disobey orders and violate the principle of civilian control would be disastrous. Speaking out publicly, on the other hand, in service of the old military tradition of honesty, even if one is forced to resign, would be of unquestionable value to the public and Congress. So few have spoken out, however. The habit of keeping it all “within channels” and not letting Congress and the public know the truth has not served the country well during Nam or Gulf II.

I shall post your excellent email.*

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence Velvel

*If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

----- Original Message -----

From: Byron King
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Cc: Lew Rockwell
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Byron King

From: Byron

Viet Nam....


VN is the haunting spectre within the mind of almost every senior officer I know or have ever met. There are still a few old salts in uniform who were "there." VN is part of their DNA. The people who entered the military post-VN (1970s & 80s) grew up in a rather stilted culture of VN-remembrance. "All happy families are the same," said Leo Tolstoy. Unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways. Very unhappy families include people who live with a legacy of VN.

The Junior Officers today appear not to know much about VN from their schooling (much of what they do know is wrong), and seem to think that waging war is supposed to be Desert Storm redux. In the senior leadership roles, we try to disabuse the juniors of those fantasies. Still, it is hard to undo the processes of America's modern, broken school system. VN gets a thorough going-over at the various service War Colleges, but again it is hard to recreate the emotion of what transpired. The young officers coming back from Iraq certainly have their own new set of demons with which to wrestle.

I am still not quite sure where you are coming from, Dean... I cannot speak a universal truth, applicable to every soul, but my belief is that you do not have to worry about the future of the country or the world due to what transpires on the uniformed side of the stage. The people who really need the VN lessons (we can start to call them Iraq lessons, now) drilled into their collective heads are the political masters, of both dysfunctional and intellectually bankrupt political parties. They just don't know... they just don't understand... they just don't get it.

I asked a lot of fundamental, strategic oriented questions towards the end of my email to you. No offense intended, no disrespect in any way. Just you & me exchanging some thoughts. We should not have to be asking such questions at this stage of a war. Had those questions really been asked & answered some time back, we would probably not be having this conversation.

Best wishes to you,


----- Original Message -----

From: Thomas Wilkinson
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 12:27 PM
Subject: Re: For Purely Political Reasons There Almost Surely Will Be No Major Release Of Prisoners Held At Gitmo And Other Prisons.

Dear Dean Velvel:

I tend to disagree with your reasoning as to why the GITMO prisoners will not be released.

In my opinion GITMO (and the undiscussed secret prisons in other places) have become an established part of the US national security apparatus. General paranoia and bipartisan consensus on this issue would mean that whereas Republicans could lose an election because of Bush or Cheney their principals have both parties committed to the present inevitable policies. The comparison with Johnson and Nixon does not fit. Johnson got reelected from the White House as did Nixon. Party strength was simply not available to overcome incumbency. Add to this the fact that the Republican party has been in control of the White House for more years than any Democrats (Roosevelt being an exception), there is no real risk to the Republicans. Congressional elections are certainly more volatile but even the "anti-war movement" does not seem to have changed the balance in Congress significantly.

What I find more interesting is that the US government has been dominated by an ultraconservative, militarist axis of political forces anchored in the South and the Southwest. These regions not only have authoritarian and violent colonial and slave-holding pasts much more recent than the murderous Massachusetts Bay colonists, they have been enriched by the migration of the most conservative elements from the Northeast who have taken their capital as far away as possible from "liberal" Yankees. That means the penal policy of which GITMO is just a recently high profile part is driven by and supported from leadership with sentimental ties to lynching and other extrajudicial violence in inverse proportion to the lightness of the skin colour.

With an economic and foreign policy aimed at global war, this penal policy has become and will remain a permanent fixture in US policy no matter what government gets elected. If the Republicans lose elections it is only because someone actually dares to contest one. The release of GITMO prisoners presents more a matter of style than substance for the American electorate. As for foreign opinion-- this has never been important for the US electorate with its defiant ignorance of what anyone outside of the US thinks (let alone where they even live or what language they speak, etc.)

Were the people in the US to see that GITMO is an "offshore" like the Grand Caymans and to see that the impoverishment of the average US citizen is directly related to the regime of GITMO and Enron, there might be some move for change. But I am not holding my breath.

Kind regards,


Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
June 19, 2006
Re: For Purely Political Reasons There Almost Surely Will Be
No Major Release Of Prisoners Held At Gitmo And Other Prisons.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel

Dear Colleagues:

A few days ago Tom Ashbrook, on his radio program “On Point,” had some radio talking heads (what else does one do on radio?) who were discussing Guantanamo. One of them said that he thought the Bush Administration had decided simply to tough out the situation there (regardless of the increasing uproar about it overseas). There would be no release of prisoners, in his judgment, under this Administration. It was too deeply concerned over the repercussions if a released prisoner (or released prisoners) were later to be found to have participated in a new act of terrorism against the United States. Another talking head said that there would be no release of prisoners because that would mean 400 or 500 additional men would be telling stories all over the world about American mistreatment. There would be one released prisoner for every talk show in the world, I think the joke was. And the stories being told worldwide would create a massive outcry around the world for Bush, Cheney and company to be tried before international tribunals for violations of the laws of war.

Of course, I would personally add, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the others would not show up for their trials. So they would have to be tried in absentia (as would likely also be the case for Bush’s English poodle). This, I think, would not, for many reasons, pose a large problem, since there would be much evidence anyway. The only way to avoid the trials would be for America to bribe foreign countries not to pursue trials in the same way that we always bribe them to do our imperial bidding, by foreign aid, military aid, trade help, etc. But whether that would even work this time, with 400 or 500 men all over the world talking about their experiences at Gitmo and elsewhere, is subject to question. Equally subject to question is whether, if the Democrats win in 2008, they would even be willing to offer such bribes to save the derrieres of Bush, et. al. Indeed, though it wouldn’t happen, wouldn’t it be ironic and wonderful, were John McCain to win the 2008 election, if he then refused to attempt the bribes, with his refusal being payback for what Bush pulled on him in South Carolina?

Ah, the mind reels at the theoretical possibilities. But let’s forget about the more far-out possibilities. Let’s focus instead on what certainly is real. It is ever more widely bruited, and accepted, that the vast preponderance of the prisoners in Gitmo were no more than low level types at most, and some or lots were wholly innocent -- they were simply arrested and turned over to the Americans by warlords who wanted to collect the large rewards we were offering. We also know the uproars that resulted when even a few of our former prisoners at Gitmo and elsewhere told their stories to the media and other governments. What these fact plainly mean, what they inevitably mean, is that the prisoners at Guantanamo (and elsewhere) almost certainly cannot be released, and will not be released, before the 2006 Congressional elections and the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections. Not only can the Republicans not afford the political fallout if some of the released prisoners engaged in new acts of terrorism (as could well occur because many of them may now hate us who did not hate or lift a finger against us before), the Republicans equally cannot at this time afford the additional hatred of us that will arise all over the world, with the political and economic problems this would bring, if 400 or 500 men are let go and start telling their stories to media and governments all over the world. Nor can the Republicans afford to have people all over the world calling for the trial of their President and Vice President on charges of war crimes, which would bring yet more political and economic problems.

Now, let’s be explicit on a point that flows from this. This writer is saying that, regardless of whether people in Gitmo and our other prisons abroad are guilty or innocent, and even if 90 percent are innocent or at most were very low level, for political reasons it is very unlikely that there will be any major or wholesale release of prisoners, be they innocent or guilty, be they dangerous or wholly non-threatening. For even if there was never another act of terrorism by any released prisoners, a major release would be pregnant with the possibility of an electoral disaster for the Republicans -- and for their Democrat neo-Republican friends like Joe Lieberman -- because releasees will be telling their stories worldwide. Right, truth, and morality will have nothing to do with the likely absence of a major release. Politics will trump all. That is the nature of this administration, and is almost surely what is going to happen here.

Now, it is obvious, as one knows from a few emails in response to prior postings as well as from simply being in America for over six decades, that there may be those who refuse to believe this, perhaps mainly because they don’t want to believe it, are jingoes, are xenophobes, and/or are wacked out right wingers. The refusal of belief puts me in mind of a comment made here a few years ago, when this blogger said, and as far as I know was the only person to say at the time, that the reason the administration did not want Gitmo prisoners tried in civilian courts is that necessary evidence had been obtained from them by means (duress and torture) that would cause it to be tossed out by the civilian courts. (Whereas military courts, being subject to Rumsfeld and Bush, would allow the evidence.) This point was not discussed, mentioned or faced by the media (or anyone else) as far as I know, nor did people wish to believe it, I think. Now, of course, it has been admitted to be correct by the administration on a number of occasions. Well, in the same vein, one day we almost surely will find out -- maybe five years from now, maybe 50 years from now -- that there was no likelihood, maybe even no possibility at all, of a major release of prisoners, no matter how innocent or low level and unimportant, or non-dangerous they were, because a major release would have caused the electoral crucification of Republicans (and Democrat fellow travelers like Lieberman).

Of course, Bush and company, and their believers and supporters in the media and internet worlds -- their supporting bloggers and emailers -- will claim that politics have nothing to do with keeping prisoners in Gitmo. Rather, they will claim, there are good reasons to keep people there. Maybe the people are dangerous, they will say. Or their cases are being heard, they will say -- although it would seem that whatever process of alleged military justice was supposed to occur at Gitmo either is hardly occurring at all or is grinding so slowly as to be a farce. Well, as any lawyer or politician knows, there are always reasons which can be put forward to try to justify what one is doing. The worst tyrants the world has ever seen had reasons which they put forward for their actions. We have given reasons for every one of the 14 times - - from Hawaii in 1893 to Iraq in 2003 (and not including World Wars I and II) - - when Stephen Kinzer finds that America has been the main cause of the overthrow of foreign governments because we didn’t like them and didn’t want them around, and the reasons we have given from Hawaii to Iraq were often smokescreens, false, baloney (like WMDs) intended to try to hide our real reasons.

I don’t think that the reasons we will hear to allegedly justify keeping all the Gitmo and other prisoners in custody will be the real reasons either. Even if they are sometimes true (e.g., almost certainly some of the Gitmo prisoners are dangerous characters who should not be let out), the reasons we will hear will not in the main be the truly motivating reasons. The truly motivating reasons will be political: if 400 or 500 guys now in Gitmo and other prisons are released and are able to tell the media and governments all over the world the stories of what happened to them and what they saw in Gitmo and elsewhere, the Republicans’ (and neo-Republican Democrats’) electoral chances will be swamped, the Republicans will suffer the greatest electoral disaster the country has seen since Johnson creamed Goldwater and Nixon smashed McGovern. With this possibility lurking, perhaps even certain, if there is a release, the chances of a major release by this 200 percent politically minded administration range from slim to none regardless of what may be true or just or moral. And slim, as they say, has just left town.*

Mit freundlichen Grüßen/ Cordialement/ Cordiali saluti/ Yours sincerely

Dr. Patrick Wilkinson

----- Original Message -----

From: Thomas Wilkinson
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Whenever I read these litanies about the greatness of soldiers (esp. those elite units), I have to bite my tongue. In a country which ostensibly stands for peace and freedom, I can see no special reason to praise janissaries and praetorians.

Historically speaking, the units to which most US military attach special pride have been bands of murderers and assassins. There are countries which might claim pride to have soldiers whose dedication and training made them suited to defend their countries or peoples in the face of overwhelming odds. This scarcely applies to any historical unit of the US military and certainly not the special warfare units founded in the post-war era.

Of course within the military (like all strict hierarchical organisations) there is a cult surrounding the units with particularly "selective" and elite membership. However I cannot think of a single country whose elite units are not simply more exclusive in their corruption or violence.
It strains the imagination to think which part of the US military and security apparatus deserves anyone's respect simply because of what the Captain USNR calls "supremely difficult things in life". The supremely difficult thing in life for such people is that which most alludes them-- pursuing life-preserving instead of life-destroying professions. I seriously doubt if the captain manages the same esteem for the nurses and orderlies who maintain the decrepit US public health system in the face of overwhelming odds. Even a dustman in Manhattan or Newark has earned more respect than a mere major general, no matter how decorated.

To reproduce this, I have no reservation, if it is not too much.

Kind regards,


Dean Lawrence R. Velvel:
June 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Wilkinson:

Thanks for the very interesting and informative email.

Sincerely yours,

Larry Velvel

----- Original Message -----

From: Thomas Wilkinson
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve

Dear Dean Velvel,

After Mr Cockburn's recent comments on "blogging", which have in fact confirmed a feeling I have had about a lot of this "white noise", I do wonder what these folks are doing or thinking when they write (your point well taken). Every once in a while I fire a comment off at some suspicious or specious argument in CP and get locked into an enormously silly debate with people who seem to be "hitmen" for the Right.

I do think that a lot of these "answers" are part of the monitoring of the "netwaves" by the Fouchés of today. No one else takes so much time for sophistry.

Your arguments were pleasantly cogent. May we both be pleased not to have to defend the US occupation within operational modus-- obviating your option to destroy the alleged bunker.
But to give you a bit of "bunker" anecdote-- between us: when I first moved to this town some 25 years ago the US consulate was in a noble neighbourhood with normal security conditions-- like any other imperial consulate. Now it is located directly next to the central rail station. The whole area is filled with vile security barriers and the taxis are no longer placed conveniently for the rail passengers. This is to "protect" a consulate that does not even need to be located at such a vulnerable traffic junction. Is the US not endangering all the rail traffic through Dusseldorf by this choice of location?

The US government also tried to pressure the Berlin government to divert all the traffic in the city centre so that it could build its embassy on the old pre-war site. As far as I know this has been resisted-- primarily because Berlin has no money for such an extravagance and the US never pays for such things.

In short, although I do not really want a full citation on your site, it may be a further support for your argument (not that the Right cares) to say that throughout the world the US puts innocent people in harm's way and accepts no responsibility for this. Were the myopic JAG officer who wrote you to take that into account-- maybe even reading a bit of British colonial history-- he could under conditions of sobriety or Stockholm syndrome imagine a proper revulsion at hostage taking-- the basic principle guiding the American way of waging war.



Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
June 19, 2006
Re: E-Mail Correspondence With Captain Byron King Of The United States Navy Reserve.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a most interesting email from Captain Byron King, USNR, and a response to his comments.

From: Byron King, Pittsburgh, PA (Practicing Attorney & Captain, US Navy Reserve)
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel, Massachusetts School of Law

No, we have never met. But I read your post on LewRockwell.com, lifted from your blog comments.

By way of professional courtesy, as one attorney to another, I beg to point out a few things based upon what I know from first hand knowledge or from other very reliable sources.

US Army Major General Caldwell, whom you disparaged, is nobody's "yes man." He is an official US Army spokesman, whose job is to speak to the media. He is also a trained Army Ranger (it is, in its own way, as hard a job to be a Ranger as it is to accomplish most of the supremely difficult things in life, IMHO), with a long list of direct action experience under his belt. He is fully aware of the vagaries of "first reports" from combat front lines.

Caldwell's current job involves sifting through whatever comes in, and attempting to present an accurate summary of events to the media, particularly to the "Green Zone" warriors who seldom, if ever, venture outside their gated community. Apropos your comments, there was initial confusion about "the little girl" (whomever she is, and we do not know if she is al-Zarqawi's daughter) who was killed in the bombing of al-Zarqawi's safe-house. Different reports from different people, transmitted from the front lines at about the same time, referred to her as a "female," "woman," "young woman," and "child of indeterminate age." Hence the differing initial reports, which were not "lies" as you so boldly mischaracterized them. Another way of stating it is that the world's news madia can have its news "fast" or it can have it "completely accurate," but not both. Remember that the next time you pick up a newspaper.

The last time I saw General Caldwell, he was riding the Metro in Washington DC---in uniform, with his name tag visible. I asked him why a Major General in his position would be riding the Metro, and he replied that "it is one more way to see what is going on in the world." He also noted to me that "four star generals ought to spend less time in their staff cars, and more time riding the Metro." So you might consider giving the man a break, or at least not call him a "liar" when he is doing his job.

al-Zarqawi's safe house was constructed out of reinforced concrete and steel I-Beams. (Is your house built that way?) Some of the walls were 10 inches thick of poured concrete. This was no tumbledown shack by the railroad track; no little "farm house" in the middle of a date palm orchard. It was no easy "takedown" for any combat team, let alone the relatively small group of special forces that fingered Zarqawi to the specific location at a specific time. "Surround and wait" was not an option under the circumstances. In addition, the occupants must have had some realization that they were found out, because somebody on the inside started shooting at the US forces on the outside. Hence they called for ordnance support, and the "operational fires" commander sent the F-16s overhead.

The F-16s were on a detached air support mission, with no anticipation by the pilots that they were going to be called to bomb al-Zarqawi's house. (One F-16 was in the midst of aerial refueling and had to break off from the airborne tanker to fly to the target area.) Of the two 500-pound bombs dropped in the engagement, the first was laser-designated and the second was GPS-guided. They were both fused to explode after penetrating into the house, as opposed to detonating on first contact with an outside, concrete wall. That al-ZArqawi's body was intact, and that he was alive for some time post-bombing, indicates that he had taken shelter in the basement part of the structure which is where he was found by the Iraqi officers who first entered the place. So the field evidence is that al-Zarqawi apparently knew that something was coming at him (he probably heard the jet noise, which is loud as hell), and took cover. It was not as if al-Zarqawi shielded the little girl with his body, in one last act of supreme and altruistic heroism.

Among other things, you wrote:"One last point inherent in killing the little girl who may or may not have been Zarqawi’s daughter. It is about the question of courage. I suppose one has to expect that a country whose moral reasoning is as screwed up as ours would get the question of courage all wrong too."

I disagree. al-Zarqawi's stock in trade was the indiscriminate bomb, attacking market places, squares, mosques, etc. His end came at the hands of pilots who could, and did, deliberately and accurately place target-appropriate weapons within a few feet of the aim point. As for "screwed up" moral reasoning, believe it or not, many of the people within the US military who were instrumental in developing "precision" weapons over the past 30 years or so were devoutly religious (the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski comes to mind.) There was a school of thought along the lines of Catholic "Just War" theory inherent in the focus of the respective weapons programs. That is, if war will be waged by the politicians, then it should be conducted in such a manner that will minimize the death and suffering of the innocent. The result was that US conventional weapons are of such accuracy as to make it possible for the policy-makers to pull back from Cold War doctrines involving use of nuclear weapons in war fighting. (another discussion entirely...)

al-Zarqawi chose to lead the self-styled romantic life of a combatant leader, using brutal methods of terrorism to fight an asymmetric war against the U.S. and its coalition allies. In the course of his abbreviated life, al-Zarqawi created for himself a war zone in whatever land he dwelt (Jordan, Afghanistan and eventually Iraq). He was dogmatic, a true believer, a fanatic, a “world-improver” who desired to remake the planet in his own image. al-Zarqawi was, in so many respects, emblematic of Hannah Arendt's depiction of the “banality of evil.”

Whoever was there in the ill-fated house, it was al-Zarqawi who killed them. He knew that he was the subject of a comprehensive manhunt, with a $25 million bounty on his head. He knew that his pursuers were competent, and that any moment could be his last. Yet al-Zarqawi chose to make a call on a certain locale, in the company of others including the women and/or child. When surrounded, someone in al-Zarqawi’s entourage chose to fire on his pursuers in true Bonnie & Clyde fashion, rather than to surrender. al-Zarqawi headed for the basement. And then the bombs fell.

Thus to the very end, al-Zarqawi was a killer. Others died? If so, it was the culmination of a chain of events set in motion entirely by the late and unlamented al Qaeda leader. The death of any innocent is a sad thing, but it was al-Zarqawi’s doing. I am reminded of the words of Herman Melville who wrote the tale of Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod, which “like Satan, would not sink to Hell till she had dragged a living part of Heaven along with her.”

Dear Captain King:

Thank you for your very fine e-mail. I appreciate it. There are points of great interest in it, including points I agree with. I do have a few responses, however,

1. Given your admitted reliance on “very reliable sources,” I presume some
of the information in your letters -- information that is not yet publicly known insofar as I am aware (please correct me if I am mistaken about this) -- was obtained from high Pentagon sources. Why? Did you obtain it to respond to my posting? Were you “officially commissioned” to respond to it, so to speak, or asked to respond to it? This all would be hard to believe, for I do not attribute to myself any such importance. (I was not even able to make Nixon’s enemies list as far as I know.) But whydid you feel it necessary to respond, and to include information not publicly known (insofar as I am aware): information such as I-beam reinforcements, walls ten inches thick, where Zarqawi is thought to have been in the house when the bombs struck, the fact that he was not sheltering another person with his body, the implication that others might not have been in the basement since they were dead when we took the house (or the rubble), and the fact that Zarqawi was not one of those who fired the shots. You or your “very reliable sources” are not merely speculating about some or all of these things, or releasing additional incomplete information, in order to avoid or put down some type of feared criticism of what we did, are you?

2. For all the fine, even noble traits you find in General Caldwell, a finding I
would never quarrel with, the fact is that, even though you say “He is fully aware of the vagaries of ‘first reports’ from combat front lines,” he was reported in the media to have at first flatly denied that a young girl was killed. If the media report was wrong, he, you or the military should say so. If the media report was not wrong, then he flatly denied something he may not have had information about. If he did this, there is a word for such a denial; but I need not repeat the word. Of course, maybe he had been assured by others that there had been no little girl there, so that he simply passed on erroneous information that he had been given and in good faith believed. If that is the case, you, he and/or the military should say so. What is not permissible, and deserves the word I shall not use, is to have flatly denied something that proved true, and to have done so without any subsequent reasonable explanation for the failure of truth.

To say that the news media “can have its news ‘fast’ or it can have it ‘completely accurate’” is wholly beside the point here, and is indeed, an attempt at deflection. The military should not be putting out false statements. If a military spokesman does not know or must refuse to state the facts (as with regard to the location of the persons in the car that drove away), he should say so. What is impermissible, and deeply contrary to the military’s own strictures on honesty of officers, is to tell untruths. It is, of course, extremely sad, and deeply disheartening, that ever since Viet Nam people are prone to disbelieve the military and the government because of the astounding countertradition of untruths that has been built up in opposition to the officer corp’s prior longstanding tradition of truth.

3. It is, I think, perhaps somewhat generous to say merely that it is illogical,
and a mere attempt at deflection, to argue that a pilot killing people without serious risk to himself, or a weapons control officer on the ground hundreds or thousands of miles away doing the same, is showing courage because the target was an indiscriminate murderer. The question of courage has nothing to do with whether the target is a Zarqawi or a baby. It has to do, rather, with whether the person firing the weapon is himself or herself at serious risk. I’m confident you must in reality know this.

4. One shakes one’s head at the concept of the devoutly religious developing
the kinds of massively destructive weapons we have today. Not to mention that those who believe in the concept of “just war” might be shaking their heads in wonderment at the point you make, since many of them, I gather, feel that this is nota just war. Not to mention that tens of thousands -- could it conceivably be 100,000 or more, as some say? -- have been killed by our weapons. So much for the humaneness of precision weapons.

5. I’m sorry, Captain, but the fact is that we killed the little girl. Zarqawi’s
presence is the reason we killed her, but we, not he, killed her. It is rhetorical sleight of hand, it is a lawyer’s trick (and also a rhetorical trick of right wingers who have written me) to say that he killed her. One could say that he was responsible by hispresence for the fact that we killed her, one could also reasonably say, as many have, that it was immoral for him to have put a little girl in danger, but the fact remains that it was we who killed her. I say this even though I am fully aware, as said a few times in my blog, that I would almost surely have made the same decision to bomb the house had it been me on the scene making the decision. And I would have done it to safeguard the Americans on the scene from possible death or wounds. But I am at least cognizant of the truth of who killed the girl and have the honesty to concede it, unlike some of the right wing nuts who have written me crudely ignorant, savage emails cheering on all our destructive efforts and more or less hoping that we kill as many Muslims as possible.

By the way, don’t you think it entirely possible that the insurgents in Iraq are considering how to get back at us by killing Iraqi officials, American officers, and such like. And don’t you think that American intelligence and Iraqi intelligence know this and perhaps have warned those who are potential targets? -- who probably strongly suspect it anyway? If these things are true, and if one or more of the possible targets are killed by insurgent bombs, and if women or children or fellow officials or fellow officers are with them and are also killed in the blast, are you going to say it is the target(s) who killed these other people rather than the insurgents? Are you going to say it was the Iraqi officials or the American officers who killed them? I seriously doubt that you or any other American will say that. Yet that, of course, is exactly what you are saying about Zarqawi. The unhappy fact, which is rebounding against us worldwide, is that we apply wholly different standards of logic depending on whether someone is on our side or the other side. And then we wonder why others consider us vast hypocrites and hate our guts.*

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Patrick Wilkinson

----- Original Message -----

To: "Dean Lawrence R. Velvel"
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:28 AM
Subject: For Purely Political Reasons

> Dear Dean Lawrence R. Velvel:
> Once again a very thoughtful topic and one that helps us define ourselves according to where we stand on the issue.
> Re: For Purely Political Reasons There Almost Surely Will Be
> No Major Release Of Prisoners Held At Gitmo And Other Prisons

> "For Purely Political Reasons" is a phrase that each of us uses to disguise our misdeeds with the patina legitimacy.
> The Guantanamo Bay military base is leasehold gained from starting a war against Spain just over a century ago. Spain was a nation that like Iraq today had no ability to wage war, but had resources and property that could be claimed by the victors.
> It seems to me that the sovereign nation of Cuba has a claim against the United States for its violation of international law* and the terms of its leasehold.
> It also seems to me that the American government faced with the shame of its acts at this military base must raze the site and close the base to save it from becoming a monument site to remember the American atrocities of both Iraq campaigns.
> It is sad to hear Americans justify the lawlessness of its government especially about its crimes against humanity; it is understandable to hear Americans defend its government in spite of its crime against humanity. For in a nation that lacks the ability to forgive others and only seeks to punish them through vengeance, can never acknowledge these acts.
> Would it were true that we were a nation of second chances, for we truly need a fresh start.
> Cordially,
> L. Bruens

----- Original Message -----

From: Gary Clark
To: Velvel@MSLaw.edu
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 5:33 PM
Subject: Your Correspondence With Captain Byron King

You really don't get it do you?

Our military were sent to Iraq for the express purpose of KILLING ARAB MUSLIMS! They were sent there to do that because Arab Muslims are the ones who have started an unconventional war with us. Those Arab Muslims are, in their perverse, ugly and evil beliefs little different than were the Japanese when they decided to become our enemies in the 1940s.

The whole purpose of our military campaign against Japan was simply TO KILL JAPS, and to kill as many of them as we could until they threw in the towel. We did just that and, eventually, they did just that. Where's the count of the Japanese women and children we killed in doing it. Fact is, nobody here gave a damn about that then because winning the war was the ONLY objective, period.

The ONLY way we're going to win against these Arab Moslem bastards is to KILL, KILL and keep on KILLING until THEY throw in the towel or until ALL OF THEM ARE DEAD! As far as I'm concerned, I don't personally give a damn how many of THEIR little girls died when we bombed whatever. I only care that more of those bastards die every day than do our people.

The only good Moslem is a dead Moslem! The Indians we dispatched a hundred years ago.

Gary Clark
San Antonio, Texas

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