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War and Peace in Today’s World
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This is the place for news and background on issues of war and peace in the world today. Country Joe's Place will carry information from different viewpoints. We understand that not everyone will agree with what is posted but we believe in talking, not fighting.

H  O  M  E

 Ralphy's Latest Cartoon
 Getting Involved
 Some Links
 Cindy Sheehan's Quest
 Amazing Facts
 Music and the Crisis
 Fixin' to Die in Afghanistan
 Fixin' to Die in Iraq
 Featured Essay


US Casualties in Iraq
Names and Faces   POW/MIA

Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Cost of the War in Iraq

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Current Threat Level

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Seventeen years after the Gulf war, a congressionally mandated committee has concluded that “Gulf war syndrome” is a legitimate condition that continues to affect one quarter of the nearly 700,000 US soldiers deployed in that war. In a report presented last month to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses said, “Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans.”
Check out a timeline of the five years of war in Iraq from MSNBC.
On March 16, the Winter Soldier Investigation II wrapped up three days of hearings. Sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the hearings were based on the original investigation that took place during the Vietnam War documenting U.S. atrocities. You can see clips at the IVAW YouTube site. A feature-length documentary is being prepared.
A billion-dollar B-2 stealth bomber has crashed in Guam.
Read a transcript of Bin Laden's September 6 speech.
1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first U.S. military officer refuse deployment in what he calls the "illegal and immoral" war in Iraq, is facing a second court-martial. Visit Lt. Watada's site.
A group of active-duty service people, acting as Appeal for Redress, has called for an end to the war in Iraq, under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act.
The first GI coffeehouse in America of the current Iraq war, the Different Drummer Cafe, has opened in Watertown, NY, near Ft. Drum.
"Doonesbury" author Gary Trudeau has launched a blog for military personel overseas. Check out The Sandbox.
Pete Seeger's latest recording is a Public Service Announcement for Hear it here.
There were 17 coalition fatalities in Iraq during the month of November.

Breaking News

Ralphy's Latest Cartoon

Getting Involved

I R A   F V R O R   B R E V I S   E S T
"Anger is a brief madness"

In keeping with the above words of wisdom, perhaps people would like to e-mail our leaders with wishes for no more killing and a wish for peace and communication.

President George W. Bush
Vice President Richard Cheney
Laura Bush
Lynne Cheney
"Operation Dear Abby" has gone online. You can now send a message to your favorite service member via the web.
Jan Craig Scruggs, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, writes: "Please send your new or old tennis shoes to U.S. Army Captain David Moses. His men are seeing considerable combat. They need tennis shoes because they enjoy playing soccer together and with Iraqi kids. So send any athletic equipment -- new or old -- TODAY. Just do it -- Thank You."
Captain David Moses, United States Army
MTR MiTT 2107
An Nummaniyah-Scania
APO AE 09331
You can contribute food, clothing, and personal items to our troops through Any Soldier.
Iraq Moratorium orchestrates anti-war activites on the 3rd Friday of every month. More info.

Some Links

See the poster
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's page
Iraq Democracy Watch
Baghdad Journal -- UC Berkeley journalism students in Iraq
Iraq Action Coalition
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Operation Truth -- Iraq from the vets' perpective
Bring Them Home Now
American Gulf War Veterans Association
The Traveling Soldier -- newsletter for US/UK soldiers in Iraq
Electronic Iraq
Today in Iraq
MotherSpeak -- mothers speak about their children serving in Iraq
Alive in Baghdad -- videoblog reports from independent American and Iraqi journalists
Iraq Slogger
Salam Pax -- the Bagdad blogger
Raed in the Middle -- Salam's buddy
Baghdad Burning -- a young Iraqi woman's blog
Baghdad Observer -- a woman who is Baghdad bureau chief for American papers
Healing Iraq
Back to Iraq -- professional journalist's blog
Armor Geddon -- tank platoon leader's blog
Juan Cole -- Middle east expert's blog
Anti-War.Com -- a Libertarian perspective
Al Jazeera
Al-Manar TV -- Hezbollah TV's English-laguage website
Arabic Media Internet Network
Albasrah.Net -- pro-resistance site from the city of Al Basrah
Radio KPFA (Berkeley) -- streaming broadcast
Radio WBAI (New York) -- streaming broadcast
BBC news -- slightly less censored than American press
The Guardian -- ditto
Greg Palast -- BBC/London Observer journalist
World Press Review Online
Middle East Media Research Institute -- English translations of current articles from Arab media
Stars and Stripes
Soldiers for the Truth
Capitol Hill Blue -- inside-the-Beltway gossip
Independent Media Center
Information Clearing House
Yellow Times
Common Dreams
Z Magazine online
WTC7 -- mysterious circumstances surrounding the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7
Pentagon Strike -- ditto about the plane that hit the Pentagon
Department of Homeland Security
DefenseLink news -- from the Defense Department, including latest casualty lists
U.S. Central Command
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
U.S. Army
U.S. Air Force
Uniform Code of Military Justice -- if you're thinking of signing up, you'd better read this first
US State Department's official list of terrorist organizations
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
Hizb-ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Party of Islamic Liberation) -- radical Islamic fundamentalists
Afghan News Network
YesPakistan's page on the Afghan crisis
Not In Our Name
Peaceful Tomorrows -- loved ones of 9/11 victims for peaceful responses
International Action Center
Peace Protest Net
A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
War Resisters League
US War Heroes -- those who resisted
Hal "Phoenix" Muskat's page -- with lots of links
Stop the War Coalition -- UK
No Blood for Oil
Move On
Poets Against the War
Direct Action to Stop the War -- group planning civil disobedience in San Francisco
Baring Witness -- get naked for peace!
Breasts Not Bombs -- ditto!
United for Peace and Justice
Military Families Speak Out
Veterans Against the Iraq War
Gold Star Families for Peace
No War on Iran
Leave My Child Alone -- against miltary recruiters on schoolgrounds
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Free John Walker Lindh
Punk Voter
International Red Cross
Mercy Corps
G.I. Rights Hotline
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
SNAFU -- Support Network for an Armed Forces Union
Canadian immigration information
Air Line Pilot's Association
Aviation Safety Network
Patience Press -- publisher of books and literature about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Project for a New American Century -- blueprint for the Bush regime's plan for world conquest
Bush regime playing cards -- Washington's most wanted (from, a parody of the World Trade Organization's site)
Another set of Bush regime playing cards -- order your own deck from the Ruckus Society
America: Winning the Logo War
Falwell/Robertson/bin Laden: Can you tell the difference?
What the tarot tells us
Michael Moore's page
The George Dubya Bush Songbook
The White House -- but not the real one
The world's largest peace sign collection!
Dancing Bush
The Onion -- America's Finest News Source

Cindy Sheehan's Quest

On July 4th, 2004, I met Cindy Sheehan and heard her story about her son Casey. I wrote a song, "Support the Troops," inspired by her story.
The Bring Them Home Now Tour -- buses from Camp Casey to Washington.
Cindy's tribute to Casey
Military Families Speak Out
The Gold Star Families for Peace
Move On
Code Pink
Hear a song about Cindy by David Rovics.
See a video about Cindy by Margie Becker.

Amazing Facts

Recognizing Those Who Served

It is interesting to note who is willing to put his life on the line for what he believes in...and who is not. It's worth noting who really served among the heavyweights in each of the major political parties. Be sure to check out the bottom of the list where the people who spend their time jabbering about military service, (the TV pundits) have their military credentials exposed. Read it and weep...for your country.


Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent toVietnamJan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69;Medal of Honor,Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V Purple Hearts.
John Edwards: did not serve.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52;Bronze Star,Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68;Silver Star&Bronze Star,Vietnam.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76;Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine inVietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
Gray Davis: Army Captain inVietnam, Bronze Star.
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb:Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received 311.
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII andKorea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
Wesley Clark:U.S.Army, 1966-2000,West Point,Vietnam, Purple Heart, Silver Star. Retired 4-star general.
John Dingell: WWII vet
John Conyers: Army 1950-57,Korea


Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
House Whiip Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as aviator and flight instructor.
George W. Bush: six-year Nat'l Guard commitment (incomplete).
Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
Gerald Ford: Navy, WWII
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bob Dole: an honorable veteran.
Chuck Hagel: two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star,Vietnam.
Jeff Sessions: Army Reserves, 1973-1986
JC Watts: did not serve.
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
G.H.W. Bush: Pilot in WWII. Shot down by the Japanese.
TomRidge: Bronze Star for Valor inVietnam.
Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
Clarence Thomas: did not serve

Pundits and Preachers

Sean Hannity: did not serve.
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
Michael Savage: did not serve.
George Will: did not serve.
Chris Matthews: did not serve.
Paul Gigot: did not serve.
Bill Bennett: did not serve.
Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
Bill Kristol: did not serve.
Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
Michael Medved: did not serve.

Our World

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans

52 would be female
48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.

If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Countries with Nuclear Weapons Capability

#1. U.S.
HISTORY Set off first nuclear blast in 1945. Has conducted 1,030 tests, more than the rest of the world combined.
ARSENAL 12,070 warheads.
MISSILE RANGE 8,100 mi. (13,000 km), able to reach anywhere in the world

HISTORY First test in 1952; has performed 45 in all
ARSENAL 380 warheads.
RANGE 7,500 mi. (12,000 km)

HISTORY Testing since 1961; 210 tests in all. Conducted six controversial tests in the Pacific Ocean as recently as 1995 and 1996.
ARSENAL 500 warheads.
RANGE 3,300 mi. (5,300 km)

HISTORY Second to conduct tests; 715 in all. Once a major player in arms race, its warhead count is now shrinking.
ARSENAL 22,500 warheads.
RANGE 6,800 mi. (11,000 km)

HISTORY Started testing in 1964; 45 tests in all. Known to be helping Pakistan with its nuclear efforts.
ARSENAL 450 warheads.
RANGE 6,800 mi. (11,000 km)

HISTORY Set off five nuclear tests in May, 1998, surprising the world, conducted its first nuclear test was in 1974.
ARSENAL about 65 warheads.
RANGE 1,550 mi. (2,500 km)

STATUS Began secret weapons program in 1972 to reach parity with India, but restricted by U.S. sanctions since 1990. Just tested a new medium-range missile
ARSENAL 15-25 warheads.
RANGE 930 mi. (1,500 km).

Countries with Undeclared Nuclear-Weapons Capability and Countries Believed to be Attempting to Develop Nuclear Weapons.

STATUS Known to have a bomb in the basement. Pledges not to introduce nukes to the Middle East.
ARSENAL 64-112 warheads.
MISSILE RANGE 930 mi. (1,500 km)

#9. IRAN
STATUS U.S. believes Iran, a member in good standing of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is developing weapons using its nuclear power program.
MISSILE RANGE 300 mi. (500 km)

#10. IRAQ
STATUS Subject to rigorous inspection since its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War. U.N. inspections seem to have halted progress in weapons development.
RANGE 90 mi. (150 km)

STATUS Threatening to suspend a 1994 agreement that froze nuclear activity. Perhaps enough material to build two warheads
RANGE 600-930 mi. (1,000-1,500 km)

#12. LIBYA
STATUS U.S. still thinks Gaddafi is interested in acquiring nuclear weapons, but a U.N. embargo has hampered his progress
RANGE 190 mi. (300 km)

Countries That Gave Up Their Nuclear-Weapons Programs

STATUS Discovered in 1991 to be building a reactor able to produce weapons-grade material. Placed reactor under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and now party to the NPT.

STATUS Both countries pursued weapons programs in the 1980s, but new democratic governments stopped work by 1990. Both have signed a treaty for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in Latin America.

STATUS When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, these former states possessed numerous nuclear weapons. All have rid themselves of the warheads and have acceded to the NPT.

STATUS The only country to develop nuclear weapons and then give them up of its own volition. De Klerk dismantled the arsenal in 1991 and joined the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state.

Sources: Arms Control Association; Center for Defense Information; Center for Nonproliferation Studies; National Resources Defense Council; SIPRI Yearbook 1997

Adapted from Time Magazine, May 25, 1998, Vol. 151, No. 20.

 Why we fight.
 Country Joe's Place has obtained top-secret information about the Pentagon's plan for control of the Middle East.


"When the Iraqi volcano erupts, it won't burn Iraqis. Unlike what the Bush administration is trying to promote and claim, Iraqis never had a civil war, and they’ll never have one unless the occupation troops stay in Iraq. The US troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible so that Iraqis would have the time and space to heal their wounds and deal with their internal issues. The US army shouldn't be left in Iraq to face the ire of millions of Iraqis."

-- Raed Jarrar, February 22, 2006

"The United States was not attacked because we are free. Bin Laden was not attacking the Bill of Rights. We were attacked because the U.S. military and political presence is massive over there. Bin Laden in his fatwah, his statement of declaration of war on the U.S, said the infidels were standing on sacred soil of Saudi Arabia. They want us out of the Middle East. They don't care whether we have separation of church and state."

-- Pat Buchanan, "Meet the Press," February 13, 2005

"...I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example – Sweden?"

-- Osama bin Laden, October 27, 2004

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

-- George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism," 1945

"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press-in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during recent years."

-- Adolf Hitler, 1933

"The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster. Our unfortunate troops, Indian and British, under hard conditions of climate and supply are policing an immense area, paying dearly every day in lives for the willfully wrong policy of the civil administration in Baghdad but the responsibility, in this case, is not on the army which has acted only upon the request of the civil authorities."

-- T.E. Lawrence, August, 1920

Rummy sets you straight Hit the "play" button to hear Donald Rumsfeld explain it all. Hit "stop" when you're convinced.

Music and the Crisis

Watch the Asylum Street Spankers performing "Stick Magnetic Ribbons on your SUV."

It's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

Richard S. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Hear the music


Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) "Life During Wartime"
Beastie Boys "In a World Gone Mad..."
Luka Bloom "I Am Not at War With Anyone"
Jonatha Brooks "War"
Paula Cole "My Hero, Mr. President!"
Crack Emcee "Red, White & Blue"
David Dondero "Pre-lnvasion Jitters"
Michael Franti and Spearhead "Bomb the World"
Lenny Kravitz "We Want Peace"
John Mellencamp "To Washington"
Zack de la Rocha/DJ Shadow "March of Death"
Sonic Youth, Cat Power, Eugene Chadbourne and others
System of a Down "Boom!"

Listen to a
Memorial Medley
in RealAudio
Listen to the Country Joe Band's "Cakewalk to Baghdad."

Listen to my song "Support the Troops."

Listen to "The Call" based on a Robert W. Service poem.

Listen to my song "Peace on Earth."

Requires RealAudio.

More Fixins'

Here's the latest version of the Rag adapted to the terrorist attacks, from Jan Scruggs, October 14, 2002, who writes, "Watch Out Osama... Kentucky sharpshooter is zeroin in his musket!." We've got a whole bunch more.
Fixin’ to Die Rag

Come on all you big strong men
join on up with Osamas Men
Gonna blow up all non Mus lems
From Bali to Manhattan
And its 1 2 3 what are we fightin for
Fightin for Allah and Islam
Just dumb guys- Osamas Men
It 5 6 7 open up the pearly Gates
Strap on a bomb and kill someone
Whoopee its a whole lot of fun

Kill some folks on vacation
Kill some folks in their own nation
Got some cells in Germany
Got a hiding place in Old Bagdaddy
Gotta watch out for Uncle Sam
He sure has some mean Green Berets
Kicked our butts in old Afgan
Navy Seals are pretty tough men

But we just keep killing Civilians!

Still More Fixins'

When Bush morphed the war on terror into another war on Iraq, we found this anonymously posted to the message board. Since then we've got a whole bunch more.
Well come on all you new young men
Uncle Sam's in a mess again
Got himself in a terrible jam
With a crazy Muslim named Saddam
So put down your bibles pick up your guns
We're gonna have a whole lot of FUN

And it's 1 2 3 what are we fighting for
Don't ask me I don't give a damn
I just know we gotta kill Saddam
And its 5 6 7 open up the pearly gates
Aint no time to wonder why
Big oil is startin to cry

Well come on all of you christian right
We all know you love a good fight
Now's your chance for a last crusade
The whole damn word has got to be saved
Just remember when your children all die
They'll be standing at the good Lord's side

Come on Dubya ,better move fast
Our gas is burnin and it won't last
Your daddy started but he couldn't finish
Now's your chance to make your own image
Aren't you glad you don't have sons
Cause were callin up the guard for this one

Featured Essay

Heil! Very Serious 9/11 Untruths
Paul Campos
Rocky Mountain News
June 18, 2008

Every month I get a few e-mails from people who want to reveal to me the real truth about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The truth, according to my correspondents, always involves some incredibly elaborate conspiracy theory in which the U.S. government staged the attacks to justify the so-called war on terror and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

These theories are invariably absurd on their face (for one thing, they assume a genuinely superhuman level of malevolent competence on the part of the Bush administration). Yet despite all their superficial absurdity, the claims of the 9/11 Truthers touch on a deeper truth, which is as ironic as it is disturbing.

That deeper truth is contained in their claims that the real meaning of 9/11 has very little to do with the standard account given by our government and media. While the 9/11 Truth movement is easy to dismiss as a product of various paranoid delusions, the irony is that the respectable version of what happened on 9/11 is itself a reflection of strikingly similar patterns of thought.

The respectable version - the version that was more or less accepted by all Very Serious People at the time of the invasion of Iraq - goes like this: The 9/11 attacks were merely an early strike in a war against the United States. This war is being carried out by something called Radical Islam, of which the al-Qaida terrorist network is only one small branch.

Radical Islam is a global conspiracy, made up of a significant minority of the world's more than 1 billion Muslims. It includes the governments of nations like Iran and Syria, and one of its key supporters was Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime.

The goal of Radical Islam is world domination through the creation of a global caliphate, which requires, among other things, the complete destruction of the United States and the conversion of our surviving population to the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism, as practiced in nations such as Saudi Arabia.

Iraq had to be invaded because Saddam Hussein was trying to build atomic weapons - weapons that he might well give to terrorist groups that were his allies in Radical Islam's quest to destroy America.

This, I repeat, was (and to a significant extent still is), the respectable interpretation of the meaning of 9/11. When anyone questioned the evidence for this view, Very Serious Politicians like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would say things like "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Meanwhile, Very Serious Opinion Makers like Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post argued (and continue to argue) that America must also go to war against Iran because we could wake up one day to the news that nuclear weapons have been detonated in several American cities, by order of suicidal mullahs who turned over their soon-to-be- acquired nuclear arsenal to the vast shadowy global jihadist network.

That the respectable interpretation of 9/11 remains respectable in so many important places should not obscure the fact that it is a paranoid fantasy of the first order - one as utterly unhinged from reality as the most extravagant imaginings of the 9/11 Truthers.

It's easy to lose sight of this because while the 9/11 Truthers remain quarantined on obscure Web sites, the paranoid conspiracy theorists currently in charge of American foreign policy continue to appear regularly on network television and on the opinion pages of our leading newspapers.

There, they make crazy arguments, such as that denying the president the right to throw people in prison for the rest of their lives without ever having to explain why exposes our nation to the risk of annihilation by terrorists. Meanwhile, almost nobody ever points out that these arguments are actually insane.

And that's the real truth about 9/11.

Read previous featured essays.


H  O  M  E