An Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg

Email Print


was an "ordinary" American conservative. I scratched my
head when we invaded Iraq, and since I was in high school, my main
concern was that my reservist Uncles make it home safely. I didn't
understand why my relatives should be in harm's way to fight someone
else's war in the Middle East, but went along with the "we
have to win it if we're in it" attitude. After high school,
I went to Georgia Tech. I knew the US was helping one side in some
"Bosnian War", and that the other side was supposedly
doing "really bad things". It sounded fishy, but I was
in school and didn't have the time to care.

graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree, and took a job
happily building the Internet infrastructure that makes email and
the web possible. I disliked being in the 30%+ tax bracket, but
compared to student poverty, 60+% of my pay seemed pretty good.
I met and married my beautiful Serbian bride a few months before
anyone had ever heard of Kosovo. I got quite a shock when I discovered
she was one of the "bad guys" but that her family had
been ethnically cleansed from Sarajevo by the Muslims. Here was
a side to the story I had never heard. She told me the US was going
to start another war over Kosovo and was helping the Albanians.
I nodded my head at the time, but still didn't quit believe that
the media would actually lie about something so dangerous as a war.

when the claims of a genocide started, I was shocked. She had called
it correctly. CNNAOLTIMEWARNERNBCCBSABCMSNBC all spun into action.
The most ludicrous claims of Jamie Shea and James Rubin were parroted
without question. "100,000 rounded up in a Pristina soccer
stadium." Pictures of war refugees were shown as "proof"
of the genocide and ethnic cleansing, after the bombs started falling
of course. You probably think we were right to bomb.

wrong. We armed the KLA while "brokering" the "peace
deal". We setup the massacre at Racak. We ripped up the Rambouilett
agreement that Yugoslavia signed but the KLA didn't. We drafted
a new one with an ammendment that turned Yugoslavia into a NATO
puppet state and bombed them when they didn't sign. In violation
of the NATO charter. In violation of the US Constitution. We bombed
hospitals, power grids, the Chinese Embassy, a market, civilian
factories, a commuter train, a TV station, an Albanian refugee column,
and countless civilians. We bombed within a kilometer of my in-laws
home in downtown Zemun outside Belgrade. We bombed past the 60 day
limit of the Unconstitutional "War Powers Act". We bombed
in spite of all norms of decency, morality, and common human kindness.

early on in that personal nightmare I realized that we have become
an Empire. Now, paying tribute to the government sickens me. I know
that my money went to fund an illegal, unethical war. As we approach
the two year anniversary of the bombing, I look back at my political
transformation: my joy at finding, a site dedicated
to the truth; my sudden libertarian epiphany when Justin Raimondo's
links brought me to

now, as I read National Review (via links from,
I ask myself. "How can anyone with a shred of morality advocate
aggressive war?" It's a question more and more Americans ask
themselves, and each other. Perhaps it's a question you should ask
yourself. Have you ever seen the Chinese Embassy with your own eyes?
Do you understand how shocked and ashamed I was to see bombed bridges,
buildings, power plants, and factories as I toured welcoming Yugoslavia
last summer? Probably, you do not. When you write about invading
Africa, policing Iraq, and peace-keeping in Bosnian and Kosovo,
you mean the abstract United States military to do it. You don't
mean my high school and college friends that went into ROTC, but
they'll be the ones who go. When you use your convienient abstration
skills to call me a hairsplitting, ideological kook you don't mean
me specifically. But, here I am, along with a lot of other ordinary

out here, Mr. Goldberg. And we'd rather read Lew Rockwell's sanely
written, informative, and funny essays than yours. We'd rather read
Justin Raimondo's conspiracy theories and "Follow the Money"
polemics, than your Imperial blather. We'd rather read Rothbard,
Sobran, Reese, (Walter) Williams, Sowell, Kantor, Dietman, Sapienza,
Calahan, and (gasp!) even Bob Murphy before delving into your "invade
the world" screed.

not anti-American for questioning the sanity of our current government.
I'm just an ordinary American, sick of being told to fork over my
money for politicians to buy votes and bomb my relatives.

John Keller

10, 2001

Email Print