Letters on “Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party”

27 January 2003

Below we post a selection of letters on David Walsh’s January 24 article, “Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly red-baits the Workers World Party.”

Dear World Socialist Web Site,

I read with great interest your article on Atlantic Monthly editor Michael Kelly, and I am sorry to say I was not at all shocked. A few weeks ago, Kelly spoke at my high school about America’s “moral intervention” around the world. Completely ignoring the issue of oil, he argued a “liberal, progressive, democratic” case for war on Iraq to “liberate” the Iraqis. I raised my hand immediately to counter his position, but he never called on me (perhaps due to the fact that I am of Middle Eastern descent).

I approached him later and asked him something very, very tempered and moderate, along the lines of, “If you allow America to go off on moral interventions, then won’t it simply use this as a vehicle to secure its own interests, especially seeing as it’s a capitalist country.”

Kelly began his answer firstly with, “Yes, and it’s a capitalist world. And America needs to be out for its own interest in order to survive. I think this country has a long history of doing moral things that were costly to itself but benefited others.”

I responded with, “I can’t think of a single example.”

He used the example of the Cold War (the “liberation of Europe” as he called it), saying that the benefit to America from fighting the Cold War was less than its cost. I then asked if he considered ruling the world to be outweighed by any monetary cost, but we had reached the door in our short walk from the cafeteria, and he had to leave. I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere and went to lunch.

This speech as well as others we’ve had since show to me a growing subservience among the liberal, traditionally middle-class antiwar intelligentsia to the financial elite. The fact that those who consider themselves progressives, “too liberal for the Democrats” and ex-Vietnam protesters are now on the frontlines of the fight to grant America the ability to “morally” intervene whenever it wishes is a sign of the growing consolidation of power in the hands of the few.

Your site is one of the only that provides an alternative to this movement, as well as a class analysis of events. I commend you for your opposition to the war based on class consciousness, not on a semi-religious “love thy neighbor” peace stance.

Best wishes,



25 January 2003

Just finished reading the article on this dipstick. Saw wingnut David Horowitz screaming earlier this week in unison with brain-dead Hannity on Faux News that all protesters in last Saturday’s march are all tied to North Korea and are traitors.

This has to be a concerted effort because of the large turnout. I dare these fascists to call the veterans and religious people I saw marching alongside me anything but patriotic.

I’m glad the spirit of McCarthy lives through them because from what I read, he was wrong then and history will not look back on the Kellys, Hannitys and Horowitzs with a kind eye.

They are shocked the opposition has come out so strongly against the moron’s policies. They need to be reminded we had eight long years of their rhetoric and we are now beating them at their own game.


New Rochelle, New York

24 January 2003

For sheer excremental poison, Kelly’s column can hardly be beat. In a muck sweat he holds up Christopher Hitchens as an emblem of sanity and right thinking, as much in love with “Islamofascism” as our boy Chris ever was. From the first paragraph of this attempt to reduce the antigovernment demonstrations to a mere bad odor in the wind which, upon investigation, suddenly reveals itself to be some kind of toxic waste dump of his worst nightmares, Kelly plays the part of the warm-up man, creeping along from schismatic to factional to eccentric to Hitchens, to accusing the “left” of supporting despots (pot calling kettle black, here), preparing his audience for the main event—people against the Bush administration and its war are marching with Stalinists.

Indeed. Undoubtedly we were also marching with Buddhists, New Age crystal sniffers, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian fundamentalists, Democrats, transvestites, vegans, Palestinians, Republicans, Arsenal Football Club supporters, method actors, chiropractors, Ayurvedic practitioners, Marxists, Hassidim, and Grandmothers for Peace. That does not make any one of us a member of any of those groups. It makes us all simply people against the rampant militarism and despicable lies of the Bush administration. It makes us people who are watching the US economy crash around our ears; people without healthcare, without homes; without jobs; people whose children, if they live to school age after not receiving proper immunization and nutrition, will find themselves in ruined buildings with no books, few qualified teachers and toilet facilities that would not be out of place in a gas station on old Route 66, while, in the meantime, millions upon millions of dollars are pumped into an insatiable war machine that will feed on blood and oil until there is nothing else to devour.

I share your outrage at this diseased spew. Our only answer can be to remain standing against them, no matter what vile spittle is aimed at us.


San Francisco

24 January 2003

Splendid article and well done!

The US corporate media and the Washington Post in particular have made lying a profession, and a very rewarding one unfortunately, in advancing the special interests of the various lobbies, notably oil, defense and Israel.


24 January 2003

I first saw Kelly’s column on MSNBC’s web site: http://www.msnbc.com/news/862778.asp?0si=-&cp1=1

“Absent from Kelly’s litany”, Walsh wrote, “is the one word that goes to the heart of the US drive to conquer and dominate Iraq—oil.”

This is especially hilarious when you look at the graphic at the very top on the MSNBC article. I am almost certain that the protester “Uncle Scam”’s sign says something to the effect of “No blood for oil.” How convenient that the lady’s head in the photograph is blocking out that part of the sign that says “for oil.”

Literally laugh out loud hilarious.


24 January 2003