Selectively Anti-War and Eagerly Pro-War

One of the loudest advocates of the war in Chechnya outside of Russia is none other than the chief screecher at, Justin Raimondo, the man who swoons over Vladimir Putin’s increasing authoritarianism and the open dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. His latest whitewash of Putin is now online, “The Frame-Up of Vladimir Putin.”

The latest screech comes from the man who was so smitten by Vlad that he wrote,

I shall not soon forget the look on the Russian leader’s face as he watched George W. Bush cavort and grin his way through the Moscow trip: it spoke of a supremely adult forbearance, of a man whose inherent dignity and focus allowed him to rise above everyday trivialities and concentrate on a single objective.

There’s plenty more cheer-leading for authoritarian policies in Russia and Balarus by and writers, all documented in The Fever Swamp.

That Raimondo….always good for a laugh. (Never more so than when he posts as a sock puppet on other websites under various poorly concocted slavic names, such as “rayadunaevskaya,” or faux arabic or kurdish names.)

37 Responses to “Selectively Anti-War and Eagerly Pro-War”

  1. Not bad. Not bad at all! A Walter Duranty for a new age. It’s too bad a lot more people will see through Raimondo than saw through Duranty. And Duranty didn’t write for a “website,” since the New York Times would print his coverups. But when whitewashing crimes, you gotta start someplace!

  2. What sick people. Over at Lew Rockwell, they’re pissing on the poor lady’s grave and blaming her murder on … the west, as a really clever plot to undermine Vladimir Putin by murdering one of his most prominent Russian critics. She wasn’t even important, according to the Rockwell crazies:

    According to this guy —

    The reaction of a wealthy Russian businessman dining in Brussels on the night of her murder was typical:

    ‘Politkovskaya? Never heard of her.’

    So some guy in a restaurant told some other guy he hadn’t heard of her and he reported it (or maybe it was just reported to him in the first place, and he’s passing it on) on a crazy website. I guess that means she really was unimportant.

    You don’t have to be a fan of Bush’s neo-Con to figure out that Rockwell and Raimondo are bonkers.

  3. What is their problem? Do they hate the USA so much that any foreign opponent is always better? Would they have embraced the communists and the nazis because they oppposed the USA? If they hated Roosevelt, would they have loved Hitler? (Agreed that Putin is not as bad as Hitler, so maybe a better comparison is Mussolini.) How can they claim to be libertarians? They have no love of liberty. If they’re anything, they’re antiamericangovernmentarians.

  4. You can’t find enough enemies here at home, so you have to find them abroad. Some “journalist” gets herself killed and you blame it on a foreign leader so you can pursue an imperial agenda. Fuck you.

  5. I call a more traditional term from the Cold War-Communist to someone like Justin Raimondo truely is. Isn’t it how ironic he promotes such a brutal tyrant like Putin but denounces America as such a “fascist” state? Hmm, the word fascist, doesn’t that sound like what Communists did during the Cold War in promoting the U.S. government to be Fascist? Hmm?

  6. Kind of like the La Rouche people claiming they are free market. Which makes sense if you define “free markets” to be those markets which the government controls 😉

  7. I admit to being dense…but I don’t get the “C. followed by M.” reference. But given who likely killed Politkovskaya, I think the appropriate letters for Rockwell/Raimondo are “KGB” apologists.

    This past weekend a Russian friend told me that the party line in Russia, believed by most (including my friend) is that Politikovskaya really was not an important journalist and “therefore” this is no big deal. In other words, freedom of speech is beside the point — it’s only a crime if the murder victim is “important” (and this in a state where political opposition is prevented from attaining “importance.”)

    “Radek” describes this terrible murder as as “some ‘journalist’ gets herself killed,” and condemns those oppose this murder as “imperialists.” So Radek, are you actually KGB/FSB, or just an apologist?

  8. Hey, I’m just saying if you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, shouldn’t you be called a duck? If Raimondo talks like a Communist, walks like a Communist but says he’s a “Libertarian” even though he is an apologist toward Putin? Why not call a spade a spade and Raimondo is surely a spade when it comes to being right up to what a Communist truely is.

    This is the type of tactic Communists used during the Cold War when they were protecting their favorite dictator or terrorist leader. Now it seems like their apologists today are trying to paint themselves as “Capitalists” when they really are not. Even Putin’s words of the fall of the Soviet Union being a “geo-political disaster” echoes that call among today’s Communist movements.

  9. Raimondo has always been excessive with vitriolic rhetoric and short with facts. He has little regard for the facts and is a strong believe in the ends justify the means. His Rothbardian-Leninism requires him and the racist ilk at Rockwell Institute to be the “radical vanguard” of the “movement”. That means any other contender to lead the movement or influence it must be “smashed” no matter the tactic. Hence their constant attacks on Cato and anyone who disagrees with them playing footsy with Nazis, Confederates, White Supremacists and other such odious “friends” of the Rockwellian agenda.

  10. Is there any evidence that Putin had Politkovskaya killed?

    I went and read the Raimondo column you linked to, and he refers to “occupied Chechnya,” as well as describing the pro-Russian government there as “thuggish.” Question: is it possible to believe Putin is not guilty of having Politkovskaya murdered while still thinkng that the Russian invasion of Chechnya might not be such a good idea?

  11. Raimondo has defended the massacres in Chechnya before and referred to all separatists as “terrorists.” See

    No one here has stated that Putin had Politkovskaya killed. Palmer said that sokmeone made a gift to Putin by assassinating her on Putin’s birthday. That doesn’t imply that he ordered it himself, but someone sure wanted to shut up his critic.

  12. hmmmmm…..

    The article you link to doesn’t say what you say it says: it condemns the massacre of children at Beslan by Chechen terrorists, and wonders why people who normally support all-out war against Muslims make an exception in the case of the Chechens. All pretty obvious to anyone without an axe to grind.

    Btw, is there any evidence — aside from the date of Politkovskaya’s murder — that the murder was a “gift” to Putin? Or do we dispense with evidence when it comes to people the U.S. government doesn’t like?

  13. Tom G. Palmer

    The tastelessly named “fbuddy” (how Raimondoesque) obscures the fact that he, er, that is, Raimondo put scare quotes around “separatist” (was President Dudayev a “separatist”?; what about the “separatists” who led the fight for independence for the Baltic states, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, etc?) and lumped together all Chechens who support separation as “terrorists.” And note how he equates (as a “body blow”) a horrifying mass murder of school children with critical remarks against his hero, Vladimir Putin:

    “But it’s no joke to the Russians, who are reeling under the impact of the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 — and the follow-up body blow in the form of a rhetorical attack from the West. Editorialists left and right attack Putin as a dictator, wail that the Russian media is politically monochromatic, and demand that Moscow negotiate a “peace accord” with the crazed killers of the Chechen “insurgency,” who have been murdering, raping, and pillaging their way through the entire region since the Soviet collapse.”

    That is followed by the sly insinuation that the U.S. is “subsidizing” the monsters who carried out the Beslan attack: “Whomever is subsidizing these terrorists has one goal in mind: the destabilization of the Putin regime and the further atomization of the former Soviet Union.” I am rather confident that if there are foreign subsidies going to the people who carry out such attacks in Russia, they are coming at present from Islamists, and not from the US government. Raimondo slanders all Chechens with his reference to “Chechen/al-Qaeda links” and lumps all Chechens together with the killers of Beslan. What a slander. Of course, he lumps all Iraqis together with the insurgents/terrorists there and refers to police recruits as “Quislings” and “traitors” — that is, he follows his own weirdly Lyndon-LaRouchesque logic and sees the world entirely through his bizarrely distorting lens: Iraqis as either heroic enemies of the American state or Quislings, Chechens as all terrorists, etc., etc. He even lines up on the side of Putin’s campaign against the “oligarchs,” especially the most important to introduce openness and accountability in Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It only presents a coherent picture when viewed through the lens of a deeply sick mind.

    Now along comes Raimondo to insist that his article is just a straightforward and balanced treatment. Anyone who reads it will find the work of a truly sick little mind.

  14. Isn’t it simply disguisting to have Raimondo lecture how America is a Fascist state or is “heading” down that road when he sticks up for a truely dictatorial guy-Vladimir Putin?

    Simply disguisting, and in my book, downright treasonous.

  15. Tom,
    There are certainly times when I find it difficult to defend Raimondo, and this is certainly one of them. From the news articles I read, no one knows much about who exactly killed that journalist and why, and I think it’s probably obtuse of anyone in America to think that they can divine the answers from the current news reports.

    On the other hand, I think it’s hypocritical of you to accuse Raimondo of being selective when you are just as guilty of the same sin. How long has Raimondo been an unwavering clarion in opposition to the murder of the Iraqi population, a truly disgusting travesty to anyone who supposedly respects private property and natural rights. Granted, I understand you are against the war, but next to his shouting I have seen only mewing from you and your organization. You think he’s a crackpot and a detractor from the libertarian movement, but you’re the one who accepted the hospitality of an organization whose main goal is to kill and destroy what is not theirs (the U.S. army), so that you could distribute libertarian literature to people who are either now dead, have moved out of the country, or who won’t possibly care once the U.S. pulls out and they are under the power of the extremists that were created as a result of this war. I applaud your effort to spread the ideals of liberty, but I find some of your methods far more delusional than Raimondo’s theories.

    Speaking of applause, it’s pretty sad that after five years of being right, right, and more right about the Iraq war, he has to toot his own horn: . Why don’t you lay some credit where credit is due, Tom? Where’s your similar derision for all the pro-war supporters, commentators, theorists, economists, and other supposedly intelligent men and women who continually and openly want to violate Iraqi’s natural rights for the furtherance of illogical and ephemeral concepts? One of the reasons I don’t commit much time or effort to any libertarian organization is because of the mostly pointless infighting they all engage in, especially in light of the fact that a) we are supposed to be intellectually and morally superior other strains of political theory and b) there are much more egregious examples of people we should be going after for their feveredly fantastic beliefs (see Republicans and Democrats). Until I see more of that, I’m embarrassed to be associated with any of you, even if I do share your beliefs.

  16. Tom G. Palmer

    I find the above rather confused. I don’t recall accepting the hospitality of the U.S. army, except in the sense that anyone who visited Germany after the war was accepting the hospitality of the U.S. army.

    I don’t limit my life to rantings on the internet. I have other things to do. I have used the internet to try to explain, as clearly as I can, that the neo-conservative mentality that produced the disastrous results we’ve witnessed is rooted in a deep misunderstanding of human nature. “The neoconservative assumption that the default condition when you eliminate a dictatorship is liberal democracy has been shown to be false. It is not the default position of mankind but a rare achievement, one that is often won only at a high price.” ( But I don’t measure my impact by the decibel level or the level of invective I can reach on a blog or on internet postings.

  17. “after five years of being right, right, and more right about the Iraq war”

    If he clamored on about the Copernicus model for celestial arrangement, would you give him credit for being right about that as well? Even a crackpot occasionally says something correct, although rarely original.

    “he has to toot his own horn”

    There’s at least one thing he’s good at.

    BTW, I take tax breaks for my mortgage and charitable contributions, I have worked for companies that sold services to the US government, and I often use government subsidized transportation, all of which I’m against. I suppose you consider me hypocritical as well?

  18. Devon Richardson

    Tom Palmer has spent the past two or so years attackingthe antiwar movement, justifying a continued U.S. presence inIraq, and shamelessly smearing and obsessing over Raimondo — yet Raimondo was and is right, while Palmer turns out to have been quite wrong in his support for the current Iraqi government. Palmer claim supported the “murder” of those brave heroic Iraqi policemen who were protecting the emerging Iraqi “democracy” — but it turned out that these “police” were just Shia death squads. Raimondo called for immediate withdrawal long before it became popular to do so — and now Palmer is calling for the same thing, many months later…. without acknowledging any change in his position.

    Admit it, Tom: you were wrong. Raimondo was right.

  19. That’s bullshit. Palmer made it clear that he opposed the invasion from the start. He’s criticized in strong terms a few crazies who give the antiwar movement a bad name. Justin Raimondo isn’t “the antiwar movement.” Thank god for that! Raimondo gives it a bad name by defending terrorists, cozying up to dictators, and deliberately spreading falsehoods. Oh, and add to that smearing people in the nastiest language, lying, and embracing anti-semites, racists, and other fringe characters. So who’s done more for peace and who’s done more to discredit it?

  20. Devon Richardson

    Palmer made it clear he opposed immediate withdrawal, and WENT TO IRaq to give political support to the Iraqi “government.” If that isn’t supporting the war, then the concept has no meaning. As for”cozying up to dictators,” Palmer’s appearing on the same platform with the rulers of “democratic” Georgia — which has just arrested the leaders of opposition parties on a charge of “sedition” — makes this charge ludicrouschange” in Russia (and Ukraine), and that does not equal support to Putin — any more than opposing the Iraq war meant supporting Saddam Hussein. “Supporting terrorists” — when, where, how? As for “smearing people in the nastiest language” — pot meet kettle.

  21. Tom G. Palmer

    Mr. Richardson’s approach defies logic, which is to say that it is a perfect example (remarkably perfect) of Raimondoite illogic. “Opposing immediate withdrawal” at some particular point of time, as virtually every critic of the war did (Ron Paul included, by the way), is not the same as opposing withdrawal forever or calling for a perpetual presence. I supported withdrawal on a clear timetable, preferably linked to concrete achievements. Unfortunately, I don’t have George Bush’s ear, any more than Devon Richardson does, and my advice somehow didn’t inspire him. As for “to give support to the Iraqi ‘government,'” that’s a typical Raimondoite distortion. I did not support a government, but met with lawyers who were working on the constitution and with members of parliament who were debating it. I won’t apologize for advising them to institutionalize religious freedom, federalism, separation of powers, an independent judiciary, freedom of schooling, freedom of speech, and other principles of liberalism. That isn’t “supporting the war.” Sorry, Justin. It’s supporting justice and liberty.

    I’m in Georgia right now and have met members of the opposition. Sorry again (but not really, it’s just a figure of speech, Justin), but they’re not in jail, but are actively opposing the government’s policies, some of which are quite good (like allowing bank competition, slashing tariffs to zero, and so on). A variety of people have been arrested, as were Russian military officers, on charges of espionage and judicial processes are underway. I have no opinion on the merit of the charges, but I do hope that the judicial process will proceed fairly.

    Georgia isn’t perfect, by any means. There is ongoing reform to introduce more independence to the judiciary (including restrictions on ex parte communications by judges). More needs to be done to insist on judicial due process. But the difference between Georgia and the Russian government led by Mr. Putin, over whom Raimondo is positively starry eyed, is very obvious. One is moving in the right direction (Georgia), and the other is moving toward ethnic cleansing, institutionalized racism, militarism, renationalization, and on and on. As for supporting terrorism, look to the entries in “The Fever Swamp” ( ). It’s an old tactic of Raimondo and his groupies to insist each time that each of their ridiculous claims be documented, but I haven’t the time. They’re all there — the assertion that Iraqi police recruits are “Quislings” and “traitors,” the “toasts” to the killings of American soldiers, the calls for the deaths of all American soldiers, the fawning support for Presidents Putin and Lukashenka, etc., etc., etc. Go and look for yourself.

  22. All the comments above by Devon about Georgia and Russia are silly. Georgia has functioning opposition, Russia does not. Case of Justice Party is a party that is based in Russia and financed from Moscow – the head of party is former KGB General. 2 Month detention for investigation is not nice for members of such tiny microparties, but charge is a legal one and they are in process of being investigated. So was the case for real Russian spies who Georgian government expelled back to Russia. I hope Georgian government will not react to provocation by Russian government and Russian government financed party, so the situation does not become worse. But Georgia is a new democracy, compared to Russia, which is a new dictatorship. All independent people of the region fear Russian government with good reason.


    Saakashvili’s claim to be fighting the good fight against a hegemonic Russia has been dented by the way he’s handled his country’s own territorial disputes. He came to power promising to reunite Georgia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions that broke away in the bloodshed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has spent more time rattling sabers than building trust, however, with the predictable result that many of the residents in those regions have taken Russian passports and now look to Moscow, not Tbilisi, as the more reliable engine of jobs and security.

    Saakashvili has also come under fire for his management of the parts of Georgia his government controls. Ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis say they are as marginalized as ever. Human Rights Watch, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other outside groups have documented judicial corruption, police abuse, and the gross mistreatment of prison inmates, including the deaths of seven prisoners last March in a “riot” that critics say was set off by prison authorities themselves.

    That same week in Tbilisi, hundreds of demonstrators protested the government ‘s alleged cover-up of the Interior Ministry’s involvement in a high-profile murder. One of the country’s most prominent television newscasters quit her job on camera, to protest attempts to censor the news at the government-affiliated channel.

    And where was Saakashvili during all the turmoil? He was at the White House, basking in the glow of President George W. Bush’s praise. Saakashvili “is a man who shares the same values I share,” Bush said. “He believes in the universality of freedom.”

    Bush even singled out Saakashvili’s work in law enforcement, the issue that had sent protesters to the streets and brought the sharpest criticism from groups like Human Rights Watch. “[H]e cleaned out the police forces in order to rid the country of corruption in the law enforcement,” Bush said, ignoring critics who say that the Georgian president has run roughshod over basic human rights.


    Palmer and Bush singing the same song. Why am I not surprised?

  24. Rule of Law requires enforcement of the rules — by NON-peaceful police/ military/ militias.

    Establishing justice is not peaceful. Yet all wars are “sold” as a war against injustice.

    The US, now in Iraq, should stay until the Iraqi Sunni Arabs stop supporting the bomb-making Sunnis terrorists, and most of them suffer punishment from a working justice system. Otherwise the pre-mature leaving will result in the most ruthless terrorists winning in local areas, with horrible ethnic cleansing — all to be blamed, not on “Bush”, but on America.

    The reality is that anti-Bush/ anti-Republican critiques on foreign policy inside America, become anti-American outside of America. “Even Americans say how terrible X is…”

    3000 US deaths in 3 years is not a disaster. 10 000 in a year would be.
    For those who say it IS a disaster, intellectual honesty should demad they say what number would NOT have been a disaster. 600? 80? 18?

    Unreal perfection is not an option.

    Similarly, every real Libertarian oriented politician will be compromised in some ways — and it’s fine to argue a bit over which compromise is worse (worse to be against the drug-war but for Iraq, or for Iraq but also for the drug war?). Personal insults, and sock puppets, are pretty childish.

    I’m glad, Tom P, that you’re mostly doing the other good things you’re doing.

  25. Tom has offered no fawning support for Pres. Saakashvili, unlike Justin’s enthusiastic and eager support for every authoritarian move of Pres. Putin. Indeed, has Tom written about Saakashvili at all? He visited the country of which Saakashvili the president and offered support for libertarian principles and policies. Is that a bad thing? How is that singing on the same page as Pres. Bush? Tom has also visited Russia repeatedly and done the same there. Does that mean that he is a supporter of Pres. Putin’s policies? Should he never visit countries whose presidents fall short of libertarian ideals, regardless of how much? Should he not visit Cuba, or Germany, or, for that matter, the U.S?

    Anthony has gotten his knickers in a very tight knot, indeed, but it’s hardly clear why.

  26. “Palmer and Bush singing the same song. Why am I not surprised?”

    So “anthony” you think it’s fine and dandy that Raimondo goes about and defends someone as dictatorial as Putin? And since when as Palmer ever been on the same page as Bush? As a former Bush supporter I’m quite confused of this statement. Isn’t Palmer going against the Republicans in Congress and even going against Bush’s policies in Iraq? The only people who seem to be on the same page seem to be Raimondo and Putin.

  27. Palmer is defending a regime in Georgia that is significantly more repressive than Putin, and is appearing on the same stage as Georgian government officials. I am merely setting the record straight.

  28. Also: Palmer admits that there have been arrests of the opposition, and claims these people are “spies” — and that the “judicial process” is going forward. I am merely pointing out that these “judicial processes” are flawed, to say the very least. There’s a double standard at work here, and the motive is fairly obvious.

    Raimondo, on the other hand, does not endorse Putin’s domestic policies, though he does note that Putin is standing up to American (NATO) expansionism. He writes of “occupied Chechnya” and describes the Russian-installed “president” there as “thuggish” — hardly a “pro-war” stance.

    The situation in the Georgia-Russia stand-off is much more complex than Palmer is willing to admit, and Georgia, far from being innocent, is clearly the aggressor — and is emboldened by lots of American aid. The astronomical increase in Georgia’s military budget is not indicative of Saakashvili’s peaceful intentions.

  29. Tom: “A variety of people have been arrested, as were Russian military officers, on charges of espionage and judicial processes are underway. I have no opinion on the merit of the charges, but I do hope that the judicial process will proceed fairly.”

    Anthony: “Palmer admits that there have been arrests of the opposition, and claims these people are “spies” — and that the “judicial process” is going forward.”

    Let’s be clear. Either Anthony either can’t read or he is flagrantly dishonest. Tom wrote that they have been arrested on charges of espionage. He did not claim that they were spies. And he did not express an opinion on their guilt or innocence. The tenor of Anthony’s remarks suggests to me both that he is not incapable of reading, but instead that he has “fairly obvious” motives for posting here. He is a liar.

  30. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, a lot of back and forth above. I haven’t commented publicly on the Saakashvili government’s policies overall, but obviously they are not perfect. The regional issues of Adjara, Ossetia, and Abkhazia are complex and the various governments in Tbilisi have not handled them as well as one would have hoped. Notably, after the ethnic Georgian population of Abkhazia was driven off (Georgia has numerous refugees from Abkhazia and Ossetia, as well as ethnic Chechens who have been driven from Chechnya by the Russian government), the Georgian government missed various opportunities to promote freedom of trade and robust federalism. The presence of Russian troops has not really made things better, however, and the granting of Russian passports to the populations of the two Russian-occupied regions of Georgia has amounted to virtual annexation of the territory. The various conflicts in the region have left few “sides” with purely clean hands.

    A policy of absolutely free trade, including full freedom of trade for products from Abkhazia, such as citrus products, is clearly a better approach to embargo, and the government of Georgia is embarking on the most free-trade policy of virtually any government in the world, with zero tariffs for most products and reform of the customs process to reduce informal barriers to trade. I hope that that is applied without reservation to the products of Ossetian and Abkhazian producers. It would be a far better policy than the embargo of the Russian government against all trade, travel, and postal connections between Russia and Georgia, not to mention the ethnic cleansing of Georgians –including Russian citizens — being undertaken in Russia.

    As to which government is more repressive, I think that all governments have bad marks on their record, the U.S. government not excepted. Which is worse? And which is moving in which direction? Those are empirical questions that can’t be answered by looking at what the Bush Administration’s foreign policy is and then concluding that if the Bush Administration leans toward a government, libertarians should try especially hard to attack it, and if the Bush Administration criticizes a government, libertarians should try to whitewash it. That makes no sense to me at all and represents a loss of one’s independent judgement and moral compass.

    Anthony is simply shocked that I’ve met with the Georgian Prime Minister and other ministers of the Georgian government. Is he shocked that I’ve been in the Kremlin and the Duma and met with officers of the Russian government? I’ve met with government ministers in many countries. In no case would a reasonable person construe that as endorsing all of their policies, any more than “appearing on the same stage” (what a horrifying prospect!) as members of the U.S. Senate or the Hungarian government or the Greek government would entail endorsing all of the policies of those governments, either.

  31. Tom G. Palmer

    Just a quick addendum. I disagree with Sandeep and doubt that Anthony’s misstatement is an actual lie. I think a more likely explanation is that Anthony cannot distinguish between the statement “X has been charged with espionage, and I have no opinion as to whether he is guilty or not, but I hope that the judicial process will proceed fairly” and “these people are spies and the judicial process is going forward.” It takes a little thought (not much, it’s true) to see the difference between “charged” and “guilty,” but I guess that’s too much effort some people.