Congressman Ford, Mr. Limbaugh, and friends: Take a deep breath. The BBC report below, just posted, refers to the "negotiations" going on today between the U.S. and Turkish governments over how much it's worth for the Turks to be our loyal allies in the forthcoming war to take out Saddam Hussein. Right now we've offered the Turks $6 billion cash (that's 25 bucks, folks, for each and every living American) and $20 billion in loan guarantees. But the Turks are playing hard to get, it seems. The story gives more details... For a moment, I was confused, thinking I had stumbled accidentally onto the BBC on-line sports section. After all, this "news" piece reads more like a report about the hard-nosed salary negotiations involving the re-signing of an NBA superstar, than it reads like the description of actual real-life diplomatic manuevers involving the geopolitical future of the Middle East, and the possible loss of thousands of lives. Liberal, conservative, commie pinko, devotee of Attila the Hun: I don't care what your political persuasion is. Just please, someone, answer me this: Who in their right mind goes into a war by BRIBING other countries to be their allies? If, as the BBC reports below, "Popular opinion in the country (Turkey) is almost totally opposed to a war on Iraq," what exactly do Rummy and the boys think our greenbacks are buying? If their game plan (supposedly) is to bring democracy to the Middle East, and the vast majority of the Turkish citizenry opposes our actions, what kind of message does our President think our buying our way around the wishes of that majority sends to the Turkish people? Silly me, I forget; we're in the middle of a "war" on terrorism, and we are justified in doing anything and everything to, as W likes to say, "bring the terrorists to justice." But, even if you accept that dubious logic, what makes these military geniuses think that money buys loyalty? That concept barely and rarely works in peacetime; what in the world makes the Administration so sure it'll work when the bombs start flying? How many Turks do our White House hawks think will lay down their lives to make the world safe for American banking? Do we (sorry; they) really think that the Turks, being sensible, god-fearing folk, won't take the money and run? Hang down your head, Rush Limbaugh; time for you and your ilk to look in the mirror. The right-wing talk-show hosts have the nerve to accuse the anti-war crowd of appeasement. What in the name of Neville Chamberlain, Rush, do you call this sort of nonsense? US awaits Turkey's Iraq decision The US is waiting to find out whether Turkey will offer key logistical support for a possible attack on Iraq. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is due to announce on Friday whether Turkey will accept a compensation offer in return for allowing US troops to use its military bases. Although the US has said it will not increase the size of the offer, a State Department spokesman said the two countries had been working to restructure the package. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that the "ample" American and British troops now in the Gulf were ready for military action against Iraq. Holding out US Secretary of State Colin Powell made clear on Thursday that there would be no further increase in the offer. US officials have indicated that the money on table amounts to $6bn in grants and up to $20bn in loan guarantees. The BBC Turkey correspondent says the government there has delayed answering the American request, hoping for a better deal. Popular opinion in the country is almost totally opposed to a war on Iraq. Turkey argues that its economy suffered a loss of tens of billions of dollars as a result of the 1991 Gulf War, and that it had little input in subsequent decisions affecting the area, particularly northern Iraq. The situation is further complicated by calls from many within the Turkish leadership for a second United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq, authorising the use of force, to be adopted before the Americans are allowed in. One last request, friends. Please, read this again, this time aloud, and try -- as hard as you can -- to tell yourself that the government of our beloved country has not gone stark-raving mad. Try. Kenneth Neill (Publisher and CEO, Flyer) Memphis

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