On October 22, 2008, I recorded a talk I had with Salam Talib, who is a computer engineer and journalist from Iraq and who is now studying in San Francisco. He has worked with US independent journalist, Dahr Jamail, and other independent journalists as an interpreter and fellow reporter on the conditions in Iraq that ordinary people have faced during the US military occupation. Dahr Jamail is the author of "Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq."

When I met a person by the name of Zaineb Alani, I learned that I have been mispronouncing 'Salam Talib'as I made the following audio recordings for the radio program. Saying his name with a long 'a' after the 'l' and a long 'i' after the second 'l' is incorrect, according to Ms. Alani.

The audio for the WCRS 102.1 and 98.3 LP FM program that aired in late October or early November of 2008 is divided into four parts. You can find the audio portals below, after the paragraphs of text.

Here are some questions and some notes I developed as I put together the radio program. Please go to and offer your ideas and whatever else you want to express.

Why did the vast majority of the US public, if I am not mistaken, seem to have no problem with the 12 years of sanctions on Iraq that caused suffering and death for many Iraqi people, while the Mr. Hussein continued to live well?

After 5 and ½ years of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, what can ordinary people in the US do about it now?

Have you been against the US invasion and occupation of Iraq no matter what, or rather, have you been against not the war itself, but how the US government has handled it?

If you think the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a mistake, perhaps even a crime, how can we the people of the United States prevent our government from using our nation's blood and treasure to do something like this again?

When I spoke with him here in Columbus, Salam Talib mentioned that the United States allowed Saddam Hussein to crush the 1991 uprising against him, as many of us may know.

Peter W. Galbraith, writing in an April 2003 Washington Post article said that the administration of Bush Sr called for a rebellion against Saddam Hussein but was unprepared when it actually happened. Galbraith claims that the George H. W. Bush administration was concerned that some rebels would have ties to the government of Iran and that some of them would be regarded as a threat by the government of Turkey.

After speaking with Mr. Talib, I have spent some of my time and energy looking up information about the US involvement in Iraq. At this point in time, it seems to me that the Bush administration has not tried to create a true democracy in Iraq.

My guess is that it has aimed for installing in Iraq a puppet government that will do the bidding of corporations affiliated with the United State and other industrialized nations. What do you think?

What are your thoughts about the US invasion of Iraq being called "Operation Iraqi Freedom"?

Perhaps the Bush administration has stirred opposition from many progressive in the United States because his administration's form of neo-colonialism is so blatant and counter-productive to the interests of the United States.

Is there anybody reading this who thinks that there is a right way to pursue neo-colonialism? Could it have been acceptable if the the US, after having ousted Saddam Hussein, had sought to improve life for the people of Iraq by building hospitals, schools, and improving the security and infrastructure of Iraq, in exchange for US oil companies having preferential access to the oil of Iraq?

Do some of us oppose Bush administration policies because they have failed to 'do colonialism the right way'?

Various progressives in the United States have demonstrated their opposition to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

But, correct me if I am wrong, many progressives in the United States had been silent about our government's sanctions on Iraq which deprived Iraqis of, for example, vital medicines, during not only the administration's of both Bushes but also during the entire 8 years in which Bill Clinton was in office.

Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State, Madelene Albright, publicly stated their support for the sanctions against Iraq and their unwillingness to end them.

Is lampooning and demonizing President Bush the same thing as presenting alternatives to his policies ?

Is a Democrat- versus- Republican or progressive- versus- neocon way of thinking about the US occupation of Iraq a copout ?

Maybe in order to think critically about our nation's role in the world we need to get beyond a progressive- versus- neo-con mentality. In terms of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and in terms of the sanctions of the 1990s and early 2000s on Iraq, maybe we ought to take a look at how our resource-intensive way of life affects people in other parts of the world.

One of the catch phrases for protests against the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has been "NOT IN MY NAME."

Whether we consider ourselves progressives or not , for most of us, our way of life depends heavily on petroleum. Given the role that petroleum plays in terms of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, should we, as people who consider ourselves to be progressives, do some soul searching and ask ourselves how honest we are being when we say "NOT IN MY NAME" regarding the suffering in Iraq ?

Please comment on the extent to which you think we should spend more of our nation's money on making our society and the world less polluting and less energy intensive, and less money on military operations?

Would the US national interest be better served if we spent more money on renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, and on building schools and otherwise investing in human capital in this nation and in other nations, and on alleviating poverty, and less on our military machine ?

As progressives, are we being honest with ourselves if we think that the 12 years of sanctions on the people of Iraq and the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is a negative reflection on the morality and wisdom of 'neo- cons' only ?

Aren't just about all of us, as members of US society, and industrialized societies in general, part of a resource-intensive way of life ?

Central Ohioans for Peace sponsored his stay in Columbus. Mr Talib, who is 33 years old, has participated in the Winter Soldier Events, in Silver Springs Maryland, near Washington D.C., a venue attended by over 200 veterans and at which more than 50 gave testimony about how they have, in their own view, committed atrocities against people in Iraq.

Haymarket Books recently published "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations."

It seems to me that the Winter Soldier Event and organizations such as Iraq Veterans Against the War are not trying to demonize US soldiers. Perhaps they are instead trying to give the American public a reality-check about what our government is doing in Iraq in our name.

It seems to me that Wheels of Justice and Iraq Veterans Against the War and other people opposing the US occupation of Iraq are not repeating the mistakes of some of the people who opposed the Vietnam War.

They are not demonizing the soldiers. My guess is that they are presenting the American public with information so that we can have a better understanding of our nation's foreign policies, and, in at least some cases, hold political and corporate leaders accountable.

Also, at least some of the people opposing the US occupation of Iraq are advocating for the US veterans of this war when they return home, having to deal with PTSD or brain injuries or other physical and psychological injuries.

I would like it if I and other members of the US public became much more intelligently engaged with issues such as the US occupation of Iraq, and other issues such as our nation's environmental and energy policies and, on a personal level, how our way of life ties into human rights issues.

There is plenty of information on You Tube about the effects that the UN sanctions had on the Iraqi people.

Were the sanctions necessary to protect the people of the United States, or has our government's actions in Iraq contributed to causing there to be more people intent on affecting US foreign policy by way of terrorizing Americans?

There is a video on You Tube of Brent Scowcroft who saying that the sanctions were put into place in order to prevent Saddam Hussein from becoming strong again; and that Mr. Hussein was to blame for the Iraqi people's suffering under the sanctions, not the United States.

But Kevin Phillips, if I understood him correctly, says in his book "American Theocracy: the peril and politics of radical religion, oil, and borrowed money in the 21st Century" that the sanctions on Iraq existed because the United States and some of its allies wanted to prevent Saddam Hussein from being able to form oil contracts that would have been at odds with what our leaders at the time considered to be US interests.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4