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AmericanErrorist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 01:48 PM
Original message
The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance
From the Socialist Alternative: (Not Necessarily AE's opinion, but in this case it is)

The Iraqi resistance is composed of many different political forces. Undoubtedly, many fighters are drawn from the ranks of workers and the poor, especially from youth. But many resistance forces are led by distinctly reactionary, anti-working class groups. According to some reports, the resistance includes up to forty Ba'athist organizations and right-wing Islamic groups like "Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War," led by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and "Ansar al-Sunna."

These Islamic Fundamentalist groups want to impose a theocratic dictatorship and are already carrying out brutal repression of women in an attempt to impose a system of sexual apartheid. Some groups even carry out bombings directed at ordinary Shi'as in an effort to foment a religious civil war.

While the anti-war movement should stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people, this does not mean we should support the aims and methods of those resistance groups that stand in complete contradiction to the interests of the Iraqi people and act as a barrier for them to advance their struggle to end the occupation.

However, some leading forces in the anti-war movement, like the Workers World Party (the main group behind the ANSWER coalition), and the International Socialist Organization (ISO), which plays an important role in the student anti-war movement, argue against such an approach, urging the anti-war movement to uncritically support the Iraqi resistance.

In an editorial, the ISO argued: "Even if it were true that the resistance was dominated by Baathists and hard-line Islamists, this wouldn't be the central issue. Whatever the religious and political affiliations of the different resistance organizations and groupings, the main goal - the one that unites various forces of the Iraqi resistance - is 'to liberate their country from foreign occupation.' It is precisely this agenda of the resistance that requires our support." The article argues we should limit our program to simply "'Iraq for the Iraqis' - any other position is a capitulation to chauvinism." (Socialist Worker, 2/4/05)

Another editorial explained: "The antiwar movement must not lose sight of the fact that its main enemy is at home - and any resistance to that enemy deserves our unconditional support." (Socialist Worker, 1/21/05) In essence, this position reduces to "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

To follow this logic out to its ultimate conclusion would imply support for terrorist attacks on U.S. workers, like September 11, 2001. Indeed, there are right-wing Islamic organizations in the Iraqi resistance who openly aim to carry out similar attacks on U.S. civilians, and who continually target Iraqi civilians. In reality, these terrorist methods only end up strengthening U.S. imperialism. 9/11 allowed Bush to stir up nationalism, racism, and war frenzy, and go on the offensive with his war on working people in the U.S. and internationally.

Socialists cannot support sectarian bombings aimed at Shi'as, indiscriminate attacks which overwhelmingly hurt ordinary Iraqis, or brutal kidnappings and beheadings. Such tactics cast the Iraqi working class and poor in the role of onlookers, not participants, in the battle to rid their country of imperialist forces. Bloody incidents which these tactics create can be manipulated by reactionary forces to increase sectarian tensions between different Iraqi communities.

These incidents only make it easier for Bush to rally U.S. public support for the occupation. If the anti-war movement supports these methods, or fails to condemn them, it will create an obstacle to expanding our support among U.S. workers, military families, and rank-and-file soldiers who could otherwise be won to the anti-war movement. Instead, the anti-war movement should publicly separate itself from terrorist tactics, while explaining that the U.S. occupation is the root cause of the violence in Iraq and that the only solution is to immediately bring the troops home and let the Iraqi people determine their own fate.

Building the U.S. anti-war movement is not a secondary question. Alongside an enormous resistance movement in Iraq, ending the occupation will require a massive anti-war movement in the U.S. that reaches deep into the American working class, threatening the stability of U.S. capitalism, as the example of Vietnam shows.

But what right do U.S. anti-war activists have to offer advice or criticism to the Iraqi resistance? Of course, the anti-war movement first and foremost should stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people against U.S. imperialism. But genuine internationalism needs to go further. Because we support the Iraqi people, socialists have a duty to raise our ideas on what policies and strategy are necessary to end the U.S. war on Iraq. Iraqi activists should also raise their ideas on how we can most effectively build the anti-war and socialist movements in the U.S. These are not "foreign" or distant issues. The development of the Iraqi resistance will have a huge impact on our struggles in the U.S., and events in the U.S. can be decisive for Iraq and the whole world.


http://www.socialistalternative.org/justice42/8.html
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. I don't think ANY of us do!
I don't support them; I support the USA leaving.

We had no business there.

We have committed officially ordered atrocities.

We murder hundreds of their people weekly.

We need to go.

Whatever political mess plays out after that, that is up to the Iraqi people.
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Guy Whitey Corngood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not to sound like a Rush moron, but.........DITTO. n/t
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. Dangerous assumptions
to assume that all liberals/progressives give unqualified support to the insurgents.

to assume that all the insurgents are representing the same cause.

to make those assumptions is to make the same mistake the right wing commonly makes in suggesting that all problems are monolitic and all solutions are absolute.
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cyclezealot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. Who does...?
More repug slandering...Critics of the Iraq war just have looked for historical analysis and felt what Bush has done will result in assisting the resistance forces...No one thinks the resistance is necessarily democratic . But, Pan Arabic feelings predates Nasser and this is only adding fuel to the fire and added American meddling only assists the religious zealots recruitment all over the Islamic world...
OK, so Bush's democracy on the March in Iraq results in another Iran...A great victory for democracy..If only we would have left the Arabic world alone when we installed the Shan of Iran..By now, the Nationalist course would have run its course and much of the Middle East by now would have been intergrated into the commerce of the world and we might have had a stable middle class,instead of theocracies such as Saudi Arabia, with its Royal connection to the Bush empire in more ways than one.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. No one supports the insurgents.
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 02:13 PM by JDPriestly
We are just staring at a train wreck we did not cause and pointing fingers at the ones who caused it. We are witnesses only. I do not want to see our soldiers or Iraqi citizens being blown up by the insurgents' bombs. I want peace on earth including in Iraq.
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2diagnosis Donating Member (191 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
68. I thought Michael Moore said they were like
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 10:20 PM by 2diagnosis
our Minutemen.?

"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?" http://www.alternet.org/story/18423

*edited to add a link*
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. If he said that, he is wrong.
The minute men did not kill helpless, unarmed civilians with car bombs. They fought the British soldiers fair and square. The insurgents in Iraq are using cowardly methods to intimidate the Iraqi people. How can anyone with humanistic values be on their side?
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
6. I don't care what side you're on -- for me, anti-war means you
don't settle differences by blowing people up, whether from two miles up or from touching of an IED from 40 feet away. My sympathies lie no more with the guy who kills a hundred people with a truck bomb, than the guy who orders his tank unit to level a village.

I have to suspect the motives of anyone who claims that the anti-war movement is pro-insurgent.
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. The left shouldn't support the resistance at all. Saddam was a
monster. Bushes/Cheney/Rumsfield put him in power - he destabilized the Mid East and destroyed peace chance in Palestine - Bushes/Cheney?Rumsfield realized there mistake - they took him out.

Saddam was a monster. The Islamist resistance is funded by terrorist organizations. The vast majority in Iraq want peace and negotiation and a mix of secular/religion. The majority want the resistance to go away.

Stop being silly. Bush & go were just 'hiding their terrible mistakes' by going after Saddam. Yes they lied about why to go to war. Yes war is bad. Yes they now support democracy in the Mid East (as a way to keep money out of the hands of mullahs, terrorist & fundamentalists ...by putting money in the hands of the people & growing a middle class). Democracy in the Middle East (encouraging it) is a Liberal Ideal. They just married our love of democracy with their desperate & wrong war-mongering to "hide" their past support of any strong man who would give Big Oil a great deal.
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uhhuh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
25. Your post
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 01:42 AM by uhhuh
"Yes they now support democracy in the Mid East (as a way to keep money out of the hands of mullahs, terrorist & fundamentalists ...by putting money in the hands of the people & growing a middle class). Democracy in the Middle East (encouraging it) is a Liberal Ideal. They just married our love of democracy with their desperate & wrong war-mongering to "hide" their past support of any strong man who would give Big Oil a great deal."

Do you seriously believe this crap?

Do you think that chimpco gives a damn about growing a stable middle class in Iraq?


Democracy in the middle east is a liberal ideal? I guess one could say that encouraging human rights and self determination are ideals that liberals would agree with, but I doubt that you would get agreement from liberals that it's ok to make them do it at the point of a gun.

You wouldn't get an agreement on that point from this liberal.


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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #25
55. Oh yes - at the point of a gun is not a liberal thing. But encouraging
democracy is. Why do you think the neocons are called neo-liberal the world over? Because they steal liberal ideas (pluralities are good, transfer of wealth from elites (okay only religious elites that are funding terrorists)).

They stole that Democracy - true democracy idea from us. Question is what are we going to do about it?
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. How very PNAC of you! Maher's excuse too: "they lied, but it was for
their good"! Bullshit!
I attended once an interesting discussion on US/BFEE foreign policy. Dana Priest - "objective" journalist. She called this crap "the new idealism", Clark responded with "the new colonialism" bringing down the house (it took place in "commie NYC".
Funny, how many lies it takes for you to stop buying their propaganda?


"What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" --Mahatma Gandhi
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #35
56. Like that bird. I still see it as Cheney, Rumsfield & Bush family
looking at Iraq and all that Saddam had done and saying a big: "O- Oh - what have we done? We will go down in history as having destabilized the middle east (because Saddam funded terrorists that were not bin-Laden's). The right wing had supported the 'strong men' for decades. The strong men had given Big Oil & Bushes the deal they wanted. It left much excess cash in the hands of Hussein, bin Laden as well as anger at the USA and the re-birth of Islamist fundamentalists. These asshole created a nightmare in the Mid East and did anything and all to discourage real sophisticated and equitable democracy in the Mid-East and it was about to blow up in their faces.

This whole Iraq thing is a big campaign - like a sound & light show - the recreate history in the Middle East where America is seen to be the "champion" of Democracy.

Of course it remains to be seen if a democracy in Iraq that elects Islamists fundies as their leaders will be allowed to exist. I think that part of the threat against Iran is to scare your average Iraqis into voting for a secular government in hopes that secular=peace.

Lots of coertion going on. After all they only have 8 years to remake 50 years of USA policy in the mid east to be 'democracy lite, but democracy' has to be king. As each nation would be a democracy in the mid-east, no matter how annoying to big oil, then it would be an international crime for some new mullah in Saudi Arabia to call for the merging of most of the Middle East (this is the stated goal of all Islamists outside of Iran). So democracy 'lite' makes it safe for the USA & Everyone else to invade the Middle East if there is ever a movement to Unify & it gains steam. ...... until all the oil is gone ..then who cares.

The second thing a democracy does is open the countries up to the world markets (except for oil which will still be highly bribed rights to one big oil power or another). With these democracies 'open' to world markets then it is easier to control them. And the biggest corporations in the world may likely be bigger than your small Mid Eastern country so it will be easier for the corporation to dominate. Same reason why USA government is being shrunk.

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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #35
65. I remember that debate - Wes Clark kicked the shit outta
Dana Priest.

:hi: robbed!
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Jokerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
8. I don't "uncritically" support either side.
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 02:32 PM by Jokerman
Which position is less defensible from a moral standpoint: The soldier who invades, occupies and kills as ordered, or the citizen who resists, fights and kills to defend their country?
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B Calm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. When we fought the British, were we called terrorists?
The American farmers who took up arms against the British didn't wear military uniforms..
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. And those who are blowing up Iraqi civilians?
First off, I still don't like seeing US soldiers die. Those soldiers are doing their job and they were sent into a war by our leaders - they should be brought home, not be killed.

I am saddened every time I read that insurgents have killed some American soldiers. However, I don't think those killing American soldiers are "terrorists" - they're active participants in a war killing opposing soldiers. That's what happens in a war.

But I draw the line at those insurgents who attack and kill Iraqi civilians. Targetting civilians is wrong in ANY and EVERY circumstance. It's wrong if the US military does it and it's certainly wrong if Iraqi insurgents are doing it.

And frankly, it disturbs that so many on DU have denied that insurgents are killing Iraqi civilians and saying they're "freedom fighters" when they do so.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. And Americans attacked and killed every collaborator during war, too.
We killed French civilians who collaborated with the Germans.

We killed American civilians who collaborated with the Brits.

I wish no one killed anyone, but if you're a collaborator, you're risking your life, and as you say THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS IN WAR. Every war. Since mankind first walked out of the swamp.
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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Were the 120 killed 2 days ago all "collaborators"?
Collaborators are participants, I realize that. But many of the attacks are indiscriminate. I have no sympathy for them - it's wrong to kill innocent civilians, and innocent civilians have suffered most in this war.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. I don't know if they were all collaborators.
I don't know who killed them; was it Iraqi nationalists, or troublemakers? Was it CIA, as many Iraqis claim?

I have no idea.

What we do know, though, is more Iraqi civilians have died at OUR hands over the past 2 years than at the hands of the insurgents.

I also know that were my country invaded & occupied, and what happens daily to the Iraqis by their occupiers were to happen to me & my family, and if my loved ones were killed by the occupiers, I would kill every occupier I could, and any of my fellow countrymen who even THOUGHT about collaborating with the occupiers.

I agree, killing civilians is very wrong; and we set the stage for this, we killed innocent civilians from the very first day, but we call it "collateral damage".
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
27. As a matter of fact, we were.
The British certainly did not see us as a regular army.
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Djinn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
66. I'm with you Jokerman
I don't "support" either side but I have more empathy with the resistance.

Obvioulsy being a female atheist I'm not big on the Islamic fundie numpties BUT if in the end the majority of Iraqis WANT fundie numpties then who am I to say they shouldn't.

We have ZERO way of knowing the proportion of "extremists" in the resistance, no way of knowing what proportion is made up of relatively secular Iraqi's who will not abide living under an occupation. Until we know this we can't "support" either side, but I know I'm sure as shit NOT on the side of the invasion/occupation and wholesale sell off of Iraqi resources.
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UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. As far as I know, nobody does.
I support letting the various forced in Iraq hash out their own differences and come up with their own government, rather than a US puppet state.

Self-determination is as important as democracy, and democracy should not be imposed from without.

The Iraqi resistance has some amount of legitimacy in Iraq. The US has none. We had no right to invade, and we should not be occupying Iraq.

It's really as simple as that. I'm not for or against anybody. I'm for both the US and Iraq. It's their country, let them run it.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. What Nonsense
Why would people who didn't want a fake war because they didn't want lives lost support those who are killing in such brutal ways. Not understanding what progressives and those inclined toward the left stand for is only one thing wrong with the assumptions and suppositions this articles makes.
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SeveneightyWhoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
11. Wow, I shouldn't support terrorists?
Thanks for the advice, Socialist Alternative!
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FlemingsGhost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Fine line between "terrorist" and "patriot."
All depends on one's perspective, I guess.

Open a U.S. history book. You'll see what I mean ...
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SeveneightyWhoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Don't get me wrong.
"Terrorist" and "patriot" are sometimes one in the same.

Of course, as a lot of right-wing Americans have proven over the last few years, there can be a LOT wrong with being a so-called "patriot".
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Some Iraqi Groups Against Occupation Are Right-Wingers
Anti-war activists who support the withdrawl of all U.S. troops from Iraq should be free to express their opinion on the various political groups active in Iraq. Some of those groups consist of far-right reactionaries and it's up to progressives in Iraq to challenge them for power.

We shouldn't pretend that ALL of the political and religious figures in Iraq who oppose the occupation are interested in building a government and economy that serves the interests and needs of the Iraqi people.

Right-wing fanatics have murdered progressive labor union leaders and innocent civilians who want an end to the U.S. occupation. We must recognize and understand that.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
44. Re: Some Iraqi Groups Against Occupation Are Right-Wingers
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=1...
STATEMENT CONDEMNING ATTACKS ON IRAQI TRADE UNIONISTS
by CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY
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Frederik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
15. Blowing up civilians
is a horrible atrocity and can't be defended in any way. But unless you're a pacifist (which is a perfectly legitimate position, when applied consistently), you must agree that it's legitimate to oppose an invading or occupying army with violent means, however horrible that is. That's a pillar in international law back to the days of Grotius.

The anti-Nazi resistance in Europe did nasty things against German soldiers who were for the most part just ordinary young men in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whether the "insurgents" are nice people (many of them are certainly not) and where they get their money from is not relevant to the legitimacy of their actions. I stress again that attacks against civilians are never legitimate.

That aside, the Baathist and "al Qaeda" affiliated insurgents in Iraq are probably not people with whom one would wish to be associated. But that goes for the fundamentalist forces who are seizing power there too. The future looks bleak from a women's rights perpective (well, from any perspective).

It's a sad, sad situation.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
17. Just What Revisions Need...The Left Lost Iraq
Here's your script...someone's just floating it around leftist groups to see if some fish will bite. Looks like we have a winner.

Look at what the Slime Boaters did...they rewrote the anti-war movement...mostly from people who were on the fringes of that movement...and echoed by people who were either in diapers or just glimmers at that time. Yet, ask a Dittohead and he'll say it was "Hanoi Jane" and Kerry and the anti-war people that lost the war since he kissed Ho Chi Mihn's ass.

None of us who protested Vietnam EVER supported the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong...NEVER! Our goal, just like the other posters here, and a vast majority of liberals, progressives and others against the war, is the aspect of American intervention in another sovereign country's affairs, the use of our young men and women and the corporate profiteering wars of this nature breed. Our fights are within this country and the system.

Truth is we have no clue who the "insurgents" are. This isn't an organized resistance that operates newspapers or radio stations or has some "spokesperson" to give some political or religious diatribe. Thus, how can you support someone you don't know. From what I do know about many of Al Queda and the Baathist (and being Jewish), there's no way I condone any of their agenda or can find much common ground with their political or social stands. But, the decision of who rules the people of Iraq...be it Shiite, Baathist, Al Queda, Very Silly Party...it's up to the Iraqi people...not this regime and its corporate profiteers.
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Not Correct.
None of us who protested Vietnam EVER supported the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong...NEVER!"

That assertion is not correct.

The anti-war organizations and anti-war activists never called the the liberation fighters "Viet Cong". We never called them "Viet Cong" .... NEVER! That's what the right-wing warhawks called them. From President Johnson to President Nixon. We called them the NLF (National Liberation Front) or Vietnamese independence fighters.

And most people who were involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement in fact supported what we viewed as a national liberation and independence movement in Vietnam. Your statement is simply inaccurate.

We also demanded the total and immediate withdrawl of our troops from Vietnam. The central demand of major anti-war organizations was "Bring Our Troops Home Now!"
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Semantic Games
NLF/VC/Charlie/Viet Cong...call them whatever you wish, the point of the post was in the many protests I was at during the late 60s and early 70s, none were in support of the North Vietnamese or the NLF/VietCong/VC/VietMihn or anything other than to bring our troops home. We didn't care what happened to Vietnam, all we cared was to end the draft, the war and bring the troops home.

The opinion was this was a civil war we had no business being in, but to say that those of us who supported the war were also in support of the North Vietnamese or the NLF or any faction is wrong. I vivdly remember rallies where a North Vietnamese flag would come out and the crowd would boo. Most times those with the flag had other agendas in mind.

Again, all we cared was to end the American involvement in the war, be it against the Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge or the "insurgents".
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #17
39. Re: "Just What Revisions Need...The Left Lost Iraq"
>...None of us who protested Vietnam EVER supported the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong...NEVER! Our goal, just like the other posters here, and a vast majority of liberals, progressives and others against the war, is the aspect of American intervention in another sovereign country's affairs, the use of our young men and women and the corporate profiteering wars of this nature breed. Our fights are within this country and the system.

Oy vey. When I was 12 yrs. old living in the suburbs of Washington D.C. in 1971 my Mom and I went to one of the huge anti-Vietnam War MOBE's ended up at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds of thousands, from hippies to trade unionists from AFSCME and many other union locals. Still have the photos of hippies waving the flag of North Vietnam from the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Any history of the anti-war movement, whether from the Left like, "The War Within: America's Battle over Vietnam, " by Tom Wells, U.C. Press or Fred Halstead (of the Socialist Workers Party) vol., "Out Now!, " Pathfinder Press or from the neo-con Right, "Telltale Hearts: The Origins Ad Impacts of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement, " by Adam Garfinkle, has abundant data that the far left of the anti-war movement then, whether marxist-leninist sectarians or other sectors was explicitly for a NLF/NVA victory. Even by 1965 there were voices in the anti-war teach-ins at Rutgers like Eugene Genovese that said at the April 23, 1965 "Teach In" "I do not fear or regret the impending Viet Cong victory in Vietnam. I welcome it." The Republican candidate for Governor made a big stink about that ala the Ward Churchill fracas.
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Djinn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #17
67. Sorry KharmaTrain but that's not true
None of us who protested Vietnam EVER supported the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong...NEVER!

I'm a little too young to have protested that one but I know my father absolutely supported the VC (he was a Scottish citizen only at the time and as such his country wasn't involved) as he supported a Vietnamese resistance movement looking for control of their own country after decades of occupation by foreigners. Many other Vietnam protestors felt the same way.
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The_Casual_Observer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. This wouldn't be an issue if chimp hadn't helped himself to Iraq
in the first place, would it? Bad shit leads to bad shit, doesn't it?

Relative moral arguments don't cut it with me.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
22. And all the liberals on this thread; if America were invaded and occupied
by say China, and Chinese troops kicked your home door in during the middle of the night, and terrorized you & your children, and dragged away all the males, and stole all your valuables, and did all the other things the US is busy doing to the Iraqis in Iraq...you'd do what?

Nothing?

Turn into the Chinese all American rebels?

Say "thank you"?

Thank God that wasn't the attitude of the "insurgents" and "terrorists" who fought to free America not so long ago.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. I don't argue with that, HOWEVER...
That does not mean I think the insurgents in Iraq ought to be supported by us!

I want them to cease fire, but I *also* want us to get the fuck out!

Saddam was never a threat to us, and after 1991, he was not even a threat to any of his neighbors. Every time he put one brick on top of another at a military site we bombed the shit out of it. Those palaces he would not let us inspect? Clinton bombed those too.

We did not belong here.

We are an outlaw nation for having done this.

We need to stage an immediate, heavily armed withdrawal to the Kuwaiti border, and make it very plain that any resistance to this will be met with overwhelming fire.

We need to take with us any actual collaborators as they wouldn't live a moment without us there.

We need to establish a reparations fund and allow the UN to administer it.

Period.

I am not on the insurgents side. I am on the side of our soldiers. Each and every one of them needs to get out of the hell-hole alive. After that is done, the Iraqi people are the only ones who can decide how they ought to be governed.
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Spinoza Donating Member (766 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #22
46. If the American people
had effectively been "owned" by President Saddam and his gruesome sons for over 20 years; if there was no realistic chance of getting rid of Saddam without outside invasion; if President Saddam started a war with Canada in which 1,000,000+ Canadians and Americans died (check out the Iran/Iraq war); if President Saddam gassed tens of thousands of Americans in revolt(check out what Saddam did to the Kurds); if President Saddam forbade a million Americans their age-long livelihood causing at least 500,000 deaths (google "Marsh Arabs"); if there were mass graves all over the United States with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of corpses caused by President Saddam; (check out http://medyaarts.com/mg_reviews.htmif, and hundreds of other sites. Just google "Saddam mass killings"); if President Saddam invaded Mexico to annex it (see Kuwait) causing Argentina to attack the U.S. and bomb us; if when President Saddam is retreating from Mexico he deliberately causes a world environmental catastrophe by firing every oil-well in Texas (check out Saddam's firing of the Kuwaiti oil-wells); if......Well, you get the point.

Yes, in that case, I might think that, however bad a Chinese invasion could be, it sure as hell ain't as bad as President Saddam, and his two wonderful sons, continuing to "play" with the American people with absolutely no end in sight. I might think that.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #46
52. Oh dear...someone's been swallowing the koolaid and not paying attention
Guess you missed Tony the bLiar's publicly admitting those "hundreds of thousands in mass graves" was untrue, huh?

Guess you also missed the ICRC, AI, and HRW reports that all said the invasion of Iraq CANNOT be called a "humanitarian intervention" because there were NO on-going or imminent atrocities being committed in Iraq for over the past decade.

I hope you someday get to experience what the Iraqis are now experiencing at our hands.

Perhaps that will make you pay attention to facts and leave the koolaid alone.

;)
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Spinoza Donating Member (766 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Mass Graves
"I hope you someday get to experience what the Iraqis are now experiencing."

I had my left leg cut off above the knee on March 26,1986 while I was still conscious. Is that good enough for you?

No mass graves, huh? There are HUNDREDS of reports, documenting otherwise. They are all over the net. Can you read? There are videos. Can you look? Have you talked to any actual Iraqis? ALL Iraqis, except for the former Bathist murderers acknowlege the reality of Saddam's mass killings. Did he also not gas the Kurds or wipe out the Marsh Arabs? Did he also not start the Iran/Iraq war which caused at least 1 million deaths? Did he also not allow his 2 sons to murder, rape and pillage with impunity? Did he also not fire the Kuwaiti oil wells? You don't even mention any of these.

Did you give a shit about the Iraqis before the U.S. invasion? I was at protests and marches on behalf of the Iraqi Kurds since 1979. Where were you? Did you care ANYTHING about the plight of the Iraqis under Saddam? Did these people just mean NOTHING to you?

Your views are so vicious and immoral, I feel sick.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #53
61. Mass graves = bullshit.
You give such a shit about the Iraqis you're pro bombing the fuck out of them? INVADING and OCCUPYING them?

Yeah you really give a shit about the Iraqis.

Again, did you miss Tony the bLiar admitting the mass graves was untrue?

Again, did you miss the ICRC, HRW and AI reports saying there were NO ongoing atrocities and NO imminent atrocities in Iraq and hadn't been any for over a decade?

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Spinoza Donating Member (766 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #61
78. I NEVER SAID I WAS IN FAVOR OF INVASION.
I never justified the invasion. What makes you think I did? I am and have always been against the invasion. Nothing we have accomplished, or could accomplish, is worth the death of one American soldier to my mind. I ONLY SAID SADDAM WAS a FUCKING MASS-MURDERING, GENOCIDAL SOB. Are you saying he was NOT A FUCKING MASS-MURDERING GENOCIDAL SOB.? Please enlighten me.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #61
81. Mass Garaves=BS
http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2004/12/mass_grave...
December 07, 2004
Mass graves in Iraq
There are 62 pages of photos here
http://massgraves.info /
. Study them all.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #81
82. Re:Mass Graves=BS
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (see her Red Dirt autobio.
http://www.reddirtsite.com / ), who was active with SDS and briefly in the WU, so no centrist or liberal wuss, rearched and advocated on behalf of the Kurds after the Halabja gassing. Her letter to Tikkun>...To the Editor:

During my UN human rights work in the 1980s, Saddam Hussein's atrocities were well known and documented. I worked with Kurds, Marsh Arabs, and Iraqi Communists who were in forced exile and whose families had been tortured and killed. The nadir was 1988, when Hussein used chemical weapons against Kurdish villages and Iranian soldiers in the north. At every step of the way, the Reagan, then Bush administrations blocked every resolution.

I resent the accusation in Juan Cole's essay <http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/index.cfm/action/tikkun/... > in your May/June 2003 issue that "the anti-war movement" did not properly address Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses. Had the United States not blocked all diplomatic measures in the 1980s, Hussein would have been toppled, just as the apartheid regime in South Africa was. The problem is the United States, and that's what we need to deal with.

Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
San Francisco, CA
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #82
84. You too obviously didn't hear Blair admitting ONLY 5000 remains
have been uncovered and that IN FACT most date from the WAR between Iran and Iraq.

I wonder how many of those 5000, especially the ones around the Kuwait border, were killed by US troops bulldozing them into mass graves in 1991.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #81
86. You should study.
Start with US forces bulldozing thousands of Iraqis into mass graves.

Then go on to the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed by the insurgents in 1991.

Then go on to Prime Minister Tony Blair admitting it was A LIE that "hundreds of thousands" of remains have been discovered, that IN FACT only some 5000 (five thousand) remains have been uncovered and mostly dating from a WAR back in the 1980s.

Then why don't you study how many MASS GRAVES we have right here in AMERICA.

Trying to justify INVADING and OCCUPYING and BOMBING THE CRAP out of a nation, killing a CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE of 100,000 civilians, for a WAR from over 20 YEARS ago doesn't cut it.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #81
89. I don't read rightwingnut blogs.
Thanks anyways.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #61
83. Re: Mass graves = bullshit.
For those that might HRW as, "bourgeois liberals, " see the interview with three leading HRW researchers, Joe Stork who edited MERIP, the radical left Middle East journal, Reed Brody, who authored a report on atrocities of the Contras and another person whose name escapes me in, 'rethinking Marxism, " the post-modern, Althusserian journal, a few yrs. ago.

http://hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFAL3.htm

The March 16 Chemical Attack on Halabja

For years, the hostility between Iran and Iraq had appeared to the Kurdish
parties as a geopolitical loophole that they could exploit to their
advantage. After withstanding the siege of Sergalou-Bergalou for two weeks,
the PUK took the desperate decision to open a second front with Iranian
military support. As their target the peshmerga chose Halabja, a town on
the plain just a few miles from the border, in a feint that was designed to
draw some of the Iraqi troops away from the siege of Sergalou and Bergalou.
But the plan turned out to be a tragic miscalculation, as the once
beneficial alliance with Iran turned into a crippling liability. For the
Halabja diversion only cemented the view of the Iraqi regime that the war
against Iran and the war against the Kurds was one and the same thing.

At the end of February, Iraq had stepped up its missile attacks on Teheran
as part of the "War of the Cities";19 the escalation was designed to push
the weakened Iranians to the negotiating table on terms favorable to
Baghdad. A confident senior official even admitted to Patrick Tyler of the
Washington Post that Iraq was trying to lure its adversary into a trap by
overextending its forces. "For the first time in our history, we want the
Iranians to attack," the official said.20 At Halabja, the Iranians obliged.

Halabja was a bustling Kurdish town with a busy commercial section and a
number of government offices. Villagers displaced from their homes by the
war had swollen its population of 40,000 to 60,000 or more. The peshmerga
had been strong here for almost thirty years, with several clandestine
parties active--Socialists, Communists and others--inaddition to Jalal
Talabani's PUK. One group with particular local strength was the pro-
Iranian Islamic Movement Party (Bizutnaway Islami Eraqi). As a reprisal
against local support for the peshmerga, Iraqi troops had already bulldozed
two entire quarters of the town, Kani Ashqan and Mordana, in May 1987.21
Since about 1983, Iranian troops had been making secret reconnaissance
visits to Halabja under cover of darkness. The town lay on the very edge of
the war-zone, and dozens of small villages between Halabja and the Iranian
border had been razed in the late 1970s, their inhabitants resettled in
complexes on the edge of the city. But the greater strategic importance of
Halabja was its location just seven miles east of Darbandikhan Lake, whose
dam controls a significant part of the water supply to the Iraqi capital,
Baghdad.

During the first two weeks of March, a stream of Iraqi intelligence reports
noted the buildup of Revolutionary Guards and peshmerga to the west of
Halabja and the shelling of the nearby town of Sayed Sadeq by Iranian
forces.22 On March 13, the Iranians officially announced that they had
launched a new offensive named Zafar 7 in the Halabja area. According to
Teheran radio, the offensive--conducted by a joint force of PUK peshmerga
and pasdaran--was in retaliation for the Iraqi regime's recent chemical
attacks on the Kurds.23 A second attack, apparently coordinated, followed
the next day. This one was called Bait al-Maqdis 4, and the Iranians
claimed that it had taken their forces within twelve miles of Suleimaniyeh.
On March 16, Teheran announced yetanother offensive, codenamed Val-Fajr
10.24 Iran boasted that its forces had now advanced to the eastern shore of
Darbandikhan Lake, controlling 800 square kilometers of Iraqi territory and
102 (presumably destroyed) villages. But the main thrust of Val-Fajr 10,
Teheran declared, was the "liberation" of the town of Halabja.

Halabja had been subjected to three days of heavy Iranian shelling from the
surrounding hills, beginning on March 13. One by one, the small Iraqi
military posts between Halabja and the border were routed, and their
occupants pulled back to the safety of the town. Some stripped off their
uniforms and took refuge in the mosques, while some took up temporary
defensive positions in local army bases. Others fled altogether. Yet the
Baghdad regime resisted the temptation to reinforce Halabja with large
numbers of ground troops, for it had an entirely different strategy in
mind.
<SNIP>
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #83
87. HRW is never wrong...except about those incubator babies...and the number
of Iraqis "mass-graved"...and the number of Kurds killed by the Turks...

Did you miss the HRW reports saying "oopsie" on those incidents?

The UK "gassed the Kurds" during their own previous occupation of Iraq, 1917-1952, something Winston Churchill said was a good thing to do;

"I do not understand squeamishness about the use of gas," Churchill wrote. "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes."

Gas, chemicals, bombs: Britain has used them all before in Iraq
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,939608,0...

British Use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq

http://www.iraqwar.org/chemical.htm

-The US supplied much of Iraq's chemical agents and technical expertise in how to weaponize, (just like the current Bush admin is offering to sell to India), as well as sattelite photos showing enemy positions

Yes, U.S. helped Iraq get chemical, biological weapons

You don't have to dig deep to find that from 1982 to 1990 the United States supplied Iraq with not only conventional arms and cash but also chemical and biological materials, including the precursors for anthrax and botulism.

A 1994 investigation by the Senate Bank Committee found that U.S. companies had been licensed by the Commerce Department to export a "witch's brew" of biological and chemical materials, including precursors of anthrax and botulism. The report also noted the exports included plans for chemical and biolgical warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling equipment.

"Only on Aug. 2, 1990, did the Agriculture Department officially suspend the (loan) guarantees to Iraq -- the same day that Hussein's tanks and troops swept into Kuwait," a Los Angeles Times expose on Feb. 23, 1992, noted.

http://www.belleville.com/mld/newsdemocrat/5674107.htm

Both Iraq AND Iran were using chemical weapons, and it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, according to several US government and US Military reports, all of which are still on US gov websites. Some people believe these reports were just lies used by the US government to blame Iran and cover up for Iraq. However, it's hypocritical at the very least to use the "he gassed his own people" rhetoric as an excuse 20 years later to invade & occupy a nation, when all these reports are still currently available and no government reports exist contradicting them.

The US State Department found both sides were using chemical weapons.

"There are indications that Iran may also have used chemical artillery shells in this fighting," spokesman Charles Redman told the press a week after the attack. "We call on Iran and Iraq to desist immediately from the use of any chemical weapons."

On May 3, 1990, referring to yet another study, "A Defense Department reconstruction of the final stages of the Iran-Iraq war has assembled what analysts say is conclusive intelligence that one of the worst civilian massacres of the war, in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Halabja, was caused by "repeated chemical bombardments from both belligerent armies." "

Washington Post (May 3, 1990)
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0218,trilling,34389,1....

The US government itself later confirmed the fact that both sides had used gas and that, in all likelihood, Iranian gas killed the Kurds.

A Pentagon report, Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East published in 1990 states (Chapter 5): In March 1988, the Kurds at Halabjah were bombarded with chemical weapons, producing a great many deaths. Photographs of the Kurdish victims were widely disseminated in the international media. Iraq was blamed for the Halabjah attack, even though it was subsequently brought out that Iran too had used chemicals in this operation, and it seemed likely that it was the Iranian bombardment that had actually killed the Kurds.
-United Nations: No Proof Saddam Gassed the Kurds

http://www.polyconomics.com/searchbase/11-18-98.html

The Pentagon's USAWC and US Marine Corps report concluded Iran gassed the Kurds at Halbjah, not Iraq.

Lessons Learned: The Iran-Iraq War
by Dr. Stephen Pelletiere and Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Johnson
U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute

"The great majority of the victims seen by reporters and other
observers who attended the scene were blue in their extremities. That means that they were killed by a blood agent, probably either cyanogen chloride or hydrogen cyanide. Iraq never used and lacked any capacity to produce these chemicals. But the Iranians did deploy them. Therefore the Iranians killed the Kurds."

US Marine Corps document FMFRP 3

"Blood agents were allegedly responsible for the most infamous use of chemicals in the warthe killing of Kurds at Halabjah. Since the Iraqis have no history of using these two agentsand the Iranians dowe conclude that the Iranians perpetrated this attack."
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/docs/3203 /

The DIA's report concluded Iran had gassed the Kurds & Iranians of Halabjah;

Immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent - that is, a cyanide-based gas -which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

http://truthout.org/docs_02/020303C.htm

The CIA's report mentions "hundreds" killed, not "5000" and against the Iranians primarily w Kurds caught in the cross-fire. This report is still on the US government CIA website.

http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.h...
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #83
92. "Iraqi Mass Graves" In Perspective
Edited on Sun Mar-06-05 07:26 PM by LynnTheDem
In the past few months the graves of thousands of civilians have been unearthed in war-torn Iraq. Not surprisingly, the White House has wasted no time in declaring the dead to be prime examples of Saddam Hussein's brutality and a further justification for our invasion. But a check of the historical record on this matter reveals yet another calculated distortion by the administration and its supporters.

At the end of the 1991 Gulf War legions of Shia radicals - the kind we've seen clamoring for an Islamic state - attacked and killed anyone connected to Iraq's secular government. Urged to "take matters into their own hands" by the first Bush administration and mistakenly believing that Iraq's army had been destroyed, armed militants went from city to city in southern Iraq mercilessly butchering scores of innocents.

All told, several thousand military personnel, policemen, clerks, and employees of the government were slain, according to Omar Ali, another regional authority.

Accepting Washington's pronouncements about a vanquished Iraqi military, up to 400,000 Kurds undertook a ferocious spree of mayhem that rivaled that of the Shia. According to Mackay, in the city of Kirkuk "no one bothered to count how many servants of Baghdad were shot, beheaded, or cut to shreds with the traditional dagger stuck in the cummerbund of every Kurdish man. By the time Kurdish rage had exhausted itself, piles of corpses lay in the streets awaiting removal by bulldozers."

http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/03/09/12_...

Human Rights Watch agreed:

"It was a revolution," says one Basrawi rebel named Mohamad, who deserted his army unit after the intifada began and eventually made it to the United States. "It was glorious. There were demonstrations and shooting. There were bodies all over the place."

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1992/WR92/MEW1-02.htm

Now I defy ANYONE to tell me that if this happened in America the rebels would NOT have been attacked back by US government forces, and rebels would not have been rounded up & executed as traitors.

Well they were attacked back, and theyw ere rounded up and executed...and the US govt agreed with it and helped with it. The same smarmy lying bastards who are today squatting in the White House.

This, then is the primary source of the "mass graves" of Iraq.

What government in the world would refrain from using all necessary means to quell a violent uprising of this kind? No one denies that the regimes response was swift and merciless, or that many innocents were caught up in the retaliation and destruction. But if blame is assigned, shouldn't it start with the instigators of the carnage along with the foreign government who misled them about the forces they were going up against and yet egged them on?

Like claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or Baghdad's links to al Queda, the mass graves of Iraq are another example of history and reality being distorted to fit the ulterior motives of the White House.


http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/433

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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #61
85. Re: Re: Mass graves = bullshit.
From Dissent,
http://www.dissentmagazine.org
the socialist quarterly,
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/archives/2003/s...
>...Questioning Halabja
Genocide and the Expedient Political Lie
by Leo Casey
On a late March morning fifteen years ago, as the war between Iran and Iraq was winding down, the Iraqi army began an artillery barrage on Halabja, a Kurdish city situated about fifteen miles from the border with Iran. The people of Halabja first took that attack, and the subsequent bombing by the Iraqi air force, as a routine matter, the everyday consequence of living in a stronghold of a Kurdish Peshmerga militia then allied with Iran. But as they gathered in their shelters, it quickly became apparent that there was something dreadfully different about this bombardment. Heavy, dark yellow clouds formed close to the ground, and overwhelming smells, a mixture of sweet apples and garlic, followed by an odor of rotten eggs, pervaded the air. Birds and animals began to expire, and as the clouds gradually permeated the shelters, people became ill, some vomiting, some finding it hard to breathe, others experiencing skin burns and sharp, stabbing pains as their eyes and noses began to bleed. In panic, with many already dying and others blinded or paralyzed, the people of Halabja fled their city. Behind them lay thousands of dead (estimates range from 3,200 to 5,000). Many who escaped bear grim physical injuries from that day: blindness and major respiratory and skin diseases, cancers, and, in the next generation, congenitally malformed infants.

The bombing of Halabja with chemical gas was the opening salvo in what the Baathist Iraqi regime called its Anfal campaign, a term taken from the title of the eighth sura of the Quran, which calls upon Muslims to "strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah." Human rights organizations have another name for that campaign: genocide. Although it is impossible to determine the exact number of Kurds who were annihilated in the two-year period during which the Anfal was waged, estimates range from a conservative low of 50,000 to Kurdish figures of 182,000. Kurds were forcibly removed from traditional villages, imprisoned in concentration camps, tortured, raped, and forced into exile. There was a total of forty known incidents involving the Iraqi use of chemical gas on the Kurds, including Halabja.

This essay is not an account of Halabja and the Anfal. Those events have been fully documented in the Human Rights Watch book Genocide In Iraq and told in painful detail in many other places. Rather, the story told here is about the efforts to deny the Baathist regime's use of poison gas on the Kurds, efforts that began as soon as the world first learned of Halabja and that have continued to this day. It is a tale of the politically expedient lie, in service of a denial of genocide.

The Evidence
I will begin with a brief summary of the volumes of evidence regarding what took place that day fifteen years ago in Halabja, as well as in other poison gas attacks on Kurdish civilians, and who was responsible for what happened. As soon as word of the gassing reached Iran with the fleeing residents of Halabja, the Iranian government brought international news media to the scene, and film of the devastation was soon aired on newscasts around the globe. Those horrifying scenes made Halabja into the Guernica of the Kurds, symbolizing the entire Anfal campaign of annihilation.

As powerful as the film of Halabja is, it is only a small portion of the evidence. In hundreds of eyewitness interviews conducted over the next few years, survivor after survivor identified the source of the gas at Halabja (and at other sites) as Iraqi military aircraft that flew low enough so that their markings were visible from the ground. Beginning in October of 1988, seven months after Halabja, a series of forensic investigations, some sponsored by Middle East Watch (now the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch) and Physicians for Human Rights and others organized by independent medical scientists, undertook medical examinations of survivors, conducted tests for trace chemicals on soil samples and bomb fragments, and performed autopsies of exhumed bodies. The results of a number of these studies were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Based on these studies, scientists concluded that the victims of Halabja and other sites had been exposed, in the words of medical geneticist Christine Gosden, "to the highest doses of the most potent cocktails of chemical and biological nerve and mustard agents ever used against civilians." The nerve gases sarin and tubin, as well as mustard gas, are known to have been used, and there is good reason to believe that the nerve agent VX and biological weapons such as anthrax and mycotoxins may also have been employed at different times.

The Origin of the Denials
During the Gulf War and the popular uprisings that followed it, significant stores of Iraqi Baathist government documents and tapes were seized, mostly by the Kurdish Peshmerga. Ample documentation of the plans and the implementation of the poison gas attacks was found, including a tape of a particularly damning speech by the chief architect and executioner of Anfal, Ali Hassan al-Majid. Hassan says of the Kurds, "I will kill them all with chemical weapons. Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck the international community and those who listen to them!"

Every group that has examined this question-the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and others-has come to the same conclusion: that the Iraqi Baathist regime used poison gas on its Kurdish population during the Anfal campaign, in Halabja and at other sites. There simply is no reasonable doubt.

Yet no sooner had the pictures of the dead of Halabja appeared on television screens than the campaign to deny Iraqi responsibility began. The initial impetus for these efforts came from within the U.S. government. To understand how this came to pass, one must examine the Iraq policy of the United States during the 1980s.

Following the Iranian Islamist Revolution, the seizing of hostages from the American embassy, and the Iraqi invasion of Iran, Ronald Reagan's administration entered into "an enemy of my enemy" alliance with the Baathist state: it became an American proxy in its war with Iran. When Iran temporarily gained the upper hand in the war, the United States provided Iraq with "detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes, and bomb assessment damage," a New York Times investigative report concluded. German, British, and American corporations sold Iraq military hardware, arms technology, advanced computers, and key ingredients for the manufacture of missiles and chemical and biological weapons, with the active approval of the U.S. government, according to PBS Frontline, Washington Post, and Newsweek reports. Among the items purchased by Iraq, these reports determined, were American-built helicopters that were used, U.S. government officials concluded, in poison gas attacks on the Kurds. The Reagan State Department also approved, before being overruled by the Pentagon, the sale to Iraq of 1.5 million atropine injectors, a drug used to counter the effects of chemical weapons.

The first reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Iraqis referred to battles against Iranian troops, and the U.S. government attempted to shift the blame onto the Iranians. As the evidence mounted, and especially after Halabja, the Reagan administration finally issued public condemnations of the use of poison gas. At first, the statements criticized both Iraq and Iran; eventually, they specifically cited and decried the Iraqi use of poison gas against the Kurds. But at no time, the New York Times reports, did the Reagan administration end the top-secret program through which more than sixty officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency provided the Iraqi government with intelligence information and battle plans that facilitated the use of chemical weapons. Instead, Reagan and then the first Bush administration officials fought back congressional efforts to place sanctions on Iraq for its use of poison gas at Halabja. The Pentagon "wasn't so horrified by Iraq's use of gas," one of the veterans of the DIA program told the Times. "It was just one more way of killing people-whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn't make any difference."

It was this context that produced the ur-text of Kurdish genocide denial-a 1988 DIA report suggesting that Iran, not Iraq, was responsible for the use of poison gas at Halabja. This report, and a subsequent Army War College study and book incorporating its argument, provide one single piece of evidentiary conjecture for placing responsibility on the Iranians: film and eyewitness reports of the dead at Halabja indicated that their mouths and extremities had turned blue, and such symptoms were consistent with exposure to blood agents using cyanide, which, it was argued, only the Iranians were known to use. None of the authors of these documents, the most notable of whom was Stephen Pelletiere, the senior CIA political analyst of Iraq during the Anfal campaign and later professor at the Army War College, had any expertise in medical and forensic sciences, and their speculation doesn't stand up to minimal scrutiny. To begin, it is not true that Iran alone used blood agent weapons. A 1991 DIA report concluded that "Iraq is known to have employed . . . a blood agent, hydrogen cyanide gas... against Iranian soldiers, civilians, and Iraqi Kurdish civilians."
<SNIP cont. @
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/archives/2003/s... >
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #85
88. FACT: Tony Blair has admitted there have only been some
5000 remains found, most dating from the Iran-Iraq war, as well as the 1991 Gulf War and the 1991 insurgency.

So you can continue to post bogus links saying we've uncovered "hundreds of thousands" to your heart's content. I'll stick with facts, thanks. ;)

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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #85
90. US admits to using CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN IRAQ in 2003.
Gee, we better invade & occupy and bomb the crap out of America and kill...let's see, the equivalent to number of Iraqis we've killed would be at least 1 million Americans...

US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq

10 August 2003

American pilots dropped the controversial incendiary agent napalm on Iraqi troops during the advance on Baghdad. The attacks caused massive fireballs that obliterated several Iraqi positions.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030810-napa...

Napalm, aka "Mark 77" is a FFE...a CHEMICAL WEAPON.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #85
91. Saddam's 'Mass Graves': The Third Big Bush Lie?
The mass graves announcement was made November 8, 2003 by (bush appointee) Sandra Hodgkinson, at the time director of the Provisional Authoritys Mass Graves Action Plan. Hodgkinson reported that there were reports from Iraqis and that they believed the estimates of sites and bodies. She said they had confirmed 40 sites and identified 2,115 bodies.

But in July of 2004 Tony Blairs office admitted that the number of bodies that had been found in mass graves had been exaggerated by 88%. The number of bodies was put at 5,114 and the estimates of 300,000-400,000 unsubstantiated.

The British are the source of USAIDs report on the subject. Therein they also cite Human Rights Watch. But Human Rights Watch did not consider the conditions in Iraq defensible in terms of humanitarian intervention: "The lack of ongoing or imminent mass slaughter was itself sufficient to disqualify the invasion of Iraq as a humanitarian intervention. Amnesty International is also enlisted as support.

Is this Strike Three? Has mass graves taken its place with WMD and the 9/11-Iraqi-Al Qaeda connection? Has Bush struck out in his attempt to provide any justification for the Iraq War?

To exaggerate the scale of human liquidation for geopolitical ends is the moral equivalent of a capital crime, not a successful at bat in a political game.

http://edstrong.blog-city.com/read/1040713.htm
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Spinoza Donating Member (766 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #52
54. Mass Graves
"I hope you someday get to experience what the Iraqis are now experiencing."

I had my left leg cut off above the knee on March 26,1986 while I was still conscious. Is that good enough for you?

No mass graves, huh? There are HUNDREDS of reports, documenting otherwise. They are all over the net. Can you read? There are videos. Can you look? Have you talked to any actual Iraqis? ALL Iraqis, except for the former Bathist murderers acknowlege the reality of Saddam's mass killings. Did he also not gas the Kurds or wipe out the Marsh Arabs? Did he also not start the Iran/Iraq war which caused at least 1 million deaths? Did he also not allow his 2 sons to murder, rape and pillage with impunity? Did he also not fire the Kuwaiti oil wells? You don't even mention any of these.

Did you give a shit about the Iraqis before the U.S. invasion? I was at protests and marches on behalf of the Iraqi Kurds since 1979. Where were you? Did you care ANYTHING about the plight of the Iraqis under Saddam? Did these people just mean NOTHING to you?

Your views are so vicious and immoral, I feel sick.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #54
62. Because obviously you have not been paying attention
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 09:32 PM by LynnTheDem
Too much Faux Moos, perhaps?

PM Tony Blair admits "mass graves" claim untrue:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,12...

The Iraqis aren't very grateful to us;

Poll: Only 2% of Iraqis View the US as Liberators, 97% as Occupiers

http://www.independent-media.tv/item.cfm?fmedia_id=7752...

Killing other people & their kids tend to make people ungrateful;

Study puts Iraqi toll at 100,000
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/29/iraq.deaths /

Human Rights Watch; Iraq invasion cannot be justified as humanitarian intervention
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0126-07.htm

The world seems to agree with me; guess the world is "viciouous and immoral for NOT agreeing with INVADING and OCCUPYING a nation that had not been doing anything to anyone. And SHOCK AND AWE formerly known as BLITZKREIG. Yes HOW IMMORAL!

Or could it be we know the FACTS and you do not?

Amnesty Slams "Bankrupt" Vision of US in Damning Rights Report
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0526-02.htm

Poll: Bush 'Biggest Threat to Justice and Peace'
http://www.twf.org/News/Y2002/1109-Poll.html

'SQUANDERED SYMPATHY'; Poll reveals world anger at Bush
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,13...

For the first time, statistics show world's dislike of Bush translating into dislike of Americans in general
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1394393,00....

Gee, even the majority of Americans aren't pro bombing the fuck out of Iraq any more;

Only 42% of Americans now approve of bush's invasion
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0211-04.htm

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Spinoza Donating Member (766 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #62
79. I NEVER SAID I WAS IN FAVOR OF INVASION
I never justified the invasion. What makes you think I did? I am and have always been against the invasion. Nothing we have accomplished, or could accomplish, is worth the death of one American soldier to my mind. I ONLY SAID SADDAM WAS a FUCKING MASS-MURDERING, GENOCIDAL SOB. Are you saying he was NOT A FUCKING MASS-MURDERING GENOCIDAL SOB.? Please enlighten me.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #46
74. "no realistic chance of getting rid of Saddam without outside invasion?"
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 11:42 PM by Redstone
Uh, the Iranians managed to get rid of the Shah without an outside invasion, didn't they?

You'll probably say "it's not the same." It's exactly the same. I knew Iranian students back in the 1970s who were so utterly terrified of the Shah's reach that they would not say one word about the Iranian government.

Simply refused to discuss it. Not one word.

And they were in Philadelphia!

Not Tehran. Not even Europe. They were scared of the Shah in a bar in South Philly, where the only thing the other patrons wanted to kill were the players of the Buffalo Sabres when they scored a goal against the Flyers in the hockey playoffs.

The Iraqis wanted to get rid of Hussein badly enough, they could have. The Iranians did it, agains an equally vicious regime.

Sorry about your leg, but that doesn't make your logic any less broken.

Redstone
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
28. The Right shouldn't unilaterally support dictators like Saddam
and dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Zero argument there!
We have no business supporting regimes who are not true democracies or representative republics. This does NOT mean that we try to force that state of being on anybody, but that if your country is not that we simply won't do anything to prop up your government or give any aid other than food and medicine in times of famine and epidemic.
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JAbuchan08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
30. I don't remember "uncritically supporting the insurgents"
but what about "uncritically supporting military action against Iraq?" or "uncritically supporting torture?" or "uncritically dehumanizing the enemy?"

It seems that even believing that "insurgents" are human beings is tanamount to "support."
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
32. Re:"The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance"
Pat Longman reviews "The freedom" by Christian Parenti, The New Press

This book makes real for the reader the total chaos, brutality,
madness, violence and corruption that is US-occupied Iraq.

Parenti observes how the young US soldiers, "the grunts", are
completely bewildered by their role, and ignorant of Iraqi culture,
language and politics. They have a seething hostility to their
superiors. There are tensions between the multi-ethnic working-class
ranks and the army of "freshly minted MBAs" and "self deluding zealots"
holed up in the safer "Green Zone".

Parenti spent time with members of the 124th Infantry, a National Guard
unit made up mostly of college students from north Florida. These
soldiers were trading six years with the Guard for free college
tuition. But instead of directing traffic during hurricanes at the
weekends they have found themselves in Iraq.

Parenti shows us young men who are hardly trained and have been sent to
a strange country for reasons they do not comprehend. In the process
they have become increasingly disillusioned and de-sensitised to the
suffering around them.

The "bold young ideologues" working in splendid isolation on
"governance issues" and "privatisation'' live "in total fear of the
very cities and people they are charged with governing".

Parenti reports on the mismanagement of reconstruction contracts
brought about by the mad rush for profit by Halliburton and Bechtel.
He argues that the "resistance" could have been avoided if the US
administration had been less concerned with ensuring their corporate
friends could feed at the trough of contracts, and more concerned with
providing electricity, hospitals, jobs and roads for the Iraqi people.

The use by the US of mass incarceration, as at Abu Ghraib, and
punishing civilians as counter insurgency is "a set of tactics born of
political failure and desperation".

Parenti's reports on the US side of affairs are vivid, but not unique.
What is special about Parenti's is that -- at great personal risk -- he
went to talk with the "resistance" too. He finds a movement that is
ideologically and organisationally fragmented, with no clear strategy
and no clear political vision.

He is clear, though, that this is not the "liberation" movement some
leftists claim it to be. Its key leaders, on Parenti's account, are
viciously reactionary.

Parenti also met the other Iraqi opposition -- the working class
movement. His prognosis for that movement is bleak. He says the fact
that Saddam co-opted so many of the symbols of workers' resistance,
distorted them and used them to repress any working class opposition,
is a powerful obstacle to the growth of workers' organisation.

The book's title comes from a quote from Akeel, an Iraqi who
accompanied Parenti. "Ah, the freedom. Look, we have the gas-line
freedom, the looting freedom, the killing freedom, the rape freedom,
the hash-smoking freedom. I don't know what to do with all this
freedom."

Well worth reading.

http://www.workersliberty.org/node/view /
3818?PHPSESSID=fe954f459354a38db2908f5f93d448ff
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #32
41. I'd like to take a look at this....
As a vet of OIF who worked as soldier in the Green Zone, he is right that the CPA screwed up the Reconstruction project big time. I'm not sure if the "zealots" he was referring to was the civilian CPA (in which case he's right) or the military officers (in which case he has no idea what he's talking about). I do take offense to his characterizations of NCO's as "grunts". There's nothing that prepares you for war and tension is always high, that being said everyone (soldiers) over there is doing as good of a job as one could possibly expect. War is not a ballet, and Iraq has many problems completely independent of the occupation, but everyone over there is trying hard and keeping it together (there's no seething just a civilian reporter who doesn't understand interpersonal military relations)
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Re: "I'd like to take a look at this...."
For interviews with Christian Parenti see the Democracy Now! website,
http://www.google.com/search?q=Christian+Parenti+Democr... esp. the dxebate between him and a American Enterprise Institute neo-con Karl Zinmeister who has written two books based on his embedded in a USMC unit in Iraq reportage.
Also, Parenti writes regularly for The Nation,
http://www.thenation.com/directory/bios/bio.mhtml?id=44...
And, avoid reading his Dad's work, Michael. From a post of mine elsewhere>...When I lived in San Francisco was able to hang out with him a little. Quite a contrast with his dour
Stalinoid Dad, who on Flashpoints, the Pacifica Radio, Dennis Bernstein show on KPFA in Berkeley,
back on the day in March 2003 bombing began, ranted against, "Trotskyists, Greens and other anti-
communists, " defamed the assasinated Serb Pres. Zoran Djindic, said many of his Belgrade friends had
been rounded up on suspicion of having a role in the assasination, and denied that Saddam Hussein in
any way modeled himself on Stalin. (Said Aburish, an Arab journalist who has written a bio of SH and
saw his library has written, in a piece reprinted on the Z website from The Independent, that his
library had hundreds of books on Stalin.
Sometimes Sons do not take up the sins of the Father.
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Uh oh...
I don't specifically remember his name, but I'm not at all a fan of the nation's foreign policy coverage (or really anyone else there besides David Corn at this point), Naomi Klein's recent article on the elections turned my stomach (and was disingenuous). I have a fair amount of affinity for Goodman & co., but on foreign policy issues she often fails to really see the forest for the trees herself....
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. Re: "Uh oh..."
After about 25 yrs. on the Left, I'm not uncritical ;-) of some US Left institutions like Pacifica Radio, The Nation and Z. I've spent a bit of time reading back issues of The Nation from the 1930's and 40's and the
apologetics for Stalinism and the Soviet Union were relentless. (For a good history of this see, "The Great Schism: Stalinism and the American Intellectuals, " by William O'Neill. Copies can be found for $3 used on the WWW.)
The Naomi Klein pieces were taken apart by Marc Cooper on his blog,
http://marccooper.typepad.com/marccooper /
David Corn is one of their better writers. Has a great book on Ted Schackley of the CIA. Corn also has ripped into 9-11 conspiracy theories esp. from Michael Ruppert, probably a fave here at DU.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #45
50. Re: Re:Uh oh...
Good debate on foreign policy, national security and domestic issues from dove Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, Michael Tomasky, editor of the liberal magazine, The American Prospect, more of a hawk, and Peter Beinert, editor of the center-right, quite hawkish New Republic.
This appears to be an edited condensation. Look to the lefthand side of the webpg. for audio links
to the full dialogue to listen but, turn off your pop-up blocker to allow the NYT Real Player.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/books/review/006LIBER...
March 6, 2005
ROUNDTABLE
Left Behind

Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic; Michael Tomasky, the executive editor of The American
Prospect; and Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation, are three leading voices for
liberalism today. Now, following the re-election of George W. Bush, and with the continuing dominance
of Republicans in Congress, the politics they stand for is arguably more embattled than at any time
since 1933 and Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Barry Gewen, an editor at the Book Review, asked the
three editors to discuss and debate the present state of liberalism in America, and its future.

Why has ''liberal'' become a dirty word for so many Americans today?
<SNIP>
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BL611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #50
75. Yes the big 3 that represent too hot, too cold, just right
Edited on Sun Mar-06-05 02:57 PM by BL611
With The Nation being too hot, NR being too cold, and AP being just right(not just on foreign policy, but just about everything else too). The New Republic has made quite a transformation in the last fifty some odd years from being red apologists with the nation, to shades of Neoconservatism (like if Irving Kristol quit after finishing 3/4ths of the journey). It was quite amusing after the election when they did the cover story co opting the old ADA to try to cover their asses on Iraq (ironically their old rival from the cold war days). I guess its lost on them that Galbraith and Schlesinger are still alive and were quite vocal opponents of the war. American Prospect is a great magazine, and as far as journals go I'm a fan of Dissent also (Who also went through a transformation, but stopped at the right place.)
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
33. Re: Re:"The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance"
Iran Bulletin
Journal of the left dealing with issues of Iran and the Middle East from a democratic, secular and socialist perspective.
http://www.iran-bulletin.org/Resistance_final.htm
Between Iraqs colonialist and Islamist quagmire the third way is hard but possible
Ardeshir Mehrdad



Iraq, 18 months after the military occupation, remains a focus of dispute and debate among a large number of political groups, including some on the left. The main challenge is the resistance and anti-occupation movement, and the issue at stake is the nature of this movement and how to deal with it. This question (or questions) has brought about a rift among sections of the left and progressive forces outside Iraq.

Inside the country, the resistance against occupation has split the secular left with some facing up to the occupation, and others prepared to work with the Alawi government <1>. There are not many who will openly support the occupation, yet the practises of some of the unions and their political backers will inevitably support the prolongation of the occupation. By highlighting the dangers of the ascendancy of Islamic fundamentalism or a civil war among religious and ethnic groups after the occupation forces leave, some groups question the wisdom of an immediate and unconditional end to the occupation. Some among these groups opt for a different kind of occupation by demanding that the US and British occupational forces should be replaced by the UN <2>. This split has not only aligned various political forces and parties opposite one another, this confrontation has spread to the newly formed trade unions, intellectual circles and political activists <3>

Outside Iraq a similar line-up has also taken place. At one end of this spectrum stand those who view the resistance movement as a totally fundamentalist movement, an utterly reactionary resistance and ultimately Islamofascist <4>. At the other extreme are those that see the resistance as an anti-imperialist, or a thoroughly popular movement against the colonialist occupiers <5>. Hence one pole furtively defends the continuation of the occupation and backs the suppression of resistance while the other demands an immediate withdrawal of the occupying forces and unequivocally supports the resistance. Such an alignment is visible in more or less every engagement, gathering, and wherever left forces are present; in trade unions, academic or student circles, the feminist movement, the anti-globalisation movements and forums are all witness to this division.

The Iraq question is undeniably weakening the anti-war movement. As Walden Bello and a number of other commentators have noted, perhaps the real reason for the dampening of the protest against the Iraqi occupation project since last March is that a significant section of the global peace movement, especially in the United States, is reluctant to give legitimacy to the Iraqi resistance <6>. The anti war movement responded to the attack on Iraq and an unlimited war against terror by mobilising millions. Now the campaign for an immediate end to occupation has been unable to unite all the various tendencies within it. This line-up had some effect on the European Social Forum last October in London, where the conflicting approaches to the resistance surfaced as one of the points of disagreement over Iraq. <7>
The essence of the split

Why have the left been subjected to such a rift in the face of the openly imperialist aggression of the USA? Why is a significant section of the left in any doubt about decisively protesting against the military occupation of Iraq and supporting the resistance against the occupation of the country? In the current polarised political spectrum, which approach can be seen as a real solution to the problem facing Iraq and its people? In what way, and how, can the secular left become a real active player in todays Iraq and intervene actively in the course of event?

These are some of the most important questions facing leftist forces in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries today. This article is an attempt to provide a brief answer to these questions. We will emphasise above all that a comprehensive analysis of the issues raised above is urgently needed.

Before all else, it is imperative to stress the relative novelty of what we are experiencing in Iraq, and to point out that it may not be easy to find analogies for what is taking place in Iraq today either in the region, or globally. What we are witnessing in Iraq are developments that from the point of view of their nature, appearance and consequence have some unique features. Their understanding therefore calls for the use of appropriate theoretical frameworks.

The military assault on Iraq, its occupation and the attempts at economic-political reconstruction are part of a wholly colonialist project at the dawn of the 21st century. The occupation of Iraq was one of the first practical steps that the United States government took to alter the structure of the political command of global capitalism aiming at the building a global American empire <8>. For this reason alone it stands comparison to no other event since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in international importance.

The military assault on Iraq and the economic reconstruction of the country is being conducted in accordance with an unadulterated corporate model. This is a model in enclosure where as its initial and crucial step the ownership documents of the entire public wealth of the country, its resources and collective potentials, and before all else its entire oil and water resources and installations have been rewritten in the name of the Bechtels, Haliburtons and Chevron-Texacos. In Iraq, apache helicopters, cruise missiles and Abram tanks have taken on the role previously played elsewhere by supra-national institutions <9>. This too is an innovation, in its own way, in the attempts of capital to enslave the people of the planet.

The military assault on Iraq has on the one hand pulled down a rabid and repressive despotism and on the other unleashed a mass of ethnic, religious and class antagonisms and crises that have been accumulating over several decades and flung them into the political arena. The military occupation and its aftermath have ploughed the soil for ultra-conservative religious and ethnic forces to grow. These not only add to the complexity of the internal situation in Iraq but have come to threaten the future of the people of the country.

These processes, alongside many other factors, make up the Iraq question, its complexities and contradictions. They give it a unique, and to a great extent novel, characteristic. The disagreements and rifts within the ranks of the left, notwithstanding traditional causes, can be said to be an expression of these contradictions and internal inconsistencies of the Iraq question.
Defeat is not always victory

Whichever way we describe and explain the Iraq question, there can be little debate that defeating the project of colonising Iraq and frustrating Washingtons occupation of the country will be critical for the fate of Iraqi people, as it would be for the people of the region. The least, and most immediate, effect that such a defeat could have is to put in question Bushs plans to extent military actions against other countries in the region. It will undermine the will of the US government to utilise force to directly and completely control Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. There can also be no doubt that the Iraqi resistance is the agent that can decisively impose this defeat on the US government. All the other barriers and obstacles are unlikely to have more than a minor role on the sidelines.

An important proviso needs to be made here. The defeat of the US government in its occupation of Iraq and its projected schemes for the country, however, is not necessarily the same as a victory for the Iraqi people. Defeat may not necessarily produce a better Iraq for its people, nor necessarily end tyranny, oppression, poverty, murder, or even ruination and war. The horizon opened up by the military defeat of Washington, is before all else, shaped by the force that will rise out of the resistance movement (or movements). This horizon is defined not by what is being negated, but what is at the same time being proven. For the fate of the people of Iraq, as that of the region, the nature of resistance and specifically, the politics of resistance, is as important as the existence of that resistance.

Opposition to colonialism and imperialism is not always progressive, nor of the people or even liberating. Opposition to colonialism and imperialism can find its inspiration from savagely reactionary politics, and promise a future that may be no less enslaving and debasing than the imperialist and colonialist domination that it superseded. The painful experience of the Iranian revolution should, for all time, put an end to the illusion that the anti-imperialist struggle is an alchemy which will turn copper to gold!

The departure of the occupation army, or even the defeat of the entire project of George W Bush for Iraq, will only become a victory for the people of the country and the region if it is not replaced by a reactionary and despotic native alternative. When the resistance movement is able to institutionalise itself as a democratic and progressive substitute; combining national liberation with social liberation. The victory of the Iraqis will not emerge out of conservative ultra-right politics, whether nationalistic or religious, but from the germ cells of a revolutionary policy - one that does not turn its back to the achievements of modernity, but can and does use these achievements to transcend capitalist modernity and to create an alternative in contradistinction to it. Otherwise, any transition, will remain a despotic cycle sinking into conservative quagmire moving with ease from colonialism to religious fundamentalism and ethnic chauvinism, and thence to commodity fetishism and market fanaticism.
Multiplicity

With these points in mind, the first observation to be made is that there is no such entity as a single united resistance. It neither has a unitary nature nor a single political leadership and direction. Indeed the most obvious quality of the anti-occupation resistance in Iraq is the existence of different ideological strains, assorted political programmes, diverse organisational structures, and incompatible means of action within them. At one extreme, one can see a black and barbaric terrorism, represented by such groups as Abu Musab Zarqawi. In this extreme the border between resistance and counter-resistance is, naturally, difficult to distinguish. The atmosphere of this corner is so overflowing with intrigues that it is often impossible to distinguish the terror squads linked to Mossad and the CIA from the terrorist cells of fundamentalist Islam. Yet regardless as to whether the main player in this extreme are the security-terrorist agencies of the US and Israeli governments or the jihadist networks of terror and murder, the future being prepared by them is indistinguishable: a country torn apart, sunk in darkness, cruelty and hatred at one end of which the Taliban rules and the other end the warmongers in the pay of Pentagon.

Here one key point must be emphasised. To accept that jihadi terrorism co-exist within the ranks of the Iraqi resistance is not an excuse to exaggerate their weight or role in the general resistance. The picture painted by the imperialist media of the Iraqi resistance, by exaggerating the acts committed by such groups as Zarqawi, is at variance even with documents published by official security and military experts <10>.

On the other extreme are the progressive, left and secular forces of opposition. In this quarter one can see the active presence of a number of newly set up trade unions, including the union of southern oil workers and the Basra oil workers union, the movement of unemployed workers, the movement of the destitute for housing and other livelihood demands, the movements for the equality and liberation of women, and many civil groups and societies.

Resistance here, while essentially non-armed, is also non-uniform both from the political and the ideological viewpoint. One cannot ignore the presence of a variety of different tendencies, including religious and ethnic differences, among the trade union activists and the organisers of the various movements <11>. Yet despite this, the resistance movement at this end of the spectrum looks at opening up the political atmosphere, combining the struggle against occupation with efforts to set up a power structure that faces downwards. It wants direct participation, simultaneously rejects both colonial and corporate domination, espouses resistance against the dictatorship of the market and commodity despotism. Therefore, the Iraq being born on this pole of the resistance is a different Iraq. It is an Iraq that wants to put an end to the closed circuit of dictatorship, privatisations and poverty and to present a better future to the people.

Between these two poles an assorted spectrum of political Islam, ethnic and tribal nationalists carry the main load of the resistance on their shoulders. This is largely an armed resistance and has developed into an all out, and continuously expanding, guerrilla war. It is probably irrefutable that, in the present junctures, this continuum carries the main weight of the general resistance against occupation and that its popular support base among ordinary people is rapidly expanding.

The terrible after effects of the actions of the occupiers on the livelihood, self respect and security of the people of Iraq has caused the armed resistance to be seen by an increasing sections of the people of Iraq as a reliable means of ending the occupation and the hardships arising from it. This view has undoubtedly been bolstered by the active efforts made by some of these groups to fill the gap created by the collapse of the social and security net of the previous regime, particularly among the most deprived masses. The broad influence of the group led by Moqtada al-Sadr in the workers districts of Baghdad and the recruiting of soldiers for the Mahdi Army amongst the destitute volunteers in the Sadr township are the fruits of such activities.

Despite the extreme variety in the social base of this spectrum, notwithstanding all the disagreements and rivalries between the groups that make it up, the Iraq being built by this section of the resistance has a single face: an Iraq where social and cultural conservatism has the last word. Under its shadow an Iraq ranging from a paternalistic and male-dominated populism to a naked ethnic or religious despotism is being fostered. This is an Iraq ruled by a two-headed monster: one head simulates Ayatollah Khomeini, the other Saddam Hussein <12>.

With such a picture of the resistance one cannot be overly optimistic over the future of Iraq. The alternatives offered by the resistance to challenge the despots handpicked by CIA-Pentagon to the people of Iraq is strikingly polarised: at one extreme an ultra-conservative religious-ethnic dictatorship and at the other a progressive popular sovereignty relying on the extensive participation of all those who rely on their labour to live. It is clear that the defeat of the occupiers can only be considered a victory of the Iraqi people if it moves through this route of a progressive, sovereign participatory process. How else is the closed circuit of war, ashes, violence, and tyranny to subside in Iraq?

To talk of an existing forward looking worker resistance is, of course, only to highlight the possibility of a transition to such a prospect. If the realities on the ground were to remain stationary, there can be scant optimism that such a possibility will become a probability. What these realities promise for Iraqs future, is a fundamentalist reading of political enslavement and destitution. One enslavement and destitution to be substituted for another. This is a calamitous solution for a calamitous problem. What is to be done? Should one submit to the logic of the existing reality? Or find a route to escape a seemingly closed circle drawn by the imperialist-anti-imperialist reactionary cycle? The choice between bad and worse? Join the ranks of John Negropontes contractors and place ones hope in the secularism of Iyad Alawi, or fall into line behind Moqtada Sadr and swear allegiance to his anti-imperialism?
Quagmire one

Let us initially dispel any optimism, or even uncertainty, regarding the future facing the people of Iraq and their country, were the occupying forces to succeed in their project. The reconstruction project is certainly not limited to taking away the right to national sovereignty. Nor is it restricted to handing over the country to native contractors (whether Alawi or Chalabi) or Texan and Miami governors.

Politically the reconstruction of Iraq means destroying the very basis and every potential for opposition and the abrogation of all rights to resist the plunder of the resources and wealth of the country and the enslavement of its people. Whether this is to be achieved through ballot or bullet is immaterial. No sleep will be lost over the distance between a voting booth and an Abu Gharib. The colonialist-corporate reconstruction is fundamentally very flexible as to the tools it uses. Nothing is rejected a priori. Saddams regime must obviously be destroyed, but not its constructing materials, whether generals or Mukhaberat . All are recyclable, including its laws and rules. Why not rejuvenate the anti-labour laws of 1987, ban the right to organise or strike and imprison labour activist? <13>.

Sharia laws also come in handy. Secularism is permitted only where it can be used to bombard civilians. Otherwise cultural relativism, from which the Neo-Conservatives borrow so much ideological materials for their global empire, does not close the road to compromise with the ayatollahs. Why oppose Islamic hejab when it can also camouflage plunder and exploitation by US multinationals, and help break down the will to resistance in some people? Or if we can get access to a barrel of oil by getting a fatwa from Ayatollah Sistani, then why not order the bars to close or even fit one rendering of sexual apartheid to todays Iraq? Ultimately why not agree to a constitution based on Islamic sharia and Islamise your enclosure of the country?

One important point should be cleared up here. Some of the flexibility and compromises that the occupiers or their Iraqi clients have demonstrated cannot be understood outside the overall scene in which these events unfold. To turn a blind eye to one or other protest, and flexibility towards some demands (labour or other demands) can only be understood with the background of an armed struggle that is spreading.

If the armed struggle has not completely halted Washingtons efforts to restructure Iraq politically and economically, it has certainly slowed it down considerably. The destruction of the armed struggle is at this moment pivotal. The least cost for the occupiers is some flexibility towards social forces who have chosen the non-armed road to resistance. Some political concessions are in order. If those in receipt of concessions agree to cooperate with the occupation forces, and in particular back the suppression of the armed struggle, they might even pocket a part of the blood money.

The giving over of some executive positions to the leaders of the Communist party of Iraq, or the recognition of the trade union linked to this party (IFTU) is a price the Pentagon and CIA are prepared to pay for their support in repressing the resistance <14>. With the defeat of the armed resistance, assuming that is achievable, and the acceleration of the neo-construction (read total and complete plunder of Iraq) flexibility, compromise and concessions would lose their necessity as a tactic.

Clearly the colonial route will not create an Iraq tolerable for the majority of its population. Forget the promises of progress, welfare, freedom, democracy, or civilisation. A minimum livelihood, the most basic health care, even the rationed tea and sugar of the old regime, free water, affordable electricity, or a mere roof over your head in the informal townships in urban outskirts will be a dream.

The prospect promised the people of Iraq by this quagmire is the removal of general ownership and the enslavement of the majority of the population: Kurd or Arab, Shia or Sunni. History will not forgive the political force that fails to see this. For those who participate in dragging Iraq into this destiny and helps the occupation army and its client government in the colonialist reconstruction of the country, the least punishment that awaits it is dissolution. By signing into this policy, groups such as the CPI show either ignorance or treachery.
Quagmire two

The road to the liberation of the people of Iraq is resistance to occupation and the total defeat of the project to colonise their country. There is no way to circumvent such a road and no one should entertain doubt about its correctness. But a resistance from the innards of which a fundamentalist-ethnicist movement arises cannot clear such a road. The correctness of this analysis is also beyond doubt.

Logical deductions aside, palpable realities tell us the same. Just consider recent events in Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and countless other countries. If this is not enough then the current and direct experience of the people of Iraq is salutary. Wherever the Islamist have gained control they have built a small model of their ideal Iraq. This is an Iraq where Islamic courts have set up benches for whipping and hatchets for cutting off limbs, completed by compulsory hejab , limitations on women working and gender violence. Where the showing of western films and other appearances of western culture are banned, and the murder of communist and socialist opponents has begun. Thousands of gypsies have been expelled from their homes, including from the Sadr township and homosexuals are being chased and punished. A journalist reports that in a neighbourhood controlled by the jihadis in Faluja to drink water by the left hand, used for washing after toileting, has been classed as against sharia and punishable <15>.

Political Islam and racist nationalism are part of the Iraq problem not part of its solution. If any of these ultra-conservative movements were to lay hands on political power, the Iraqi people will be submerged in ethnic and religious hatred, the Iraqi workers and working people will be splintered. Iraq will sink into massacres, aggression and war, cultural, social and psychological collapse. The class and human solidarity among the mass of the people will be destroyed. This, ultimately, is tantamount to falling on ones knees in front of imperialist powers and before the rule of corporations.

One can stand up to imperialist occupation, and even end it with political Islam or ethnic nationalism but one cannot build a liberationist alternative in its place. Political Islam and ethnic nationalism may appear to be an answer to capitalist darkness, tyranny and barbarism at the dawn of the 21st Century, but this is a desperate response that is equally dark, tyrannous and barbaric. Armed with these ideologies one can well pass the gates of death and martyrdom but to enter a better life or a more human society? Alas never!

The fundamentalist resistance is a road to nowhere. Imperialist occupation and the dangers of a rabid colonialism should not prevent us from seeing this reality. One cannot, in the name of the primacy of the anti-imperialist struggle, in the name of the priority of liberation from the claws of the occupying forces, ignore the danger that will emerge from inside the current crisis and rapidly multiply. It is even worse to take recourse to an artificial staging, separating tasks into main and subsidiary, and enter into a united front or a tactical alliance with political Islam and ethnic nationalism <16>.

Even though 25 years have passed from the experience of Iran, and even though Iraq today is in many ways different form the Iran of revolutionary days, yet that experience can still provide many useful lessons to socialists and communists and all the progressive forces of Iraq. Khomeinism did not achieve power in Iran because the left was negligent in the battle to overthrow the Shah, but on the contrary, among others because the left could not, or would not, see the danger of the Islamist movement that in the course of the struggle against the Shah was growing. The left failed to look for solutions to reign it in. After a quarter of a century, the Iranian left (even ignoring those sections which supported the Islamic movement and allied or colluded with the Islamic government and thereby were essentially annihilated) has not recovered from the severe blows consequent to this error.
The third way

For the people of Iraq neither colonialism nor fundamentalism are a choice or a predetermined fate. If we were to examine both the potentials and needs of the people of Iraq, below the surface of the current conditions we will arrive at nothing less than a third outlook. This gives the vista of a progressive, popular and democratic resistance movement. And a secular left that takes a lead in its formation. The germs of such a movement are already there. But to move beyond this stage, to be an agent of historic transformation in the political life of Iraq, that left has to step into an ideological and political battle of great complexity and difficulty. It needs to navigate some difficult obstacles. This is an act which in addition to self confidence, optimism and daring requires that the secular left:

a. Categorically rejects a picture that divides the Iraqi political scene, with a reactionary equatorial-line, into two murky hemispheres. Undoubtedly the secular presence is pale, and in some ways even marginal. But that presence is also undeniable. To limit political choice between Iyad Alawi and Moqtada Sadr not only fails to describe the real potentials of this society, but even underestimates present realities <17>.

But even supposing that there were no signs of a progressive anti-imperialist force in the political arena of the country, such a force has to be created. The absence of such a force does not mean that the Iraqi people have no need for a secular resistance, a political project with freedom, equality and self government of the people as its goal. This requisite is even more acute in todays historic situation when two reactionary and ruinous forces are threatening the very existence of Iraq. This task cannot, and must not, be left unanswered in the name of realism or pragmatism.

b. The present political scene is not a preordained historic destiny. It can be, and must be, overturned. When a form of dual, or even multiple, government is in existence, and the balance of power is such that a final consolidation is way off, the secular and anti-imperialist left has a golden opportunity. This is an occasion for it to realise its class and social potentials and bring them out into the social arena.

At a time when common rationality is calling for expediency, the left cannot turn its back to its political principles and moral values. The emergence of an intense ethnic-religious reaction from within the anti-imperialist resistance is today a fact. It will be disastrous, however, if this reality causes the secular and progressive left to waver in pursuing the anti-imperialist and anti-occupation struggle. Iraqs future will be shaped by the counter-balance between the power of the imperialist occupier and the force of the anti-imperialist resistance. The left cannot abandon a struggle that will engineer the future of Iraq. To go on talking about equality and freedom, while pulling back from confrontation while people are being crushed under the boots of a colonialist army, is tantamount to shunting the people along one road alone: take shelter with the ayatollahs, sheikhs and Saddams generals.

Moreover, concerns over the growing influence and authority of the fundamentalist movement, no matter how justified, is no reason for the secular left to have any hesitation in defending the right of each Iraqi citizen, regardless of religion or politics, to throw out the occupying army from their home and town. Or worse, to close ones eyes even for a second in the face of bombing and rocketing of towns and villages and the pitiless massacre of defenceless people. It is an unforgivable mistake to ignore the removal of political and civil rights, or turn a blind eye to the arrest and torture of those who participate in or support the resistance (even those who when in power will have no hesitation in ordering the mass execution of the left). Through presenting a red copy of a black reaction, the left will never become an alternative <18>.

And finally the resistance struggle should not be limited to confronting the military occupation or direct political control. The corporate occupation of Iraq, its economic occupation, should not be allowed to slowly creep ahead <19>. Paul Bremner former US governor of Iraq had promulgated some 100 orders that began what he named the economic reconstruction (in reality neo-construction) of Iraq. He gave primacy to the privatisation by handing over 200 state-owned companies, that is to say almost the entire Iraqi economy, into 100% ownership of US corporations. The freeing of trade, the removal of the banking system from state control and abrogation of labour regulations have all the same aim of breaking up native structures in an unequal competition. Capital can move freely and labour can be exploited unfettered. They have also made every effort to ensure that the process is irreversible. By ensuring a 40-year credit for the contracts and other arrangements Bremner has closed all legal loopholes for a revision or halting this project <20>. Even the transfer of power, whether by appointment or elections, is a means of putting a stamp of approval in the name of the people of Iraq to the contracts that the US ambassador had out into effect, and to speed up and secure the economic occupation of Iraq.

Undoubtedly the resistance of industrial workers, especially those working in state-owned companies who are the first victims of the Bushs plan for the economic reconstruction of Iraq, is vital to challenge this project. Yet, unless such a resistance spreads to the entire labour force it will not necessarily succeed. A resistance against the corporate occupation of Iraq can mobilise all those who face increasing poverty and destitution - from peasant to non-industrial proletariat and to the unemployed and semi-employed, and unite them under one common umbrella, and give them solidarity in a nationwide struggle.

To stand up against neo-construction, particularly by those who have been taken to the brink of a major human catastrophe by exposure to 12 years of economic sanctions and nearly 2 years of war, occupation and ruin is of course something immensely difficult and complicated. In todays Iraq the resources are predominantly under the control of Negroponte and Bechtel, Chevron, Haliburton and ... are the biggest bosses in the land. Little is left even of the meagre economic security net of the previous regime for poor Iraqis and the last haven is lost for those who have nothing but their labour power to sell. In such conditions unless the resistance against economic occupation (neo-construction) is combined with a struggle for survival, its spread among the masses of the destitute faces difficulties. Indeed it is the occupying capital, that in the presence of a huge and frustrated reserve army of labour, is not only capable of getting its hands on all the workers it needs for its economy, but enough hungry volunteers to fill the ranks of its colonialist army.

It follows that to expand the resistance movement into this realm requires that a chain of socio-economic movements and struggles is created to answer the immediate needs of the mass of the people outside the sphere of control of the corporations and the state, and outside commodity and market relations. These have already began to take place in todays Iraq as shown by the shaping of an independent management in some production and service institutions, the emergence of mass consumer movements, the setting up of mutual assistance funds, volunteer systems of urban services, assistance in providing food, clothing medicines and such like.

These experiences are not just responses to immediate needs and the question of survival in the anti-occupation resistance, but give us a schema of a social system that can become a progressive replacement for the ultra-conservative colonial or fundamentalist alternatives.

And finally the anti-occupation resistance must in a real sense move outside the borders of Iraq and become global. The aims and consequences of the occupation of Iraq are neither confined to one country or even a particular region. The occupation of Iraq is part of a widespread assault to enslave totally and completely the people of our planet. This is what the most reactionary and aggressive poles of global capital has embarked on. The project of the global American empire is a serious threat against all the peoples of this world. And to confront it is also a global task. In a global struggle against the occupation of Iraq and against the global conquering project of the White House the presence of left and anti capitalist forces is essential. Not only because this is central to the creation of a historic-global agent to counter the danger of barbarism, but also because the forces on the left are equally crucial to block the growth of ultra-conservative religious-ethnic and national-chauvinistic movements.



Footnotes

1. The Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) totally supports the client regime of Iyad Alawi and has one senior and two junior ministers in his cabinet. The ICP, equates the armed resistance with fundamentalist terrorism, and thereby approves the suppression of the resistance. See www.iraqcp.org .

The Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (W-CPI) and its splinter group (the Leftist W-CPI), while opposing the occupation and also the armed resistance, support the workers movement against the occupation. See: Rebwar Ahmad, What are the differences between the Workers Communist Party of Iraq and the Iraq Communist party www.wpiraq.net . New Left Party in Iraq, Statement to announce the founding of Leftist Worker-Communist Party of Iraq, October 17, 2004. www.workersliberty.org/node/view/3321. Mahmood Ketabchi, Which side is the ISO on, working class socialism or nationalism and Islamism. July 8, 2004. www.wpiraq.net

2. After Iraq's occupation by US forces, the W-CPI, while failing to approve the resistance against such an occupation, was among those groups who wanted the involvement of the UN to save Iraq.

3. See the letter by Sami Ramadani to Alex Gordon, representative of RMT union in the recent European Social Forum meeting in London. A shortened version of this letter is in this issue of IB-MEF. See also Alex Maas, Iraq: workers resist US ban on unions. November 5, 2003. www.occupationwatch.org . Maas highlights the differences between IFTU and UUI towards the workers opposition to the anti-democratic anti-labour laws of the occupying forces.

4. See Nick Cohen, in the London Observer, The only way of peace March 2, 2003; and also articles by Frank Smyth including Who are the progressives in Iraq? The Left, the Right and the Islamists? Foreign Policy in Focus, September 21, 2004. See also the debate between Tariq Ali and Christopher Hitchens where the latter describes resistance as the force of mediaeval tyranny and clerical fascism. www.democracynow.org/static/alihichens.htm ; and the interesting article by Stephen E Bonner and Kurt Jacobson investigating the attitudes of left intellectuals in relation to Iraq: Dubyas fellow travellers: Left intellectuals and Mr Bushs war. Logos. Fall 2004.

The British group Workers Liberty, the US group Militant and other left groups have similar, if a little less overt, interpretations of resistance. See for example: A reply to the Stop the War Coalition. www.workersliberty.org/node/view/3237

5. See James Petras: Support the Iraqi resistance movement. Rebellion, 7 April 2004. Or Waldon Bello Empire and resistance today. Z net, June 25,2004, or to the talk of Arundhali Roy given in San Fransisco Public power in the age of empire. Socialist Worker, September 3, 2004.

6. Waldon Bello footnote 5 ibid and also Rahul Mahajan Will the anti-war movement stand up this time? Nov 6, 2004. www.counterpunch.org .

7. To get a picture of the divisions arising out of the Iraq question in the October meeting visit these sites: www.workersliberty.org, www.cpgb.org.uk www.iraqoccupationfocus.org, and also Sami Ramadanis letter, this issue.

8. For an analysis of the roots of current developments see: Istvan Mszros, Socialism or barbarism; from the American Century to the cross roads. Monthly Review Press, 2001.

9. See the highly readable account of Stephen Zunes, The US invasion of Iraq: The military side of globalisation? October 20, 2004 www.commondreams.org/views04/020-28.htm

10. See for example the report by Peter Ester and Tom Squitieri, Data suggest administration has overstated the role of jihadist in the insurgency USA Today, July 6, 2004. Also Mark Mazzeti, Insurgents are mostly Iraqis, US military says. Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2004.

11. See the readable account by Ewa Jasiewicz, Internal intifada: workers struggle in occupied Iraq MA Interactive Art & Design, Issue 28.

12. See among others the detailed report by Nir Rosen, Inside the Iraqi resistance: Part 1-7, Asia Times, July 15, 2004.

13. Sami Ramadnis series of articles in The Guardian (London) and Ewa Jasiewicz, Iraq diaries, www.electroniciraq.net

14. See Sami Ramadanis letter to Alex Gordon - ibid footnote 3.

15. See Nir Rosen ibid footnote 12. Also Naomi Klein, You cannot bomb beliefs. The Nation, October 18, 2004. Also various communiqus by Organisation of Womens Freedom in Iraq that appear in the site of W-CPI including the latest on October 25, 2005 entitled Criminal Acts Committed by Islamists during months of Ramadan against the women of Iraq.

16. For some organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party (UK), support for an anti-imperialist united front to end the occupation has become official policy. Some leading and progressive analysts on the left have also, indirectly supported this stance. Among these is James Petras, who by diluting or passing over the influence of Islamic fundamentalism in the resistance movement and the danger facing the future of Iraqi society from this quarter, makes the assumption that the anti-imperialist resistance in Iraq has a homogeneous nature. He considers the road open for the building of a single front. While Petras correctly emphasises the importance of the resistance against occupation, he believes the danger of Islamic fundamentalism as portrayed by some US commentators a result of their self-centred views. He adds that anyone who struggles for self-emancipation but does not completely follow western democratic values is seen, from their view, as fundamentalist and terrorist. While I agree with Petrass overall criticism of US intellectuals, in this particular instance I believe he is mistaken. The issue is as follows: Islamic fundamentalism, rather than rejecting western democratic values, is attached to the values of political Islam. These are values from the inside of which only a mediaeval political despotism and a stone age society can emerge. See James Pertas footnote 5, ibid.

17. Even such distinguished analysts as Naomi Klein sadly join in painting such a depressing picture. She writes Even under the least scenario, the current choice in Iraq is not between Sadrs dangerous fundamentalism and a secular democratic government made up of trade unionists and feminists. It is between open elections which risk handing power to fundamentalism but would also allow secular and moderate religious forces to organise and rigged elections designed to leave the county in the hands of Iyad Alawi and the rest of his CIA/Mukhaberat-trained thugs . See footnote 16 ibid. Accordingly the choice is not only limited to Alawi and Sadr, but its means is elections organised by the occupation army. The surrender to real politics, no matter how minor, when facing a situation like the Iraq question with its roots deep in the contradictions and crisis of global capital, can drive even the most radical activists on the left into a policy of inaction. This is a bitter reality that we unfortunately have to accept.

18. Mahmood Ketabchi, whose views are close to that of the W-CPI, when criticising the Socialist Workers Partys condemnation of US invasion of Iraq, points argues that the defeat of Iraq at the hands of the Iraqi resistance is tantamount to the country falling into an intolerable hell, and thus indirectly supports the continuation of the occupation. See footnote 1, ibid.

19. See the interesting article by Antonio Juhasz, Military action may have ended, but corporate invasion has taken over. May 19, 2003 www.progressive.org .

20. Stephen Zunes footnote 9 ibid.

Ardeshir Mehrdad

November 2004
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34.  Iraq's Eclipsed Red Star?:Do you know the left from the right in Iraq? Ev
Iraq's Eclipsed Red Star? :Do you know the left from the right in Iraq? Even red diaper babies like Sean Penn have no clue by Frank Smythe
Michael Pugliese debsian at pacbell.net
Mon Jan 13 19:57:43 MST 2003

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Smythe has written good pieces for Covert Action Quarterly.
M.P.

Iraq's Eclipsed Red Star?

Do you know the left from the right in Iraq? Even red diaper babies like Sean
Penn have no clue.

Frank Smyth, January 13, 2003

Guerrilla News Network
www.gnn.com

Not that long ago, when American progressives spoke about being in solidarity
with the people of a foreign nation they were supporting leftist national
liberation movements. Back in the 1980s, for instance, the Committee in
Solidarity with the People of El Salvador was allied with that Central
American countrys Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front which included
the El Salvador Communist Party. Not anymore, at least not when it comes to
Iraq. How many anti-war activists like Sean Penn who recently visited
Baghdad know their left from their right in Iraq?




Today Iraqi leftists still play roles inside and outside Iraq. But dont expect
to either read or hear much about any Iraqi leftist groups in either the
mainstream or even the so-called alternative press. After all, who knew
that the most detailed reporting available anywhere about ongoing specific
humanitarian crimes by Saddams regime is found at none other than the
Iraqi Communist Party website, Iraqcp.org?




he bodies of tens of people from the city of Basra, who were executed by
firing squads of the dictatorial regime in late March 1999, are buried in
a mass grave in the Burjesiyya district near the town of Zubair, about 20
km south east of Basra, reads the Iraqi Communist Party website about a
brief anti-Saddam uprising three years ago in the Shia-dominated, southernmost
city. Some of the victims fell into the hands of security forces after
being wounded, or when their ammunition had finished. But most of the
arrests took place during the following days when the authorities...unleashed
an unprecedented campaign of police raids, house searches and detentions.




The detainees, who were numbered in their hundreds, were then held at the
detention centre of the Security Directorate of Basra governorate, in Al-
Ashar district. They were subjected to barbaric torture over many days,
Iraqcp.org goes on. Family members of security men who had been killed in
the heroic revolt were brought to the scene, each was handed a machine gun,
and they were told to avenge their dead by firing at the youths and men
lined up before them. The massacre culminated with security men firing
their hand guns at the eads of their victims. The horrific scene ended
with throwing the bodies of victims in a deep pit dug with a bulldozer
which was used later to cover up the site in an attempt to hide the traces
of the crime.




Our party sources have been able to compile the names of some of these victims
(a list is attached to this statement). The authorities, as part of the
policy of collective punishment, demolished their houses, and detained
their families, including women and children. The fate of these innocent
detainees is still unknown. Reliable sources in Basra have estimated the
total number of victims of the campaign of mass executions, which followed
the suppression of the popular revolt, to range from 400 to 600 people.




The Iraqi Communist Party was once by far that oil-rich countrys broadest
leftist movement. Even before Iraqs short-lived, British-
imposed monarchy was overthrown in 1958, the Communist Party was organizing
trade unions and other civic groups. The leftist party has also long been
Iraqs most diverse political movement to cut across traditional population
lines to incorporate many disenfranchised majority Shias and minority
Kurds. Even though tens of thousands of cadre have since perished in
Saddams gulags, the Iraqi Communist Party today maintains a clandestine
network across Iraq, despite still being targeted by the ruling Baathist
regime. Iraqcp.org reports not only ongoing human rights abuses, but
ongoing armed civil resistance to the regime.




But how many American anti-war activists like Sean Penn have heard of it? Last
month the Oscar-nominated actor said he was putting his conscience first
when he visited Baghdad. Yet the 42-year-old star of many films including
his latest one, I am Sam, spoke in Baghdad like he knew he was on weak
ground. Im afraid of saying something that might hurt somebody, and then
find out I was wrong in the first place, he told The New York Times. Sean
Penn said he did not want to end up being outcast like Jane Fonda was after
her 1972 trip to the communist North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi during the
Vietnam war, or like his later father, Leo Penn, was during Washingtons
Red Scare witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy.




It was unwittingly ironic for the younger Penn to bring up his father in the
capital of Saddams Iraq. Leo Penn performed in plays like John Steinbecks
Of Mice and Men before migrating to the film industry. But Paramount
studios refused to renew his contract in 1945 over his trade union
activities, and continued to blacklist him afer he supported the Hollywood
10, or the first group of fellow actors and others who were jailed for
refusing to answer questions about their alleged communist ties before
Congress. (Leo Penns career suffered, too, until the advent of television
where he became an Emmy-winning director of prime time dramas like the New
York City detective series, Kojak.)




Today the Iraqi Communist Party firmly opposes the Bush administrations war
plans. No to imperialism! No to war! reads Iraqcp.org. Many of the administrations
so-called justifications for invading Iraq are indeed bogus --not least of
all the claim that Saddams regime had anything to do with 9/11. Moreover,
any unilateral military action againnst Iraq, especially at this time of
extremely heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions, is certain to inflame
anti-American sentiments throughout both the Arab and the Muslim worlds,
only driving more recruits into Osama bin Ladens al-Qaida terrorist
network. In addition, the Bush administration has greatly exaggerated the
current strategic threat posed by Saddams regime to the United States
along with its allies led by Israel.




But that hardly makes the Iraqi despot any more likeable now than he ever was
like back during the 1980s when Saddam was a secret ally (using chemical
gas) of the U.S. administration led by President Ronald Reagan. Sean Penn
at least once sagely called Saddam a tyrant guilty of criminal
viciousness in a paid ad on a full page last fall of The Washington Post.
Similarly, the noted anti-war critic, Noam Chomsky, once last summer on Z-
net said about Saddam, I think he is as evil as they come. But too many
other anti-war activists only downplay any criticism whatsoever against
Saddam or his regime. Moreover, unlike most American leftists, Iraqi
leftists offer a policy alternative. Instead of a unilateral U.S. invasion,
Iraqi communists and others want the international community to back a
broad military front against his regime.

Iraqi leftist groups also favor other positions only ignored by most American
leftists like U.N. human rights monitoring inside Iraq. And instead of a
unilateral American invasion, many independent Iraqi groups support a
multilateral one leading to not only Saddams overthrow but also him and
others eventually facing humanitarian charges in an international tribunal.
Nobody from Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International, does a better job,
in fact, than the Iraqi Communist Party in documenting ongoing abuses by
Saddams regime.

Under direct supervision of Qusay, the younger son of the dictator Saddam
Hussein...15 political prisoners were executed, Nazi-style, in a poison
gas chamber on 10 August 2001, reads Iraqcp.org, relying in no small way
on the Communist partys underground cadre and sources inside Iraq. The
victims were placed inside a specially designed chamber and then a
poisonous gas was released through vents. They were dead within 27 seconds.
Their bodies were left there for one hour until the gas was extracted
through a special vent.

The Gas Chamber, the Iraqcp.org report goes on, and its operation began
after approval by Qusay. It seems that this barbaric method was designed to
facilitate mass physical liquidation of prisoners and detainees in a
shorter time and with less effort. The dictatorial regime is continuing its
notorious Prison Cleanup campaign which has so far claimed the lives of
more than 3000 prisoners and detainees.

Last year President Saddam Hussein emptied his prisons including his largest
one, Abu Ghraib, right after he orchestrated an allegedly unanimous
referendum on his rule. The listener-supported Pacifica Networks
Democracy Now! radio show in many large U.S. cities aired one Iraqi
source after another including officials claiming it was a legitimate
reflection of Saddams popularity without even suggesting that there might
be any other Iraqi view; the Iraqi Communist Party called the referendum a
farce, adding that our people are too familiar with the deceit and
manipulations practiced by the regime. Countless political prisoners
remain missing, according to not only the Iraqi Communist Party but also to
other non-U.S.-backed Iraqi groups like the Shia-run al-Khoei Foundation
based in London.

When it comes to internal security measures, Saddam copies a late communist,
ironically, whom he admires, the former Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.
Saddams independent biographer, the Palestinian author Said K. Aburish,
wrote: he has modeled himself after and adopted the ways of Joseph Stalin
and merged them with his tribal instincts. But no matter how much he
borrows from Stalin, Saddam has never held anything but contempt for Iraqi
leftists.

I used to have a Communist friend at school, Saddam told his own authorized
biographer, the Iraqi writer Faoud Matar. Hes dead now, God rest his
soul. He spent most of his time reading communiques and declarations to us,
his schoolmates. All we did was make fun of him, added Saddam in the 1990
edition of his approved biography published in London. e knew his
theories came from abroad; they had been introduced by a foreigner, not an
Arab. At 22, Saddam Hussein carried out his first assassination plot,
against a communist-backed leader in Baghdad who was the first President of
Iraq. In fact, the young man from Tirkit was not accepted into the Baath
party until after he and others shot at President Abdel-Karim Qassem, who
was backed by the Iraq Communist Party and many trade unions. President
Qassem survived, while Saddam was wounded in the leg.

Instead of leftist ideology, Baathism unabashedly champions ethnic nationalism
in order to build an ethnic-based greater nation. The Iraqi Arab Socialist
Baath party explicitly excludes every one in five Iraqis who are ethnic
Kurds. Moreover the Baathists pan-Arab message is made mainly by Arabs of
the Sunni Muslim faith like Saddam, and their Sunni-
based Arab nationalism also has little appeal with Arab Muslims of the Shia
faith who comprise three out of five Iraqis. Rather than empower either
Iraqs Shia majority or its Kurdish minority, the Baath party merely
displaced Iraqs old rulers of Sunni Arab-led monarchists based in Baghdad
with new Sunni Arab-led rulers like Saddam from rural regions north of the
capital.

A ruling class-clan rapidly developed and maintained a tight grip on the army,
the Baath party, the bureaucracy, and the business milieus, writes Faleh
A. Jabar, the University of London scholar and former Iraqi communist party
newspaper editor, in the current issue of the Madison, Wisconsin-based
monthly, The Progressive. You had either to be with the Baath or you were
against it.

Today most of Kurdish-speaking Iraq in the north enjoys U.S.-enforced autonomy
from Saddams regime, while Shias in the south still resist. Take Basra,
where Saddams officials have recently brought visiting U.S. peace
activists. We were welcomed warmly into the home of Abu Haider, the father
of a young boy who was killed three years ago by a U.S. Tomahak missile
shot from a ship in the Gulf, reads a pre-Christmas report from Pax
Christi, a faith-based group. Pax Christis newsletter today says that this
U.S. missile attack occurred in Basra in 1998; the same year Saddams
regime there interred dozens of anti-Saddam rebels and others in secret
graves, according to Iraqcp.org.

Most American anti-war activists also downplay another issue that Iraqi leftists
are most worried about. What might a post-Saddam Iraq look like? The
Communist Party refused to join the recent U.S.-backed Iraqi opposition
meeting in London, pointing out that Washington has only been planning to
replace Saddams regime with another minority dictatorship. The Iraqis
closest to Washington remain deposed aristocrats, although the Bush
administration finally just dumped the Pentagon-alone-backed plan to restore
former supporters of the 27-year-reigning Kingdom of Iraq to power back
from exile in London as the Iraqi National Congress.

Instead of the U.S.-backed return of the old ruling class, the Communist Party,
Shia and Kurdish opposition groups want U.N.-monitored elections after
Saddam inside Iraq leading to a federal representative government. This is
an ongoing struggle yet to be adequately reported, unfortunately, in any
U.S. press, and the issue represents a genuinely democratic frontline with
so far few if any so-called American progressives on it.

American and Iraqi leftists also differ over whom to blame for any coming war.
Iraqcp.org blames not only the Bush administration, but also the Iraqi
government. In this regard, the Iraq Communist Party ironically joins the
Bush administration in unequivocally demanding that Saddam fully cooperate
with U.N. inspections to prevent his regime from newly developing more
weapons of mass destruction. The rulers of the dictatorial regime in
Iraq, reads Iraqcp.org, put their selfish interest above the peoples
national interest, refusing to allow the of U.N. weapons inspectors,
and thus preventing action to spare our people and country looming
dangers.

Opposing American imperialism is one thing. But ignoring Iraqi fascism is another.
In Baghdad, Sean Penn said, I would hope that all Americans will embrace
information available to them outside conventional channels. Hopefully he
and other antiwar Americans will take his own advice and read
unconventional channels like Iraqcp.org. Only a quintessentially American
sense of chauvinism would lead leftists in a big country to think that
leftists in a smaller country dont matter. Iraqi Marxists have endured
Saddams Baathist terror long enough to know the left from the right in
Iraq, and, as our nation prepares to invade their country, more Americans
should too of course including anti-war activists.

Frank Smyth is a freelance journalist who is writing a book at the 1991 Iraqi
uprisings. He has covered leftist guerrillas in El Salvador, Iraq and
Rwanda. His clips are posted at www.franksmyth.com .




--
Michael Pugliese







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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. DU has a 4-paragraph copyright rule.
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 03:30 PM by Padraig18
You still have time to edit your posts.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. I hate it when people post that much rules or not!
I know how to click on a link!
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Re: "I hate it when people post that much rules or not!"
Oops, didn't remember that. I'm a newbie.
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benburch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #40
51. No problem!
Sorry I got touchy.
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
36. "When did you stop beating your wife?" The title of this article is just
as offensive. Not beating wife, not supporting any side in a war - just want it to stop.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
42.  '80's Left on FMLN & FSLN (Was," Re:The Left Shouldn't Uncritically...")
As a member of the Committee in Solidarity With The People of El Salvador in the 80's, and a participant in many marches then there were thousands that were explicit in their support for the Salvadorean guerillas. Oftentimes there were brutal polemics over which particular politico-military org. within the FDR-FMLN to support. Thank god here in the U.S. these debates only led to shoving and shouting. In El Salvador, a founder of one of the guerilla orgs., Roque Dalton a great communist poet was murdered on the orders of Joaquin Villalobos, as being a supposed dual KGB/CIA agent. A narrative on this is in, "The El Salvador Crisis Reader, " ed. by Barry Rubin and Robert Leiken, the piece by Gabriel Zaid, a Mexican writer.
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quinnox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
47. There are many on the left who don't support them
And who recognize that terrorists are nasty, vile people who should be caught or killed for their acts. The way the article is written, it implies as if every DUer or leftist is rooting for the terrorists to kill U.S. troops.

Not everyone on Du is a tin-foiler (although sometimes it may not seem that way), blaming the U.S. for every evil thing that happens in Iraq.

Sure, there are some also who seem to cheer the resistance on, but like all things, it is a vocal small minority.
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michael098762001 Donating Member (39 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
48. Re: The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance
British bloggers like ex-Trotskyist Narm Geras and Harry's Place, as well the Weekly Worker (internet newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain) and Workers Liberty, a neo-Trot group, have had much polemic against the UK Socialist Workers Party, its mass front group Stop The War, its alliance with the reactionary Muslim Assoc. of Britain and explicit support for any and all of the Iraqi Resistance, whether secular, Islamist, Ba'athist, far right or "Left."
http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2005/02/23/f...
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2005/03/on_the_justi...
On the justification of barbarism II
I cited yesterday the support given by some parts of the declared Left for the Iraqi "resistance...<SNIP>
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2005/02/on_the_justi...
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 07:53 PM
Response to Original message
57. It. Is. Their. Fucking. Country.
Not ours.

Redstone
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. thank you.
i support resistance movements world wide, though i may not alwys support their actions.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. You're welcome.
Edited on Sat Mar-05-05 09:03 PM by Redstone
For Christ's sake, if we want to split hairs (which some of the people quoted above will do until they make our ears bleed), we could at least have said back in the 1960s that the government of South Viet Nam ASKED for our military support.

(The fact that the RVN government was an illegitimate, corrupt bunch of thugs could even, if this argument had any logic, be balanced by the fact that the government of North Viet Nam were a bunch of illegitimate, murderous thugs. I'm not making any excuses for either of them.)

But NOBODY in Iraq asked us to invade them. Oh, yes, a few "exile groups" of corrupt thugs (common theme here, anyone?) cheered us on from the safety of the sidelines, without of course ANY of them risking their own necks in any of the fighting. (The old phrase "Let's you and him fight" comes to mind.)

Furthermore, screw the idea of "it was our moral obligation to liberate the Iraqi people from Hussein." Screw them if they didn't have the guts to do it themselves.

And you know who's having the last laugh right now? Saddam Hussein, that's who. Because no matter how much he wanted to, before we invaded Iraq there wasn't one goddamn thing he could do to kill Americans. He was bottled up, with the eyes of the world watching him.

Now, he gets his wish. American soldiers die, because they're where the "insurgents" can get to them, and he's happy.

If we had not taken it upon ourselves to invade Iraq, all those Americans would still be alive today. Not to mention the Iraqi civilians, for whom I really do feel sorry, especially the children.

Y'all go ahead and flame now if you want to. I've ranted, and am done for the night.

Redstone
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. no flames from this leftist.
you've made some thought observations that most people just can't wrap their little minds around.
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Djinn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #59
69. no flames from me either Redstone
I'd just "say"



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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #57
63. Another THANK YOU.
Exactly;

It is THEIR COUNTRY.

Not ours.

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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
64. The World Needs The US To Lose This War
Why we must lose this war

by Jack Lessenberry

02/09/05 "Metro Times" - - Gwynne Dyer isnt exactly a wimp. Not many guys from Newfoundland are. Born during World War II, he has been fascinated by things military all his life, and has served in three navies ours, Canadas and Great Britains. He has university degrees from all three countries too, and a Ph.D. in military and Middle Eastern history. During the 1980s, he produced and narrated the best documentary series about the nature of war that Ive ever seen.

And heres what he says about what we are doing:

The United States needs to lose the war in Iraq as soon as possible. Even more urgently, the whole world needs the United States to lose the war in Iraq. What is at stake now is the way we run the world for the next generation or more, and really bad things will happen if we get it wrong.

Those are the opening lines of his latest and perhaps most important book, Future Tense: The Coming World Order (paperback, McClelland and Stewart, $12.95). If you plan on reading only one book this year, make this the one. In perfectly clear prose, with arguments as well-researched as they are compelling, this military expert explains why what were doing is mad.

He explains how we havent grasped that the world has changed, that we arent living in our old superpower world anymore, one in which were the leader of the forces of light against the evil dark powers of communism. Nor are we, in fact, even a military superpower in the way we like to think we are; in reality, our military machine can only be used against very weak countries. As he notes, War with a serious opponent would lead to a level of American casualties that the U.S. public would not tolerate for long.

http://207.44.245.159/article8077.htm
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Malikshah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
70. Wow...frame the debate much
One view does not a groupthink make :)

Not even worth debating.
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Arkana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
72. Um, any self-respecting leftist wouldn't support the insurgency
but they sure as HELL wouldn't support the Bushistas and their dreams of world domination. The invasion of Iraq was a mistake-turned-train wreck, and we are merely telling the people who the responsible people are.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-05 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #72
73. So it was only the right who supported the insurgency when it was
Americans fighting the British occupation?

So we "self-respecting leftists" sat on our arses and didn't support the insurgency; it was all just the rightwing who fought the Brits.

Wow, I never knew that. America owes one huge debt of gratitude to the rightwingnuts.
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Misunderestimator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
76. Hello? Calling AmericanErrorist!! Where are you? Question for you...
How is it that you came up with that title for the thread: "The Left Shouldn't Uncritically Support the Iraq Resistance"... I don't see that mentioned anywhere in the article. Are you trying to imply that the left uncritically supports the Iraq Resistance??

Now where the heck are you two days after posting this?
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Sapphire Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #76
80. I wondered about that, too
.... and read the full article @ http://www.socialistalternative.org/justice42/8.html .

"Debate Within the Movement The Iraqi Resistance and the Anti-War Movement" was the original title of the article.

"Does this mean the anti-war movement and socialists should uncritically support the Iraqi resistance?" was a question asked in the opening paragraph of the article.

Conclusion of the article:

"It would be a mistake to adopt an uncritical stance towards groups that, while opposed to the imperialist occupation, are tied to reactionary forces in Iraqi society and are opposed to the interests of workers and the poor. A crucial task of the anti-war and labor movements internationally is to provide resources and solidarity to support those activists trying to build workers' organisations opposing the occupation."


What, if any, implications were intended by the title of this thread? Good question.
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clem_c_rock Donating Member (989 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
77. As true as the law of Gravity
Anytime someone invades another country - there will be resistance. And as w/ the American revolutionist, they are not bound by rules. If someone tries to break in my home, guess what, I don't have to follow any rules in getting them out. I have the right to get as midieval as I want.

I suppose you are also equally opposed to the actions by Nelson Mandella.

Furthermore, I don't buy the idea that it's all Iraqi's are blowing up Iraqi's. Much of it sounds like classic counterinsurgency ops to me.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-06-05 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
93. Don't you mean "insurgencies?"
There might be some faction I could support if there were some way of figuring out who the players are, but there isn't really a scorecard. I'd certainly be against the religious fundie branches, and anyone who targets civilians for any reason. I don't formally support any of the opposition sects because there isn't any way to find out what is actually going on with any of them politically.
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Vladimir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-05 05:09 AM
Response to Original message
94. Support is such a funny old word
do you mean mouth off about them in op/ed pieces for our follow intelligentsia members, engaging in elaborate cock-measuring contests so we can inflate our egos when 'developments on the ground' 'prove' this analysis or that analysis 'correct'? (I've done it as much as the next lefty - sometimes it feels like that's our mission statement) Because in that respect, I don't see why it matters one bit whether the support is unconditional, reserved or non-existent. Its not like anyone actually cares. In particular, its not like the Iraqis on the ground care, because they are too busy dodging crossfire on a daily basis to worry about our views. This issue achieves precisely nothing practical other than split the left on imaginary moral grounds, and splits on morality is not something I have much time for. In one respect though, the Socialist Worker is right - our main enemy is at home, in the sense that the only direct influence we have is within our own political process. Our demand should be simple - an end to the occupation. No more, no less.

PS Of course, if you had been talking about financial, or maybe even physical (!), support, then the article would have a point - but nobody here is gonna do either of those things.
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