FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Only Answer is Immediate Withdrawal

by RON JACOBS

 

There is a myth circulating amongst antiwar people. That myth is elucidated quite succinctly in an editorial in the April 21, 2004 edition of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. According to this piece, “the Bush administration has gotten the United States into a quagmire from which there is no clear or credible escape.”

Firstly, this statement begs the question: who’s to say what’s credible? Are we asking the Iraqis if there is no credible way out of Iraq or is it other western governments that are being asked that question? Secondly, (and quite obviously) there is an escape. Just get the hell out! Many people in the world don’t see any problem with this position. Indeed, it is only those who oppose the war yet for some reason seem to think that the US now has some kind of obligation to repair what it destroyed who align themselves with the Bay Guardian’s statement. In case these folks haven’t noticed, it’s the US forces that are the enemy and it is the US forces that are doing most of the killing and causing most of the dying.

It seems that the only real reasons one would insist on not returning Iraq back to its people would be that one either believes that the Iraqis are ignorant and incapable of governing themselves, or because they agree with the Bush administration and only want to see a government in Iraq that does the US bidding. Any gobbledygook these folks might speak about the need for security and stability in the country before US and other troops pull out is merely an excuse to ensure that US interests prevail. After all, there isn’t any security in Iraq with the US presence. Why? Because the US is the reason for the instability and insecurity. They invaded and destroyed and now they are killing and destroying. You can’t impose security on a people who don’t want you to. Any calm US troops impose is as illusory as the truth is to Donald Rumsfeld.

Considering this, however, what might a solution be to the Iraq situation be, if no one in the seats of power is brave enough to demand an immediate pullout? Maybe the Bay Guardian has an idea about this. Maybe something novel and truly creative? Let’s take a look: “The only real hope is to replace the U.S. occupation force with an inter-national peacekeeping crew, under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.” I guess not. Not only is this proposal just a case of replacing one occupation force with another, it is also unworkable. In fact, the Bay Guardian’s editors acknowledge as much. The UN, write the weekly’s editors, “don’t want to clean up Bush’s mess.” No kidding.

So, what might be a solution to this quandary? Hold tight, readers, because you’re not going to believe the Bay Guardian’s solution: vote for Kerry! After all, say these men and women, if Kerry is elected, he could plead with the rest of the Security Council to send their men and women over to Iraq and kill and die for Washington. Now, I know the weed in San Francisco is good and the microbrews rock, too, but how much of these mood modifiers are these people imbibing?

This is not a solution. It’s a potential recipe for worldwide war. If one accepts this position as a solution, they are truly seeing the war from a lens fogged by imperial illusions. Even if one opposes the war, it’s an imperial illusion if you think the Iraqis need to be taught governance. It’s an imperial illusion if you think that only westerners can create stability, unless your only definition of stability is the one that provides stability for the system of global capital. Which, by the way, is the stability Messrs. Bush, Kerry, Rumsfeld, and Myers are talking about. It’s an imperial illusion if you think the Bush administration went to war to help the Iraqi people. They didn’t. They went to war to help maintain US dominance in the oil market and US/Israeli dominance in the Middle East.

The antiwar movement has to be more than a campaign mechanism for Anybody-But-Bush. In order for that to happen, it must let go of any illusions it has about the US purpose in Iraq. Furthermore, it must let go of the idea that the US or the UN can make things better for the Iraqi people. Instead, it should support the legitimate right of the Iraqi people to get rid of any occupation forces and encourage the flowering of a truly democratic and civil society in that country. This means that there may be some ugly scenes coming out of Iraq after US forces are withdrawn, but (in case you haven’t noticed) there are some pretty ugly scenes coming out of there right now and most of them involve the actions of those US forces. Iraqis do deserve peace and freedom, but they need to build it in their own way, not according to the designs of those currently more powerful than them. If some future Iraqi government asks on its own for help from the UN, then the UN should respond in kind, but that body should not take over where the US left off. There is nothing honorable in that.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is being republished by Verso.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail