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.

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail