FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iraq’s Right to Resist

by SHARON SMITH

 

Many antiwar leaders blamed John Kerry’s defeat on the antiwar movement’s failure to connect with America’s conservative “heartland”–and have since followed Democratic Party liberals as they tack rightward to orient to this target voting base.

Indeed, liberal commentator Geov Parrish leveled harsh criticism at March 19 antiwar protesters in the Seattle Weekly, belittling antiwar rallies as “a pep rally for activists.” Parrish argued, “Opposition to this war should be rooted in what is best for this country.”

But this reasoning can easily backfire on the antiwar movement, since “this country” is the U.S. Empire. Already, the antiwar Web site MoveOn.org has pandered so far to the “we can’t cut and run” crowd that opposition to the Iraq occupation disappeared from its site.

Outright hostility to the Iraqi resistance now reaches far inside the antiwar movement, undermining the notion that Iraqis have the right to determine their own future, free of U.S. intervention.

This hostility was on display at the Washington, D.C., United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) national teach-in on March 24. During the discussion, audience member Jeff Skinner mildly suggested, “The antiwar movement should take up…Iraqis’ right to resist the occupation.” He added that his argument “is definitely not a glorification or a hope that American soldiers continue to die in Iraq,” offering the parallel of the alliance between the Vietnamese resistance and U.S. troops as an example of the common interests between the two.

Nevertheless, the panelists responded indignantly to Skinner’s suggestion. Global justice activist Naomi Klein chastised, “We shouldn’t get involved in offering blanket cheerleading for the resistance…There are dueling fundamentalists in Iraq…and [some] are enemies of the Iraqi people.”

But shouldn’t Iraqis themselves decide who are “enemies of the Iraqi people?” So far, Iraqis have identified their main enemy only as the U.S. occupation. UFPJ staffer Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou replied to Skinner, “For [supporting the resistance] to be the primary point of unity…would disintegrate us,” although Skinner never suggested that as a primary point of unity.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) member Patrick Resta asserted angrily: “I really can’t let that come and go about being a cheerleader for the insurgency…” (as if answering Skinner, rather than echoing Klein’s caricature of Skinner’s question). “[T]o advocate that as a way to end this war is really disgusting and morally repugnant…Most of the troops dying are dying from roadside bombs, mortars and rockets that are fired from up to a mile away.”

The Bush administration has long reduced support for Iraqis’ right to resist occupation to welcoming the killing of U.S. soldiers. Antiwar leaders should know better.

As author and activist Tariq Ali argued recently, “How could a resistance be pretty when the occupation is so brutal and ugly. The senseless violence inflicted upon the Iraqi people by the occupation results in a violent response.” Ali also points out, “The left is weak in Iraq because the Iraqi Communist Party backed the occupation and served in the puppet government.”

Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a long-time opponent of both Saddam Hussein and U.S. intervention in Iraq, told Kevin Zeese in an upcoming interview for DemocracyRising.us: “It’s not the Mussabu Al Zarqawi and Abu, I don’t know who, or the terrorists coming from the outside of Iraq. It is the indigenous Iraqi resistance. While we were told that Saddam Hussein was torturing us, we are finding after 22 months that the Americans are torturing us…and now we discover that the Iraqi forces, the ING is torturing us.”

“Troops out now” is a demand that encompasses the interests of both U.S. troops and of Iraqis fighting to determine their own future. Yet in the heart of U.S. imperialism, Iraqis’ right to resist occupation has unnecessarily divided the antiwar movement. While a broad-based movement must be the goal, this cannot be the excuse for diluting the politics of the antiwar movement so that its principles become indistinguishable from those of the apologists for U.S. occupation.

SHARON SMITH writes for the Socialist Worker. She can be reached at: sharon@internationalsocialist.org

 

 

 

 

 

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail