FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Drop Kicking Juan Cole and Marc Cooper

by JOSHUA FRANK

“I’m tired of waiting on a ship that won’t leave shore
The water’s bloody with the ones, who came before”

-Sleater-Kinney, Steep Air

Go ahead and get excited about Cindy Sheehan’s overnight popularity. It really is a incredibly important development for the antiwar movement. But before we drop what we are doing and follow her lead, we better take a sobering step backward and recognize Sheehan, alone as a one-woman show, has very real limitations.

First, we should start listening to what she is actually saying, which is that this is not about her or her loss. It’s about the war. It’s about the slaughter taking place in Iraq right now. She’s also calling for troops to come home right now. Which is exactly what the antiwar movement should be calling for. But isn’t. Not yet anyway.

Liberals like Marc Cooper and Juan Cole are calling for a phased withdraw ala Senator Russ Feingold’s exit December 2006 proclamation. Writing for his blog Cole explains his lofty perspective:

“I think ‘US out now’ as a simple mantra neglects to consider the full range of possible disasters that could ensue. For one thing, there would be an Iraq civil war. Iraq wasn’t having a civil war in 2002. And although you could argue that what is going on now is a subterranean, unconventional civil war, it is not characterized by set piece battles and hundreds of people killed in a single battle, as was true in Lebanon in 1975-76, e.g. People often allege that the US military isn’t doing any good in Iraq and there is already a civil war. These people have never actually seen a civil war and do not appreciate the lid the US military is keeping on what could be a volcano.”

Yep. Those are pro-longed occupation excuses from an “antiwar” scholar. Cole’s thesis is a non sequitur. Funny how the tenured Prof’s rationale mirrors that of the Bush administration ­ “stay the course” he effectively says. Keep the occupation steaming onward. Forget the mounting death count. If we “cut and run” a “volcano” (obviously Cole isn’t a geologist) will erupt for Christ’s sake! Those damn Arabs are not smart enough to be able and figure out their future all by their lonesome! We’ve got to show them! That’s the American way damNit!

Oh, how noble of Professor Cole. If we are to accept his putrid rhetoric, however, then we are not acknowledging the voices of dissent in Iraq that have been ringing in unmistankingly clear these past months. They want the US out yesterday. Occupiers like Cole don’t listen, though. They impose whatever they think is best on those they occupy.

Can you imagine someone defending slavery in this manner? “No, no, no, don’t end slavery!” they’d scream. “The slaves will just turn against each other. It’d be civil war! The savages! We’ll give them their freedom in due time! When we say so!”

Well, I hate to say it, but Cole isn’t accepting democracy no matter how much he claims to believe in its principles. The Iraqis voted and the majority that did want their occupiers to leave now. They want to govern themselves. Build their own infrastructure. Run their own government. Is that too much to ask?

Prof Cole doesn’t want that. At least not yet. He’ll let us known when. Good thing Cole has the liberal huckster Marc Cooper who has chimed in to defend his “stay the course” bullshit. As Cooper writes on his own conceited blog,

“Some of the more delusional responses predictably enough come from the Idiot Right who accuse Cole of being a traitor. And, yes, also from those who want immediate, unconditional, un-thought-out withdrawal on the Unrepentant Idiot Left. One of the more prolific buffoons from that corner — Louis Proyect the self-described ‘Unrepentant Marxist’– can offer no better response than to compare Cole with Dick Nixon and then further suggest I undergo a lobotomy for having linked to Cole and to cure what he diagnoses as my incipient [Christopher] Hitchens Syndrome.”

I am pretty sure I’d much rather be a buffoon than endorse the death of more innocent civilians – which would surely happen under Cole and Cooper’s rosy “eventual withdraw” (read: prolonged occupation) scenario. Staying the course will only illicit more violence. More anti-US sentiment. This is a fact. What we do not know for a fact is how Iraqis will deal with US exiting. There is absolutely no way to know for sure. If a civil war breaks out in Iraq after our exit – god forbid – that’s the course Iraqis will choose to take. On their own. But we don’t have any moral authority to impose our values on them and their decisions. I’m sure Prof Cole (and maybe even Cooper) has heard what this imperial behavior is called – we call it ethnocentrism.

So let’s get back to Cindy Sheehan, who is calling for an immediate withdraw of soldiers in Iraq. She doesn’t want any permanent bases in the country, which is a far better position then both Cole and Cooper combined. But Sheehan as a lone messenger has real limitations. She has been branded by the media as a mother who is motivated by her own grief. She is not thinking rationally, they say, she is just trying to make sense of her son’s death. All this, despite the fact that her message is purely political; Sheehan is articulate and media savvy, heck she even has a “progressive” publicist. Cindy lacks something important however ­ she has never served in Iraq like her late son Casey.

The true leaders of the anti-war movement are going to be Casey’s fellow troops like Kelly Dougherty, Pablo Paredes and Jason Gunn who have served in Iraq and are now speaking out against the war. There are hundreds of them. Perhaps thousands. They can’t be discredited in the same manner as Cindy Sheehan. They’ve seen the blood and smelled the death first hand. These are the men and women who will become the leaders of the movement. Not Cooper and Cole, thank heavens.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.

 

 

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail