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

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Sam Pizzigati
Companies Can Either Make Things or Make CEOs Rich
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail