FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Leaving Iraq Now is the Only Sensible Solution

 

Coherent. That’s the one word review of Anthony Arnove’s latest book, Iraq:The Logic of Withdrawal. Incoherent. That’s what Washington’s policy in Iraq seems to be. What makes Arnove’s book so important is that he dissects that policy and proves that the war in Iraq is not an incoherent bumble that’s gone awry. In fact, as Arnove makes abundantly clear, it’s US foreign policy as it’s always been. This remains the case even in the light of Condoleeza Rice’s admission of thousands of tactical errors. After all, Ms. Rice didn’t admit that the war itself was an error, only the manne in which it is fought.

As the war drags interminably on and people continue to die, the antiwar movement in the US is still fumbling around questions of timetables and demands. One element of the movement has hitched itself to the progressive wing of the Democratic party–a connection that has stifled that element’s ability to make the only reasonable demand an antiwar movement can make: Get out of Iraq now and bring the occupying troops home. The rest of us in the movement continue to make this demand, but seem to go unheard. Part of the reason for this lies in the fact that our allies do have those connections in the public mind to the Democrats, but the greater reason is our inability to mobilize the broader mass of the US public–a public that opinion polls tell us is overwhelmingly opposed to the continuation of the war.

Like the similarly titled book written in 1966 about the US war in Vietnam by Arnove’s inspiration and collaborator Howard Zinn, Iraq:The Logic of Withdrawal, is not a shrill exercise in rhetoric. It isn’t full of make love not war sentiment or calls to hit the barricades with your black bandannas and gas masks. It is exactly what it says it is: a logical, point-by-point argument to the world as to why we need to insist that US troops leave Iraq immediately. There is passion in these pages, but it is the passion of pure logic in the defense of humanity and the earth we live on. Well-researched and well-spoken, the reasonableness of Arnove’s presentation does more than expose the madness of the men and women who are running this war, it peels away the madness of the system that those men and women work for.

It is this element of the book that goes beyond a mere call to end this war. One of the debates within the movement, especially among the liberals and some leftists, is how much of the conversation should be about empire. Arnove argues that because of the economic and geopolitical reasons behind the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, the occupation can only truly end when the antiwar movement understands that it must be an anti-imperialist movement. Like Mark Twain and his circle of anti-imperialist activists back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Arnove wants the reader to understand that it is the needs of the financial system we live in that demands that our men and women go off to kill and die. He does this patiently and clearly, without a hint of self-righteousness.

Although there is a part of me that sees war as completely lacking in logic and reason, I also understand that the reasons wars are fought are completely logical if one accepts their underlying premise. If the war is one fought to expand and maintain an empire, than that premise is that any resource or place that will help in that task is fair game. That is the logic that informs Washington, just like it was the logic that informed all empires before it. As noted above, it is not a logic that has the best interests of the occupied people or the people whose children make up the occupier’s army in mind. The only logical endeavor that benefits those people is immediate withdrawal. Furthermore, it is also why we in the US and Britain have more in common with the Iraqi resistance and its supporters than we do with the politicians and generals running this war.

Of course, while this may be apparent to antiwar activists that understand the true reasons and nature of this war, it is not apparent to most people. Partially because of that, even many people who opposed the war before it began are uncertain about the timetable for leaving it. Arnove’s book is an extremely capable and very readable introduction to the argument for immediate and unconditional withdrawal. Not only does he list the reasons that Washington really began this war, he provides a compelling and coherent list of reasons why we should get the hell out. This compact and comprehensive text needs to reach as many people as possible. Buy it and share it. Ask your library to purchase it.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail