Sunday, November 28, 2004


You can put Tom Hayden in the same category as the 19th century French Bourbon dynasty, restored after Napoleon was defeated. "They learn nothing. And forget nothing." Here's a brilliant article in which he spells out his strategy for engineering an American defeat in Iraq (that's a progressive goal, people!). Traitor. Also, uhh, MORON, this is the kind of stuff that lost you the election. I guess throwing Indochina to the wolves wasn't enough for you, Tom? Nothing ever is for you "progressives".

The anti-war movement can force the Bush administration to leave Iraq by denying it the funding, troops, and alliances necessary to its strategy for dominance.


There is a lesson here for progressives. Since the anti-war sentiment was a factor of public opinion during the presidential race that made Bush defer tough decisions, the movement needs to create an even greater force of opposition that will become indigestible, a kind of gallstone in the stomach of power.


While it is theoretically possible (and in my view, desirable) that the January election might bring to power a Shiite-led coalition that would ask the U.S. to withdraw troops, that is hardly the intent. The U.S. still plans to permanently remake a new Iraq, plans that include American military bases, a privatized market economy, ready access to oil, a prime target for Western and, especially Christian, proselytizing in the region. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. is already flooding Iraq with satellite dishes and televisions while privatizing its 200 state-owned companies: "Bremer discussed the need to privatize government with such fervor that his voice cut through the din of the cargo hold."

Instead of assuming that the Bush administration has an "exit strategy", the movement needs to force our government to exit. The strategy must be to deny the U.S. occupation funding, political standing, sufficient troops, and alliances necessary to their strategy for dominance.


Two, we need to build a Progressive Democratic movement which will pressure the Democrats to become an anti-war opposition party. The anti-war movement has done enough for the Democratic Party this year. It is time for the Democratic leadership to end its collaboration with the Bush administration – with its endorsement of the offensive on Fallujah, the talk of "victory" and "killing the terrorists" – and now play the role of the opposition. The progressive activists of the party should refuse to contribute any more resources – volunteers, money, etc. – to candidates or incumbents who act as collaborators.


Four, we must build solidarity with dissenting combat veterans, reservists, their families and those who suffered in 9/11. Just as wars cannot be fought without taxpayer funding, wars cannot be fought without soldiers willing to die, even for a mistake. Every person who cares about peace should start their daily e-mail messages with the current body count, including a question mark after the category "Iraqi civilians."

Groups like Iraqi Veterans Against the War deserve all the support the rest of the peace movement can give. This approach opens the door to much-needed organizing in both the so-called "red" states and inner cities, which give disproportionate levels of the lives lost in Iraq.

The movement will need to start opening another underground railroad to havens in Canada for those who refuse to serve, but for now even the most moderate grievances should be supported – for example, relief from the "back door draft" that is created by extending tours of duty.

Over one-third of some 3,900 combat veterans have resisted their call-ups, and the Army National Guard is at 10 percent of its recruitment goal. More generally, the "superpower" is stretched to a breaking point, with 14 of the Army's 33 combat brigades on front-line duty in Iraq. Though most discourse on Vietnam ignores or underplays the factor of dissent within the American armed forces, it was absolutely pivotal to bringing the ground war to an end. It already is becoming a real "gallstone" for the Pentagon again.

Five, we need to defeat the U.S. strategy of "Iraqization." "Clearly, it's better for us if they're in the front-line," Paul Wolfowitz explained last February. This cynical strategy is based on putting an Iraqi "face" on the U.S. occupation in order to reduce the number of American casualties, neutralize opposition in other Arab countries, and slowly legitimize the puppet regime. In truth, it means changing the color of the body count.


By any moral or economic accounting, we now are worsening the lives of Iraqi since the fall of Saddam. We have turned innocent young Americans into torturers in places like Abu Ghraib. When going into battle, we close hospitals first. We make sure that television and newspapers are not "able to show pictures of bleeding women and children being taken into hospital wards" – this reported on Veterans Day in the Times. Not even our friends like us anymore, whether we are tourists in Europe or diplomats at the United Nations.

We bomb Iraq towards an American-style market economy, passing along a $200 billion war cost and trillion-dollar debt cost to our children, while our own market economy has failed most of us: minimum wage, down thirty percent since 1978; company pensions, holders down 18 percent since 1979; median job tenure, down from 11 years to 7.7 since 1978; health insurance coverage, down from 70 percent to 63 percent since 1987.

We may even be making another 9/11-type attack more likely. What kind of government repeatedly states that another attack is "inevitable," "not a matter of if but when," then behaves in way to provoke one?


Both parties now are trapped in the vicious cycle of the "war on terrorism," just as they were caught up in the Cold War, be it the nuclear arms race, opportunistic alliances with dictators, and McCarthyite suppression of domestic critics. Only the Sixties peace and civil rights movements could finally shatter Cold War thinking at that time. It will take another such movement today to restore America's respect in the world, take steps towards global justice, and in the process possibly prevent another 9/11 attack.

1 comment:

Matteo said...

Yes, I was tempted to use even stronger language, but I'm trying to run a clean blog. 15 years ago, I would have been shaking my fist in agreement with Hayden. I've changed, how can it be that he's singing the same wretched song 35 years later? Rather than getting angry, I reflect that being the type of person who would write this stuff is punishment in itself. When I was a lefty I was one angry, bitter SOB. Leftism isn't any good for the people it is forced upon, nor for those who hold it...