Joint statement on Iraq

DavidMcR at DavidMcR at
Wed Sep 18 18:32:09 MDT 1996

Not positive where this post from Nathan, responded to by Jose at
global at originated, but I do want to tangle with Nathan on two

First, why should "leftists" get involved with Iraq - that is, with the
situation there? Because that is where are bombs are falling, Nathan. If the
US was dropping bombs on the Zapatistas, I would focus there. It is also
where our tax money is going - the same reason that I put Israel. on my list
of concerns and would take it off the moment I don't feel my tax dollar is

There is so much anguish in the world, it is reasonable to ask "why Iraq" or
"why Peru" or "why whatever". And I am not in favor of each left group
picking its own favorite revolutionary group, as the RCP has done with Peru.

The whole fiasco with Iraq was over oil, not national rights,
self-determination, or the Kurds. I don't have any solution for the Kurds,
who have been thoroughly betrayed by both Saddam and the U.S. and pretty much
everyone else. As Nathan knows, the Kurdish "state" exists in Turkey, Iran,
and Iraq, and poses a terrible problem to all three countries. In the case of
Iraq, it was the Kurds who were a bit less Muslim and were being beaten by
the Kurds supported by Iran, who asked Saddam for support in this case, which
Saddam gave.  For better or worse, wisely or not wisely, that is an affair
internal to Iraq. Leftists should have views on it, and they may not agree
because it is so complex. But the Left should agree, absolutely and with
vigor, that the U.S. has no right at all to arbitrate these problems. It is
an old socialist position - not a Marxist/Leninist one - that the State is
not our agency (at least not until we take control - fat chance!) and to get
sucked into defending Clinton's foreign policy is a very very risky course
for socialists to take. It was this kind of "social patriotism" that got us
into Vietnam.

Having said all this, Saddam is not someone I would be associated with under
any circumstances.  But the U.S. is not, cannot be, and should not be, the
cop of the world.

David McReynolds
Socialist Party USA

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