Screw the liberal hawks

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 13 09:21:50 MST 2002


December 13, 2002

Screw the Liberal Hawks

A group of New York area "liberals," the cream of civil society, listen
to a group of liberal hacks make arguments against a war on Iraq. All
150 of them seem to agree with the speakers' standard liberal view about
Saddam being a monster but that inspections need time to work, etc. They
are quickly turned around by a genuine representation of Iraqi-ness - -
a real live Arab!! and not one of those Palestinians either! - Kanan
Makiya, who whips them into a cruise-missile left frenzy with talk of
how a war in Iraq is a moral imperative, and that Iraqis generally want
this war. Makiya could very well genuinely believe that the distant goal
of neoliberalism gives moral neccessitation to the slaughter of his
country-men by new and improved Patriot missiles cheered on by the
patriotic left. As Edward Said has recently pointed out, Makiya has the
air of a scoundrel. Not to quibble further, but I never saw Ken
Saro-Wiwa beg the United States to invade Nigeria, For that matter, I
doubt that many Palestinians or Israeli peace activists think the best
way to end the occupation would be for Uncle Sam to rain cluster-bombs
on Tel Aviv. No sincere believer in human rights can believe that a
large human-rights violator, let alone any nation, impose them.

What's the point of all this? A particularly vulgar piece of journalism
by one George Packer in the Sunday New York Times magazine. In what
seems disturbingly like a companion piece, yet more cultural cold-war
influenced than a recent Nation article on the "left and 911," Packer
interviews a group of "liberal intellectuals," all of whom supported US
actions in the Balkans in the early 90's, something Packer terms the
"Bosnia consensus." This is the first step in an underhanded effort to
discredit the real antiwar movement, not surprisingly Packer makes a
David Horowitz-style intellectual leap and claims Noam Chomsky defended
Slobodan Milosevic. Reading the interviews with the "New Humanitarians,"
of whom views are mixed in regards to Iraq (but all accept the premise
of US power) I found myself wondering why Packer did not find it
neccessary to interview one Muslim or Arab writer. I should have known
he would end the piece with a few fightin' words from Makiya.



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