"Well, Berube, what can I say, you're full of shit"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Sep 17 07:39:49 MDT 2002

(Another nifty reply to Berube, this time from Doug Henwood's list)

"Bush Economic Aide Says the Cost Of Iraq War May Top $100 Billion...''

How is it that when it comes to war, costs can be "..dismissed..., saying
it wouldn't have an appreciable effect on interest rates or add much to the
federal debt,..'' but if it is a question of federal domestic spending on
education, housing, or healthcare, every nickel threatens economic
disaster? Nevermind.

And by the same logic,"If you weigh the cost of the war against the removal
of [Iraq and terrorist states] a 'huge drag on global economic growth for a
foreseeable time in the future, there's no comparison..''' (Bob Davis, WSJ)
All of which is fine and dandy, but then the same or better could be said
against the much more concrete and vast dregs of poverty, disease and high
mortality. Yet nobody is stepping up to a campaign against these---which
also lay the destructive social foundations for the same terrorist states
and ideologies that plague the same impoverished countries. Nevermind that too.

Meanwhile we who vaguely identify with some Left, are treated to endless
quibbling about our fealty to high moral purposes and intellectual
integrity, with various liberal and left stars mistakes tossed back at us
with derision. We are chided with "The challenge, clearly, is to learn how
to be strenuously anti-imperialist without being indiscriminately antiwar.
It is a lesson the American left has never had to learn - until now.''
(Michael Berube, Penn State)

Well, Berube, what can I say, you're full of shit. Simple. There is no such
antithesis. To be anti-war in the US context is to be anti-imperialist,
because all US wars are imperialist. Ever since the middle of WWII, the US
has pursued nothing but imperialist wars, in which the closing chapters of
WWII set the stage in Asia and Western Europe. There were virtually no
cases of US military action that had the slightest thing to do with (what
was the line?) truth, freedom, democracy, and a better way of life for all.
Go down the list and re-think any of the conflicts, starting with the
realpolitik re-construction of western European governments, on into the
middle east including Israel, Palestine, Greece, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Or move around to the Pacific theater with Japan, China, Korea, and SEA.
Oh, yeah, and all those low grade, on cheap murderous little wars in Latin

What in the hell does Senior Berube think imperialism looks like, if not
endless war? It is exactly like its cartoons of fat cats and battle ships
from the newspapers of 1900. That's what we are. That's what our wars are
for. Get it?

Why after a century of such history, would anyone believe the post-cold war
era would be driven by anything less but US imperial interests, is beyond
me. And the point is, war is the most direct means to those ends. The US
government has never changed its course of becoming and then maintaining
itself as an imperial power---if not through pursuing geo-political
diplomatic power and military security interests, which are only the nasty
fore-play for its economic exploitation, then through its sham financial
and economic development fronts in the IMF, WB, WTO, NAFTA, with the UN
playing sometimes its whore (Oh, Johnnie make me feel good), sometimes its
wife (Ay carumba, you bitch).

The core problem with terrorism is it short circuits the diplomatic and
economic shams and pretenses of imperialism, and reduces all imperial
reactions to their military objectives. Both political revolutions and
organized terrorism (which is essentially a degraded form of the latter)
threaten the bourgeois social orderliness of capitalism and its primary
goal of extorting the world of its human and natural resources.

The real difficulty of the Left is in learning and understanding the
process of what it imagines to be a political and economic revolution, and
how those aspirations when crushed and frustrated turn into terrorism, and
finally into mere criminality. It has always been a threat. Just about any
excluded political organization pursuing normal political channels will if
crushed or endlessly frustrated, turn to some form of civil disobedience.
It is a game of the state through provocations and police measures to force
that disobedience into ever more marginal and violent reactions. These
marginalized actions automatically attract criminals, socio-paths, and
eventually terrorism. Like clockwork, the arrival of these elements,
automatically feeds the imperial state line that all forms of political,
social, and economic unrest and claims for justice are criminal. In some
horrible kind of irony, indeed the more repressed, the more criminal they
become until there is nothing remaining but the criminal act. Cut-off from
any historical understanding, such acts stand alone as naked, meaningless,
and vindictive terror.

If you beat a dog long enough, it will only bite. It seems ridiculous to
say the least, to ignore almost a century of Arab and Middle Eastern
cultural oppression by western powers, then suddenly discover that yes
indeed these regions are filled with violent organizations devoted to
nothing else but destroying the West by any means at hand.

If through some accident of imperial war, a few of these are destroyed,
then the Left is supposed to cheer the removal and eagerly join the parade
for the next one? I don't think so.

Chuck Grimes

Louis Proyect

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