Fw: [ASDnet] Case Against Anti-War Movement and Against Bush's Version of the War

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 22 09:51:03 MDT 2002


Note by Hunterbear:

This was posted on ASDnet.

The trail away from functionally effective radicalism -- frequently as
replete with rationalization  as Kudzu vines in Mississippi -- is never
impressive.  Ian Williams' confused piece of ambivalence ["on the one hand
but, on the other"] does nothing to alter that assessment of mine. I hope it
isn't representative of DSA thinking in the New York City sacristy.  The
times cry out for clear, vigorous, sensible -- and  directly forthright --
Left thought and action.

It's a given:  If you're going to be a radical in the United States of
America -- or even in Canada -- you can't be "respectable" at the same time.
And if you want to be " main-line respectable"  -- don't claim radical
status.

A year ago, several of us on ASDnet and SocUnity were called a variety of
despicable names for months by a few local so-called social democrats
because we opposed, from the outset, the Bush War against Afghanistan. [Some
of us had opposed the Clinton bombing of Yugoslavia which, like so many
Clinton policies -- e.g., 1996 "Anti-Terrorism Act" -- greased the skids for
the Bush/Ashcroft madness -- as we had opposed the Gulf War and Viet Nam.]
Now, Afghanistan -- if such a place even remains -- is in bloody chaos and
another hideous adventure for long-suffering humanity is being poised for
launch.

And, on a related note: why -- apropos of Jason Schulman's response to my
question of when will DSA issue a statement against Iraq War -- does DSA
have to wait until a meeting in October?  Other organizations have either
acted in forthright fashion before now -- or are presently doing so.  I hope
DSA will come up quickly -- right away -- with a clean, trenchant and
Kudzu-free statement directly opposing Iraq War -- and with other
appropriate actions.

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'


----- Original Message -----
From: "ANDERSON DAVID" <andersd at spot.colorado.edu>
To: <Undisclosed>; <recipients:>
Sent: Sunday, September 22, 2002 1:13 AM
Subject: [ASDnet] Case Against Anti-War Movement and Against Bush's Version
of the War


> from the LA Weekly
> (Ian Williams is The Nation's UN correspondent)
>
>       The Case Against the Anti-War Movement
>       And against Bush's version of the war
>       by Ian Williams
>
>
>       SHOULD A MURDERER GO FREE JUST because the LAPD contains racist
thugs? The O.J. dilemma applies to Saddam Hussein as well. The case against
him is weakened when made by clear wackos like Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and
Cheney. But there is a case. And on the other side, if ever I'm in the dock,
heaven help me from having defenders like former Attorney General Ramsey
Clark and others from the anti-war brigade.
>
>       One of the problems with being anti-war in this country is that you
find yourself in such very mixed -- and often mixed-up -- company. It might
not make you pro-war, but it can certainly incline you toward being
anti-anti-war.
>
>       All too often, being anti-war is a contortion, not a position. To
begin with is the question of which war you are against. Since Vietnam, the
anti-warriors often advance an ad hoc catalog of mutually opposed positions
orbiting one central tenet: The U.S. is always wrong.
>
>       This absolutism is wrong in principle, and it's also bad politics.
After all, it's hardly likely to attract the majority support of Americans,
who, as we've seen since 9/11, are more likely to wave the flag than a peace
sign. It does help the purists to isolate their enemies, since any quibbling
makes you a retrospective supporter of the Vietnam War.
>
>       Different groups will give different reasons for opposing The War.
The Quakers are genuinely anti-war -- which is a perfectly respectable
position, if not much use when confronted with warmongers like Adolf Hitler,
Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. At least pacifists tend to be
consistent.
>
>       Other anti-warriors are quite prepared to praise famous
warmongers -- as long as they are not American. Mercifully, few were
prepared to risk tarring and feathering by suggesting that al Qaeda and
Osama bin Laden were doing the Lord's work, although some came dangerously
close with odious comparisons and excuses for 9/11. Many anti-warriors seem
to think that supporting recidivist warmongers like Slobodan Milosevic or
Saddam Hussein was perfectly consonant with being "anti-war." For them, war
is what the U.S. does, not its opponents.
>
>       When it comes to concern for the effect of intervention on the
locals, doublethink can really go into overdrive. Most Kosovars clearly
welcomed intervention, and Afghans in general gave every appearance of being
happy to be liberated when the imperialist forces of aggression rode in. But
your average anti-warrior does not really want the victims enfranchised. It
is the principle of intervention that is wrong. The practical effects on
ordinary people are really irrelevant.
>
>       Anti-war absolutists have two fallback positions: that the victims
are no saints themselves, or that the intervention will only make things
worse and so the natives should be left to fight it out for themselves. It's
a long way from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade going to fight in the Spanish
Civil War.
>
>       Often the same people who made excuses for Milosevic, by declaring
that Bosnian Muslims had committed war crimes and Serbs had suffered from
them, then tried to ignore Slobodan Milosevic's crimes or even go as far as
Ramsey Clark to embrace and defend the mass murderer. They do have a point,
even if it is far from conclusive. Victims are not always heroes. However,
while we can assume statistically that the 2,802 casualties from last
September 11 included a number of embezzlers of the poor, beaters of spouses
and abusers of infants, there is no way that condones the crime.
>
>       If you can't impugn the victims, the next recourse is to attack the
motivation of the would-be rescuers. This is easy. Most nations, like most
people, operate on a sliding scale of altruism and self-interest. So if the
U.S. does good things from bad motives -- what? -- we should oppose it?
Luckily for Europeans, they did not refuse tainted U.S. help in getting rid
of Hitler.
>
>       SO THEN WE COME TO THE CURRENT war we are all supposed to be
against. I see a case for international action against Saddam Hussein, even
if it's certainly not the one the administration is making. The Axis of Evil
spiel is the product of the Hub of Hypocrisy in the White House. It is
clearly in breach of international law for one country, even with God on its
side, to overthrow the regime of another.
>
>       At the beginning of September, someone in the administration finally
convinced the White House that unilateral overthrow of Saddam Hussein was
indeed illegal, set a bad precedent and was supported only by Ariel
Sharon -- hardly a paragon of international lawfulness. Sometime in the last
week or so, someone helped Bush see that by focusing on Iraq's defiance of
U.N. resolutions, particularly about inspections, he could provide a
multilateral Kevlar fig leaf for a regime change.
>
>       In his speech to the U.N. last week, no matter how hypocritically,
and no matter how unconvincing his last-minute conversion to
multilateralism, George Bush laid out what many delegates concluded was a
strong case for action to force the Iraqi regime into compliance with the
host of U.N. resolutions. Admittedly, some of the stuff about the
connections to terrorism was far-fetched, but this was more of the O.J.
approach, tantamount to trying to frame a guilty man.
>
>       Of course, the administration's earlier threats and its past
practice morally and politically weaken the case it makes legally. For
example, by threatening to veto any resolution offering condemnation, let
alone consequences, for Sharon's behavior, such as his refusal to admit U.N.
inspectors to Jenin, it lost points both morally and politically. Its
previous bluster about its intention to go alone to Baghdad also clearly
shows that the maintenance of international order was not always its highest
priority.
>
>       However, the charge sheet is still substantial. A U.N. commission
found Iraq to be the aggressor against Iran in one of the bloodiest wars
since 1945. No sooner had it finished than Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed
it, thereby flouting one of the basic provisions of the Charter of the
United Nations, which was set up precisely to stop that sort of thing.
>
>       After months of sanctions and being asked to leave, Iraq was thrown
out of Kuwait by a U.N.-mandated coalition, and, faced with continuing
hostilities that would have overthrown his regime, Saddam Hussein cried
"Uncle," and agreed to all the terms imposed by the U.N. Security Council --
including inspections to verify disarmament. Iraq has repeatedly tried to
conceal weapons programs that were in direct violation of its own
international treaty commitments.
>
>       Domestically, since Saddam Hussein shot his way into power, he has
killed far more Iraqis than Sharon has killed Palestinians. It is a sad
truth that in those days before Kosovo and Rwanda, it was accepted that
nobody could do anything about his using chemical and biological warfare
against his own citizens, not to mention the more conventional bestiality of
deportation, torture and mass murder.
>
>       It is also a sad fact that since Iraq was fighting against Iran,
most of the West and the Soviets were prepared to overlook his domestic
atrocities, and to cover up his use of poison gas against the Iranians --
although that did not stop the president this week from shamelessly citing
the behavior of Iraq as erstwhile ally to condemn Iraq the present enemy.
>
>       There is an old and worrying saying, "Let justice be done, though
the sky fall in." I'm far from convinced that George Bush has thought enough
about how to stop that from happening. Nor do I see Sharon or Bush as
particularly qualified as agents of justice. Even so, if Saddam Hussein says
that the U.N. inspectors can come in "over my dead body," there will be no
cause to shed tears if he gets what he asks for.
>
>       The United Nations is a deeply flawed institution -- susceptible to
misuse and abuse by the great powers. But many governments around the world
are grateful that the U.S. is going through due procedure rather than
leading a lynch mob to get Saddam Hussein.
>
>       It would be good if the war could be avoided. However, those who
genuinely want to stop it should at least have been calling for Saddam
Hussein to admit the U.N.'s inspectors, immediately and unconditionally. And
they should also be asking for him to stand down. Indeed, they should ask
for an international tribunal to try him. They could even ask the Security
Council to empower the new International Criminal Court, opposed so bitterly
by the Bush administration, to try him.
>
>
> Ian Williams
> 343 E 30th St #11K
> New York, NY 10016
> Tel:  +1 212.686.8884
> Cell: +1 917.362.1477
>
>



Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'




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