Baghdad bombing: two quotes and two comments.

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at
Tue Aug 26 17:22:26 MDT 2003

It's interesting how this discussion has evolved. It started (from my point
of view, anyway) when I posted a few scathing lines about Jose Ramos Horta
joining in the general western condemnation of "terrorism" in Iraq. For
from "passing judgement" on the bombers, I was accused on being insensitive
about the dead and wounded. Now we're hearing from Ben and Jose P who have
a more hard-line position than I do. As usual, I find Jose's comments very
insightful, but as usual I have reservations.

Those who know me would say this is typical; I'm always happiest in the
middle ground. I joked that the most recent split in the ISO gave me "a new
fence to sit on".

Anyway my own comments are:

1. I agree we shouldn't pass judgement on the resistance. You won't find me
out on the street with leaflets saying "condemn terrorism in Baghdad". But
I do think one purpose of a list such as this one is for us to sort out
among ourselves what we think are the characteristics and dynamics of the

2. I do think the term "terrorism" in a strictly dictionary sense applies
to this bombing. When you blow up civilians, that's what its called. On the
other hand, Jose is right to query the civilian-military distinction in
this situation. The whole thing is blurry.

3. Jose, I wonder how far you would take the logic of your position. In any
situation of occupation, there is a case that civilian aid workers are
"helping the occupiers" by fostering stability. Are they all legitimate
targets? What about repair crews fixing oil pipelines blown up by the
resistance; are they fair game?

4. I stand by the Marxist position on terrorism: this is not how I would do
it (yeah I know, no one's asking me) and I'm much more attracted to the
Baghdad labour organising that has been reported elsewhere on this list.
But of course the resistance uses bombs because open labour organising is
broken up. And as terror tactics go, these have been far, far more
effective than most. The WTC bombing was a gift to the imperialists, this
one has thrown them into confusion.

It is not black and white; perhaps a little dialectics is required. Bye for
now; I'm going to find new fences to sit on...

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