Baghdad bombing: two quotes and two comments

David McDonald dbmcdonald at
Tue Aug 26 23:27:03 MDT 2003

Robin Maisel writes:

>I find this to be an interesting discussion to observe since so many
>of the participants at one time or another before the open (as opposed
>to covert) invasion of Iraq began said such things as "let the
>inspectors do their job" or "the inspectors are the only thing that
>stands between Iraq and a US/UK invasion."

I wasn't reading this list before the invasion, so I can't comment on who
might have said what. It is, however, factually accurate that the US
government held off the invasion of Iraq while the inspections occurred.
This inspections regime, as it happened, was a good thing, despite its being
a breach of Iraq's sovereignty, illegal, etc etc. I for one was delighted to
see the inspectors in there mucking around, because 1)that meant that the
invasion was held off while they were there and 2) having bothered to read
Glen Rangwala's magnificent deconstructions of the Blair, Bush and Powell
speeches, white papers, etc., I knew in my bones that there were no WMDs to
be found and that in this instance regardless of their class character and
the masters they served, the inspectors could not but do good by failing to
find that which could not be found. UN inspectors, FBI agents, the ghost of
Christmas past, NO ONE was going to find WMDs and every day they went about
looking for them was a day that Iraq was not invaded and made it just that
tougher for the US to go to war.

I would also like Robin Maisel to take the sneer out of his pen when
discussing the demonstrations against the war.

>Those who had such illusions, or the
>illusion that the antiwar demonstrations could stop or prevent the
>imperialists' war, should look more closely at the events preceding the

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq the demonstrations in the US and
around the world played a significant role in, as it turned out, not the
prevention of the invasion, but the forcing of on terms that have proved to
be quite disadvantageous to the imperialists. A greater part was played,
IMO, by the workers and peasants of Venezuela, who dealt a blow to
imperialism that continues to reverberate and gain strength, by the fabulous
Turkish people, whose 95% opposition to letting the US army through their
country forced the abandonment of the second front, and by the heroic people
of Korea whose struggle for re-unification and ridding their peninsula of US
troops continues to bedevil the US government, and of course the
self-motivated actions of the imperialist governments of France and Germany.
Tony Blair hangs by a slender thread to this day as a consequence of the
collective actions I have just enumerated.

I remember at the time being amazed at the inability of the US government to
win a single political battle. All these events, taken together, again IMO,
forced the US to go to war well before it was prepared to do so. No one on
this list or anywhere else that I'm aware of has suggested a more cogent
reason than fear of losing the opportunity to have the war at all, for the
timing of the Iraq invasion, the failure to plan for occupation, the
disarray of the invading forces, the foregoing of the second front, and the
like. Likewise, it is my view that the general state of the world had a lot
to do with the beginning of the invasion without a prior massive bombing
campaign like that of the first Persian Gulf War. The US rulers simply were
not able to countenance the political consequences of a month-long massive
campaign of slaughter from the air. Those were political, not military
decisions; no one will convince me that the generals willingly decided to
fight a one-front war or forego softening up the Iraqis with weeks of
intensive bombing a la Gulf War I. That is not their way. These events were
a response to the massive mobilizations of the peoples of the world against
the war. They have given the war and occupation its specific character. By
forcing the US government into war sooner than it was ready for it, they
hastened the hardening conviction of the Iraqi people that nothing good
would come of the US occupation. This emerged in the very first days of
occupation when the US stood around and let Iraq's--indeed, humanity's--
cultural patrimony be looted.

So right on to every single one of the 8 million or 30 million who marched
on February 15 and shame on all those who cast doubt on the worthiness AND
EFFECT of their efforts.

David McDonald

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