Baghdad bombing: two quotes and two comments

Robin Maisel robinmaisel at
Wed Aug 27 15:02:19 MDT 2003

In a brief response to Cde. McDonald:

McDonald wrote:

>"...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. ..."
    Support for illegal, immoral violations of sovereignty, such as
"inspectors" (imposed by the UN at the behest of the US and UK 12 years
ago), or "no fly" zones and restrictions on imports and exports and all
the other "sanctions" don't please me.  It is not and was not "a good
thing."  Being "delighted" with such acts is indefensible.  It could
well be argued (although unnecessary with respect to my post as I
believe the weakness in Iraq was fundamentally the product and fault of
the Baathist party-police state) that if Iraq had had "weapons of  mass
destruction" it might have provided more protection against  imperialist
aggression.  Witness north Korea.  Be that as it may, McDonald bends to
the outright lie, that any thinking person would reject, that the
invasion was about "WMDs" when it was in fact motivated by the desire of
one imperialist country's ruling class (the US) to gain control over the
resources of a semi colonial country at the expense of other
imperialist's (France, Germany, etc.) .  If you knew there were no WMD
or not is totally beside the point.
    I am not opposed to demonstrations.  Mass action is good.  I am
opposed to the sowing of illusions, including illusions that  the
demonstrations in the imperialist countries and in the semi colonial
world (including Turkey) fundamentally either stayed the hand of the
imperialists or caused them any significant military difficulties..
There is no evidence that the US/UK invaders were ever worried  about
"WMDs" or terrorism. The evidence also demonstrate that the northern
front using US troops was never fundamental to the overall military
plan.  US special forces were able to handle that front with ease using
their lackeys in the leadership of the Kurdish masses (who betrayed the
cause of self-determination by the Kurds not only in Iraq but also in
Turkey and Iran).
    The "political battle" was not fought out in the UN Security Council
chambers.  The US ruling class went to Plan A, a lightning war to get
their hands on Iraq and expel the French and German imperialists' from
the looting of the country..  There was no Plan B.  Sowing the illusion
that "winning over" (or failing to win over) their imperialist rivals
was a "defeat" of the US imperialists is absolute nonsense and
politically deadly.
    The consequence of such a political mindset can be seen today in
France.  In all of the demonstrations in France, not a single "left"
organization except one, raised the cry "France out of Ivory Coast."
Almost universally the French "left" said "Stop Le Pen At All Costs" and
urged voting for Chirac in the spring of 2002.  The starting point in
both those cases was a dead end blindness on how to advance the actual
class struggle on both a national and international scale
    It is also not "accurate" that the demonstrations "stayed the hand"
of the imperialists when it came to a "massive bombing campaign."  What
the Us Military tops proposed was to have a quick strike, taking hold of
the oil fields and avoid damaging the oil fields, and doing it for as
little a cost (in money that is, not lives) as possible. Rumsfiedl was
correct.  The arm chair former generals had no better plan (and the ones
who work as lobbyists and executives of arms manufacturers had a desire
to sell more planes, tanks and bombs foremost in their minds). Well,
that is what they did.
    The US rulers had the war plan ready for well over a year, in fact,
even before Sept. 11, 2002, because their political aims dictated a
military "regime change" from the get go.  The US ruling class also knew
it not only would not "win over" its French and German rivals (or gain
any ground with the Russians who had big debts owed them by the Iraqi
government that they will never see paid).  Any tactical problems (such
as the Turkish front) were simply that, tactical and not strategic.
    What they did not count upon, as usual, was that the victims of
their war and occupation would not welcome them with flowers, but rather
continue to fight on (not for the Baathists or their leadership) because
they must expel the invaders to have any future whatsoever.  That is a
truism the power of which imperialists never can fully grasp and the
reason why and how the Vietnamese expelled the US and reunified their
nation and the French got kicked out of Algeria (after being kicked out
of Indochina).  It is "the people in arms" and the political and
military concept of the "war of all the people" which keeps the US from
(again) invading Cuba and have protected it since 1959.  It is the
people in arms who defeated the US both in Cuba (from the Bay of Pigs to
the present) and in Vietnam.
    And, fortunately, so many thousands of young people and workers felt
and feel the same way that demonstrations took on the character of mass
action (rather than individual acts of terrorism such as those engaged
in by the Weather Underground).  What I found interesting in the
discussion was the shifting sands under the feet of those who fail to
grasp the simple fact that the world wide capitalist system is not run
out of 42nd street and First Avenue but rather the financial and
political capitals of the imperialist countries.  Do not prettify the
UN.  Do not think you are striking a blow against imperialism when
saluting the blowing up a building in Baghdad.  The real fight is to win
over the hearts and minds and hands of the toiling masses where you are,
be it Baghdad, Kabul, New York, London or Paris.  Sowing illusions that
anything else will work, by word or deed does not help.
    So far the conflict in Iraq is not well organized by the victims of
the aggression now but, rather, the efforts of extremely brave
individuals who have not, as yet, put together a program of action and a
program of ideas to involve the Iraqi masses as a whole  in the struggle
to throw the invaders out.  But, if, or perhaps more "accurately", when
they do so, the resistance you have seen so far will pale by comparison.
    My "pen" (nor I) does not sneer at the millions who demonstrated
against  both the invasion and against the designs of their own
governments to either engage directly in the aggression or be complicit
in it.  I do, however, have little respect for those who seek to evade
the fundamental questions I raised in my post by putting out diversions
from them.  To repeat them:  "Who did the bombing?  What were or are
their aims?  What is the political impact of anonymous acts of bombing -
within the Iraqi population (first) and among opponents of the
occupation (and the war) (second).  And, finally, what proposals for
future action do the participants in the current discussion propose?"
    So, to Cde. McDonald (and anyone else who wants to ponder and
propose where to go from here) I would like the discussion to focus on
what the toilers here need to do now to truly stay the hand of the
imperialists.  I ask Cde. McDonald to reread the original posting and to
the list of questions in that posting, add the following questions:
    1)  What do you propose to tell workers and small farmers in the US
and the UK about up coming elections in the US 2004 and in the UK or
Germany or any other imperialist country.  I don't need the specifics of
whether to vote for Labour or propose your own candidate and vote for
the SPD or SP or CP or SWP or anyone else.  I want a concise
(hopefully), well thought out view of how you propose to educate the
workers and farmers in politics.
    2)  What kind of political program do you propose for the US and UK
(and every other imperialist country) in order to stop the continuing
    If you respond that you would vote for a "better" Democrat (holding
your nose as you do so) in order to "stop Bush" or "Push Bush" or some
other variant of the "lesser evil" shall game (including running fake
campaigns like the Green's Nader campaign or others like the CPUSA
campaigns -when they still ran them - which have the aim of mobilizing
their backers to vote for a lesser evil democrat), you have missed the
point and need not reply.
    These are not trivial questions and certainly not the basis for name
calling or evasion.
3:45 pm CDT

More information about the Marxism mailing list