Response to Jeff K (Is Saddam a freedom fighter? Should "we" off him?)

Jeff Kinkle jeffkinkle at home.se
Sat Jan 25 03:13:40 MST 2003


C'mon, I'm not that young.  If I say something idiotic (which I surely
will) attack me with all the mercilessness with which you attacked
Gitlin!

Okay.  I accept some of your points.  Let me first clarify my use of
the term 'we'.    By 'we' I was referring loosely to the Left and
anti-war movement in general and even perhaps some states which oppose
the war.


> They are our ENEMIES.  They are now
> attempting to conquer Iraq.  THAT is the issue in the current war
> crisis.
> It is not about whether Saddam Hussein is a bad man or a good man etc.
>  As
> socialists in the US, with a responsibility to the conquered peoples
> of the
> world, we would oppose that use of imperialist power REGARDLESS of the
> character of the Iraqi head of state, whether the government was
> elected,
> not elected, popular or unpopular.

But isn't, as I said in the last email, it true that Saddam is there
because of Western imperialism in the first place?  Isn't he just as
much of a reflection of American imperialism as say Noreaga was?  He
was, perhaps still IS, a tool of American hegemony (a brutal,
repressive tool) no less than any other puppet government the US would
place in Iraq after removing him.
They ALREADY conquered Iraq a long time ago.  Isn't the country of Iraq
itself, its boundaries, etc., a creation of the UK?
This isn't to say that I think the US should be able to go in anytime
it likes and overthrow the government.  It is to say that Saddam, like
Noreaga, should be overthrown, but of course not in the name of US
imperial interests but in the interests of the Iraqi people (which I am
not naive enough to think could possibly happen with someone like Bush
in the White House).

I acknowledge your point that Hussein is in fact standing up to
American hegemony.

> To further clarify the issues: in the last few days people like
> Rumsfeld
> have floated the idea that Saddam Hussein should be persuaded to go
> into
> exile.  Would I be right in inferring that this an exercise of US
> military
> power that you would support?  That if, under the guns of the Pentagon
> and
> the threat of genocidal war, Saddam Hussein would agree to go into
> exile and
> surrender Baghdad to an imperialist stooge, you would breathe a sigh of
> relief and say that this was a good thing because war had been
> averted?  Am
> I right in thinking that you don't understand how horrible the
> consequences
> would be for the struggle worldwide?

There is also a Saudi plan in the works, which I think is separate from
what Rumsfeld is talking about, that would allow Saddam to go into
exile.  If this plan includes democratic elections in his absence then
I would tentatively support it.  Say a country like Sweden, whose role
in international diplomacy has shrunk considerably in the last decade,
was to create some type of peace plan that would allow Saddam to go
into exile following which there would be democratic elections.  Of
course there would be the shadow of American military might hanging
over the entire process but I would still support such a initiative.

The thing is this.  I'm not an idiot.  I would not support an American
led attack on Iraq no matter what.


> There is a global movement against this war right now which has every
> possibility of leading to something greater, IF the current government
> of
> Iraq does in fact continue to stand up to American hegemony.  If it
> surrenders, the bubble will burst, Bush and Rumsfeld will be validated
> as
> great and successful visionaries, the French and German capitalists
> will
> crawl back to lick the American imperialists' feet, and every worker
> in the
> world will be taught once again the lesson that U.S. imperialism
> CANNOT be
> defied.

Okay.  This paragraph is essential to understanding my position.  Here
is my question.  What is going to happen if the current government of
Iraq does in fact continue to stand up to American hegemony?  I agree
with you as to what will happen if Iraq surrenders UNDER THESE
CONDITIONS.  What I think that 'we' should be doing is CHANGING THESE
CONDITIONS!  Right now there are basically two choices.  Support the
Bush administrations war on Iraq or support the resistance of the Iraqi
government (with of course some shades in between, let the inspectors
do their job but if they find anything, bomb them, etc.).  What I think
the Left should be doing in such a situation is pushing a third
position.  Not simply resist American hegemony by any means necessary
(a murderous dictator) or support the removable of this dictator by any
means necessary.  I think now there is a tremendous opportunity for say
Eurasia or even the Democrats in America to provide a third option.  I
think there would be a huge amount of public support for such an option
as well.  I also think that this is the only true way to be actively
resisting Amercian hegemony in this situation.  A democratically
elected government in Iraq (or Saudi Arabia, etc) is the scariest thing
for Bush.  Saddam staying in power isn't so bad for US interests (or
else he would have been gone in 91).


> The Marxist concept which you are ignoring here is the concept of
> 'self-determination'.  The Iraqi revolution is the work of Iraqis, not
> of
> New Yorkers and Chicagoans.

That's ridiculous.  Capitalism is global now, no?.  Arguably New
Yorkers and Chicagoans have just as much responsibility for the
government in Iraq as the Iraqis do.  In fact they are all fighting a
common enemy, no?


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