Paul Berman

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Mar 31 11:58:36 MST 2003

Paul Berman, who was the subject of a billing and cooing Ellen Willis 
piece in that I commented on recently, has an op-ed article in 
today's NY Times.


Picking up where he left off in the 1980s as an apologist for the 
Nicaraguan contras, he now has associated himself with a new contra 
movement, namely the aspiring Quisling government grouped around Ahmed 
Chalabi and Kanan Makiya. Described by the excellent American Prospect 
magazine as a "hapless, exiled Iraqi aristocrat and London-Washington 
playboy", Chalabi has become the poster boy of the Wolfowitz, Perle and 
Rumsfeld faction in the Bush administration. He also has cheerleaders in 
the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish 
Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). The board of advisers 
of WINEP includes pro-Israeli luminaries such as Perle, Wolfowitz and 
Martin Peretz of The New Republic, where Paul Berman is a regular 


Makiya, who is cited throughout Berman's piece, was described by Edward 
Said in Counterpunch thusly:

"But Makiya is so committed to his views as a kinglike theoretician of 
government that he simply ignores consequences, history, people, 
communities, and reality altogether so that he can make his ludicrously 
improbable case. This, of course, is exactly what the US government 
likes, that is, to have miscellaneous Arab intellectuals responsible to 
no constituency who urge the US military on to war while pretending to 
be bringing 'democracy' to the place in full contradiction of America's 
real aims and its actual historical practices. Makiya seems not to have 
heard about ruinous US interventions in Indochina, Afghanistan, Central 
America, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, and the Philippines, or that the US is 
currently involved militarily with about 80 countries."


Using language that can best be described as Orwellian, Berman likens 
the lightly-armed paramilitaries standing up to US tanks as fascist gangs:

"I need hardly point out that these Baath militiamen are precisely the 
fighters who have delayed the allied march to Baghdad and who threatened 
to inflict more damage through suicide bombings in the style of the one 
over the weekend. They are a cruel and terrifying irregular force with 
real roots in Iraq— even if some of those roots lead back to the fascism 
of Europe in earlier times."

Once these fascist bands are disarmed and the country comes under benign 
US military rule, a process similar to de-Nazification can take place 
with a caveat:

"It is true that in Iraq today circumstances are in some respects more 
dire than in Germany long ago. The Iraqis, lacking any political 
experience from the last decades, will bring minimal democratic skills 
to the task. A great deal will therefore depend on the American and 
British occupiers once they have overthrown the Baath regime."

This stuff is truly disgusting. I only regret that this scumbag is not 
at some University or think-tank and give him a piece of my mind. This 
is a figure who wrote tens of thousands of slanderous words against the 
Nicaraguan revolution in the 1980s and now has discovered a new 
imperialist hobbyhorse to ride.

Although the latest issue of does not mention Berman as part 
of critique of the Cruise Missile Left, it is worth repeating what 
editor Gilles d'Aymery said:

"Their yes-but intellectual masturbations and logical contortions (yes,
Saddam is a tyrant but war is not the way to go) have led them to
become apologists in disguise for the invasion and to attack, smear
and attempt to discredit parts of the anti-war movement not to their



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