[Marxism] RE: Iraq -- A New Vietnam?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 21 16:25:52 MST 2003


Thanks to Paul and all those who described 
the demonstrations in the UK, and thanks 
for building and attending these important
protests. your first-hand reports are much
appreciated. Thanks for posting the major
question of the relationship of today's US
war and occupation of Iraq and its relation
to Washington's war in Vietnam not long ago.
==========================================

History will judge whether or not today's
US occupation of Iraq, a result of a quick
blitzkrieg by forces with overwhelming new
technological firepower, will be in the end
be more dangerous or more significant than
that it faced in the end. 

The big similarities between Vietnam and
Iraq are a theme here in the Cuban media
every day. Essays and cartoons reflect the
clear link they see in situations where an
unwanted foreign hostile invading army is
facing the resistance of peoples who don't
like liberators, as my old German professor
Hans Gerth used to say, "who come bearing
bayonets." 

The long and powerful shadow of the "Vietnam 
Syndrome", Washington's term for the popular
distrust of US foreign policy looms over all
US moves. This week we learned that Pentagon
publicity controllers are keeping television
cameras just far enough away from funerals
so they cannot hear the eulogies. And there
are no photographs allowed of the body bags.

Washington officials claimed during Vietnam
that they paid no attention to the protests,
but we learned later that they paid extremely
close, obsessive attention. You can rest very
much assured that Bush and his gang are every
bit as afraid of popular opinion as Nixon and
LBJ and the rest were in their time. 

The fall of the Soviet Union meant that the
US didn't have to stop and calculate if any
large state power would resist its pressure.
None currently has the will to resist today
in a direct and frontal way. That is why
they try to use flanking tactics toward the
United States, such as all voting in favor
of its UN resolutions, in hopes of blunting
their strength by diluting the resolutions.

This weakens the United Nations which has
played an important and positive role in
registering an international consensus in
opposition to Washington's Cuba blockade.
Alas, it hasn't been able to block the US
from pre-premptive military actions. Only
Washington's fear of the world's peoples
has restrained the US in recent times. 

The United States won the cold war and so
the Soviet Union and its allied states in
Eastern Europe were dismantled. One good
explanation of this is spelled out in the
introduction to the wonderful book called
CONFLICTING MISSIONS, Piero Gliesses'
very detailed study of Cuban role in the 
African process of self-liberation, as it
is headlined this week in Cuba's Granma
which runs a long Noam Chomsky interview
on this very same and very timely subject. 

Everyone interested in understanding how
Cuba, a small blockaded island has become
an international superpower would certainly
be well-served to read and study this book. 
Though Dr. Glieses is an academic and not
a revolutionary activist, the Cubans gave
him a public award last week for his work
history-writing. 

There is another superpower now, of course,
the masses of working people of the world,
allied with the anti-globalization forces
and the tides which are uniting nationalism
and anti-capitalist and pro-socialist thought
world wide. 

As we know, there is one state which is now
leading the international resistance, first
of all through the power of a very positive
example. That state is, of course Cuba which
reports the daily successes of the resistance
to Washington's occupation of Iraq. Cuba fully
backs the anti-globalization movements and 
parallel struggles against NAFTA, CAFTA, ALCA
and SHAFTA. Washington says these protests 
against ALCA and NAFTA are backward-looking
Luddites because they don't embrace market-
based solutions to human problems. 

A US presidential election is now beginning.
Today's Iraqi resistance is now causing pain
for the ordinary people of the United States.
(The rich don't send their sons and daughters.
It's the poor and the workers who "volunteer".)
Bush & Co. are talking about arming an Iraqi
force to do Washington's dirty work for it.

But how quickly can they pull together a team
of stooges and quislings? Washington says that
the Iraqi resistance is just holdovers from
Saddam's regime. Of course they have no way
of knowing the identity of the fighters as,
unlike leftist groups, the Iraqi resistance 
has not issued declarations in its name and
so its identity hasn't been established.

Thanks again, Paul and others for focusing 
discussion on this broad historical theme.


Walter Lippmann
Havana, Cuba








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