[Marxism] A look at Iraq today and the Vietnam syndrome

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 7 11:39:25 MDT 2004

The battle for Iraq may be at the decisive stage. Could
we bee seeing the Iraqi equivalent of the Tet offensive?
History will determine the significance of these events.

It's hard to look at these events with absolute precision,
but broad general ones should frame meaningful discussions
on what the events really do signify. Senator Ted Kennedy's
public declaration that Iraq is Bush's Vietnam has set off
a firestorm of criticism from the defenders of the Bush
administration and its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Take a look, for one example, at US Secretary of State
Colin Powell's response to Kennedy on one of the TV
interview shows yesterday. And Powell is on the softer and
gentler side of the Bush team. You can see they're scared
when they have to respond so quickly to such criticism:

They have reasons to fear public discussion and criticism
which has begun to spread to the parents of the US troops
now being killed in Iraq. This is being added to the many
family members of the September 11th terrorist attacks who
see Washington taking advantage of their tragedy to try to
build support for wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Things are moving very rapidly and Washington has reasons
to be very much afraid of public opinion. For example, we
have the mother of the FIRST Salvadoran soldier killed in
Iraq who is speaking out against the war. She's calling for
the withdrawal of all Salvadoran troops from Iraq! Read:

During the Vietnam war era, US politicians claimed they were
not influenced by the protest movements, but we found out 
later on that they were obsessed with their opposition and
Bush and his cronies are saying the same thing today that
they, too, aren't influenced by the protests. But they are.
They are afraid of mass opposition to their policies which
is now developing in the United States of America today.

The powers that be have been desperate to terminate the
"Vietname syndrome" from public discussion of US politics.
They've been doing this ever since the phenomenon was first
discovered. A handful on the political U.S. left echo these
claims by the government. They also say that the Vietnam 
syndrome is over and deny that Iraq has become a quagmire 
for the United States. Here's the opinion of Jack Barnes,
the leader of the Socialist Workers Party(USA):

"The U.S. rulers and their officer corps are no longer 
plagued by the Vietnam Syndrome-a phenomenon in mass 
psychology stemming from U.S. imperialism's defeat in 
Vietnam that has mostly died out with the older 
generations that were directly affected by it." Barnes
added "Washington is not facing a "quagmire" in Iraq."

Below are excerpts from a much longer analytical piece 
by Raul Valdes Vivo, a top member of the Central Committee 
of the Cuban Communist Party specializing in world issues. 
It was first published in the Cuban Communist Party's
theoretical journal CUBA SOCIALISTA, January 2004.

This article helps to explain the importance of the anti-
war and anti-globalization movements, and concludes with
an explanation of the decisive role which protests made
by the people of the United States can play in bringing
an end to wars such as we're seeing in Iraq today. 

Take a look at the excerpts and then at the full essay. 
CUBA SOCIALISTA features many articles looking at today's 
world situation from a Cuban viewpoint.

Walter Lippmann

by Raul Valdes Vivo

Undoubtedly involved in the aggression against Iraq is the
petroleum ten times cheaper and ten times more abundant
than their own, which is needed by the monopolies of the
United States, and of which they want to deprive their
rivals in Europe and Japan.
In addition to being an enemy of pragmatism, the current
ruler of the United States is also an enemy of rationalism,
since he supposes that reality can be molded according to
his own desires.
The most essential psychological feature of fascism, its
adventurism, always causes it to fail. But there is no room
for the idea that time itself will make it fail. Because of
subjective errors committed by various leaderships of the
Soviet Union who departed from Lenin, humanity lost the
20th century. It failed to achieve the universal victory of
human reason by failing to make use of the grand
opportunity provided by the defeat of the first model of
fascism, corporate-social in structure. This is not a
matter of loosing the 21st century, much less when every
day lost increases the danger for the very existence of
humanity on the earth.
The massive anti-capitalist protests in Seattle
and many other cities, with the most alert section of the
American people at the center, precipitated the decision of
the yankee extreme right to take power by whatever means.

At the same time, they make it clear the American people
could join the reserve forces for the victory of world
revolution, in first place, the struggle to halt its own
government's wars of plunder and enslavement. The State of
adventurist spirit that was established with Bush the son
has provoked a change in the language of those who defend
U.S. imperialism, in that it has become bolder.
With growing offensive spirit that multiplies because of
the yankee acts of repression that when it comes to killing
children make no religious distinction, the Iraqi
resistance is becoming patriotic and in it many Shiites
must already be participating or it would be impossible in
Baghdad or other cities where they are very numerous.
But it will be the people of the United States itself that, 
by freeing itself from deception, shall become the principal 
judge of the biggest adventurist of contemporary history.

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