[Marxism] Senator Lieberman and "the battle on two fronts": a satirical critique

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Sat Apr 24 13:47:55 MDT 2004

The Brookings Institution reports that on 26 April "Senator Joseph I.
Lieberman (Democrats, Connecticut)a senior member of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, will offer his assessment of the changing nature of the
war in Iraq, outline policy proposals for winning it, and challenge
political leaders from both parties to strengthen support on the homefront
for the war effort during a leadership forum sponsored by Saban Center for
Middle East Policy".

In other words, the idea here seems to be product differentiation combined
with a united front for war, given a falling war satisfaction at home and in
Iraq, as evident from the polls: whereas the Bush administration started the
war, now what the war is really about, has changed; we're into a different
kind of war, we face new challenges, we can no longer think about it in the
way we thought about it before, but nevertheless, now we have committed
ourselves to it financially and militarily, now we are in there, we cannot
pull out, and we have to win that war, and bring it to a successful end, and
in order to win it, we have to work together and sell to the American public
the idea, that the war is really about something else than it was
previously, or different from what they previously thought it was.

Because there are two wars that have to be fought: one war in Iraq, and
another war in the United States itself, to convince people that the Iraq
war must be fought. This type of reasoning relies on the idea that everybody
knows the fact that there is a war going on, and everybody thinks, or at
least assumes, the war must be about something, whatever that is. In the
"battle on two fronts" therefore, you have to fight against wrong views of
what the war is really about, both in United States and in Iraq. If you can
change these wrong perceptions of what the war is about, then people would
stop fighting a war which shouldn't be fought, and support fighting a war
which should be fought, a war which could be won.

Let's think this new policy idea through more creatively. Initially, you
could say, the war was about liberating Iraq from an evil dictator which
delivered democracy plus benefits.  Americans might take these benefits for
granted, but other countries don't have them yet. Then after regime change
you had to have a theme change, and then it was all about fighting terrorism
inside Iraq. Then Iraqi's started resisting being liberated more, and they
wanted elections, but, it was undesirable to restore democracy for the
meantime, because the wrong people would get power. So then you had to take
the "war against terrorism" right into Iraq itself to defend Iraqi people
against terrorists, which explained why the troops were actually there,
namely to protect Iraqi's against terrorists while rebuilding the country.

But now what you really need, is a new kind of "war image", some "new war
themes" that could explain and convince why the war must be won anyway,
given an unexpected war result so far,  even although the original reasons
for why it was started no longer work. It's like, Americans went in there to
fight, but now we've got to be fighting about something else, and then we
have to redefine what we are actually fighting about - a new war
justification which fits with the "new war" in Iraq.

You could think of this like a ballgame, where, at half-time, the teams
change goalposts and play from the other side of the field - you might have
been losing so far, but in the second half, you could make a successful
come-back with some new moves, playing from the other side of the field, and
then everybody would be cheering. In the previous Brookings Institution
"Iraq War performance index", one indicator was "the number of Baathist
leaders captured", but a new index could of course be devised which includes
"the number of Baathist leaders re-appointed to the Iraqi government" (See
for yourself at: http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf ).

The theoretical point to understand here is that wars are just very complex
things - friends become enemies, enemies become friends and so on, but,
meanwhile, the war is there, and you nevertheless have to win that war.
Because otherwise you would not be in it, you play to win, you don't want to
do these things and get nothing out of them. Maybe you cannot prevent people
fighting in Iraq, but what you can do is, that you can pull out of some
fights, and start some different ones, with different objectives. It's like
a "change of terrain".  So then in future, we could extrapolate, the war
might be divided into two different "war phases":

Phase 1: Bush's war in Iraq
Phase 2: Kerry's war in Iraq

When you look at it like that, it's clear that there are two different wars,
and they could be about something completely different. The important thing
then in war-thinking is to convey, that these two wars are really two
different wars, they are not at all the same thing, they're about something
different. And then you could argue that war does make a positive
difference, looking at it from a new angle.

Another way of looking at it is, when you are in business, and you know that
some of your costs and revenues will not appear on this year's balance
sheet, which gives some new chances, openings and opportunities for a
different business policy. So then it could be argued for example, that the
Bush administration simply has a different kind of motive for fighting in
Iraq than Kerry's team, and that Kerry's team would fight in a different
way, against different people, with different objectives.  Then the war is
no longer what it was before, consequently, it has to be handled differently
by different people. And if a different policy was adopted, then the war
could be won. In the case, the issue is about how to bring the war to a good
end, a happy ending.

Through a different war policy, the "old war" in the past, superceded by
events, becomes a "new war" between a different set of players, that people
could agree with more,  that would be more popular, and then it would also
be a war that really could be won, i.e. Bush's war policy doesn't work, but
if that war policy was changed, then it would work. So then the war could be
won, because the very meaning of winning it would be changed, and then there
would be no loss of face either about previous war failures. Americans would
be happy, Iraqis would be happy, and the rest of the world would be happy.
Different teams, different style, different performance targets, and Bob's
your uncle...

A More Responsible war effort
A More Just war
A Kinder, Friendly War
A More Efficient war
A War involving the Right Kind of People
A War more sensitive to the needs of the Iraqi people

MY ASS !!!

More information about the Marxism mailing list