[Marxism] Honor and Self-Respect: Concepts Alien to American Liberals and Leftists

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat May 22 08:25:45 MDT 2004

After Falluja, Najaf, and Abu Ghraib, one conservative pundit after 
another has begun to publish chastened reassessments of the invasion 
and occupation of Iraq (for a survey of hawks' second thoughts, see 
John Tierney, "The Hawks Loudly Express Their Second Thoughts," New 
York Times, May 16, 2004). One of them is David Brooks. On one hand, 
Brooks is a good example that even the hawks having second thoughts 
about Iraq still cling to one of the core tenets of American 
imperialism -- America has a noble purpose of helping others: "We 
were so sure we were using our might for noble purposes, we assumed 
that sooner or later, everybody else would see that as well. Far from 
being blinded by greed, we were blinded by idealism. . . . We didn't 
understand the tragic irony that our power is also our weakness. As 
long as we seemed so mighty, others, even those we were aiming to 
assist, were bound to revolt" ("For Iraqis to Win, the U.S. Must 
Lose," New York Times, May 11, 2004). Though Brooks now understands 
the idea that "We were going to topple Saddam, establish democracy 
and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. We expected to be 
universally admired when it was all over" was "a childish fantasy," 
he will never give up the more enduring childish fantasy that 
Americans across classes and races constitute the national "we" who 
have shared national interests at home and missions abroad, all 
motivated by "idealism." That is to be expected. What is interesting, 
however, is that Brooks' column points to crucial concepts that 
liberals (and even most leftists) in the United States appear 
incapable of understanding -- honor and self-respect:

They [the Iraqis] would do so [revolt against the occupier] for their 
own self-respect. In taking out Saddam, we robbed the Iraqis of the 
honor of liberating themselves. The fact that they had no means to do 
so is beside the point. . . .

The rest of the posting at 

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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