[Marxism] Precipitous withdrawal?

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 23 10:03:26 MDT 2005

My thoughts on the subject; a variety of links (including to the transcript 
of the Cole interview) in the original post at:


The "responsible" call for withdrawal

I have written on several occasions (the most recent here) about how the 
"exit strategy" from Iraq is a sham, because the Americans are never going 
to turn over to the "Iraqi army" the planes, helicopters, tanks, and heavy 
artillery which they themselves rely on in battles against the resistance. 
Just yesterday afternoon I was thinking about (and thinking about posting 
about) the fact that not a single commentator, not Norman Solomon or 
Alexander Cockburn or Rahul Mahajan or any number of other people with more 
knowledge and insight than I, seems to have picked up on that point.

And then today on Democracy Now!, Juan Cole, following in the footsteps of 
Tom Hayden in calling for a "responsible" (not "simplistic" in Cole's words) 
withdrawal from Iraq, does actually pick up on this point, but in a 
doppelganger sort of way. Cole's idea of "responsible" withdrawal is that 
American ground troops should be withdrawn, but that air power should 
remain, giving "close air support" (a phrase he uses three times during the 
interview) to "the new Iraqi army and to other allied forces on the ground." 
In other words, the U.S. should keep intervening and keep killing Iraqis, 
but do so in a way that doesn't endanger themselves nearly as much, and 
leave the face-to-face killing (which he seems to think is "unhelpful in the 
sense that it actually also is spreading around the guerrilla war") to Iraqi 
surrogates. To be noted is that this approach, since it would signficantly 
lessen American deaths, might strike a dangerous, even fatal, blow to the 
American antiwar movement, even while doing nothing to lessen the deaths of 
Iraqis (and might even increase that number).

Sometimes, "Now" means "Now". Attitudes like Cole's and Hayden's, that the 
United States, which invaded Iraq illegally, has to stay and compound that 
illegality, remind me of nothing less than the woman who was ordered to 
marry her rapist. Iraq has been raped by the United States. Whatever the 
future brings for Iraq, it's time for the U.S. to clear out.

Eli Stephens
  Left I on the News

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