[Marxism] A Vietnamese critique of the Iraqi resistance

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Nov 12 03:36:46 MST 2005

Frankly, I need more information about this politically rather odd
interview.  My problem is not the content -- I actually agree with the
most concrete descriptions of differences between Vietnam and Iraq and
have long noted (not alone) that what is taking place in Iraq today is
the resistance to occupation by a country which won legal independence
in World War II and ended foreign political domination with the 1958
revolution -- not the winning of national independence but the
reconquest of national independence.  The forces waging the struggle are
not carrying out a national revolution but come out of, represent, and
fight for the social forces of the country as it exists today -- with
all the divisions, conflicts, backwardness, and social and political
problems that it had in all the years of independence under local
capitalist and international imperialist dominance.

When  and where was the interview given.  Who interviewed him? Was Iraq
the subject of the interview? From a diplomatic standpoint, the
intervention seems odd for a high diplomatic official.  

Although it is framed as "advice" to the Iraqi resistance, it has little
to do with any of the current clashes or conflicts.  Does this
Vietnamese political figure really believe that the victory of the
United States is inevitable in Iraq unless they achieve such things as
unity under a leader such as Ho Chi Minh.

He seems to be suggesting that resistance in Iraq cannot win unless it
follows the example of the Vietnamese revolution, which took quite a
long time to win even after Ho Chi Minh, an outstanding
national-revolutionary and anticapitalist leader, came on the scene.
Hardly a cakewalk, culminating as it did in a 30 year war and civil war
(followed by a ten-year battle over efforts to turn Cambodia into a
counter-revolutionary anti-Vietnmamese war base).  Unlike the Soviet
intervention in Afghanistan, the Vietnamese troops withdrew from
Cambodia by international agreement only AFTER their enemies had been
effectively defeated and the goals of national defense successfully
achieved. Cambodia is still governed by a core of the leadership that
allied with Vietnam to topple the anti-Vietnamese Pol Pot regime which
became allied with imperialism.

Generally, the Vietnamese take sides in struggles without imposing their
example as a "model."

I also think that the official underestimates some changes that have
taken place. In some ways, imperialism has been weakened not
strengthened since Vietnam.  There is a much narrower social base for
occupation in Vietnam.  Nothing as strong as the Diem regime or even the
Bao Dai front for the French has been established by the US in Iraq.
Because the US goal is to partially roll back gains of the national
independence struggle, which have been weakened and eroded by prolonged
social crisis in the semicolonial world, most of the social forces in
Iraq are to one degree or another in conflict with the goals of US
imperialism.  Their divisions make it hard to definitively expel the US
troops, but the US military is being worn down in the struggle which has
not grown weaker.  The US military performance, while technologically
improved, has been, if anything, even less effective in Vietnam.

The war takes place not in an epoch of prosperity but in an epoch of
growing economic difficulties for the imperialist powers (the crisis in
most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America is ultimately caused by these

Contrary to the expectation of the so-called "neocon" ideologists, the
fall of the Soviet bloc -- that is the victory that imperialism won in
one important aspect of the Cold War by outlasting the Stalinist-ruled
foe in Europe -- did not reverse the economic difficulties (only
relieving them for a short time) and, most of all, has not opened up the
possibility of rolling back national independence and sovereignty in the
former colonies despite their current crises, division, and the
deepening misery of wide sections of the masses.  The attempt to assert
increased domination -- militarily and politically and economically --
is stirring intensifying opposition which the imperialists have not yet
found a road to defeating.  Somalia and Iraq are proving to be important
tests of their ability to do so by military means.  

Because of the need of the imperialists to revive and intensify the
extraction of wealth from these areas, the conflicts and wars are likely
to continue.  

I don't know whether US weakness -- a factor in the situation that is
not simply a product of Iraq and not simply determined by what the
Iraqis do -- will eventually force the US to withdraw despite the fact
that the movement they confront is not as strong and certainly not as
revolutionary as the one in Vietnam.  But I think this is entirely
possible.  I am not convinced at all that the crisis of revolutionary
leadership in Iraq has to be eliminated by the emergence of a
Vietnam-type or other leadership has to be resolved before the
occupation can be forced to end.

Instead of isolating Iraq from the world process by focusing on the
weaknesses of the resistance in the country, I think we should place the
fight in Iraq in the world context by pointing to the contribution the
resistance (the broader resistance, of course, but very definitely the
armed resistance as well -- with all its problems) has made to
obstructing and countering Washington's offensive.  The world owes the
people Iraq a great debt because they did not bow their heads, accept
defeat, and await a more favorable situation.  They fought, and that has
changed the situation for the better.

In the end, it seems to me, that is how the Vietnamese solved their
crisis of leadership.d
Fred Feldman

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