[Marxism] A Vietnamese critique of the Iraqi resistance

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 15 04:38:41 MST 2005

Aaron Glantz is a regular reporter on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.

He's not a supporter of the United States war on and occupation of
Iraq, for those who may not be familiar with who he is. And I'm not
worried about Fred's past, which I consider to be honorable, not 
at all "shady". I'm not critical of the activities or achievements
of the Iraqi resistance. Building the broadest possible unity is 
the only way they will be able to defeat Washington's strategy of
dividing and conquering Iraq. I noted and commented on conceptions
attributed to the Vietnamese interviewee which weren't presented 
to the reader through quotations. That was also the same viewpoint
expressed in the articles from Cuba Socialista which I presented:

Also one small point which I neglected to mention in my previous
comment about this, but the use of the designation "Viet Cong" to 
describe the Vietnamese National Liberation Front is another of the 
small but distressing parts of an otherwise interesting comment about 
Iraq from the Vietnamese, who were successful in their effort to 
organize their country and expell the invaders who wanted to keep 
Vietnam divided against itself. The term "Viet Cong" which was only 
heard in the US media, meant simply "Vietnamese Communist". The 
Vietnamese themselves did not use this term, which had a redbaiting 

Fred Feldman's 1975 polemics about Vietnam retain their interest as
the attitude they expressed, which took Trotsky's theory of the
permanent revolution from political DESCRUOTUIB to  BE PROGRAMMATIC
PRESCRIPTION, that is, as a program for what Marxists should do in
all times and circumstances, remains a problem today. Those of us
who come, as Fred, Louis, Jaoquin, Andy and others, from Trotskyist
background continue to have to grapple with this legacy. It remains,
as someone once said, one of those chains of tradition which bind
more than a few voices who remain politically active in the present.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

Vietnamese Observations on the Iraqi Resistance

InterPress Service - Nov 10, 2005

Viet Cong Advice for Iraqi Resistance

by Aaron Glantz

Walter's criticism and his expose of my shady past is simply irrelevant
to what I was discussing.  I am sort  of embarrassed to admit that I
have been insufficiently living in the past of late to even bring the
old articles to mind 
Having reread the article submitted by Michael K. (and I am glad he
submitted it), I believe that this is basically an attempt by an
anti-insurgency bourgeois journalist to misuse the moral and political
prestige of the Vietnamese revolution against the Iraq insurgency. The
author Aaron Glantz is also the author, as the article notes, of "How
America Lost Iraq." I assume that anyone who finds Iraq is requested to
please return it to its rightful owner.  While from the context he seems
to be a strong critic of US policy, I strongly suspect he is an opponent
of the fight against the occupation and may even be a supporter -- a
disappointed one -- of the occupation itself.
Walter seems to think that Tran was offering some good "advice" and that
Iraqi fighters should learn from the Vietnamese experience through him. 
Does Walter think the Iraqi struggle has accomplished nothing and has
gone nowhere? Does Walter think this is good "advice"?  Does the
Vietnamese CP agree with it? Permit me to doubt it. Does the Cuban CP
agree with it? Not from what I read in Granma and on the CubaNews list.
Is this Hugo Chavez's view? No.  He seems damn well aware of what the
Venezuelan revolution owes to the struggle and sacrifice of the Iraqi
Walter was set off by my use of the term "crisis of leadership." Like
me, he learned it from the SWP, and, unlike me, he seems to react as one
who has been burned to fire.  But I think the term is often useful.  I
think Trotsky was describing a real objective situation when he used the
phrase, although the Trotskyist solution tended to place too much weight
on purely subjective factors to resolve the partly subjective problem,
and to insist on a narrowly programmatic solution (the creation of a
cadre holding a specific set of views).  I see no reason to swear never
again to use a term just because of the threat that my collected works
-- of very varied quality, in my opinion -- may suddenly appear on the
web if I do.
Fred Feldman


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