[Marxism] Re: Cagan's support for el-Maliki

Lou Paulsen loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net
Mon Aug 14 16:05:50 MDT 2006

Fred Feldman wrote:
I give no support to the el-Maliki government in Iraq, but I think the
Mike Friedman position is sectarian, and I think that UFPJ is not wrong
to reach out to the current Iranian government which is in what seems to
be growing disagreement with Washington despite its dependence on US
military support.  
I can't remember when I've disagreed with Fred more than with this.
Reach out - for the purpose of accomplishing WHAT, exactly?
The al-Maliki government needs military aid to stay in power.  Are you proposing that
UFPJ send troops, arms, and funds to Iraq to replace US troops, arms, and funds?
No, that's ridiculous.  Are you proposing that the UFPJ open talks with al-Maliki for the
purpose of betraying the "Out Now" position and agreeing that after all the invasion has
done good for Iraq and that UFPJ won't quarrel with a certain amount of military assistance
any more?  No, that would be treacherous.  Are you suggesting that if UFPJ succeeds
in talking with al-Maliki they might bring him a "message of peace" and that his "eyes will
be opened" and he will expel the US and bring peace to Iraq and every man will sit
under his own fig tree?  I don't completely rule out that this is what they ARE thinking,
but it would be insane.  Well, then, what do you think UFPJ can
possibly be up to in this "reaching out" that can be of use?  The UFPJ is not a country.
It does not have the obligation to maintain diplomatic relations with all governments.
The political forces on which El-Maliki is based are
in no sense US artifacts as were Ngo Dinh Diem and Nguyen Cao Ky in
I don't know that this makes a difference, does it?  The Saudi royal family is
not a US artifact, so does that mean that it would be (is) ok for US imperialism
to occupy Saudi Arabia with the collaboration of the Saudi royal family?
The point is that it is a US occupation.  Al-Maliki is an occupation government
official.  This is true regardless of whether he personally is an "authentic"
Shi'i leader who is just making whatever deals he can to the short-term 
benefit of the Shi'a, or whether he is a humanoid robot manufactured in 
Langley, VA.

I think a position of unconditional diplomatic and political boycott of
the current Iraqi government is inappropriate.  
To repeat, UFPJ is not a state.  Why are we talking about 'boycott'?  The question
is not whether UFPJ should 'boycott' or not, or even whether UFPJ should communicate
or not, which they could do privately if there were a reason for it.  It's a question of 
whether they should issue public open letters and newspaper ads with a message
of "welcome" and so on.  
Do we urge the antiwar
movement to demand the overthrow of Maliki by an exclusively insurgent
government?  Do we oppose national reconciliation in Iraq against the
I think that if we concentrate on getting the US out of Iraq we are doing our job, whereas
if we try to make policy for the occupation government or the resistance we are
crazy arrogant Westerners on acid.  As for "national reconciliation", al-Maliki is only free
to offer this on US terms - he was originally talking about amnesty for resistance
fighters who had killed US troops, but the US stifled that talk pretty damned fast; such
is the level of al-Maliki's sovereignty.
The el-Maliki is the latest in a string of ever-more unstable occupation
governments but it is not a puppet government.  I think it is a mistake
to refuse to maneuver with it in opposition to the occupation, which
brought it into being but is increasingly rejected by the base of the
goverrnment itself.

I think it is really bizarre to talk about "maneuvering with" ANY of the forces
in Iraq.  What force does UFPJ have to "maneuver" with?  The smallest of
the contending forces in Baghdad has more resources and more people than
all of the anti-war movement in the US put together, let alone UFPJ. 
This distinction between "puppet occupation governments" and "semi-autonomous
occupation governments", or whatever, is of scant importance to our work.
Would we not be taking the "out now" position even if al-Maliki were completely
independent and sovereign?  Is it not an IMPERIALIST WAR in any case? 
By the way, top Democrats advocated refusing to hear Malki when he
addressed congress because of his position on Lebanon. Given his
position on Lebanon, I see no reason for antiwar activists not to talk
to him, although the politics of the UFPJ letter are not mine.
The fact that the "top Democrats" managed to be MORE racist and hostile to
Iraqi self-determination, and more intolerant of dissent on the US/Israeli war, 
than Bush himself, and showed open contempt for the supposedly 
sovereign, supposedly democratically chosen status, of their own occupation governor,
than Bush himself, does not turn al-Maliki into anything but an occupation governor.
Every leader of every stripe in the Arab world from Mubarak on over was forced by circumstances
to take a "position" against the US/Israeli acts of genocide and they might not even have liked
them.  Does that mean that we are all obliged to send out embassies to Mubarak and the
Arab League and all and sundry??  This is the silliest act of Western intervention in
Mideast politics since the Children's Crusade.  Obviously it will have no effect whatever
on the situation on the ground in Iraq or on the actions of thoughts of al-Maliki or anyone
else, except to amuse them, but it can only confuse and derail the movement here.  From now
on, any time someone brings up the "Out Now" position in a UFPJ meeting it can be
undercut by reference to al-Maliki's latest statement about how it's impossible to do without
US troops until the "terrorists have been defeated" and so on.
I suppose this makes me an evil sectarian once again,
Lou Paulsen
member, WWP, Chicago

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