[Marxism] Re: Why is 'Out Now!' weak?"

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam1 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 15 18:54:57 MDT 2006

David, I must confess that I cannot understand what you wrote in your first
paragraph. I read it several times over and I still can't understand it. I
have the distinct feeling that you read my post as a criticism of the "out
now" position, when it was, in fact, a critical appraisal of what the "out
now" position actually requires as a a precondition of its mass acceptance.

The reasons I do not believe the idea will gain mass acceptance were given
in my paragraph about the strategic and ideological differences between Iraq
and Vietnam. American withdrawal from Vietnam occurred within predefined
parameters. What was the economic value? Tin and rubber plantations. What
was the strategic value? Laos and Cambodia were not essential areas for
operations to maintain another sphere of influence when Vietnam was lost.
The US was actually able to use Cambodia to hurt the Vietnamese even after
the withdrawal. What was the paradigm shift internationally? Vietnam fell
under the umbrella of one, united, Communist party, operating in
coordination with world Communism, which had already worked out a pact of
coexistence with capitalism. In short, the domino effect was highly

In Iraq, none of these built-in control mechanisms are operational. We know
that Iraq was not a center of Islamist activity of either the Al-Qaeda or
Shiite fundamentalist variety before the war. But the fact of the matter is
that it is an operating hub for both types of Islamism now. If the United
States exits Iraq, Iraq will become a more open haven of anti-American and
anti-Israeli activity, whether it is of the "terrorist" variety or any other
variety. The place would be some combination of the following: (1) a lever
of Shiite radicalism to greatly increase Iranian regional power, (2) a base
of operations to destablize Gulf and non-Gulf Arab regimes by the
Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, (3) a training grounds for attacks on Western
targets, especially Israel (4) a Dante's inferno of inter-ethnic and
sectarian violence fueled by proxies, an Islamic Congo.

Therefore, within the context of the wider regional interests of the
American-Israeli axis, withdrawal of the military garrison in Iraq would be
a humiliating, rapidly unfolding disaster. And, *insofar as the vast
majority of Americans currently identify with the aforementioned interests*,
minus Iraq, they are not going to favor immediate withdrawal. It's like
putting a gun in someone's hand while you torture his family next door. Iraq
would become like an antithesis of Israel. It would be a Muslim,
guerrila-version of an aircraft carrier in the Middle East, aimed not only
at arrogantly labeled "US interests" - but the United States itself.  So
Americans are afraid of allowing (1-4) to happen - as  they damn well should
be so long as they continue to support the overarching agenda against the
Arabs - supporting Israel, supporting the puppet governments, suppressing
Islamism that has popular roots, controlling access to Arab oil through the
monarchy and military bases.

The US elite has two options. It delays, or in some ways actually
accelerates, events (1-4) by thumping its chest and saying it won't withdraw
- which, as we all know, means it will withdraw in two, three, five years.
Or, it pursues neoconservatism to its logical conclusion by launching an
aerial campaign or a full-scale invasion of Iran. In the second case, (1-4)
are going to appear inevitable to most Americans, and troops will suffer
enormous casualties, so the slogan would have much greater relevance and
resonance, even if another 9-11 like event precedes the assault.

That is the gist of my analysis. It is not a rationalization for any
non-immediate withdrawal position. It is an assessment of why the status quo
is what it is, and, above all, why it is erroneous to view politics today
through the lens of Vietnam.

M. Junaid Alam

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