[Marxism] What the hell has happened to the Israeli army?

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Wed Aug 16 12:26:34 MDT 2006

Carrol Cox wrote:
> Marvin Gandall wrote:
>> I don't know of anyone else left, right, or centre who believes with you
>> that a) the majority of the US and Israeli populations regard the wars in
>> Iraq and Lebanon as anything other than national disasters and b) that
>> the
>> Bush and Olmert administrations are unmoved by the effect of public
>> opinion
>> on their military options and political fortunes. They don't have to see
>> millions demonstrating in the streets to guage how unpopular their wars
>> have
>> become and how it has affected their objectives.
> Marvin, every so often you carry your extreme underestimation of
> bourgeois power too far.

Well, I am relieved to hear that, Carrol, since more people on the list
probably think I adapt too much to the bourgeosie. :)
How in the world can mere passive dislike of a
> state policy  affect that policy _at all_ as long as all major sectors
> and allies of the ruling sections of the nation seriously support that
> policy?

Well, we don't agree that all major sectors of the US ruling class and its
allies in Europe and elsewhere "seriously support" the policies of the Bush
administration and the Israeli government. The differences between them are
tactical rather than strategic, but to approvingly quote Chomsky for the
umpteenth time, "small differences can have big consequences". In Iraq and
Lebanon, count me among those who believe the political and military
consequences were unforeseen and have as a result damaged the standing
of the Bush and Olmert governments within their respective ruling classes.

>"Anything less than national disasters" is also extravagant. The
> u.s. has suffered no _disaster_ at all, and the war would be a _serious_
> defeat for Israel only under two conditions: a) that it led to a
> significant reduction in u.s. support and b) if the Israeli populace
> begin to demand, _vigorously_, that Israel unamgiguously withdraw from
> the occupied territroes and recognize Palestine as a state wielding
> sovereignty over its own territories.

I did not say Israel suffered a national disaster. I said the Israeli public
perceives it as such. I was reacting to your co-thinker Yoshie's similar
objection to my earlier comment that the Israelis were "demoralized" by the
outcome of the war. I agree there is, as yet, no significant threat to the
Israeli political establishment coming from the "Israeli populace" for an
accomodation with the Palestinians; if anything, the war has shifted
national opinion further to the right. My own sense is that if there is an
settlement of some sort with the Palestinians, it will more likely come
from the right, in the same way de Gaulle presided over the retreat from
Algeria and Nixon from Vietnam, and that the US, for its own imperial
reasons, will be more crucial in bringing this about than the Israeli

> "Hope springs eternal" does seem a reasonable motto for your judgment of
> mideastern affairs. Repression continues happily along in the West Bank
> and  Gaza. All is well.

I try to avoid "hope" or it's twin "despair"  when trying to understand
political developments. I look first to the relationship of forces for an
explanation of political behaviour, and how these relations are altered by
events, as I suspect they were most recently in Lebanon. Can you point to
any statements where I have cheerfully said or implied "all is well" in the
Middle East?
> Hezbollah's resistance certainly is a victory for the world's peoples,
> but victories of far greater magnitude would not necessarily create
> _effective_ resistance in either the U.S. or Israel to u.s. imperial
> power in the mideast.

Actually, if the truth be told, it is you who always seem to be overawed by
"boiurgeois power", despite your undoubtedly sincere identification with the
revolutionary tradition. But you are always reminding us how the US left
(all tendencies) is hopeless, how it is impossible to build an antiwar
movement so one may as well focus instead on "building cadre" (whatever that
means to you), and how little the victories by popular movements really
amount to since, after all, US imperialism and global capitalism are still
standing, - are they not? Yes, they are, and it is important to keep that in
perspective, but yours somehow seems to me, at least, to be tinged with the
kind of weltschmerz I associate with despairing literary academics.

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