[Marxism] Uri Avnery on riding the tiger

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Sun Jul 30 11:37:09 MDT 2006

Marvin Gandall wrote:
> (Posted on LBO list)
> In the Gunsight: Syria! or: A Nice Little War
> 29-7-06
> http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1154197701
> IT IS the old story about the losing gambler: he cannot stop. He continues
> to play, in order to win his losses back. He continues to lose and continues
> to gamble, until he has lost everything: his ranch, his wife, his shirt.
> The same thing happens in the biggest gamble of all: war. The leaders that
> start a war and get stuck in the mud are compelled to fight their way ever
> deeper into the mud. That is a part of the very essence of war: it is
> impossible to stop after a failure. Public opinion demands the promised
> victory. Incompetent generals need to cover up their failure. Military
> commentators and other armchair strategists demand a massive offensive.
> Cynical politicians are riding the wave. The government is carried away by
> the flood that they themselves have let loose.

This is where a domestic anti-war movement, if strong enough, can make a
difference. The Vietnamese fought the U.S. to a standstill, creating the
situation Avnery describes here. As a result, the incompetent generals
and cynical politicians _seriously_ considered the use of nuclear
weapons against the facilities in North Vietnam through which Chinese
supplies moved. That, or an invasion of China, would have certainly
'hidden' the disasters of Vietnam within greater disasters.

At least one Nixon administration person later on acknowledged that what
prevented this move was the sheer size and militancy of the November
1969 Moratorium.

But as I have argued before, anti-war movements of that magnitude cannot
be built in a social/political context in which the war is the only or
even the main issue. It is only because of the civil rights movement,
along with what  can only be called the "general uproar" of the '60s,
that it was possible to build the movement that could generate the
November Moratorium.

One could almost say that the most crucial battle of the Vietnam War was
fought almost at the very beginning of that war -- in Mississippi in the
Summer of 1964.


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