[Marxism] Some thoughts on : It's the occupation, stupid

g.maclennan at qut.edu.au g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Tue Nov 21 17:38:35 MST 2006

Roger Burbach and Paul Cantor's article is interesting in an academic way in terms of the working out of the causality for a complex phenomenon. They ask: 

Why has Iraq turned into a haven for terrorists and a bloody, war ravished nation?

That reads like a really good focussed thesis question.  They then list the competing explanations

First and deserving pride of place is George W. Bush's  "we'll succeed unless we quit." Here Bush is drawing a comparison with the Vietnam war and implying that a lack of will caused USA to lose that war and that a lack of will could be a factor in Iraq.

Second is, John McCain's claim that there are insuffiicient troops.

Third is Paul Bremer's disbanding of the Iraq army, 

Fourth the failure to maintain discipline which led to Abu Ghraib and other human rights atrocities in the country. 

Fifth the corruption of U.S. contractors, 

Sixth a combination of all these matters.

Burbach and Cantor acknowledge these factors but say that the crucial causal mechanism is resistance to imperialist occupations by the Third World.

Does such a generative mechanism exist?  Is there an impulse to freedom intrinsic not simply to the Third World but to all humans?

Again in methodological terms if we posit such a causal mechanism then we would indeed have an explanation for anti-imperialist occupations.

But of course it is precisely the existence of such a mechanism that must be denied by the imperialists.  They therefore have to pose as liberators groaning under the white man's burden.

There are it is true a hard core of cynical Imperialist Machiavellians who know the true meaning of imperialism and how it is necessarily locked in a deadly struggle with the pulse of freedom. They also understand how that combat can never  be won.

Pontecorvo's _Queimada_ (1969) contains in the character of Sir William Walker (Marlon Brando) a brilliant portrait of just such a cynical imperialist apparatchik who fully realises "It's the occupation stupid" and that the only solution is to destroy the island to maintain the rule of the imperialists elsewhere.

So Walker ordered the island to be burned.  In contemporary terms he resorted to "shock and awe".



More information about the Marxism mailing list