[Marxism] Having a carnage party

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 4 07:33:45 MDT 2007

Tomgram: Having a Carnage Party

We Count, They Don't
By Tom Engelhardt

Counting to Three

At least Caesar was just commenting on reality when he wrote that "all 
Gaul is divided into three parts." Last week, Senate Foreign Relations 
Chairman Joe Biden attempted to create reality when an overwhelming 
majority of the U.S. Senate voted for his non-binding resolution to 
divide Iraq into three parts -- Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish autonomous 
zones. Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post reported that the 75-23 
Senate vote was "a significant milestone…, carving out common ground in 
a debate that has grown increasingly polarized and focused on military 
strategy." Murray added, "The [tripartite] structure is spelled out in 
Iraq's constitution, but Biden would initiate local and regional 
diplomatic efforts to hasten its evolution."

In Iraq, the plan was termed a "disaster" by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri 
al-Maliki; a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called the 
Senate resolution "a step toward the breakup of Iraq." He added, 
according to Juan Cole's Informed Comment website, "It is a mistake to 
imagine that such a plan will lead to a reduction in chaos in Iraq; 
rather, on the contrary, it will lead to an increase in the butchery and 
a deepening of the crisis of this country, and the spreading of 
increased chaos, even to neighboring states." In the meantime, Sunni 
clerics and various political parties joined in the denunciations. Only 
the Kurds, eager for an independent state, evidently welcomed the plan.

Cole caught the essence of this latest stratagem perfectly: First, he 
pointed out, the Senate "messed up Iraq by authorizing Terrible George 
to blow it up, now they want to further mess it up by dividing it."

But here's the most curious thing in this strange exercise in counting 
to three -- simply that it happened in the United States. Let's imagine, 
for a moment, that the Iraqi Parliament had voted a non-binding 
resolution to grant congressional representation to Washington DC or to 
allow California's electoral votes to be divided up by district. Or what 
if the Iranian parliament had just passed a non-binding resolution to 
divide the United States into semi-autonomous bio-regions?

Such acts would, of course, be considered not just outrageous and 
insulting, but quite mad and, on our one-way planet, they are indeed 
little short of unimaginable. But no one I noticed in the mainstream of 
political Washington or the media that covers it -- whether agreeing 
with the proposal or not -- seemed to find it even faintly odd for the 
U.S. Senate to count to three in support of a plan that, at best, would 
put an American stamp of approval on the continuing ethnic cleansing of 

No matter how meaningless Biden's resolution may turn out to be as 
policy, it has the benefit of taking us directly to bedrock Washington 
belief systems -- specifically, that it is America's global duty to 
solve the crises of other nations (even the ones that we set off). We 
are, after all, the nation-building nation par excellence and, despite 
all evidence to the contrary in Iraq, it is still impossible for 
official Washington to imagine us as anything but part of the solution 
rather than part of the problem.

You can find this same thinking no less readily available in another 
counting exercise under way in Washington…

full: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174844/having_a_carnage_party

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