[Marxism] Kanan Makiya

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 10 13:33:03 MDT 2007


Except for rascals like Christopher Hitchens, most of the pro-war “left” 
has reversed itself (George Packer, Johann Hari)–without of course 
abrogating the right of the US to act as world’s cop when the cause is 
supposedly just (Afghanistan, Darfur, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc.) There is 
also a group that still supports the invasion but keeps a low profile. 
You will not find them on talk show circuits repeating George W. Bush’s 
talking points slathered over with references to Camus, Orwell and 
Koestler. Mostly they have retreated from the public scene and shake 
their heads at the catastrophe that resulted from “poor planning” and 
other blunders.

The New York Times Magazine gave a platform to one of them last Sunday: 
Iraqi intellectual and former Trotskyist Kanan Makiya, who is the author 
of a number of books with scholarly pretensions that provided fuel for 
the invasion in 2002 and 2003. In one of Judith Miller’s pro-war 
propaganda pieces written on January 12, 2003, she described Makiya’s 
touching faith in George Bush’s promises:

     None of the Iraqi participants were willing to discuss precisely 
what Mr. Bush said. But Kanan Makiya, a professor at Brandeis University 
and a leading Iraqi intellectual, said he was “deeply reassured” by what 
he called “the president’s intense commitment to a genuinely democratic 
post-Saddam Iraq” and by Mr. Bush’s determination to press forward not 
only with “removing Saddam from office, but reconstructing Iraq after a 
military conflict.”

     “Mr. Bush was clearly aware that Iraq was not Afghanistan, and that 
it has the human and financial resources needed to support democracy,” 
Mr. Makiya said.

Miller lost her job but Makiya’s career–at least in the US–did not 
suffer any consequences for such boneheaded statements. He is a 
professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. My 
advice to people trying to decide where to send their children to 
college is to take this place off their list.

Not only has Makiya’s political fortunes taken a turn for the worse, so 
has his health:

     Makiya’s life is no longer what it was. In 2003, on returning to 
Iraq, he reunited with his sweetheart from high-school days, married and 
took her back to Cambridge. He also found out he has chronic lymphocytic 
leukemia, the same disease that killed Edward Said, the Palestinian-born 
Columbia University professor and Makiya’s intellectual nemesis.

While it would be impossible to prove this, one wonders if living in 
such a heavily polluted environment such as Iraq might have led to Mr. 
Makiya’s cancer. In Houston, Texas, there are 56 percent more incidents 
of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia for families living in close 
proximity to the petroleum refineries. Since George W. Bush and his 
cronies are responsible for the woeful state of both Texas and Iraq 
today, there is some irony in Makiya being so afflicted.

Said never rested a moment in the final years of his life when he was 
battling leukemia. He did everything in his power to expose the lies 
that people like Makiya were churning out to the Bush White House. In a 
article that appeared in the November 28, 2002 Al-Ahram titled 
“Misinformation about Iraq“, Said directed his fire against Makiya:

     The most complete version of his plans for Iraq after an American 
invasion that derive from his current employment as a resident employee 
of the US Department of State, appears in the November 2002 issue of 
Prospect, a good liberal British monthly to which I subscribe. Makiya 
begins his “proposal” by enumerating the extraordinary assumptions 
behind his arguments, two of which almost by definition are 
unimaginable. The first is that “the unseating” of Saddam should not 
occur after a bombing campaign. Makiya must have been living on Mars to 
imagine that, in the event of a war, a massive bombing attack would not 
occur even though every single plan circulated for regime change in Iraq 
has stated explicitly that Iraq would be bombed mercilessly. The second 
assumption is equally imaginative, since Makiya seems to believe against 
all evidence that the US is committed to democracy and nation-building 
in Iraq. Why he thinks that Iraq is like Germany and Japan after World 
War II (both of which were rebuilt because of the Cold War) is beyond 
me; besides, he doesn’t once mention the fact that the US is determined 
to bring down the Iraqi regime because of the country’s oil reserves and 
because Iraq is an enemy of Israel. So, he starts out by making 
preposterous assumptions that simply fly in the face of all the evidence.

The New York Times Magazine article was written by Dexter Filkins who 
might be described as Judith Miller lite. Along with the equally 
detestable Michael R. Gordon, they have been writing article after 
article trying to prove that Iran is behind all the troubles in Iraq. 
Filkins also served as a conduit for Pentagon propaganda blaming al 
Qaeda for the troubles in Iraq. Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post 
reported that the military had made a “selective leak” about al-Qaeda 
leader Zarqawi to Dexter Filkins. The article, making much of a letter 
supposedly written by Zarqawi and boasting of suicide attacks in Iraq, 
ran on the Times front page on Feb. 9, 2004. In other words, just the 
kind of reporter to rely on for an accounting of Makiya’s sins.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/10/10/kanan-makiya/




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