This is my initial venture into the blog world. It may be off to the side of ongoing discussion and activity since that’s pretty much where I am.
I think the left could spend a bit more effort on the wmd issue. Proliferation of wmd’s is hardly a ruling class concern. Russian weapons are for sale, Israel, India and Pakistan all have such weapons and their willingness to sell the technology is known. No reasonable ruling class faction would possibly have believed Iraq’s possession of such weapons was either a direct or an indirect threat to any U.S. interest. The weapons that Iraq once possessed were only used against internal dissidents and Iranians, and only with tacit U.S. approval. Only a presumption of suicidal irrationality makes it conceivable that Iraq would use such weapons against U.S. interests, including Israel, or that it would distribute them to jihadists to be used in this way…particularly after 9/11. It is just as probable, if not more so, that Israel or Pakistan or a former Soviet state could behave in such an “irrational” fashion.
The debate about “bad intelligence” or manipulated intelligence is a smokescreen that obscures the fact that Iraqi weapons were no palpable threat. Now, when a developing majority of the political class is moving towards the position that they were duped into supporting the war by bad information on this issue, we should recognize this as an attempt to regain some tactical flexibility for a strategic initiative that was, and still is, supported by a very broad ruling class consensus, not as a reversal of some neo-con aberration. I think that it is very unlikely that the “intelligence failure” extends beyond the media and a good deal of the left.
No one who follows the Juan Cole blog, Informed Comment, would think that he is a closet supporter of U.S. imperial aims. So why is he advocating only a “limited” pull out of U.S. troops, leaving special operations forces and a monopoly of air power to protect the existing regime and its probable successor? Why would he invoke Yugoslavia and Afghanistan as ‘good’ models, a position that would have been unthinkable - even for most liberals - not too long ago?
Without knowing too much about his political background, I think that it is what Cole knows about the actual players and programs in Iraq that leads him to this naïve advocacy of a sanitized U.S. role, a role not that different from the benevolent imperialism visions of Nial Ferguson. This demonstrates how a variant of social democracy can grow out of an emphasis on the fascist potentials in and around the salafi jihadist movement, if this is not linked with a clear critique of the global capitalist system that this movement is responding to. Such a social democratic thrust can and will find popular support.
We should learn from the mistakes of revolutionaries during the previous “three way fight”, also a time when revolutionaries were persuaded that U.S. and British special forces and airpower were a good way to fight fascism and promote peace and stability.
I see that Alexander Cockburn has a critique of Cole (Juan Cole Blog, Oct. 28,). My first reaction is that this also is an evasion of major elements of the situation, in this case, of the nature of the “insurgency”. Perhaps he goes into more detail in material that I have not yet seen.
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DOCUMENTS (mostly on other sites)
- An American National Bolshevik (Loren Goldner)
- Anti-Repression, Anti-Fascist Strategizing Suggestions (mamos206)
- Anti-Semitism and the Revolutionary Right (Kersplebedeb)
- Barack, Badiou, and Bilal al Hasan (Don Hamerquist)
- Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience (Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier)
- Exodus and Reconstruction: Working-Class Women at the Heart of Globalization (Bromma)
- Fascism & Anti-Fascism (Don Hamerquist)
- For Women Only: After Anti-War Movements win or lose in Iraq...there's still Women (Butch Lee)
- Notes on Women and Right-Wing Movements (Matthew Lyons)
- The Shock of Recognition (J. Sakai)
- Two Ways of Looking at Fascism (Matthew Lyons)
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