Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Surprise Visit to Baghdad: PATHETIC

So I just heard about the "surprise visit" to Baghdad on the radio. What a joke. Who does Dubya think he's surprising? Is it just me, or did Condi and Rummy also make "surprise visits" when the war was going poorly? Guess what: they didn't work then, and they won't work now. Morons.

This administration is incapable of changing its actions. It's actually painful and funny to watch. Get over it, neo-cons: this war is a failure, and it's time to move on and withdraw. You were wrong, the Left was right. I could have told you this would happen 3 years ago. In fact, I was marching on the streets in February of 2003, along with millions of others, saying exactly that.

Honestly, a 3-state solution in Iraq is probably the best option right now. My friend Christian Parenti over at The Nation mentioned this in his article on Kurdistan quite a few months ago(November, I believe). Peter Galbraith, among others, has said that there should be a Sunni state, a Shiite state, and a Kurd state. That may be the only option that will keep the whole region from imploding. More on this later...


Blogger Izzie said...

Hey there, I happened to stumble onto your blog while browsing and you make some good points. I think Chris Hitchens (one of my favorites) also explained that the 3 state Iraq was the only way to peace. Seems nobody in charge is listening. Surprising.

I really enjoyed reading this!

4:42 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

hahaha, well thanks for "stumbling onto my blog."

i despise chris hitchens, but if he agrees with the 3-state solution, he at least has common sense. i think it's the only way to deal with the disintegrating state right now, unfortunately.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Turks would be livid with an independant Kurdistan cause they don't want their Kurds to start getting uppity. An independant Kuridstan could feed resources to Kurds in Turkey without repercussion. We'd have open rebellion in Turkey which would give the EU the excuse it desperately desires to keep Turkey out. The best option for peace would be to give Kurdish Iraq to Turkey then look the other way when the Turks lay down the law. But it kind of sucks if you're a Kurd. (Though in reality an independent Kurdistan would likely be invaded by Turkey sooner rather than later anyway, so you still get the same outcome.)

But hey, what did the north and the south in 1776 have in common besides geography and a shared hatred of England? They said a mish-mashed nation of northern industry and southern slave-based agrarianism couldn't work, and we sure proved them wrong!


2:14 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Fred, you have a good point. When I interviewed Christian Parenti on Friday, he pointed out the problem with Kurdish independence in terms of Turkey. Syria and other Middle Eastern countries also have "Kurdish problems."

Furthermore, apparently Parenti said that in all of his time in Kurdistan, he noticed that the region, while partially autonomous politically, is completely economically dependent on the rest of Iraq. So a truly independent region there is not very feasible in that regard.

Will wrote more on this issue later...

2:23 PM  
Blogger Evan McLaren said...

When I hear a leftist suggesting that the Right is responsible for influencing our government's disastrous foreign policy, and giving the Left near-complete credit for championing the cause of peace, I grow desperate. It's hard to believe that we're on the same planet, studying the same history.

Significant elements of the Left are sound on pulling out of Iraq . . . I've noticed members of Socialist and Green parties speaking more loudly on this, and I suspect many of them were shouting against the entire fiasco since before the invasion. But the Democratic Party has been a disappointment. It failed to oppose the administration’s obviously empty case for Middle East invasion, and took a long time to generate a healthy anti-war stance. It still struggles to speak with clarity and unity on withdrawal from Iraq. Must I even mention Hillary? A hawk is a hawk is a hawk, regardless of party affiliation.

I suspect we are in agreement up to this point. But from now on our versions of reality lose contact . . .
What is the point of this war? What are it’s causes? Who argued for it, and continues to argue for it? And when did the argument begin?

Readers of this blog are likely to take a Leninist position–imperialism is another putrid outgrowth of capitalism. Familiar explanations of Iraq in this tradition always include the names Exxon and Haliburton. And I’m sure it’s true that these firms and many others have their hands full of government money and influence, much of it with a Republican flavor.

But the idea that stupid hawkish Republicans and a few dozen corrupt firms are the alpha and omega of our government’s thought and action in the realm of foreign policy isn’t even remotely plausible. Whatever power big business and big government enjoy, they cannot unilaterally invert the will of the rest of the nation. They aren’t the ones we hear and see, day after day, apologizing for war and US imperialism in every corner of academia and the media. And they certainly aren’t the source of the ideas and assumptions that direct our thinking on foreign policy. To find those one must search much farther into the past.

Due to a complex mixture of influences that I’ll spend the rest of my life attempting to unravel, the Left long ago arrived at two fundamental tenents: (1) Democracy is the only moral foundation for government. (2) Foreign intervention (often regarded as a logical outgrowth of domestic intervention) is a useful means of establishing and maintaining peace and justice throughout the world. Those who failed to accept these ideas were and are dismissed as extremists, be they Socialists or libertarians.

What happens after the governing interests of a nation arrive at these conclusions (that democracy is morally supreme and foreign intervention is acceptable) is easy to guess. After capturing the Left, these ideas moved on to consume the Right, via the neoconservatives (leftists in conservative clothing). Where conservatism once meant being aristocratic, anti-democratic, and isolationist, now the Kristols and Fukuyamas, as well as the Goldbergs and Buckleys, happily take the post-New Deal mass democratic administrative state as a given, and constantly explore ways to spread its authority and influence to every corner of the earth.

Exceptions must be noted. Eugene Debs (thrown into prison by the figure that most personifies the arrival of US-led global democracy, Woodrow Wilson) and Martin Luther King, Jr., spring to mind. Debs’ anti-war record, in particular, was impeccable. And there is always a visible humanitarian, anti-war element within the Left, staging protests and agitating against war and nuclear proliferation. But failure to challenge the driving assumptions of our foreign policy dooms such movements to near-irrelevancy, and this will continue to as long as democracy and public administration are protected as sacred idols.

What can one say about a movement that every once in a while develops an intense dislike of warfare (usually when it is being directed by what people consider elements of the Right)? This same movement works ceaselessly to expand the powers of the executive office, invert the letter and philosophy of the Constitution, and enforce global egalitarianism through foreign aid (read: welfare for bloody Third World tyrants) and “collective security” arrangements. This movement pressed for US entrance into WWI and WWII, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the World Bank and IMF, the United Nations, sending troops to Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, and the Persian Gulf (and this is an abbreviated list). And it has systematically silenced every dissenting voice, either through therapeutic “correction” or by simply chasing them from the halls of respectable opinion as expressions of dangerous “extremism”.

While it’s occasionally amusing to visit the anti-war Left and share some jokes at Bush’s expense, it’s hard to forgive the Left for constructing the very imperialist monolith that is the root cause of our difficulties merely because it expresses occasional doubts. This is so particularly when one is familiar with so many paleoconservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals who suffer constantly at the hands of the Leftist Hive that commands the premises and direction of public discussion.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Evan McLaren said...

I forgot to mention that Bush, with his own peculiar mixture of populism and Chistrian Evangelicalism, is totally imbued with the assumptions I've just mentioned: that American-led democracy is itself justice, and that it must be spread in order to chase out the reactionary elements. He brings to the table his own cartoonish addition: that he is the means through which God, at least for now, will direct this process.

Excluding perhaps Bush's personal psychology, these ideas belong to the Left, embarrassing as that may be.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Evan, you make some interesting points. But I have to say that most of the "true Leftists" I know in America, at least among the YDS/DSA Socialist left, oppose almost ALL foreign interventions our government has undertaken.

I know I do, as do most of my other comrades. If these interventions were undertaken out of sincere humanitarian concern, that would be one thing. But they are nearly always motivated by capital and imperialism. And even when they aren't (see Kosovo), they often cause a great deal of collateral damage, wreak havoc on our alliances, and ultimately do not accomplish the goals they set out with.

I'll explore the other points later, as I'm taking the GRE's in 12 hours!

1:15 AM  

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