how the sanctions were the equivalent of "genocide"
committed by the Evil American Imperialists against the Oppressed
Peoples of Iraq? Well, that was then, according
to Rahul Mahajan, writing on AlterNet, and reprinted in
Dreams, but this is now, and I quote:
five years spent working to end the sanctions on Iraq, I find
myself in an odd position. I'm opposed to the current U.S.
plans to end the sanctions."
what? So "genocide"
is no longer genocide? Apparently so. As Rahul puts it: "The
new situation is fascinating."
uh, yes, it is, in the same way that a car wreck or
a heart attack is fascinating: if only to observe how ugly
reality can get. And how knee-jerk anti-Americanism, and not
concern for the Iraqi people, motivates a certain section
of the anti-war movement in this country and abroad.
but "actually, it's not so confusing," Rahul reassures
us. You see, the evil U.S. refuses to set up a puppet government
in Iraq "under neutral UN auspices rather than under
those of an occupying power with clear plans for increased
regional domination." Instead of making Kofi Annan and
the UN bureaucracy the absolute dictators of Iraq, the U.S.
is going to rule directly, set up permanent military bases,
and use this as a platform from which to launch attacks on
Iran and Syria.
Rahul is right that Syria
is definitely in the Bushies' sights, Iran is a different
story altogether. The Iranians were cheering on the U.S. invasion,
albeit not too loudly, which eliminated their deadliest enemy
and chief regional competitor. Now we
learn that they were all the while negotiating with the
Americans in order to come to some kind of mutual
understanding. Power politics, it seems, is a bit more
complex than the "America, bad, everybody else, good"
doctrine of the Third World Left.
really telling example of U.S. perfidy, however, is Rahul's
trope about how those dastardly Americans are also plotting
"to force the Palestinians to acquiesce to the Israeli
occupation through the latest 'peace plan.'" Give me
a break, willya? The Bushies are going out on a political
limb with this "road-map" business, which the Israelis
are hopping mad about: "Force the Palestinians
to acquiesce"? That has got to be a typo! He must
mean force the Israelis to acquiesce.
Or else why has their
American amen corner gone ballistic
at the mere prospect that the "road map" may lead
to the creation of a universally-recognized Palestinian state?
whole thing, avers Rahul, is a plot by the U.S. to "privatize,
at least in part," Iraq's oil wealth, and "pay off
American corporations" while planning the conquest of
the Middle East. Military force can accomplish these goals,
is the contention, but
problems are the kind that can't be solved by bombs. Existing
UN resolutions require Security Council approval for Iraqi
oil sales and for disbursement of oil money to pay for other
goods. Other countries may be leery of buying Iraqi oil without
some clear understanding that what they're doing is legal,
so the United States cannot simply declare those resolutions
void by fiat, the way it declared war on Iraq."
this boils down to is: who gets all that Iraqi oil? Rahul
wants the UN to get it, and the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Dennis
Miller cabal wants to reward "corporations like Bechtel
that are closely tied to current and past administration figures
in closed bidding processes with no foreign corporations allowed."
The war, it turns out, was mostly a scheme so that" the
United States will be able to use Iraq's money to pay off
mostly American corporations." And that's not fair! Why
not let some of the other nations who, after all,
just stood around and watched as the U.S. beat up the schoolyard
weakling in on picking the victim's pockets? Why, those
greedy American imperialists!
world do these lefties live in? Rahul complains that
"the draft resolution being currently circulated would
give the United States very open, explicit control over Iraq's
oil industry and the money derived therefrom." This is
uttered in a tone of outraged disbelief, but why don't "anti-imperialists"
of the Left take their own rhetoric seriously? The U.S. imperialists
are acting on the "principle" of might makes right,
doctrine well-known to their Soviet predecessors and
to Marx, one might add. Yet poor naïve little Rahul
is shocked shocked! Well, isn't that tough. The question
is, now what? Rahul's answer, incredibly enough, is
whole campaign to lift the sanctions is a ploy by the U.S.
to escape the alleged "legal obligation it shares with
the United Kingdom." What obligation what law?
"Since they committed an illegal, aggressive war (with
no Security Council authorization) against Iraq," Rahul
writes, "they are financially responsible for the reconstruction.
Iraq should not have to pay for its own reconstruction, especially
since for years to come its oil revenues will be barely enough
to meet the basic needs of its people."
we are told that the evil U.S. is intent on building "permanent
bases," and then we are lectured that the Americans have
an "obligation" to rebuild an entire nation yet
how, exactly, will that be done without setting up permanent
American bases? Indeed, how will it be done without Americanizing
Iraq? The American conquerors of Iraq are supposed to pay
for everything, and control nothing a proposal that could
exist only in the
Bizarro World parallel universe inhabited by all too many
leftists, where reality is inverted and he who pays the piper
doesn't call the tune.
are apparently no limits to the illogic induced by anti-Americanism,
a delusionary doctrine in which Washington is and must
be the root of all evil.
trips up the phony anti-imperialism of the pro-UN left in
this instance is that the U.S. invokes international law
embodied in UN resolutions as a rationale for the war with
at least as much justification as the UN fetishists of Rahul's
sort invoke it to prove the war's illegality. The UN Security
Council approved Gulf War I, and imposed the sanctions, to
begin with. Indeed, it was an American President, the present
Emperor's father, who declared that the first attack on Iraq
was the herald of a "New World Order" and
made a point of his internationalist piety by going to the
UN Security Council before putting the question to the U.S.
United Nations is itself an agent of foreign domination over
subject peoples; look at Bosnia and Kosovo, where the
ethnic cleansing of Serbs and the eradication
of all political rights was ratified by UN overlords.
The big debate in the West is not between the proponents of
an American Raj
and the defenders of national sovereignty, but over which
band of bureaucrats (or gang of profiteers) will have control
of the loot. On the grounds that anything is better
than the Americans, the amateur anti-imperialists of the Left
side with the UN but there is an alternative. Unfortunately,
their ideological blinders prevent many on the Left from seeing
sheer absurdity of the left-turnabout on sanctions underscores
the inherently nonsensical internationalism that is the emotional
and political core of left-consciousness. Workers of the world,
unite: militant idealists who find such slogans attractive
are likely to find irresistible a crusade to "make the
world safe for democracy." What is their chief concern?
Not America, not their home city, town, or state, but the
world! The evil of war requires a large canvas. Dangerous
idealists are nearly always global in their aspirations.
pathetic rationalizations uttered by our friend Rahul "the
way that the sanctions work is not the way they used to"
would be funny if the issue wasn't serious. Yeah, they sure
don't make draconian economic sanctions the way they
used to, if the Iraqi people really won't be harmed at all
by them, as we are assured. But then, was the anti-sanctions
movement dead wrong all along did tens of thousands not
die because of them? "In the long run," writes
the sanctions must be lifted because they impose a highly
inefficient foreign control of the Iraqi economy, causing
the collapse of local economic activity and requiring money
that should be spent internally to be spent on foreign corporations.
In the short run, there is no compelling reason to lift them
in the absence of a legitimate Iraqi government that has the
right to make choices about how Iraq's oil wealth is to be
used for the benefit of the Iraqi people."
the short run, f*** the Iraqi people just as long as we
get revenge on the U.S. by any means necessary. Who cares
if the Iraqi economy collapses, the bad guys profit, and ordinary
people suffer none of these are 'compelling' enough reasons
to stop pompous fools like myself from determining what is
best for the Iraqi people."
is the anti-interventionism of fools. And it is rooted in
anti-capitalism. Why are what Rahul describes as the "state
oil companies" run by Saddam Hussein and his mafia-like
family sacrosanct? Why shouldn't they be privatized?
And why not allow foreign ownership? I'm shocked shocked!
at Rahul's "xenophobia."
that was a bit too easy, I know. Plenty of left-oriented activists,
notably the widely-respected Voices in the Wilderness, oppose
this nutty pro-sanctions position. Let's file this under "It
just goes to show
" as in "It just goes to show
how crazy the Left can be if it takes some of its more untenable
principles too seriously" and move along.
one important point needs to be made. As the embodiment of
the one and only successful libertarian revolution in history,
the United States is by its very nature a potentially liberating
force in the world. The idea that no good could possibly
come of this war is obviously wrong. But it is not far off
the mark, either, and needs only to be amended: Nothing good
for the U.S. can come of this war. All the benefits,
such as they are, will be reaped in Iraq, by the Iraqis, while
we pay and pay, in human lives and treasure looted from the
private incomes of Americans. We spread liberty or some
deformed version of it abroad, and nurture tyranny at home:
that is the price of our rulers' internationalism, and we'll
be paying it for some time to come.
Please Support Antiwar.com
520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
or Contribute Via our Secure
Credit Card Donation Form
Your contributions are