UPDATE: NOVEMBER 20, 2006. Will this madness never stop. Over the weekend the Pentagon has leaked information that there are three potential strategies under discussion in a "commission" they have created to assess the situation in Iraq independently of the of the ill-starred Iraq Study Group. The three potential strategies are, predictably, a heavy increase in troops levels to gain victory, immediate withdrawal and a gradual reduction of American troops and replacement by Iraqi forces. While the Pentagon (and Senator McCain) may have appetites for troops increases in order to obtain "victory" that seems out of the question now. Immediate withdrawal is also dismissed out of hand. After all that might lead to a full-blown civil war. Hello, what the hell is occurring now? Generals, what do you need-the Battle of Bull Run- before you recognize a state of civil war?
The most probable course is a slow drawdown as the Iraqi replacement forces become better trained. In short, this is the case for withdrawal when the situation in Iraq stabilizes itself. Over the last year I have had fun poking holes in that one when anyone advances the argument. My rejoinder has been that the grandchildren of the troops already over in Iraq will be joining 'granddad and grandma' in the fighting before that event occurs. All this "commission" news boils down to is one hard fact- the troops will not be coming home this Christmas or any Christmas soon. Read on.
THE TROOPS ARE NOT COMING HOME FOR THIS CHRISTMAS OR ANY CHRISTMAS SOON!
IRAQ LOOKS MORE AND MORE LIKE VIETNAM EVERY DAY-IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL UNITED STATES/ALLIED TROOPS!
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY
ORIGINALLY POSTED: SEPTEMBER 24, 2006
This writer for a long time has resisted the facile task route of comparing the situation in Iraq today to the Vietnam of some forty years ago. But it is getting harder and harder to do so. On the face of it the differences are obvious. In Vietnam revolutionary leftist forces were attempting to unify into one state that which by international diplomacy and previous bouts of international Stalinist treachery had been artificial split. Furthermore, the defining concept behind the revolutionary forces there was to resolve the agrarian question and the fight for what those forces conceived to be the road to socialism. Today in Iraq there are nationalist/sectarian forces which want to take revenge on the results of the European- derived Treaty of Versailles after World War I and divide this artificially created state-gun in hands. The fact that in Kurdish-controlled areas only the Kurdish flag can fly really says it all. Additionally, as far as this writer can tell, from the little known about murky underworld of radical Islamic politics there are no forces fighting for anything like a secular- democratic much less socialist solution to the problems there. Rather something like an Islamic Republic under repressive and anti-women Sharia law appears to be the favored political solution.
However, those differences between the domestic forces in Iraq and Vietnam aside the real way Iraq today looks like Vietnam is the similarities in the role of American imperialism on the ground. The latest news this week, the week of September 18, 2006, coming from the central military command is there will be no draw down of troops any time soon. LET ME REPEAT- THERE WILL NOT BE ANY DRAW DOWN ANY TIME SOON. All those who foolishly believed that draw down would occur and did not take the Bush Administration at its word when it declared empathically that troops would not be withdrawn as long as it drew breathe should ponder this. More on this below.
There are starting to be voices heard, dormant for a while, spearheaded by the editors of National Review and other neo-con sources that the lesson to be learned from Iraq is that to really win in Iraq the Americans must sent in more troops. How much such sentiments are worth from these previous supporters of a quick and cheap airpower strategy in Iraq is beside the point. What is noteworthy is that this premise is not an isolated sentiment even among alleged opponents of the war. And that, in a nutshell, is where the comparison to Vietnam comes into play. The hubris which led the United States into the quagmire of Iraq is still very much in play. The notion that in order rectify the original mistake of invasion more mistakes, such as increased troop levels, can solve the problem and bring victory where none is possible is the same mentality that led to all the escalations of the Vietnam era. Against all reason the Bushies of America and the world cannot believe that the situation is lost. Well, hell that is their problem. Militant leftists have other problems like organizing the opposition to worry over.
Additionally, President Bush himself is getting a little testy at the Prime Minister of Iraq. He cannot believe that at this late stage wholly owned American puppet government in Iraq hasn’t stepped up to its tasks of creating domestic tranquility. One should remember the names Diem and Thieu from Vietnamese history who got the same kinds of dressing-downs from previous American administrations. With that thought in mind let me ask this question. Is there anyone today on the planet outside the immediate Bush family that believes that the writ of the Iraqi government runs outside the Green Zone (and even that premise might be shaky)? These guys (and they are overwhelmingly men) never led anything, went into exile under Saddam rather than go underground and build a resistance movement and represent no one but themselves.
But, enough of that. The real question is what are we anti-war, anti-imperialist activists going to do about the situation. President Bush has been rightly accused of upping the security alerts during election time to highlight the security question that he has (successfully) used as a trump card to swing the electoral balance in his favor. The least well-known fact is that during the fall of election years, including this year, the leaderships of the reformist anti-war movements close down the nationally- centered demonstrations campaign which are the lynchpins of their politics. It is no secret that this is done to help so-called anti-war Democratic politicians or at least not be a source of embarrassment to their weak parliamentary opposition to the war. In a blog written this summer I wrote an open letter to the troops in Iraq. The thrust of the letter was that the conventional politicians, their own military leadership and the anti-war movement had left the troops in Iraq hanging in the wind. As we enter the fall electoral campaign this is truer than ever. I will repeat here what I stated there- if the troops are to withdraw from Iraq it will have to be on their own hook. Start forming the soldiers and sailors committees now. Militant leftists here must support those efforts. Unfortunately today there is no other way to end the war. FORWARD.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES OF COMMENTARY ON THE 2006-2008 ELECTION CYCLE UNDER THE HEADLINE- FORGET THE DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS, GREENS-BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!