Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hands Off Iran!


U.S. Out Of Iraq And Afghanistan Now! Hands Off Iran!

Correct me if I am wrong but I smell gunpowder in the air these days and it is not clear who is getting ready to ignite the fuse. No, I am not talking about any old wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hell, those efforts are old hat and, according to the putative Republican presidential candidate John McCain , at least in Iraq, will last about 100 years-so it is way too early to even worry about ending that little beauty. I assume by his lights we are to let our great- grandchildren end it. Moreover, President Bush is playing the eternal optimist on Iraq, a role that he has perfected to a tee in his disastrous presidency, by being authoritatively reported as saying that it would only take forty years to straighten out things there. His scenario would permit our grandchildren to conclude the war. Again, that is music for the future. Nothing to get nervous about now, right? What exercises me today though is that little recent buildup of talk pointing toward some off-the-wall adventure aimed at Iran either by American imperialism itself or, I believe, more probably by air strikes from the American surrogate in the area, Israel.

I have been harping on Iran, off and on, for a couple of years now ever since reading Seymour Hersh’s informative April 2006 article in the New Yorker (and later additions and updates to the core of that argument by Hersh and others). Nothing since that time has led me to believe that the White House, the American military or Israel has given up the dream of smashing Iran’s future capacities to develop nuclear weapons. Capacities, by the way, even some hostile conservative critics have recognized that Iran needs in order to defend itself in an increasingly hostile world, especially as it remains in the cross hairs of American imperialism.

Certainly it was not the little ‘diplomatic’ maneuver over the weekend of July 19th where a high ranking American diplomat actually sat in on the six nation talks, despite previous American disdain for such efforts, on the question of what the international response to Iran’s alleged nuclear buildup should be. And certainly it was not any rhetoric on the part of the cowboys who control the inner sanctum in Washington about trying to find non-lethal ways to curb Iran. The minute they start with that talk in Washington, hold onto your wallets- you are about to be fleeced.

The events of the past several weeks have brought my concerns into some focus. Israel’s air strikes against a target in Syria, the American drumbeat campaign to denigrate any finding that Iran is not within striking distance of being capable of making at least one nuclear bomb and, of course, the defiant, if comical, attempt of Iran to saber rattle with the testing of short-range missiles. Six months, for a Bush Administration that has nothing to lose, is a long time in politics, a long time to prepare and launch surgical attacks and a long time to create an American ‘public opinion’ committed to nipping Iran’s buildup in the bud. Every militant leftist in the world, while holding his or her nose at the political regime in Tehran, better prepare now to defend Iran’s right to have nuclear weapons in this crazy old world. That said, we better dust off those old posters- U.S. Hands Off Iran- And Keep Them Off!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama- One Step Forward, Three Steps Back


Break With The Republicans, Democrats, Greens and Ralph Nader- Build A Workers Party!

I have purposefully attempted to stay on the sidelines, way on the sidelines, of this misbegotten 2008 presidential campaign season after I realized early this spring that it was just a more technologically sophisticated version of previous garden variety efforts, like the Gore 2000 and Dean 2004 campaigns. Apparently I am not alone in this as a recent poll, taken after the hoopla raised by the media and the hard-core partisans of the party nominating processes was over, indicated that the bulk of the electorate felt the same way, generally. Nevertheless I do have to break my relative silence here to make a small comment on the benighted Obama campaign and what it has turned into.

Having had no illusions that Obama and his Democratic Party have anything to offer in terms of positively addressing the pressing political, social and economic issues of the day I have had nothing to cry about (although I remain appreciative of the wind that Obama himself has generated among the young which can only help radicals in the end). However, Obama's dramatic post-Hillary headlong spin toward the ‘center’ of American politics, has apparently left others feeling betrayed. Given his vote on enhanced governmental wiretapping-eavesdropping, his votes for the war budgets funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his call for stepped-up troop deployment to Afghanistan, his new stance on the timing of ending tax cuts for the rich topped off by his ‘benign neglect’ of part of his core constituency, blacks, that has even Jesse Jackson, Senior up in arms there is little wonder that there is a feeling of ‘betrayal’ in left Demo-land.

However, there has been no betrayal by Obama or the Democratic Party. Despite the chagrin of the young, who can be forgiven a little naiveté, the Democratic Party and bourgeois politics are not about serious change but about winning electoral combinations. I was tipped off that some of the idealistic elements in the Obama campaign were in uproar over his wiretapping vote. I therefore went, based on that tip, to his social networking site to see for myself the gnashing of teeth. Damn, it is all there. The sense of betrayal, the desire to get the money contributed to the campaign back, the disgust with bourgeois political maneuvering. Be still my heart.

What I did not see was any sense (as yet) that it is necessary to break out of the capitalist-inspired politics of the day and fight for a workers party (or for that matter, even an ‘independent’ party a la Ralph Nader). Well, that is our job. Earlier this year I mentioned, when I was in the heat of my bourgeois political observation period, that the swirl that Obama was producing was similar (although, I think, maybe on an even greater scale) to the effect on the young that of John F. Kennedy's campaign had in my youth. I mentioned that the earlier Kennedy swirl itself was not decisive but that in response to the press of events started then it later created the youth/socialist movement of the 1960’s. I posed the question in that commentary, jokingly, After Obama-us. I now think our turn may come sooner than I expected.