The Know Exactly What They’re Doing

Assumptions about the U.S. Strategy in Iraq

The leftist press is full of sarcastic mockery about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, pointing out that a fool could have seen this mess coming. Candidate Kerry speaks of ineptitude. He doesn’t suggest for a second getting the U.S. out of there, but instead talks like Nixon did during the ’68 campaign: if you elect me I’ll do this war right.

I believe that we are way beyond ineptitude here: what we are seeing I fear is the unfolding of a horrifically misguided but well thought-out strategy, which may well include something along the lines of ‘bombing them back into the stone-age,’ them being everything east of Israel. Read Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations (1993), a conservative manifesto which lays out the ideological basis for going after Islam and making sure that part of the world is silenced effectively and forever.

I have no doubt that another large-scale terrorist attack on the United States is all it will take to prime the American populace for a full-scale nuclear attack on Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq…take your pick. Call me crazy. I’m having many dark thoughts these days.

Do we seriously think that Bush did not understand the reaction the attack on Fallujah would provoke in Iraq and in the Arab world? That they don’t see very clearly that they are in effect inviting another attack in the United States? I think they’re betting on it myself, and as with 9-11, that at the very least they will allow it to happen.

In the context of a hostile occupation, what does it mean to attempt to ‘pacify’ a single small city? Come on. It doesn’t take a genius to be able to foresee that killing a bunch of innocent civilians is going to kick up a lot of testosterone, to put it bluntly. Muktadah Sadr is a young hothead: attempts by the Iraqi moderates to calm him down were preempted by American bluster and aggression. Now I guess it’s convenient to believe that Bremer is just a dummy. I think it is extremely dangerous to underestimate the enemy.

And yes indeed, these American corporate colonialists are enemies of their own people, and enemies of the democratic aspirations of people everywhere. They say that democracy is the answer to everybody’s problems, and proceed to thwart its development in Iraq and everywhere else. Iraq is not the only theater of operations. We are witnessing a truly global onslaught, and it is all of a piece, and it reflects a single policy. I think if I were talking this talk anywhere in the ‘developing’ world, few would find it far off the mark.

The spectacle of American soldiers, mostly kids, mostly poor, having limbs blown off or dying in droves to further the interests of a capitalist elite—on one hand it’s the same as it ever was I suppose. But there is something particularly monstrous about all of this, and maybe it’s because the biggest coup the world has ever seen is being pulled off right in front of our faces, and no one much is even kicking up a fuss. This is one of those ‘deer in the headlights’ moments: many seem paralyzed by the sheer audacity of it all. Some of us who lived through Vietnam are just shaking their heads in disbelief: this can’t be happening again.

Today the big headlines are about Donald Trump picking his apprentice. The only general populace with any ability whatsoever to turn this deadly tide are too busy voting for the next American Idol. Elites on the left are taking their potshots, but they are making some very dangerous assumptions, rising out of their own arrogance. They seem to believe this is all some abstract rhetorical exercise. They are busy saying ‘I told you so’ while the robbers are running off with the whole damn store.

I don’t know exactly what this is the time for except that it’s past the time for reasoned debate. This occupation in Iraq has to end. American soldiers have to be brought home. That’s just for starters. People in the West who understand what is at stake have to take time out of their busy liberal lives to educate their peers in whatever way they can. I may well be hopelessly unrealistic, but I don’t see any solution other than the radical practice of democracy by those still in a position to do so without getting shot dead in the street.

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