Wednesday, May 18, 2005

US Out Now or A Movement for Democracy?

There has been a minor debate within the anti-war camp of late. The barricade this time is drawn over the old debate over calls for total and immediate withdrawal, US Out Now, or a call for a democratic movement in Iraq that "we" can get behind. Usually one of my favorites, Naomi Klein, advocates the latter position and Michael Nuemann, sums up the critique and advocates the out now group in Counterpunch recently.

Sure we need to advocate an internationalist/feminist/environmentalist/socialist alternative to Yankee imperialism. The problem is, it doesn't exist in Iraq right now. The opposition at this time, from my vantage point, seems to be mad Sunni Jihadis, crazed ex-Bathist fascists and assorted nationalists. Their cause, a desire for the Yankees to go home, is just and right but let's not fool ourselves into believing the rule that will emerge from this hodgepodge is going to be nothing less than Saddam light if secularists win, unlikely, or medieval mullah rule if the Jihadi win . I think this is where Neumann is wrong when he says the outcome is none of our business. As internationalist it is our business who rules Iraq but in practical terms our pontificating is meaningless. He is right however when he says our, first world anti-imperialists/anti-war folk, job needs to be to influence our government to end the slaughter/occupation of Iraq and to figure out how to accomplish this as quickly as possible. Klein's world seems hopelessly naive in thinking that "the language of democracy" is somehow going to influence the people to oppose US imperialism. Last time around, Vietnam, the reason the US left was because they were militarily defeated. This time around we need to hammer this lesson home so that fewer Iraqis die. US Out Now! End the Occupation of Iraq Today!

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