Jack Smith tackles what is probably the toughest question anti-war supporters face (snippet):
|....It is not up to the peace movement and the left in the United States to dictate the terms by which a subject people is allowed to manifest opposition to the violent invasion and occupation of their own country by our government. The Iraqi people, like all people throughout the world, are entitled to wage their struggle against foreign invaders by any means at their disposal. |
Given that the Iraqi people suffered a dozen years of killer sanctions and frequent bombings by U.S. and British warplanes, followed by a "shock-and-awe" invasion and a recklessly repressive and racist occupation that has deprived many of them of reasonable living conditions, their means are quite limited. Their entire society is under intense surveillance and there is no freedom for its people. They cannot fight a conventional war. They do not have an armed forces to defend their rights. The task of the army of the unemployed, who are being trained by the Pentagon to be members of the "Iraqi Army," is to suppress the struggle for national liberation on behalf of the invader. So they use the means and tactics at their command.
Does that mean one must therefore support some of the excesses of the resistance? No. It means we recognize that in any struggle of this nature excesses take place, although they are simply not comparable to the "excesses" involved in George Bush¹s attack on Iraq. If we are so concerned about excesses, the task is not to haughtily distance ourselves from the resistance but to intensify our campaign to remove the root cause of the resistance, which is the continuing occupation and domination of a sovereign country. At this stage, and I hope I¹m wrong, the U.S. has caused such a catastrophic disintegration of a complex and ancient society that it will take a long time with many hardships before things settle down, even if the U.S. is kicked out.²
Listen to what our conservative ally, former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, had to say about this several months ago when he argued it was in Washington¹s interest to withdraw: ³The battle for Iraq's sovereign future is a battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. As things stand, it appears that victory will go to the side most in tune with the reality of the Iraqi society of today: the leaders of the anti-U.S. resistance. . . . ³
If the U.S. continues its present course, he suggests, ³We will suffer a decade-long nightmare that will lead to the deaths of thousands more Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. We will witness the creation of a viable and dangerous anti-American movement in Iraq that will one day watch as American troops unilaterally withdraw from Iraq every bit as ignominiously as Israel did from Lebanon. The calculus is quite simple: the sooner we bring our forces home, the weaker this movement will be. And, of course, the obverse is true: the longer we stay, the stronger and more enduring this byproduct of Bush's elective war on Iraq will be. There is no elegant solution to our Iraqi debacle. It is no longer a question of winning but rather of mitigating defeat.²
Whether sectors of our movement support the right to resistance or not, the fact remains that this major setback for the Bush administration would not have come pass without the extraordinary uprising that developed in the aftermath of Rumsfeld¹s "10 day² war and 30-day restoration of order." When the first signs of a fightback occurred, Bush smirked, "Bring 'em on!" Well, as an antiwar activist who of course would prefer a resistance movement with a different political leadership, I'm just glad they exercised their right to resist, or to "come on", as Bush taunted.
Without that fightback by the Iraqi resistance, a triumphant Bush by now might be dancing a jig in Damascus or Teheran, or wherever else his neoconservative inclinations and tanks were prepared to lead him.
I am glad to see the Iraqi resistance is flourishing. I am also enraged (only at the Bush-war Administration) that our own military created the resistance. Every time an Iraqi civilian is murdered by one of our soldiers, and every time one of our soldiers dies because they are in Iraq, I can only get more furious at our oil-ravenous, money-greedy, morally and ethically vacuous neocon government. The fundagelicals don't need to preach to their moronic masses that all Iraqis must go to Hell; they've already created one for them here on Earth.
Withdraw from Iraq NOW.
[Note: this was reposted from 5/31/05 due to my desire to bring the comments I left into better view and hope others reply to this very important issue.]