October 8 2007
Most comparisons of Iraq and Vietnam regard how there are fewer U.$. casualties in Iraq than in the Vietnam War. Also obvious is that there is no draft yet; rather it seems U.$. forces are headed out. There was a draft for the Vietnam War.
As soon as the draft ended, so did the Euro-Amerikan revolutionary movement. Likewise, today, because there is no draft, there is no huge revolutionary movement in the united $tates arising from the Iraq War, just some whimpering anti-militarist sounds.
Another similarity is that now we hear about Bush and Cheney considering bombing Iran. At the end of the U.$. occupation of Vietnam, Nixon escalated attacks on Cambodia with the excuse that supplies were going through there to the insurgents.
Comparing Cambodia and Iran today, we can listen to Petraeus.(1) He tells us that Al Qaeda is the "wolf closest to the sled," but Iran may be the more serious long-term threat. This is something that the military people have only been telling the press the last few months: originally, the image the Bush administration tried to portray was the division of the Iraqi people after a quick campaign of "shock and awe." A picture of the Iraqis just killing each other over the placement of a comma in the Koran is supposed to break the back of the peace movement, and sap the will of the revolutionary vanguard.
In fact, in Iraq we see inklings of the joint dictatorship of the proletariat. When Uncle $am pursues Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda runs, as Mao advised. Another force moves into the neighborhood and then that organization starts attacking Uncle $am. Then sides switch and it will be Al Qaeda's turn to attack Uncle $am.
We see with the Blackwater mercernaries that they shoot without knowing who they shoot(2) in the name of defending U.$. diplomats who obviously are not as popular as Rumsfeld imagined they'd be. This is imperialism's problem in Iraq--can't tell friend from enemy, if Uncle $am has many friends to begin with.
The imperialists have acted as though their own determination and the supplies of the enemy from foreigners are the only two issues in the Iraq War. Bush thought he took care of the first problem by guaranteeing that the war would continue through his second term of office. The question of foreign aid is the stereotyped imperialist way of thinking about wars and why they do not come to conclusion the way the imperialists would like. In their simple worldview, they want the public to feel cheated as if Iranian aid were the reason years of U.$. war are not solving anything in Iraq.
The imperialists often call the Vietnam War a "mistake" from their perspective. If so, then Iraq is a blunder of even larger proportions, despite the lower U.$. casualties per year. The reason is that by their own imperialist reasoning, the imperialists have just extended Iran's influence through Iraq and Syria and made it possible to aid Hezbollah and Hamas even more than before. Even the U.$. lackey government in Iraq has to take a somewhat even-handed approach toward the united $tates and Iran. In contrast, Bush's friends on the Arab Peninsula have seen their influence decline.
So the run-up to armageddon for I$rael is here, because the U.$. Army was supposed to be the last backup that guaranteed I$rael's existence. Now Uncle $am is bogged down and the U.$. public does not want to be in Iraq anymore, as if Iraq were a giant-sized Palestine.
In the past, Saddam Hussein aided Palestinians financially. I$rael is worrying that the avenues for that sort of support from Iran have now increased.
Reality is also that if the United $tates does get into a war with Iran, it will be in addition to what is already going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. The prospects for global economic meltdown even in rich countries increase and prospects for revolution brighten. Nonetheless, we at MIM work to oppose the coming wars. We would like all "moderate" people among the oppressed and exploited to see our strenuous effort along these lines. I$rael's prime minister is now under fire from other settler politicians for saying he is going to make a determined effort for peace with the Palestinians, specifically by saying Abbas is not a terrorist.(3) So far no one sees anything concrete happening, but the show is as we would expect anyway, with the settlers unwilling to give anything up.
U.$. imperialism's choice in Iraq
What Cheney realized long ago is that he can leave Iraq, but Iran will rush in. To get any use from the Bush view of the world, the scaffolding Bush built, I$rael needs to make peace with Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians, now, before Iran rushes into Iraq. Blocking that, an indignant Cheney believes is Iran via its so-called proxies and aid in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
So the imperialists turn to making like they will buy out the West Bank and leave Hamas and the Gaza Strip out high and dry. For the imperialists, the only factors are geopolitical. In contrast, MIM sees the Hamas phenomenon as related to struggles connected to the land and economy as Stalin discussed in his analysis of nation. Hamas is an expression the land and economy of Palestine gave rise to. It cannot be quashed by geopolitical means. The "Jerusalem Post" as much as admitted the truth when it published results from polls showing Palestinian views of armed struggle and Iran do not vary much by age, gender or even religion.(4) So there is no way to really sweep the Palestinian national struggle under the rug. It just takes various cultural forms.
In contrast, it is possible to sweep labor aristocracy sentiments for the Palestinians under the rug a little more easily. "Opinion elites" in Europe shifted and then so did labor aristocracy voters. I$rael's Jerusalem Post reported in line with Sarkozy's election the following:
"Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference."(5)If one is not able to see that Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" line is behind this new-found labor aristocracy unity and if one does not already know who to blame for that in connection to the international communist movement, then one has not paid attention to what MIM has said in the last few years.
On the one hand, the European Union's shift toward Abbas and its attacks on Hamas are ideologically disgusting, but on the other hand, they demonstrate that the oppressed of the Mideast have threatened imperialism enough that the French and German labor aristocracies felt compelled to unite with U.$. imperialism, whatever their underlying competitive jealousies. It means that the strategic and tactical position of the oppressed has advanced so that we can see that of course the MIM line was correct all along, and the fakers show their faces only more clearly.
The way to quash the nationalist liberation movement in Palestine is to allow its economy to trade with the rest of the world. It's not that Big Mac comes with a slogan for capitalism on the wrapper. Rather the influence is from whom the people of Palestine relate to in what manner. The ease of trade and interaction with the rest of the world will only come from land and normalization of diplomatic relations. These things are not important in themselves but for the relations built on top of them. In the short run, I$rael cannot change the age structure and class gap with I$raelis. Whatever hopes I$rael has of bourgeoisifying the Palestinians surely rest on open borders--easy-going conditions for travel and trade.
The paradigm of geopolitical restraints needed for the Palestinians is incorrect. Isolating Palestinians from the rest of the world's economy is a formula for shrinking the Palestinians down to the land factor, because conquering I$rael is one way out of the problem. As usual, those seeking to undermine and isolate the Palestinians are the ones seeking further I$raeli wars, so there is an alliance of "hard-liners" geopolitically. When Hamas calls on Egypt and the Saudis not to attend the Maryland conference in November,(6) MIM both agrees and disagrees, because the I$raeli settler extremists are relieved. We mostly agree though, because as of yet, we see no sign that I$rael is serious, and a photo op for the enemies of Palestine would be wrong.
The imperialists debate this point by saying Hamas's spirituality will not hold out when I$rael cuts the electricity and water. The obvious retort is an acceleration of war. When we consider that Egypt is not completely favorable to Hamas either, the imperialists believe they have the Palestinian nation strangled and they cannot understand why it won't come to terms with I$rael.
Russians for their part vacillate in their treatment. For now, they side with the Western imperialists on Abbas and seeing him as "moderate," and a voice of "restraint." At the same time, the Russians have on and off relations with Iran.
Now at the moment, the u.$. imperialists are allowing various Sunni people back into the police and military forces of Iraq, including Al Qaeda in all likelihood. Other organizations are objecting. If Uncle $am leaves Iraq and there is no peace with I$rael, the Saudis will be the most left in the lurch. MIM would say that in the scheme of things, the Saudis are on a long-term path at odds with the united $tates. Bush and Cheney strive desperately to prevent that, but unless Romney comes to power, they probably only have another year to make things happen. When Uncle $am leaves Iraq, he will have angered many in the Mideast, but he will have made no one happy. This is another reason MIM urges haste on I$rael right now.
Thanks to the Mideast, we had 9/11. Thanks to 9/11 we had the "Patriot Act," warrantless surveillance, professors fired for their views on the Mideast, torture--all kinds of repression. We had repression before 9/11 too, but now it occupies the highest offices of the land with bigger budgets, so people are noticing more than with lower-level employees and the usual white nationalist vigilantes. This is I$rael's contribution to Western civilization. Perhaps the Irish have been bought off, but the national struggle proceeds usually by liberation, especially when there is such an age and class factor as with Palestine. Geopolitical methods only inflame Palestinian nationalism and give heart to those I$raelis with a petty settler attitude to politics.
"It is once again the Palestinians who are most willing to admire fanaticism: 55 percent of Palestinians expressed a favorable opinion of Iran, and 58 percent approve of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Moreover, as noted in another recent Pew survey: “Acceptance of extreme terrorist tactics in the Palestinian territories is remarkably uniform across major demographic groups, including roughly equal proportions of men (44%) and women (38%), Palestinians under the age of 30 (41%) and those 50 years old or older (47%), as well as among those who are the most committed to Islam (38%) and Palestinians who are less religious (45%).” The report also emphasized that while support for suicide attacks was declining across the Muslim world, “this is decidedly not the case in the Palestinian territories. Fully 70% of Palestinians believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be often or sometimes justified, a position starkly at odds with Muslims in other Middle Eastern, Asian, and African nations.” Similarly, Palestinians were much more inclined to express favorable views about Osama bin Laden than people elsewhere in the Middle East.http://blogcentral.jpost.com/index.php?cat_id=4&blog_id=57&blog_post_id=1569
"A recent poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, a respected Palestinian institute, also confirms that Palestinians are in no mood to compromise when it comes to the core issues that would have to be settled in a peace agreement: almost 70 percent of Palestinians insist on a literal interpretation of the “right of return”, meaning that Palestinian refugees and their descendants should have the right to settle in Israel; any exchange of land that would allow Israel to retain the major settlement blocs is rejected by more than 80 percent of Palestinians, and fully 94 percent of Palestinians oppose any form of Israeli control of the Temple Mount, even if it is only nominal in order to safeguard archeological artifacts from the Jewish Temple."