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A GOOD ANALYSIS OF THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT IN AMERICA

What accounts for the demise of the US peace movement and even the embrace of war among some sectors of the protestors, particularly as the military pulverized and conquered Baghdad? The most important single factor was the turn from fear of a lethal "attack" by Iraq to the "security" of a US military conquest and occupation of Baghdad. In other words many US opponents of war were not motivated by moral principle or solidarity - they acted against the war because they feared that US society and soldiers might be adversely affected. Once it was clear that there was no chance for any significant retaliation within the US or Iraq ( Bush knew all along Iraq was effectively disarmed before invading), that the US military was in total control, they switched loyalties and joined in supporting the warlords.
 http://www.rebelion.org/petras/english/030424petras.htm

PETRAS ESSAYS IN ENGLISH

April 18, 2003


The evil genius of empire: Will Iraq arise again?
James Petras
Rebelión


Millions of US citizens protested before the war and when it was launched but as the US war machine proceeded to conquer Iraq, the movement declined, the number of protestors decreased to the thousands, and was mostly composed of committed activists. In its place, hundreds of thousands of US flags began to sprout from car antennae and housefronts. The polls indicated that close to three quarters of the population supported Bush's handling of the war.

It is clear that the rapid military conquest and US destruction of Iraq produced a wave of irrational chauvinist support for Bush and the war. The bitch goddess of success - even "successful" genocide - has a multitude of worshippers in the United States. This raises many painful and difficult questions about the nature of the US anti-war movement and popular sentiments. It is clear that those intellectuals who eulogized the pre-war opposition as a "new moral force" on an upward ascent were wrong. Many antiwar dissidents turned and supported the war once it started. An even greater multitude came out waving their flags after Iraq was defeated, Iraqi society destroyed and the Iraqi people humiliated. The war did not heighten opposition, as some progressive intellectuals hoped, military success decreased protest and increased chauvinist sentiments. Moreover as Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al allowed looters and organized gangs to pillage the entire society, there was virtually no popular outrage - only a few professional archeologists and curators bemoaned the losses to humanity.

What accounts for the demise of the US peace movement and even the embrace of war among some sectors of the protestors, particularly as the military pulverized and conquered Baghdad?

The most important single factor was the turn from fear of a lethal "attack" by Iraq to the "security" of a US military conquest and occupation of Baghdad. In other words many US opponents of war were not motivated by moral principle or solidarity - they acted against the war because they feared that US society and soldiers might be adversely affected. Once it was clear that there was no chance for any significant retaliation within the US or Iraq ( Bush knew all along Iraq was effectively disarmed before invading), that the US military was in total control, they switched loyalties and joined in supporting the warlords.

The mass media presented military successes and conquest as the result of the strategic genius of US military and civilian leaders. The media presented every surrender and every humiliation of the Iraqis as reducing the "threat" to US soldiers and civilians. The absence of any Iraqi attack with weapons of mass destruction and the images of the US occupation of the principal oil wells and regime palaces were featured in the media, and were well received, even in a jocular manner, by most US citizens. In the psyche of many US citizens the absence of danger unleashed an orgy of chauvinism and an embrace of the geniuses of evil. Pro-war ideologues and their supporters became more aggressive in promoting new wars. The doubters and critics became defensive and some became demoralized by the sight of mass pillage, the killing of Iraqis protesting US occupation and the deranged chauvinist behavior of their neighbors and workmates, none of whom demonstrated the minimum concern for the conversion of Iraq into a smoldering wasteland. If there was the minimum concern among the mass of US citizens they would have noticed that the images of "masses" of Iraqis supposedly "welcoming" the US "liberators" was in the hundreds in a city of 5 million. That the pulling down of a Saddam statue was preceded by the raising of the US flag and that US soldiers were among the handful of Iraqis pulling down the statue. In Mosul, Baghdad, Najaf, Nasariyz and several other cities, thousands of courageous Iraqis braved US guns, tanks and helicopters, to demand their freedom from the US and their appointed exile stooges as well as Saddam Hussein. But US citizens continued to exalt with pride over the "conquering heroes" ( "our brave soldiers" ) - the assassins of peaceful protestors demanding freedom from their past tyrants and present military overlords. The bulk of the US public is not bothered that a US military general rules over 23 million Iraqis. Newspapers are positively elated to see General Franks celebrating the occupation as his new role as military ruler. Nearly eighty percent of US citizens believe the conquest, destruction and cultural rape of Iraq was a worthy war. They revere the generals and administration for carrying out an 'honorable' war despite the fact that every official justification for the war has been demonstrated to be lies. No weapons of mass destruction were found; no links to Al Queda were found; no capture of Saddam Hussein took place; there was no attempt to protect the civilian population; there was no protection of hospitals. On the contrary, the US occupation forces allowed the hospitals to be attacked and stripped of medicine and equipment - while thousands of maimed and wounded children, women, elderly and soldiers howled in pain and the more fortunate died in pools of blood on hospital floors from treatable wounds.

Contrary to optimistic progressives, the great majority of US citizens are totally disinterested in the suffering of the Iraqis at the hand of the US backed vandals and looters. Only a few indignant curators have protested. In most cities and towns, citizens are preparing celebrations to "welcome home our brave men and women in arms", glad that the B-52 bombers, missiles and fragmentation bombs were able to end the war so quickly, so decisively, so successfully... at the cost of only 121 dead US soldiers. "Bring on Syria", "Bring on Iran". I can hear it now in the beer halls of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as in the well modulated but menacing voices of the leaders of major Jewish organizations, echoing the voice of their real President, Ariel Sharon.

This was not a "war" against a dictator, nor even a simply ugly massacre of the Iraqi people, it is the deliberate destruction of a civilization carried out by modern barbarians - modern barbarians combining high-tech weapons of mass destruction, directed at destroying homes, factories, offices, water treatment facilities, public utilities with primitive vandals and paramilitary forces destroying the heritage of 5000 years of civilization and 30 years of a modern secular Arab state. Vandals unleashed to incinerate the archives of a nation, its libraries and research institutes, to strip the most famous archeological museum of priceless antiquities and jewels of Islamic art, to destroy universities, school records, hospitals, documents detailing the most important aspects of modern Iraqi life as well as Iraqi national heritage. This is the systematic destruction of everything which allows a people to exist as a recognized nation.

There is no question that the pillage by the vandals was a deliberate policy of the US government. Washington was advised in advance of the war of the danger to the museums and precious historical archives. Yet Washington chose to meet in January with antiquities dealers to "liberalize" the rules of sale and export of looted art. Perlstein and other representatives of American art dealers demanded the US abolish Iraq's "retentionist" policy on art and antiquities. As the occupation took place and Iraqi citizens pleaded with US official and soldiers to protect the museums, offices, archives and hospitals, they were driven away. In cases where citizens defended their homes and businesses from the vandals, they were denounced to the Marines as supporters of Saddam Hussein and shot. The world's greatest war criminal Rumsfeld in his usual cynical and sinister jocular fashion absolved the vandals... "There is always looting after a war." He added, "There was nothing we could do... freedom means being free to do bad things."

The US armed forces,-200,000- occupied the major cities, protected the oil wells, took over the presidential palaces, patrolled the major streets in the city centers - helicopters, machine guns, tanks everywhere - and yet the most powerful army in the world could not stop hundreds of lightly armed criminals and arsonists right in front of their eyes?

One has to be utterly stupid to believe that this was merely an oversight. When there are riots and looting of supermarkets in the US, the National Reserves are given orders to "shoot to kill'... and they do, mostly Blacks and Hispanics, but not vandals, pillaging the heritage of humanity.

Pillage follows the logic of the US empire. First the sanctions, impoverishing the country and undermining the health of the new generation; then war to destroy the basic foundation of the economy and infrastructure; followed by pillage by paramilitary groups to obliterate the historical memory, the symbols and signs of a civilization; and finally the partition of the country among a collection of sheiks, mullahs, disreputable exile flunkeys, tribal tyrants and local gangsters - under the direction of a US generalisimo and US marines and protected by servile police and local officials willing to serve the foreign ruler. The US use of vandals and thugs follows the example of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the use of Maronite militias to pillage and murder Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila. The destruction of hospitals, schools, ministries of health and education, land ownership records and cultural centers resembles Jenin, Ramalla and Nablus - only on a national scale. The imperial barbarians use the local vandals to complete the "final solution" - the reduction of a proud historical nation into a series of fragmented primitive fiefdoms of servile and tyranical vassals.

The imperial barbarians drunk with power, elated by massive public support, egged on by Ariel Sharon and his Zionist proxies in the Bush Administration immediately prepare for new conquests in Syria and Iran, recycling the same formula used to invade and destroy Iraq. The drive for Imperial wars is no longer oil, it is Israeli regional interests. A former high level CIA analyst spelled it out very clearly on US National Public Radio... "After Iraq, the US policymakers are looking forward to regime change or modification in Syria and Iran which will ensure that Israel will be the unchallenged superpower in the region".

The "evil genius" of US empire has infected the country - from a scratch it has become gangrene. The belief that the US can wage wars of conquest successfully without losing soldiers - is now common currency among the mass of North Americans. The high tech barbarians of Empire are unleashed. To the dismayed critics who ask "why the destruction and pillage?" , Rumsfeld answers "Why not? We won - They lost." Rumsfeld, Sharon, the Generals and the Israeli surrogates in Washington have not definitively defeated the Iraqi people. Surrogate vassals, bogus "prime ministers", imperial appointed administrators are already suspect or openly rejected. US occupation forces are frightened of every "stranger" in the streets - for they are the first conquering army that never fought... (the bombs did it all). Face to face with tens of thousands of Iraqis who totally reject them, they panic, they shoot and they kill, but the civilian pressure is building. Their slogans - "Neither Saddam nor the US" may not be the complete program for democracy and development... but it is a start. The Iraqi people are rising from the ashes once again, it is the story of 5,000 years of civilization, conquest and national liberation.




Envia esta noticia
bully and cheat 08.May.2003 08:20

darla

As Aldous Huxley said of patriotism, "It fulfulls our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous." That is what I think when I see the flags flying from every post and antenna and hear the typical, "people died so that you could protest like that" from people who pass me in demonstrations. Yes, people did die for me so that I can still stand and protest. They died here on American soil. As a woman, who one day suddenly realized that women did not gain the right to vote until my mother was nearly voting age, I know that I was not given this flag and this right by soldiers. I was given the right to dissent by women before me who stood up and began to change the myth of "rockets red glare".

well 08.May.2003 08:45

Power grrl

Darla, I share many of your feelings. But, I must give due to the troops where it is needed. Without their sacrifice in WW2, we would indeed be speaking German, wearing knickers, and eating strudel. So their sacrifice along with those in the feminist movement have a great bearing on the freedoms we enjoy today.

u r right power grrl 08.May.2003 09:31

darla

I do not mean to take away from sacrifices anyone has made. I was reacting to the hyper jingoism I see everywhere and the smirks from those who see dissent and say, "What's the problem? We won?" My uncle died in a prison camp in Japan in WWII, and I would not argue with you about sacrifices made by him and by his mother who grieved until the day she died. What scares me is the ever wider gap between people which war always causes and the tendency for those with the louder voices to "take the day" and to holler down those of us who live to another dream and have other myths. As Barbara Kingsolver said, "I find it insufferable to bear silent witness to the flesh and bone devestation of war". Women do have a unique view of the freedoms given, because they were so long in coming to us. And they were not brought to us by war.

Support the Troops--When they Shoot their commanding Officers 08.May.2003 11:00

Native American

"Darla, I share many of your feelings. But, I must give due to the troops where it is needed. Without their sacrifice in WW2, we would indeed be speaking German, wearing knickers, and eating strudel. So their sacrifice along with those in the feminist movement have a great bearing on the freedoms we enjoy today."

Yes, and if the Native American, Hawaiian, and Mexican warriors had successfully resisted the American onslaught and current occupation of this continent, we would not all be speaking English, wearing blue jeans, driving SUVs, and eating Big Macs, and invading other countries around the world.

SUPPORT THE TROOPS--WHEN THEY SHOOT THEIR COMMANDING OFFICERS

 http://www.hawaii-nation.org/

 http://www.aztlan.net/index.html

To Native American 08.May.2003 14:45

Peace is the answer

To 'Native American'. I can feel your pain. However bloodshed can only lead to more bloodshed. Peace is the only way.

truths 08.May.2003 20:02

homedawg

True dat, brotha

American 'Peace' Represents is the Peace of the Grave 09.May.2003 00:15

Native American

"To 'Native American'. I can feel your pain. However bloodshed can only lead to more bloodshed. Peace is the only way. "

Your pious and santicmonious advice that "peace is the only way" is laughable. Americans--and White Americans--are the same moral standing as Nazis in lecturing about "peace." The Peace that America represents is an Oppressor's definition of peace, a Capitalist peace that is about defending and maintaining your Empire's way of life--a corrupt way of life which deserves to be ended by any means necessary.

Your two-faced and hypocritical rhetoric about peace is about as sincere as Bill Clinton's similiar whine that he "feels your pain." In both instances, American propaganda about peace fools nobody except the willfully ignorant and disingenous.

Interesting thought...... 09.May.2003 06:15

mind_prey

For those of you that believe that everything can be solve by peace.....

Many of us encounter "peace activists" who will try and convince us that we must refrain from retaliating against the ones who terrorized us all on September 11, 2001, and those who support terror.

These activists may be alone or in a gathering...most of us don't know how to react to them. When you come upon one of these people, or one of their rallies, here are the proper rules of etiquette:

1. Listen politely while this person explains their views. Strike up a conversation if necessary and look very interested in their ideas. They will tell you how revenge is immoral, and that by attacking the people who did this to us, we will only bring on more violence. They will probably use many arguments, ranging from political to religious to humanitarian.

2. In the middle of their remarks, without any warning, punch them in the nose.

3. When the person gets up off of the ground, they will be very angry and they may try to hit you, so be careful.

4. Very quickly and calmly remind the person that violence only brings about more violence and remind them of their stand on this matter. Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution. Tell them they must lead by example if they really believe what they are saying.

5. Most of them will think for a moment and then agree that you are correct.

6. As soon as they do that, hit them again. Only this time hit them much harder. Square in the nose.

7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the desired results are obtained and the IDIOT realizes how stupid of an argument he/she is making.

8. There is no difference in an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim or a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people. It is unacceptable and must be dealt with. Perhaps at a high cost.

We owe our military a huge debt for what they are doing for us. We must support them and our leaders at times like these. We have no choice. We either strike back, VERY HARD, or we will keep getting hit in the nose.

Lesson over. Now please take the time to forward this to any person you feel is not a complete IDIOT. I specially urge you guys to forward this to any military personnel so that they all know we appreciate everything they're doing for our country.

GOD BLESS AMERICA

In reality..... 09.May.2003 15:36

we hold these truths....

To use your analogy mind_prey, you punch someone in the nose and the situation is investigated, you go to court, sentenced, and put in jail.

That is what should of happened after 9/11, not forceful vengence.

If you fight back after being hit both parties go to jail. Get wise and grow up.

Mind-prey, that was brilliant 10.May.2003 09:55

HG

Mind_prey, thanks for sharing that. It was spot-on correct. Too many leftists would just love to have us lower our defenses so we could be attacked again. A good defense is necessary. Thank you.