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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Comments

steve

Jay,
Thanks for clarifying Marc's fake issue re: my "demonizing" him with the Lieberman sentence.
I'd be interested to hear in what way you felt my analysis was 'extreme' and what you'd suggest as an alternative. Note to readers, Jay has made a critical comment about my analysis and I haven't cried "I'm a victim of demonization...". Nor have I distorted Jay's comments to score points.

Marc Cooper

LOL! U didn't demonize me, Mr. Philion. That's not what the demonization in the headline of my posting refers to. But if the shoe fits, please go ahead. Man, are u ever a whiner. Now, go away.

M. Simon

I think if we are tracing the actual effects of the history of the Nazis on the present day rather than just calling some one a Nazi (ie was Haj Amin, Mufti of Jerusalem a Nazi or at least working with the Nazis - yes) then Godwins law is not aplicable.

As to wether the Islamic Nazis are serious about their grievances and desires? Well I think the best way to tell is to study what they say and do.

To just say they are preposterous is not an argument. It didn't work against Hitler either.

Now as whether we are dealinng with the Clown Hitler or the Clown Bozo I have to ask you: did the Clown Hitler bomb buildings, torture, and kill? Did the Clown Bozo?

jim hitchcock

That's a bit of overspeak, M Simon. Of course the Islamofascists are serious about their grievances and desires. That doesn't mean we shoulod necessarily correlate the threat as on par with Hitler.

M. Simon

jim h,

Good. Now we are getting some where.

For most of his early victories Hitler had a fifth column whose job was to weaken the will of his enemies to resist. Are we dealing with the same sort of thing currently?

Now of course parallels are never exact. What kind of army do you raise if you do not have the means to raise effective divisions? A people's army.

So we have a somewhat different correlation of forces based on the same old ideology: X uber alles. X being the current fascism du jour.

So then the question becomes: how seriously should we take the Islamic Nazis? I would not rate them as a military power very well at all. As a moral power they are doing quite well as they have a number of sympathisers, fellow travelers, and just plain dupes in their enemies camp. The danger of course from them is not the occasional bomb or stolen aircraft strike. It is their desire to kill in huge numbers.

So we know the desire is there. How about the means? All we can say is: not yet.

So the question then becomes do we take their threats seriously and treat this as a war and attack without specific provocation? Or do we treat it as a policing matter and wait for a crime to be comitted?

My answer is treat it as a war. Our enemy does.

jim hitchcock

But...what kind of war? These maniacs are not considerate enough to come together in one big bunch so we can bomb them out of existence. In effect, they're playing our strengths against us.

I'm by no means suggesting we get out of Iraq. We've unlocked the door there...it would be criminal to quit and run.

But for now, we're just acting as a police force; we're responding as a police force, going after the body of the snake, rather than the head.

So, in essence, we'r in agreement; recognize the problem, and attack it. The question is whether we're going about in in the right way.

jim hitchcock

And to Tom, way way above, who maintains we could have won in Vietnam if we had only been willing to stay another 15 years or so, if only we had been willing to sacrifice another 50,000 or so: How exactly would we have payed for that, economically speaking? Putting it on America's credit card, as Bush is doing now?

steve

Actually it was James Devine and Jay Byrd who addressed your fake issue of "Steve says I'm Joe Lieberman" . You ought to address them, not me about that, since they're the ones who have exposed your disingenuous distortion of what I wrote.

James Devine

The whole brouhaha between Cooper and Philion should not distract us from the two major _substantive_ questions (of this discussion) concerning the U.S./U.K. occupation of Iraq. I hope that Mr. Cooper enlightens us with his answers to them:

1. What are the real goals of the U.S. and the U.K. _in actual practice_ in their occupation? We should get beyond the official hype and undefined abstractions ("freedom", "democracy", etc.) Is Philion right that one of the key U.S./U.K. goals has been to impose economic policies of free trade and privatizatin without any regard to Iraqi wishes?

2. If these are part of the the actual goals of the U.S./U.K. occupation, then what impact do they have on the ability of future Iraqi governments to guide the fate of their own economy? That is, do the U.S./U.K. policies dig a rut for the Iraqi government that substantially determines their polices ahead of time, making it extremely expensive to escape?

These issues are much more important than the bogus accusation that Philion used guilt-by-association tactics (or similar) in linking Cooper with Senator Lieberman.

Jame Devine

 steve

Well put James, and thanks for addressing yourself to the actual points made in my mrzine piece.

 steve

Well put James, and thanks for addressing yourself to the actual points made in my mrzine piece.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

M. Simon: "Help the citizens of Iran get rid of the fanatics now running their government."

Good luck with that.


"And - surprise - the Persians are quite well disposed towards the Jews. Something about Queen Esther I think. You can look it up."

I don't need to look it up. Although I think *you'd* be surprised to learn that most Persians have never heard of Queen Esther or Haman and couldn't care less. I'm sure if you live in the right area you've run into plenty of Persians who've told you exactly what you wanted to hear. By the way, indifference is not the same thing as "quite well disposed."

You seem to have an "odd" fixation with Hitler -- in fact, it might even be called an obsession. I wonder why that is?

Your account of history is very entertaining (I've read the JihadWatch book too, by the way). It might interest you to know that Hitler sought allies everywhere, and usually found them. The Nazis were indeed obsessed with the purity of the Nordic race, but didn't prevent them from forming alliances not just with Japan, but also with anti-British Indians (google "Netaji" or "Army of Indian Liberation" or "Subhas Chandra Bose"), Tibetans, South Americans, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tatars, Ukrainians... heck there were volunteer Waffen-SS divisions representing nearly every nationality and ethnicity in Europe.

And while anti-Semitism was a major part of nazi ideology they also had no hesitation in forming alliances with zionist jews. The reverse is also true:


From Tom Segev "The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust"

"Ironically the Revisionists also had fairly wide-ranging links with the Nazis. The Betar youth movement was active in Berlin and several other German cities. About half a year before the Nazis came to power, the movement's leadership distributed a memorandum to its members that was both commonsensical and cautious. The Nazis should be treated politely and with reserve, the memorandum instructed. Whenever Betar members were in public, they should remain quiet and refrain from vocal debates and critical comments. Under no circumstances should anyone say anything that could be interpreted as an insult to the German people, to its institutions, or to its prevailing ideology.

The Nazis allowed Betar to continue its activities -- meetings, conventions, summer camps hikes, sports, sailing, and agricultural training. Members were allowed to wear their uniforms, which included brown shirts, and they were allowed to publish mimeographed pamphlets, including Zionist articles in a nationalistic, para-Fascist tone, in the spirit of the times. The German Betar pamphlets focused on events in Palestine, and their exuberant nationalism targeted the British, the Arabs, and the Zionist left. The contained no references to the political situation in Germany. With this exception, they were similar to the nationalist German youth publications, including those published by the Nazis. Jabotinsky decried the influence Hitlerism was having on the members of Betar." (pp. 32)

In the second half of 1940, a few members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization) -- the anti-British terrorist group sponsored by the Revisionists and known by its acronym Etzel, and to the British simply as the Irgun -- made contact with representatives of Fascist Italy, offering to cooperate against the British. Soon the Etzel split, and the group headed by Avraham "Yair" Stern formed itself into the Lehi (from the initials of its Hebrew name, Lohamei Herut Yisrael -- Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), also known as the Stern Gang. A representative of this group met with a German foreign ministry official and offered to help Nazi Germany in its war against the British. The Germans understood that the group aimed to establish an independent state based on the totalitarian principles of the Fascist and Nazi regimes. Many years after he tried to forge this link with Nazis, a former Lehi leader explained what had guided his men at the time: 'Our obligation was to fight the enemy. We were justified in taking aid from the Nazi oppressor, who was in this case the enemy of our enemy -- the British.' " (p. 33)

"The question was what to do with those refugees who were neither Zionist nor fit to help build the new society in Palestine. 'Only God knows how the poor little land of Israel can take in this stream of people and emerge with a healthy social structure', Chaim Weizmann wrote. The German Immigrants Association complained that the Jewish Agency's representatives in Berlin were giving immigration certificates to invalids. ' The human material [direct quote and their words] coming from Germany is getting worse and worse', the association charged after almost a year of Nazi rule. 'They are not able and not willing to work, and they need social assistance.' A year later the association sent to Berlin a list of names of people who should not have been sent. Henrietta Szold, who headed the Jewish Agency's social-work division, also frequently protested about the sick and needy among the immigrants. From time to time Szold demanded that certain of such 'cases' be returned to Nazi Germany so that they would not be a burden on the yishuv." (p. 43)

"In 1937 the Joint Distribution Committee, an American organization that assisted needy Jews, negotiated with the German authorities for the release of 120 Jewish prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp. 'I am not so sure that from a political point of view it is desirable that all those released come to Palestine', a Jewish Agency official wrote to one of his colleagues. Most were not Zionists; and there may even have been Communists among them." (pp 43-44)


Further reading:

A review of Lenni Brenner's "51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis"
http://www.wrmea.com/archives/Sept_2004/0409086.html

The full text of Lenni Brenner's "Zionism in the Age of Dictators"
http://www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/index.htm

Abbas-Ali Abadani

P.S. - It might interest you to know that Netaji (Subhas Chandara Bose) is today revered in India -- esp. among Hindus -- whereas Gandhi is a controversial figure and is far from universally beloved, like he is in the West.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

And by the way, "M"

Mein Kampf, globally, is like the second or third best-selling book of all time.

So you've got quite a few countries yet that need "liberating." :)

Will Boyce

I wouldn't expect Marc Cooper to engage with Jim Devine's excellent points. He really is not interested in substantive contributions to the antiwar discourse. He is far more interested in lashing out at antiwar figures such as Naomi Klein et al. But to cover his ass, he offers pro forma statements that he is against the war himself. In the 1930s, they called people like Marc Cooper "anti-anti-fascists". Lillian Hellman wrote about them in "Scoundrel Time".

richard lo cicero

Re the Grand Mufti of Jeruselum. He didn't know Hitler but he did know the British. He knew they and the French had betrayed the Arabs at Versailles. He knew that the RAF dropped poison gas on the Kurds in Iraq in 1921. And he believe that the enemy of his enemy was his friend. Whether or not that would have been the case after the Nazis arrived is another question. The Ukrainians welcomed the Wehrmacht as liberaters in 1941. Then the SS Einsatzgruppen came in snd, well you know the rest.

Jim: "How exactly would we have payed for that, economically speaking? Putting it on America's credit card, as Bush is doing now?"
Exacto-mundo ... and less wasted welfare, less other pork; less Space program too? (I liked Apollo, but the cost...)

Reg, I have trouble getting through your attacks to your points; often their meat is unseen due to much barking (mad!).

In Slovakia there are questions about the EU constitution, and centralization of power in Brussels. I don't trust the IMF or World Bank or UN -- or even Bush.

But booting Saddam was mostly good. Any who claim it is or has been "a failure" need to answer two specific questions:
By what objective measure, like US lives lost, is the Liberation/Occupation to be judged? What are sample amounts of this measure that mean good, mediocre, and bad?

[For me, US lives lost: 2500 or less while Bush is president is great, 5000 mediocre 10 000 bad.] Marc, Reg; even Steve, your "Iraq is a failure" talk is intellectually vacuous unless it can be measured.


As to James' fine phrasing of steve's 2 main points:
1) The "real goals" are democracy, and reduction in the export of covert-state supported terrorism; free markets and privatization are the proven methods of wealth creation which Bush/Blair want to impose in the expectation that Iraqi voters, if allowed to choose, will prefer more wealth creation. But democracy allows the Iraqs to choose other means -- and wimpy law enforcement might well allow Islamic thugs to take over towns or parts of towns.

2) The new Iraq Constitution will determine how much current policy is set into a rut; if they agree how can it be shown they don't need to be there? The real issue is whether some alternative development path is better -- and where is the model? (China? India? Singapore? -- I like Singapore, but not quite all the whipping for spitting).

Tired Marxist/ collectivist is an old waste. China developing into a National Communist Fascism, and whether that is a good model or not (I don't like a lot of it) seems more relevant. Rampant new-democracy corruption, cronyism, and incompetence seem even bigger Iraqi problems.

Marc -- how about that Air America "borrowing" cash from a charity so the charity goes belly up?

rgathman

It is truly a joke to think that Nick Cohen or Hitchens or any of that lot looked deep into the heart of Iraq and supported a liberal, secularist version of what could be, hidden like a gem inside the invasion. No, they discredited the secularist vision by supporting first a thief, Chalabi, and then a terrorist, Allawi, as models for what Iraq could be. Perhaps there was little chance that Iraq was ever going to be something other than an Iranian style theocracy, but nobody more thoroughly discredited liberalism (not to speak of socialism) than the patsies the U.S. occupiers used as the "face" of subaltern cooperation. If the U.S. were ruled by a dictator that was overthrown by an invading force, that force would be well advised not to put up Kenneth Lay and Timothy McVeigh as the exemplars of democratic civil society.
Since it is pretty obvious, by now, that the U.S. is fighting for a government dedicated not to any fantasy of Nick Cohen's, but one in which the rulers debate not the advisability of theocracy, but the degree of it, one should have a certain sense of what the Cohens and Hitchens were functioning as. Their role was simply to mislead -- in a very deep sense. By making the debate about the war one about whether the left supports democracy and freedom or tyranny and Saddam, they pretty well disguised the fact that the actual occupiers were more interested in jacking up profits for disgusting American corporations, stealing money from the Iraqis (8 billion + unaccounted for), and installing pliable but unpopular puppets. The fantasy war Hitchens defends does not have any place in it for the reality of Iraq: for instance, the Badr militia kicking the mayor of Baghdad out of his office and putting in his place a Badr paramilitary group dedicated to all things Khomenei. It is a joke to say, after three years, that the 'decent left" did a single damn thing to change the course of the war. They had no leverage with the Bushies, and no ties with the Iraqis. They did find their function, though. Years ago, one of the Mafia capos financed a campaign to make it appear that using the word Mafia was denigrating to Italian Americans. Some journalists fell for this little con game. The pro-war left functioned in exactly the same way. They have no excuse. As for their left credentials, lets face it -- they live on those things. "Even a leftist like Hitchens supports the war." Though he has become indistinguishable from Novak in his politics, (although Novak actually was a bit more skeptical about the war), Hitchens gets to brandish that as a credential, and will, until it wears out -- I mean, Horowitz's conversion sustained him through how many years? But it is over now.

It is funny. As a publicity stunt, Hitchens once went around New York, drinking in public and smoking in pubs. Defying the vice laws. Good for him. He could have done the same thing in Basra in 2001. Couldn't now. The vice laws are enforced with beheadings.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

Just for the record, Novak wasn't "a bit more skeptical about the war". He was actually a *lot* more skeptical about the war, right from its planning stage on.

reg

Marc, Reg; even Steve, your "Iraq is a failure" talk is intellectually vacuous unless it can be measured.


Talk about intellectual vacuity...

By any measure that was put forward as a rationale for the war, Iraq was clearly, at best, a mistake - and one that should have been anticipated. If you are measuring for success in terms of American national security, the war in Iraq has been a miserable failure for several reasons that should be obvious - Afghanistan shunted aside, terrorism increased, alliances fractured. (The "Lebanon/Palestinian elections/Khadaffi disarmed" etc arguments don't pass the smell test, unless one is desperate for ass-cover.) As for the humanitarian question for Iraq, I never had any doubts once the war was a fait accompli that, from an Iraqi perspective it would be good. Increasingly I have doubts as to just how good, because of the monumental incompetence of the folks who "planned" the occupation - it's a case of Criminal Negligence, as CPA advisor and Condaleeza's friend Larry Diamond descrbes it. It's also so rife with ironies when one realizes that the Bushniks directly involved in this current "mission" were also actively involved in things like assisting Saddam in war crimes or turning aside when Saddam committed mass murders, even as we had troops massed on his borders. The "crimes of Saddam" justification would be shameful when put forth by folks who either ignored or assisted them - except some of these clowns are clearly incapable of shame. (Reaganaut Donald Rumsfeld, at the least, should have been banned from any future "public service" after the Gipper sent him to meet Saddam and arrange for U.S. military intel to assist the Baghdad beast in slaughtering Iranian conscripts with gas attacks.)

Your argument is basically sophomoric because you don't set out a goal to be measured against. If the goalposts change, measurement is irrelevant. As for the positive long-range impact on non-Sunni Iraqi ethnic factions - and of course the ultimate success of Iranian designs on a united Shiite Gulf - those are fine things, I suppose. For them. Anybody who lays claim to American blood and treasure for those ends is either 1) not an American, and therefore really shouldn't be part of that discussion, or 2) some combination of clueless and misguided.

reg

"I never had any doubts once the war was a fait accompli that, from an Iraqi perspective it would be good"

I want to amend that to "from the perspective of the Iraqi political and exile class who would support a violent overthrow of Saddam's regime if it could succeed at the cost of some tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, even if civil war and chaos were a clear and present danger in a post-Saddam re-shuffling of the political deck".

Average people - even those who hate tyrants - tend to be more risk averse and leary of cataclysmic disruption of even an unpalatable status quo than the professional oppositionists, sectarian religious militants and exiled politicos. Mostly because the commpn folk provide the bulk of the casualties when these others initiate their plots and plans intended to change history.

bunkerbuster

Two key points on "wanting the U.S. to lose" in Iraq.

1. "Losing" needs to be defined.
2. Who can believe that "winning" Iraq would not lead directly to similar misadventures in the region while at the same time sanctifying the kind of bald, official misrepresentations used to justify the war.

Do the war's supporters really think that a "victory" for Bush in Iraq would not lead to an even higher level of unilateralism, government secrecy and policy arrogance, privatization and mercenization of the U.S. military, perversion of the U.N., cowing of the U.S. press and everything else that has been used to promote and wage this war.

Far more than Iraq is at stake in this war and far more, even, than the battle against Islamofascist terror. The definition of the United States is at stake here.

A victory for American values in Iraq would be a withdrawal and repudiation and humiliation of all the lies, corruption, bullying and theft that created it!

bunkerbuster

It's worth remembering that the U.S.--driven by almost exactly the same parties, media cheerleaders, corporations and emotionalism--``won'' the war against the Russians in Afghanistan. Look what happened as a result of that!

Why would a similar "victory" in Iraq would have such different consequences?

Randy Paul

I want to amend that to "from the perspective of the Iraqi political and exile class who would support a violent overthrow of Saddam's regime if it could succeed at the cost of some tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, even if civil war and chaos were a clear and present danger in a post-Saddam re-shuffling of the political deck".

You know when I heard about Chalabi visiting Saddam after he was caught, I thought that perhaps Chalabi was doing so to find out a good Shawarma place since the last time Chalabi had been in Iraq prior to that year was when he was thirteen.

Marc Cooper

Oh yes, Im simply terrified to answer Prof. Jim Devine's questions. Haven't been so scared since I was picked up by the Argentine death squads.

That said, his questions are totally secondary. I dont claim to know in bumpersticker form what the long term intentions of the US/UK are. Why should I know if Bush doesn't? The invasion of Iraq was a consensus position among different factions in the U.S. government. Some would no doubt like to have used Irag for a springboard into Syria and Iran. Some would be content with permanent US bases in Iraq. Some wanted only domestic political gain in the wake of 911. Etc etc. What "they" want now is difficult to gauge. My guess is that "they" would most likely settle for anything that gets them up a leg up in the 2008 elections and gets them out of the current swamp.
Did the U.S. impose a neo-liberal economic model on Iraq? Well, certainly yes. To the degree that Iraq has any functioning economy (yet another White House miscalculation was that Iraqi oil would immediately start flowing like never before-- not!). But imposing a privatization model on Iraq is something very different than suggesting that was actually the motivation for war. That is simply preposterous as it makes no economic sense from "their" perspective.

Do I think the US/UK aim to build democracy in Iraq? Ah...um.. nope. Of course not. Even if it did, it seems a rather unlikely enterprise.

I dont really give a flying fuck at a rolling donut if anonymous poster Will Boyce thinks me some sort of quisling. But the more comments like that -- the more my point has been made. I dont agree with either Hitchens or Cohen in their support for the war. I do agree with them that someone ought to be concerned about the actual welfare of the Iraqi people. Their role on earth is broader than being pawns in a pro or anti Bush morality play.

A BY-PRODUCT of the American invasion has been, like it or not, the overthrow of a murderous regime under which there were, for example, no trade unions, no political debate, no civil society and absolutely no hope for a political future.
I repeat, this is a by-product not a primary goal of the Bushies.

So while I disagree with Hitchens/Cohen's support for the war, I just as much disagree with the anti-war left's professed "fuck you" attitude toward the Iraqi people. Perhaps Mr Devine and others will tell us which political forces he supports inside Iraq and how he thinks them best be supported and nurtured for the sake of the Iraqis' future.

My impression of most anti-war folks is that this is a question they prefer not to ask themselves. Instead they comfort themselves with a facile construct: "The US forces only further antagonize the situation. Withdraw them and things will get better." Really? Maybe yes. Probably no. But such an affirmation is as much faith-based as was the assertion by pro-war forces that this would all be a cakewalk.

My position in all of this is indeed very ambivalent. I fully opposed the war. I full distrusted and continue to distrust the Bush and Blair admins to conduct the war and the occupation. I am convinced the invasion has made the global situation worse not better. I am convinced the Bushies have gotten us all into the briar patch. I am convinced that in the short and maybe medium run, Iraqis are paying quite a high price for all this. I am also convinced that the long-term interests of the Iraqis (not Americans) have been improved by Saddam's demise. It would be great to find a way to wind down the US involvement, somehow internationalize the tutelage of Iraq, give some nurturance to whatever civil and political society exists there and not just simply hand the keys over to the carbombers, jihadists and regrouped Ba'athists who seem to thrive on blowing up their own people.

I wish I had the formula. I dont.

My prediction is that after Bush lays down enough cover, he will in fact withdraw the troops. Or most of them. Not for any reason however beyond crass domestic political calculation. When that happens, everyone I imagine will be happy, even as the most extreme elements in Iraq come to power. Most Americans really dont give a flip about what happens to others beyond our borders-- especially when it comes to Arabs. The anti-war folks, for the most part, are not distinguishing themselves much in this regard either. Out Now? Sure. Why not? Save some American lives. Let the Iraqis sort out their own mess.

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