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Topic: The US Loses: Good

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2000
    Ojai, California

    The US Loses: Good

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    A Defeat For an Empire
    by Robert Jensen

    The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that's a good thing.

    I don't mean that the loss of American and Iraqi lives is to be celebrated. The death and destruction are numbingly tragic, and the suffering in Iraq is hard for most of us in the United States to comprehend.

    The tragedy is compounded because these deaths haven't protected Americans or brought freedom to Iraqis. They have come in the quest to extend the American empire in this "new American century."

    So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat for a simple reason: It isn't the defeat of the United States -- its people or their ideals -- but of that empire. And it's essential that the American empire be defeated and dismantled.

    The fact that the Bush administration says we are fighting for freedom and democracy (having long ago abandoned fictions about weapons of mass destruction and terrorist ties) does not make it so.

    We must look at the reality, no matter how painful. The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein's despised regime, but that does not prove our benevolent intentions or guarantee that the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.

    In Iraq, the Bush administration invaded not to liberate but to extend and deepen U.S. domination. When Bush said, "We have no territorial ambitions; we don't seek an empire," on Nov. 11, 2002, he told a half-truth.

    The United States doesn't want to absorb Iraq or take direct possession of its oil. That's not the way of empire today; it's about control over the flow of oil and oil profits, not ownership.

    In a world that runs on oil, the nation that controls the flow of oil has great strategic power. U.S. policy-makers want leverage over the economies of competitors -- Western Europe, Japan and China -- that are more dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

    The Bush administration has invested money and lives in making Iraq a platform from which the United States can project power.

    That requires not the liberation of Iraq but its subordination. But most Iraqis don't want to be subordinated, which is why the United States in some sense lost the war on the day it invaded. One lesson of contemporary history is that occupying armies generate resistance that, inevitably, prevails over imperial power.

    When we admit defeat and pull out -- not if, but when -- the fate of Iraqis will depend in part on whether the United States makes good on legal and moral obligations to pay reparations and allows international institutions to aid in creating a truly sovereign Iraq.

    We shouldn't expect politicians to do either without pressure. An anti-empire movement -- the joining of anti-war forces with the movement to reject corporate globalization -- must create that pressure.

    We should all carry a profound sense of sadness at where decisions made by U.S. policy-makers -- not just the gang in power today but a string of Republican and Democratic administrations -- have left us and the Iraqis. But that sadness should not keep us from pursuing the most courageous act of citizenship in the United States today: pledging to dismantle the American empire.

    The planet's resources do not belong to the United States. The century is not America's. We own neither the world nor time. And if we don't give up the quest -- if we don't find our place in the world instead of on top of the world -- there is little hope for a safe, sane and sustainable future.

    Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of "Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity." He can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

    © 2004 The Star-Telegram

  2. #2

    Re: The US Loses: Good

    Some one asked Chomsky about the outcome in Iraq and here is his response

    Quote Originally Posted by Chomsky
    You're right that I don't think the comparison to
    Vietnam is very illuminating. One of many reasons is
    that the US could (and did in my opinion) attain its
    major war aims in Vietnam without setting up a client
    state and maintaining military bases. In Iraq, that
    would mean abandoning what are, pretty clearly, its war

    Will the effort succeed? I certainly have no basis for
    predicting, if only because I've been wrong about this
    all along. My guess was that the "war" would take a
    few days. To my surprise, it lasted much longer, so
    much so that in the first few weeks the mainstream
    press was reporting serious setbacks. After that
    rather surprising failure, I expected that this would
    be perhaps the easiest military occupation in history,
    and with even a minimum amount of sanity on the part of
    the civilian planners, it probably would have been. To
    my great surprise, Rumsfeld-Cheney-Wolfowitz and the
    rest have created a huge catastrophe -- one of the
    worst in military history, so highly knowledgeable
    correspondents have pointed out (for one, Patrick
    Cockburn, who knows the region and its history well).
    The s had an easier time setting up client
    governments and domestic security forces in occupied
    Europe, the Russians surely did in their satellites.
    In fact, it is hard to think of a counterpart,
    particularly when the circumstances were so favorable:
    a country that had been driven to total ruin, virtually
    no external support for resistance and no counter
    whatsoever to the occupying army that was, furthermore,
    by far the most powerful military force in history and
    with huge resources at its command, etc. It took real
    genius to fail. A few months after the invasion I
    happened to run into a high official of one of the
    leading international aid and relief agencies, with
    extensive experience in some of the most awful places
    in the world in the past several decades. He had just
    returned briefly from efforts in Baghdad to
    reconstitute medical facilities. I asked him why he
    thought it had become such a catastrophe, and his
    answer was that he had never seen such a combination of
    "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence" -- not
    referring to the military but to the civilians in
    command in Washington. A year later, that looks even
    more true. Where it will go from here, it's very hard
    to say. It seems to me hard to believe that with its
    utterly overwhelming resources of violence and no real
    counterforce, and its huge financial resources and
    ability to coerce allies into contributing, the Bush
    administration will nevertheless fail to achieve the
    minimal results that imperial powers quite typically do
    achieve without too much difficulty: a dependent client
    state that apologists will be able to call a "sovereign
    democracy." But I suppose one should not underestimate
    their arrogance, ignorance and incompetence.

    But quite apart from the great difficulty of prediction
    in such matters, my own record in this case has been
    pretty poor, so I don't say anything with confidence

  3. #3

    Re: The US Loses: Good

    Chomsky: he shouldn't run himself down. While I don't agree with his philosophy, here he's dead on.


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