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Friday, July 01, 2005

Liberal political agenda on Iraq: we must lose as part of the broader progressive struggle

The only interesting similarity between the situation in Iraq and the Vietnam War is the determination of many liberal Western media outlets to portray the Republican-controlled US and its allies in a negative light, while the terrorists/suicide bombers who mass-murder civilians and Iraqi Government soldiers are described using the neutral or positive term 'insurgents'. The willful use of a neutral word to describe politically-motivated mass murderers can only be characterised as propaganda, presumedly aimed at a political agenda such as the defeat of the United States and the present (capitalist) Iraqi Government.

The Vietnam War was never lost at a regional military level, though I think many Americans questioned any real strategic benefit of continuing the war. Instead the North Vietnamese Communists were operating on a theory the American public would lose faith in the possible success of the war and agitate for the extraction of their troops. Such a non-military victory was dependent on progressives in the US media and political establishment spreading pro-Communist and anti-US propaganda. The intent of such propaganda was to present the military situation of the United States in Viet Nam as hopeless, to suggest the character of American soldiers (and thus male Americans in general because of conscription) was becoming inhumane, and to suggest the South Vietnamese people desired Communist rule. The logical result after years of effort was general opposition towards the war by American voters, and victory by default for the North Vietnamese Communists.

As time would show, the extraction of American troops from Viet Nam by Nixon and the subsequent election of Democratic Party candidate Carter marked the beginning of much more aggressive moves by the Soviet Union, the primary sponsor of the North Vietnamese Communists, and indeed aggressive international campaigns by other Marxist-Leninist ('progressive') countries such as Cuba and by Marxist-Leninist groups in Western Europe, South America, Africa, and elsewhere in Asia.

But, you ask, where's the proof North Vietnamese Communists were relying on progressives in the West to spread their propaganda?

Here's what General Vo Nguyen Giap, Commander in Chief of the Viet Nam People's Army, had to say before the Vietnam War:
If the Vietnamese people's war of liberation ended in a glorious victory, it was because we did not fight alone, but with the support of progressive peoples the world over, and more especially the peoples of the fraternal countries, with the Soviet Union in the lead. The victory of the Vietnamese people cannot be divorce from this support; it cannot be dissociated from the brilliant successes of the socialist countries and the movement of national liberation; neither can it be detached from the victories of the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War, nor from those of the Chinese people during the last years. It cannot be isolated from the sympathy and support of progressive peoples throughout the world, among them the French people under the leadership of their Communist Party, and the peoples of Asia and Africa.
(Original italics.)

While the book was published in 1974, Giap was actually referring to the French defeat in Indochina, as it was then called. Giap's thinking on that earlier conflict was translated into English in 1961, long before substantial US involvement in Viet Nam. [Progressives in this context refers to the extreme left].

Now lets be quite clear: I am not suggesting the present liberal Western media is literally in cahoots with terrorists in Iraq. However, the apparent defeat of the Bush Administration-supported campaign in Iraq would give progressives time to regroup, and perhaps regain power, in the 2006 and 2008 US elections. And the best way to create the impression of defeat in Iraq is to follow the propaganda strategy successfully used by progressives during the Vietnam War:
  • Ignore US/allied military successes, focus on US/allied military defeats
  • Highlight apparent corruption in the allied Iraqi Government, ignore corruption and cronyism in the opposition
  • Suggest the character of American soldiers is becoming perverted by the war
  • Suggest the Iraqi people are secretly supporting the terrorists, and thus US support for the Iraqi Government is pointless

The definitions of key words involved:
  • Insurgent: "Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government."
  • Terrorist/terrorism: "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Update: The definition of a terrorist should emphasize their attacks are made primarily on unarmed civilians and Government workers in an attempt to destablise the political environment.
  • Propaganda: "systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause."
Terrorists in Iraq come from broadly four backgrounds:
  • ex-Ba'athists trying to reinstitute the illegal and undemocratic Saddam regime
  • foreign Arabs trying to form a pan-Islam fundamentalist Muslim nation
  • Iraqi thieves and murderers trying to make some easy money
  • local Iraqi groups of various allegiances, using violent force for their own political gain
Only local Iraqi political groups can accurately be described as 'insurgents', yet the majority of TV- and Internet-friendly massacres in Iraq are committed by Ba'athist (ie members of the illegitimate former Government) or foreign Arab (ie not 'rising up') groups.

Hardcopy References
"People's War, People's Army" (Second Edition), General Vo Nguyen Giap, 1974, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Hanoi. pp. 39-40.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 7/01/2005 04:33:00 am


Blogger Ackers1 said...

Your entire anlaysis falls flat on its face in the 2nd to last paragraph or am I reading something you don't mean?

Are you suggesting that Baathist's can't be described as insurgents because they are not a 'local Iraqi political group'?

If they aren't that what precisely are they, martians?

7/01/2005 09:09:00 am  
Blogger noizy said...

Terrorist/terrorism: "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

Wouldn't that definition lead to the American Government being labelled as terrorists, considering their recent actions against Iraq & Afghanistan (to name but the most recent examples).

7/01/2005 09:55:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

The Ba'athists WERE the illegimate Government, they are not some rebel group trying to replace one.

James Guthrie:
You'd be hard pressed to call a democratically-elected Government removing an non-democratically elected Government by military force, then allowing said invaded country to elect a Government (actually two Governments, the one presently, and the one in the near future under the new Iraqi Constitution), a terrorist act.

That terrorism definition is a little light - it should have said 'terrorists are people whom attack unarmed citizens and legitimate Government workers for political gain' or something along those lines.

7/01/2005 10:05:00 am  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

That is exactly what they are - a rebel group. They are part, indeed the main part of the insurgency. Whatever legitimacy you wish to bestow or not bestow upon it until you recognise it for what it is you can analyse and pontificate all you want and you can be assured you will end up exactly where Bush has found himself. All the lofty rhetoric in the world won't change facts on the ground and attempting to disappear a group of people through semantics is ridiculous.

Robeert Scheer as always reads the situation far better than the Bush apologists.

"Elections are only one component of a thriving democracy. Unless restrained by a respected constitution and functioning balance of powers, democracy can be subverted by demagogic leaders. For the Bush White House, such complexity is irrelevant. Because the U.S. militarily controls Iraq, the flawed election there is seen as a triumph of democracy. Because Iran is an independent nation hostile to the U.S., its flawed election shows the country to be "out of step … with the currents of freedom and liberty that have been so apparent in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon," according to the State Department.

Ahmadinejad "is no friend of democracy," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld averred Sunday, probably correctly. Yet when he added, "He is a person who is very much supportive of the current ayatollahs, who are telling the people of that country how to live their lives," he may as well have been talking about Iraq's religious Shiite leaders, who not only beat the United States' handpicked leader in January's historic elections, but are already running much of southern Iraq as an Islamic state.

Thus, not only is Bush now allied in Iraq with the disciples of the anti-American Tehran tyranny, this foreign policy neophyte claims to be thrilled that the Iraqis have requested the indefinite commitment of U.S. troops to keep them in power by putting down a Sunni-led insurgency.

"I'm not giving up on the mission," Bush promised Jafari on Friday, just hours after more U.S. soldiers were killed and others wounded in a car bombing near Fallouja. Calling it "a mission" implies that our goals in Iraq are clear and finite. In fact, since the moment we easily took Baghdad from Hussein's ragtag loyalists, the situation has become murkier and more open-ended. Is our "mission" to provide security for Islamic fundamentalists hoping to turn Hussein's secular Iraq into Khomeini's theocratic Iran?

The tragic legacy of Bush's overthrow of the defanged secular dictator of Iraq, whom Rumsfeld once embraced as the U.S. ally holding back the Iranian revolution, is the triumph of that revolution in both Baghdad and Tehran.

At the very least, such obvious and looming contradictions in U.S. policy might compel debate in this country about the costs of what has been aptly termed our imperial hubris. So far, the Bush administration has managed to short-circuit that debate with a numbing cheerleader's rant about elections, as if they can always be co-opted."

7/01/2005 10:40:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Ackers, do not post garbage in our comments again. Post links, not copy-and-pastes.

Do you consider ex-Nazi's to be 'rebels' also?

7/01/2005 11:03:00 am  
Blogger noizy said...

That terrorism definition is a little light - it should have said 'terrorists are people whom attack unarmed citizens and legitimate Government workers for political gain' or something along those lines.

That, indeed, would make more sense.

7/01/2005 01:18:00 pm  

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