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Friday, June 27, 2014

Will anti-war groups embrace US "hit & run" morality?

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday:
Over all, 42 percent said the United States had a responsibility to do something about the hostilities in Iraq, and 50 percent said it did not.
Anyone who is even casually familiar with the role of the United States in Iraq over the past several decades knows that its actions have played a major role in creating the problems Iraq is suffering from today. For more than a decade before the 2003 US War on Iraq, the US punished it with air strikes and sanctions that wrecked the economy and killed hundreds of thousands. That was followed by 8 years of war and occupation in which more than half a million people were killed, the country's infrastructure was destroyed, and the people were set against each other in the usual pattern of imperialist sectarian rule. The sectarian Shiite government against which the Sunni minority is now revolting was put in place by the United States. So to claim that the United States has no responsibility to do anything about the current state of affairs in Iraq, represents the same immoral denial of responsibility that has given Los Angeles a 48% hit and run accident rate.

This is not to say that the US has any business bombing anyone or that there is anything positive that the US can contribute through the use of military power, but that was not the question. The question was whether the US had a responsibility to do anything about the hostilities that the US has played a major role in instigating. To answer that in the negative is to take the selfish road of shirking responsibility for one's actions when they imperil innocent people.

This is the reason far too many Americans don't want to spend one thin dime, let alone risk an American life, trying to fix what we have broken or help innocent children that aren't their own. This attitude is the result of the backwardness and chauvinism of the people of an imperialist superpower. As followers of the imperialist mindset, they will oppose any intervention, even that which is truly humanitarian, unless there is something in it for them. Naturally the 50% that feel this way are opposed to military or any other action in Iraq or Syria and are for these reasons opposed to any US military action in Iraq or Syria.

This is a problem that can only be overcome with time and education. The more immediate problem is that rather than trying to teach these people why they should care about people that aren't even Americans, much of the anti-war movement is opportunistically welcoming their opposition to doing anything in Iraq and attempting to build so-called Left-Right unity on this basis.

During Obama's saber rattling after Assad's use of "a whole bunch of chemical weapons" 21 August 2013, there was a lot of talk in anti-war circles about building a right-left alliance in opposition to Obama's promised military response. Much of this unity was based on some of the most backwards and selfish instincts. This was articulated by Democratic Congressmember Alan Grayson of Florida, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, when he was on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, 6 September 2013. He listed four reasons Congress seems overwhelmingly opposed to this or any military intervention in the carnage in Syria:
According to the New York — The Washington Post whip count as of this morning, there are 19 members of Congress in favor of this resolution and 174 against. And the reasons are simple: It’s not our responsibility, it’s not going to do any good, it’s expensive, and it’s dangerous. And those arguments are winning the day among House members, both Democrat and Republican.
I think it is safe to say that these are also some of the reasons behind a much broader right-left alliance to pretty much act as if a hundred thousand people in Syria weren't being slaughtered by their own government on YouTube.

Now the conflagration in Syria has done what ignored fires tend to do, it spread. For anyone familiar with imperialism and the role of the US in it, and especially if they were aware of our country's role in putting the Assad's in power, the "it's not our responsibility" angle fails even when applied to Syria. It is an abomination when applied to Iraq.

War may not be the answer but neither is washing our hands of the situation.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

1 comment:

  1. You seem to oppose US bombing in Iraq and Syria, I assume that includes getting involved militarily. What do you suggest US should do to make amends for the mess it helped to create?