America in Iraq: Dialectics of Occupation and Liberation

Saddam statue topples

Ed.note I republish this because of the recent theme of discussing dialectical perspectives and opinions of Iraqis just after the ‘occupation’. This not so new book, by Kurdish author Kamal Mirawdeli is nevertheless relevant today because of the examination of the ‘motives’ of the U.S. for undertaking to ‘liberate’ Iraq, and concludes despite the misgivings that we all understand, that the chance at ‘freedom’ was worth it. I think he uses the term ideology erroneously, but the insights such as of the Dinosaur left (pseudoleft) and nationalistic right achieving unity in their wrongness over this issue is a point correctly observed. Also, his observation that opponents of the task ‘merely play with words’ as opposed to having a care to bring about the best possible outcomes is largely correct imv.

America in Iraq: Dialectics of Occupation and Liberation

Kamal Mirawdeli

Book Review by keza 2005

From authorhouse (inexpensive electronic version available)

A collection of his articles spanning three years (May 2002 – November 2004). Many of these can be read at Kurdish Media by clicking here.

Here is a sample chapter (scroll below it to see the Table of Contents) :

US’s military forces should stay in Iraq

20 April 2003

Step by step, brick after brick, idea after idea, and institution after institution: the US should never leave Iraq until a new fully democratic modern society is well-established and the process of democratisation in the Middle East is well under way!!

It is too normal, vulgarly expected: Iraq’s neighbours, including Turkey, ask the US to leave Iraq. They are worried about Iraq’s independence. They want Iraqi people to choose their own rulers and govern themselves. Yes, only few weeks ago the same people did not want the US and Britain to intervene. They said the Iraqi people were happy with Saddam and if they wanted change they would change the regime themselves.

These people do not ever feel shame. They never learn. They never see and hear. They can never feel that the carpet under their feet has been pulled. The earth under their feet has shaken. The warm sun they are used to, does not shine on the same world.

They are worried about one thing and one thing only: Freedom. This word has been omitted from their pocket dictionary. It has been tabooed on their policy agenda. It could only appear from time to time in their nightmares. But it always existed in people’s dreams, hopes and aspirations. And these all came true. Thanks to the US.

No one in this age can be so ignorant or ideologically prejudiced as to claim that the US liberated Iraq as an act of charity to Iraqi peoples’. Of course the US has its own vital, yes imperial, interests in Iraq and the region. But what age in human history has been free of empires and empire-building? Why is Islam a religion in Indonesia, Morocco, Bosnia, and Malaysia as well as in Pakistan and Middle East? How did Christianity reach Europe and North and South America? Why is English a predominant international language? Why is globalisation an unstoppable historical process?

But it is wrong scientifically, logically and morally to measure the present with the yardsticks of the past, to let ideological prejudice corrupt pragmatic sense, to see the world with dark glasses and then claim that darkness covers the four corners of the world because the US is spreading its tyranny all over the world.

The prophets of doom and gloom, the messengers of distortion and deception, the forces of conservatism and old Europeanism, the dinosaurian Left and nationalistic Right, the selective hypocrites of peace causes – all those who, for one reason or another, are detached from reality, ignorant of the operation of history, incapable of understanding universal relativity of issues and inherent deficiency of ideas, filled the world with hue and cry: Don’t attack Iraq! Minimum 500,000 people will be killed. Two million children will die. Four million refugees will need to be supported. There will be a Third World War. There will be a repetition of Vietnam. There will be rage, wrath and revolution in Arab streets. Fundamental Islamism will sweep the Middle East and vengeful Islamist terrorism will visit every home in US and Britain. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

No one of this motley mix ever said some people in Iraq would be happy. Some tyrannical structures would be dismantled. Some hope would be regained to 25 million enslaved souls. Hope of freedom and democracy would afflict and affect the slavery system of the Middle East.

I was reading all this rubbish coming from famous Middle East experts, revitalised retired politicians, visionary Leftist imams, reactionary Islamic ideologues, Middle East rulers, think tank analysts- with pain, anger and often contempt. These people had learnt nothing from Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. They had refused to move to the 21st century: the age of technological liberation, the age of globalisation of information and universalization of the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and individualism. They wanted UN to be the saviour of fascists in the name of sovereignty and be an absurd undertaker for the denied funerals of millions of the victims of genocide in the name of international law. They were to coin a word: ideo-fascists.

At this moment when I am writing this, I see and hear on my TV screen a paradox. A group of Iraqis in Baghdad are demonstrating against America. Some people from the same group ask the Americans for jobs! The BBC commentator finds this a strange contradiction.

It is not. It is only superficially contradictory. Ordinary people are NOT demonstrating against the US. If they do it is because they do not have jobs and opportunities now. If the US can create an Iraq in which there will be jobs, opportunities for self development and freedom, then there will be no demonstrations by ordinary people.

But still, like the die-hard Leftists of Europe who are still operated by the 19th century Marx’s Manifesto of the Communist Party, there will be people who will be ideologically exploited and operated by interest groups inside and outside Iraq, who will be demonstrating against the Americans because of ideological indoctrination not moral conviction. This act of protest will be facilitated by the very prospect of emerging democracy but also will eventually be neutralized and marginalized by the process and practice of democracy. Once people know that ideologies like Ba’ath or its factional fictional religious alternatives have nothing to offer but death and destruction, in the name of independence and martyrdom, then people will be able to choose rationally and determine their lives as individuals freed from all shackles of totalitarianism, dogma and demagogy.

I also heard and read a lot about the phenomenon of looting in post-Saddam Iraq?

Some people asked: why do Iraqis destroy their own country?

Sorry, mate! Wrong question. Faulty language.

If the questions are wrong, what hope are there for correct answers?

Iraqis do not destroy their country. This has never been their country, their government, their institutions, their wealth, their resources and their opportunities.


Everything belongs to the sole leader and his clique. The rest are dispossessed underclass: deprived, degraded, dehumanised, exploited, abused, and indoctrinated. They are the Leaders’ people. The party’s people. They do not own anything. They do not own themselves, either. They do not own their bodies, their dignity, and their freedom.

But like all other human beings in the world, the Iraqis have basic human needs. They also have hopes and dreams.

Iraqi girl U.S. flag

Their basic needs have necessarily been materialistic. They always knew, thanks to globalisation, that they lived in a materialistic world. The Iraqi people also wished to have good homes, food, fashion dresses, beautiful furniture, new cars, TVs and fridges. They also wanted to have good jobs, happy families, and well-educated children. Then they had dreams: to be a part of this globalised world. To have access to information. To have mobile phones, satellite TVs and computers. To have opportunity to learn languages, to travel and enter international labour market. Above all to be free individuals. To think freely and express themselves freely. But all these basic and higher human needs were denied and suppressed by the apparatuses of the despotic regime.

That is why there was this wide-spread looting spree: as expression of alienation from what supposed to be their country, heritage and culture. As a revenge from a system and a culture which enslaved them. And as expression of their long-suppressed desire to be part of the modern materialistic world. That is why taking a vase, a chair, a piece of wood, a window handle, a useless piece of metal, a double-deck bus, etc all had the same psychological and historical effect. It was a show to allow the Iraqis to see each other, feel each other, loot together to feel that what the end of slavery and dictatorship was not a dream. It was really the end of the nightmare, of tyranny, of despotism. This deep-rooted frustration for lack of material needs was important to find an outlet even if it took criminal proportions. Obviously there were also organised criminal gangs. But this will be a short-lived phenomenon. It will soon be over. Every thing wills settle down. Sorry again, the prophets of doom!

However, the satisfaction of the higher need of understanding freedom and how to achieve it democratically will come much later and need a long time. It should not be rushed. The US should stay put in Iraq until Iraq would really and practically join the front of free democratic nations. This can only be done if the US stays in Iraq and pursue its agenda of liberation and democratisation in the Middle East for the following reasons:

1. Reconstruction of Iraq and reconstruction of Iraqi peoples’ psyche and culture:

It needs a lot of time for Iraqi people to realize who they are, what world they live in, what have they gone through, what has happened to them and to what extent they can be themselves. Iraq throughout its history has known nothing but the culture of violence, despotism and killing. Saddam is only a duplication of Iraq’s various Hajajs. It is the whole culture which needs to change and the psyches of Iraqi individuals, which have been conditioned to fear democracy and freedom and worship oppressors and tyrants, need to be reconstructed. Without achieving this there will be no hope for democracy and real freedoms. And to achieve this Iraq needs decades not years.

2. Stability and conflict in Iraq and the region: Anti-freedom fascists lament destabilisation in Iraq and Middle East if the US stays. Do you remember Arab League’s claim that the gates of hell would open if the US attacked Iraq? But is there a grain of truth in this?

In fact without the presence of US’s forces, Iraq will degenerate into anarchy and civil war. Already Saudi-backed Wahabiis are attacking the Shi’a in Baghdad. Syrian-backed Saddam’s non-Iraqi Fedayeen are doing the same. Iran will definitely support Badr Shiite army. This will draw other countries into the conflict. These developments will cause destabilisation of Iraq and the region and not the presence of US forces. Perhaps some cynics say: But it is the presence of US in the first place which has created this chaotic situation. This situation, first, is not chaotic. It is a natural process of readjustment after thirty years of a fascist minority Sunni rule in Iraq and the brutal oppression and enslavement of the Shiite and other non-Baathi Iraqis. Second: Was the region safe with Saddam? Does any one imagine that there will be genocide of Kurds, eight years of Iraq-Iran war and the invasion of Kuwait with the presence of Americans? But why didn’t Arab League and Arab and Islamic states intervene to stop the carnage of eight years of the Iraq-Iran war? Why did all Arab states especially Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states pour billions of dollars to support Saddam’s racist Qadissiya war against Iran? Was this for the stabilisation of the region and the progress and prosperity of Iraqi people?

In fact what the tribal dictatorial regimes of the Middle East are afraid of is freedom and democracy. These words will sooner or later enter the daily usage of Arab street language and this will be more dangerous to the regimes than Saddam’s Scud missiles or American bombs.

3. The protection of Kurdish people: The Kurdish leaders took a great risk by allying themselves unequivocally and courageously with the US and putting their army under the American command. There was always the risk of Saddam’s retribution including the use of weapons of mass destruction. But it seems that there was a secret agreement between Turkey and Saddam by which Saddam’s regime left Kurdistan and the Kurds to Turkey to deal with. Information published by the Sunday Times (13 April 2003) from secret papers of Iraq’s general security in Baghdad indicate that Iraqi authorities were certain that Turkey would invade Kurdistan “as soon as the US attacks Iraq.” Also Iraqi information minister comic Sahhaf in reply to a question about the Kurds said, “We are not worried about the North. We have a special plan for the North.”. It seems that the special plan was a secret coordination with Turkey.

However, the Kurds now are in a very sensitive and serious position. They remain in a great danger as long as the dictatorial anti-Kurd regional governments stay in power. Pan-Arab nationalistic media are already conducting an ongoing campaign of racial hatred and aggressive disinformation against the Kurds. Iran has “sleeping” armed Islamic groups in Kurdistan which it can provoke, arm and use to destabilise and undermine Kurdish administration in Kurdistan. Without the US’s presence Turkey will find no difficulty in creating a crisis and find an excuse to attack liberated Kurdistan. Even within Iraq, Kurdish secular government will be greatly suspected, despised and even threatened even by Shiite groups calling for an Islamic state or at least a great role for religion in the running of the affairs of the state which, in the last analysis, means abolishing democracy, human rights, free thoughts and rights of women.

In fact the new situation and the role of Kurds in overthrowing dictatorship in Iraq has mapped out the reality and size of the Kurdish nation in the Middle East. Worried about the impact of Kurdish freedom in South Kurdistan on their colonised and enslaved Kurds, the states of Turkey, Syria and Iran will use any means at their disposal individually and collectively to undermine Kurdish freedom and roll back the wheel of history. But this is no longer the history of Kurdish people alone. It is also the history of the US’s project of liberation and democratisation in the Middle East. Will the US betray the Kurdish people and thus belie its own ideas and ideals? Will it leave alone the people who with great courage, commitment and dignity fight side by side with American soldiers for liberation of their land and democracy in the Middle East? The US should be true to its mission of liberation and democracy. Then it will find in the Kurdish nation, not only the six millions of South Kurdistan but also the whole 40 million Kurdish people in the Middle East as well as Kurds in Diaspora, the most reliable and courageous long-term allies and friends.

4. Protecting Iraqi democracy from regional intervention and influence:

Would it have been possible to liberate Germany alone from Nazism if the rest of Europe had been already Nazi states? Wouldn’t these states do everything in their power to undermine Germany’s freedom again? This is a hypothetical question for the benefit of comparison. The US’s project of liberation and democracy in Iraq will collapse as soon as its forces leave Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, other Arab countries as well as Iran and Turkey will do everything in their power to influence, buy, blackmail and undermine any democratic government not protected by foreign forces. It would not be impossible to cook a coup and reverse the wheels of history to the Saddamite old order. There were supposedly seven million Baathist members. Even if ten per cent of these were really indoctrinated and committed, it would be possible with outside support to regroup them. Perhaps Saddam or his sons, if they are still alive, would have another chance to be this time resistance fighters with the help of Arab regimes!

In short it would be extremely foolish for the Americans not only to leave Iraq but not to pursue their democratisation project in the Middle East.

5. Political correctness and realpolitik: Many people still out of residual ideological anti-imperialism and fashionable anti-Americanism call irresponsibly, without understanding historical reality and globalisation process, for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq claiming that the existence of US’s forces will harm Iraqi people and their independence, self-government and progress.

Of course the Americans are not so naïve as to listen to preachers of doom. Realpolitik means the American army will stay. If some people think this means endangering Iraq’s independence, they should not just play with words. We should analyse and understand essences and realities. What is independence? What did Iraqi independence under Saddam and previous dictatorial Arab regimes mean? Whose independence was that? Was Iraq really independent of world imperialism? Who installed Saddam and transformed him into a monster?

On the other hand the concept of independence on a small planet crowded with interdependent states has always been a relative one and never a real one for any country including the US. Is Britain an independent country? Aren’t there US military bases here unapproved by British parliament? Aren’t there US bases in Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc.? Does this mean these countries are not independent? So why shouldn’t there be US’s bases in Iraq. Definitely there should be US’s military bases in Kurdistan. That is the only hope of survival and freedom for Kurdish people.

Iraq’s real independence and prospect of progress and prosperity depend on the long-term existence of US’s military forces. An additional positive outcome of this will be ensuring peace and stability associated with prospects of democracy and freedom in the whole Middle East.

6. The national security and interests of the US: The US cannot afford to start all this process and military operations all over again as a tragic farce once, for example, Syria will act as a rogue state seeking weapons of mass destruction and indulging in the oppression and genocide of Kurdish people, or when Iran joins North Korea in the production of nuclear weapons and oppression of non-Persian nations or when Saudi’s Wahabism continues to supply ideology, money, weapons and training to terrorists such as Ansar al-Islam all over the world.

Mr Donald Rumsfeld called France and Germany old Europe. This, in a sense, is true. But there is also old America and new America. There was old America of Kissinger, Ford and Reagan who supported fascism, dictatorship and persecution and genocide of minorities all over the world in a way that contradicted all the values of freedom, human rights and democracy which US is proud of and aims to propagate in the world. In this article I mean new US: a great superpower that does not hesitate to topple dictatorships and fight fascists and terrorists for a world in which the values of freedom and democracy will be universal and non-compromising.


INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………….. vii


The US and the Kurdish nation in the Middle East: Old games

or new horizons? 1 ………………………………………………………….3

The US and the Kurdish nation in the Middle East: Old games

or new horizons? 2 ………………………………………………………..11

PART TWO AFTER SEPTEMBER 11 ……………………………………23

Is there really a war in Afghanistan? What is it for? …………….25

Who is Bin Laden? And what is Mr Blair’s Mission? ………….. 29

Tony Come Home, the kids need you and America is kidding

you? …………………………………………………………………………… 38

The New War Order ……………………………………………………….42

The tale of two Talibans: Afghanistan & Turkey ………………… 46

The moment of truth: Who rules the world? …………………….. 50

US after September 11: Towards a workable international

doctrine for a new world order! ………………………………………. 54

US after September 11: Towards a workable international

doctrine for a new world order! ………………………………………..59

US after September 11: Towards a workable international

doctrine for a new world order! Part III ……………………………..62

Do you really want to stop the war? ………………………………….72

Culture and Repression: the case of the Middle East sociopolitical

order ………………………………………………………………..78

PART THREE AMERICA IN IRAQ ………………………………………..87

The real Kurdish view! ………………………………………………….. 89

The story of a war dictated by foe friends: the spoiled child

who stabbed America in the back! …………………………………102

There is nothing wrong with a prolonged war of liberation! .. 113

No to the United Nations! Yes to the United Democratic

Nations! …………………………………………………………………….. 115

With friends like these, will anyone need enemies? ………….. 118

Tip of the iceberg, but will the pro-Saddam mob ever feel

ashamed? …………………………………………………………………..120

US’s military forces should stay in Iraq …………………………..122

American policy in Iraq: the dialectics of occupation and

liberation – I …………………………………………………………………131

American policy in Iraq: Dialectics of occupation and liberation

– II ……………………………………………………………………………..141

American policy in Iraq: Dialectics of occupation and liberation

– III …………………………………………………………………………….150

American policy in Iraq: Dialectics of occupation and liberation

– V ……………………………………………………………………………..163

Did BBC kill David Kelly on behalf of Saddam? ………………..167

Paul Bremer’s Interview with Asharq Al-Awsat 31 January

2004. …………………………………………………………………………172

Will Paul Bremer be allowed to turn Bush’s liberation mission in

the Middle East ……………………………………………………………178

From massacre in Madrid to carnage in Qamishli: Fact and

fiction …………………………………………………………………………183

President Bush should not leave Iraq an unfinished business

again! …………………………………………………………………………188

The two state solution: Divide and democratize! ………………195

Paul Bremer: A man living in a cloud-cuckoo-land ……………202

Death in Darfur, Decadence in Democracies! ………………… 209

De-liberation: Bremer’s legacy and post-Bremer choices ….217

President Bush and the World War Four of liberation? …….. 225

79 Responses to “America in Iraq: Dialectics of Occupation and Liberation”

  1. 1 Steve Owens

    Its hard not to laugh when Kamal Mirawdeli ridicules the dinosaurian left doom sayers with their absurd predictions about what an invasion of Iraq would cost
    “Don’t attack Iraq! Minimum 500,000 people will be killed. Two million children will die. Four million refugees will need to be supported.”
    Well well it looks like the absurd predictions of the dinosaurian left were more right than wrong.
    Lets have some fun why dont you post your own contributors predictions about the costs of the war. Why dont you post the transcript of the radio interview where Albert speculates that the death toll from the war may be in the hundreds.

  2. 2 patrickm

    No good trying to pretend you are still at one with the pseudoleft / ‘dinosaurian left’, because you already know you’re a cruise missile enthusiast absolutely delighted that Assad is being disarmed of his CW, and fully aware that the destruction of Syria using Putin’s munitions is far greater than was the war to liberate Iraq from the Baathists. More refugees. More of everything really and no end in sight.

    The civil war in Iraq is mostly a civil war, and as I understand it you and your old mates in the pseudoleft always wanted Iraqis to sort out their issues without the COW being a factor. Well, apart from the neighbors you have close to your wish NO?…

    Just explain how happy you are that the U.S., Brit’s, France, and Turkey are ALL helping to do something for the Syrians (not enough by a long shot) and just how bad it would be if they were following the ‘hands off’ policies that the people that you know and now roundly and soundly condemn advocate. They are transparently stupid people on the wrong side of the revolutionary transformation of yet another country. What a surprise. Stop pretending that you are still in Neverland. They won’t have a bar of you and nor will you have a bar of them!

    You keep going on about people being killed as if the deaths of the enemies of progress are the same as the casualties that we sustain in making revolution against them. Rot. In the end you just want to convince yourself that revolutionaries who are forced to take up the gun and fight back are just as bad as the old regimes. But you can’t do it.

    ‘Meet the new boss same as the old boss’…If you sing it with a South African accent even you could spot the bullshit.

    What do the people of South Africa have to do other than ‘cast aside illusions and prepare for struggle’? What’s good for them seems good enough for the Iraqi people. Why do you taunt them with being, well how ought you put this, not good enough for your revolutionary team that well…doesn’t exist.

    It turns out we communists are very serious democrats and quite prepared to unite to win wars and it works. Even you know your old anti-communism has turned to mush. The idea is to kill more of the enemy than they kill of us! Stop bleating about the number of them that have to be killed. They have a choice our lot don’t. Your old gang is as usual splitting with every new war.

    Libya was an embarrassment and you had to jump ship, so stop pretending you haven’t. Syria is a disgrace and you’re not getting back on board the old rust bucket. Consider the idiocy that came out of the pseudoleft over Egypt. The old gang was as usual on the wrong side. Don’t tell me Egypt is demonstrating the way forward. Yet another disgrace!

    There is no nice way to say this; but your views on supporting Iraqis from the born to rule sect, while dumping on the people of Kuwait is breathtakingly well …stupid.

    In your world, Libyan tyrants don’t get to rule over their whole country and NATO can deal death to them with your best wishes.

    Jump back in time and the Iraqi tyrant gets to rule most of ‘his’, especially that pesky majority sect (and he killed them by the 100s of thousands without any end in sight) BUT just not the Kurdish parts that are ruled by bastards anyway as I remember you explaining. Turns out that on reflection you support the Great Satan drone-ing on (presumably forever) killing Iraqi airmen and missile battery operators and suchlike.

    BUT never mind, as a consolation prize for the badest bastard of a tyrant going, he gets to go and pinch another country! Genius! You have some gall to taunt communist revolutionaries that keep insisting that there is nothing easy about changing the world.

    ‘If the war was about Belgium we would support it’… well the war was about Kuwait and we supported it. Now you, not being a Leninist anymore, might not see the funny side of this, but hey when you were a Leninist you held the same view as you do now. Just possibly you never understood WTF Lenin was all about in the first place.

    That war was won and one hopes that tyrants got the thinking clear. After all, YOU have gone through the mental exercise and there is no way that you would oppose a war to defend the country of the Jordanian monarch from a Syrian Baathist annexation in 2014!

    You ought to press a reset button.

  3. 3 steve owens

    Patrick if your hypothetical invasion of Jordan happened I would first ask myself do I support or oppose this and having answered that question I would ask myself what reasonable measures should I support in achieving a decent outcome.
    I was always going to support the Lybian democrats in their campaign and support the measures they asked for.
    I was always going to oppose the invasion of Iraq because I couldnt find any Iraqis that thought it was a good idea.
    I always opposed the invasion of Kuwait (by Saddam) but thought that international sanctions were the most appropriate response.
    Time and time again i have said that the democratic forces in Syria deserve our support and I support the measures asked for by the leaders of the Free Syrian Army.
    When the invasion of Iraq was suggested prominent Iraqis such as those in the DAWA party were part of the organisation of the anti war protests.
    When people were saying how easy the war was going to be such as Arthur/Albert with his claim that the war may cost hundreds of lives I was very sceptical.
    As to my being part of any tendancy dinosourish or not I take great delight in making my own mind up and being beholden to no one

  4. 4 patrickm

    Well Steve, a minor incident with Kuwait was once raised by the Iraq tyrant and the U.S. administration made a reasonable series of assumptions about this. The realists in the US had long had an anti-Iran relationship with the swamp blocking fascist. They assumed that when he raised a minor border dispute issue with them that what they were discussing was a minor border dispute. So they first asked ‘do they support or oppose this’ and having answered that question with a shrug then considered what reasonable measures (following what they term realist policies) they should support in achieving a ‘decent’ outcome.

    The Ambassador was then told that they ought to inform the powerful tyrant of Iraq that the U.S. had no view, and that was in diplomat speak; you are the regional power feel free to resolve this minor dispute unilaterally. BUT…

    The idiots in Neverland later accused the U.S. of encouraging the Iraqi chemical weapons using nightmare of a tyrant to resolve that border dispute by removing the country altogether presumably in order for them to go to war! And you marched with them while they spread this idiocy. It was willful idiocy to the point of being a blatant lie from what we now know (from another quarter of a century of dealing with them) are a pack of blatant liars.

    Almost the entire democratic world and plenty more besides that, understood that the message from anyone interested in democratic issues could now only be a REAL threat of real force, just like our current Syrian cruise missile threat that has resulted in Assad making the wisest choice! Saddam could have made a wise choice when told to withdraw but HE didn’t. War was really his choice all along. His poor choice was not repeated years later when you had changed, and having abandoned the usual suspects were now behind the threat in the case of Syria.

    Back then the U.S. admin told the world immediately that ‘this would not stand’, but instead of siding with the Great Satan and all the western imperialists and taking to the streets to show a WW2 style united stance over the simple issue of opposition to tyrants engaging in acquisitive aggression, and instead of adopting the ML style communist method of standing up to the aggressor in order to change that sort of world into a higher form of human existence, the bullshit artists that you stuck with marched side by side with those that claimed that Kuwait was just the artificial creation of the western imperialists and actually was as Saddam claimed just a part of Iraq! You may not have supported Saddam but we know that many that you marched with did! They claimed to be lefties while doing so and still do! The big focus for them however was always the Great Satan of U.S. imperialism. The concrete issue of Kuwait was never honestly thought about.

    You chose to march with others who naturally claimed they would always support the Kuwaiti democrats in their campaign to develop from where their country was then at, and claimed they would support the measures these democrats and almost every other person in Kuwait (actually now held prisoner and thus silent) but who could ask for -did ask for – while doing no such thing! They sold them out for the greater ‘good’ of preserving the lives of the soldiers of the fascist army!

    Bush snr sold everyone out as well when he let those fascists get back to their task of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Shia! You actually chose to march with the Greens who tried to scare people about the planet changing consequences of fighting this war, rather than denouncing them as you do now when they do the same over Libya or Syria.

    You now ludicrously say ‘I was always going to oppose the invasion of Iraq because I couldn’t find any Iraqis that thought it was a good idea.’ And being blind and living in a cellar cut off from planet Earth in the Neverland quadrant of planet peace movement you have never found out about them since!

    Not for you the co-ordinated advance of the Peshmerga AT THE TIME! This part of the population (say 20% or 1 in 5) the ALREADY armed part of the opposition and their unarmed base that undoubtedly supported them – and still do – did not exist for you, and still don’t apparently! (Oh wait on oh yes you do remember them…very good).

    You could hardly be expected to find such life forms as the 60% Shia, or another 3 in 5 of the population that overwhelmingly wanted to rise up and had done, and were murdered by the hundreds of thousands when the actual liberation of Kuwait was as fresh as the smell of napalm in the morning. Did you ponder their silence as more a sign of doubt and caution from the blood soaked previous betrayal?

    What weight was given to all this at the time when even more than a decade later you declare ‘I couldn’t find any Iraqis’. I don’t have to wonder why you can always find the 1 in 5 Sunni NOW. Al Qaeda hate the Shia and have their well known policies and bombing practices as do the Baathists but you…well the constant focus is against the Iraqi government.

    A new tyranny has arisen for you and vindicated that nothing should have been done to disturb the stagnant swamp in the first place. You were right all along the cost benefit analysis demonstrates that it’s wrong for our ruling elites to unite forces and send soldiers to make war against the armies built and controlled by fascist tyrants.

    Neverland wrapped itself up in the pacifists flag. After all it’s overwhelming good working class boys that end up being slaughtered. Now let’s bellyache about how terrible was the slaughter when these well armed troops were caught retreating with their arms. Thats when your lot pretended to spot a war crime, while knowing full well they ought to have laid down their arms and surrendered.

    Neverland sprouted non violent solutions to tyranny. ‘I always opposed the invasion of Kuwait (by Saddam) but thought that international sanctions were the most appropriate response.’

    Later on when sanctions were applied to Iraq as a result of not complying with the terms of the cease fire all your mates in the peace movement opposed them and to this day will point to the terrible suffering that they imposed on the Iraqi masses. You made no break with this duplicitous crap then but you can now. All you have to do is stop digging.

    ‘Time and time again i have said that the democratic forces in Syria deserve our support and I support the measures asked for by the leaders of the Free Syrian Army.’ you support the cruise missile attack that was imminent but was averted because Assad complied!

    The FSA wants more than that, just like you and me but we welcome this as we continue to advocate for the more. So over the last couple of years ‘Time and time again’ you have broken free of the usual suspects still stuck in the never, never unite politics. The point is there are other forces in Syria that deserve another response than just those sought by the FSA.

    It’s a complicated war with many interests like the Kurds and the Iraqi, Turkish, Jordanian and Lebanese and the now myriad of interests within these larger and substantially dysfunctional if not shattered political formations. The borders were drawn back at the end of WW1 by the British and French with little regard to a detailed study of what the National question would require and unleash in this region.

    Multinational Al Qaeda can’t be permitted anywhere on the planet and must be dealt with by armed force and political, economic and cultural developments all day every day from now to as far into the future as concerns more than this generation. Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Chad the war is spreading and progressives have something to say about that.

    Neverland opposes the deployment of the French. What do you say to that! Have you worked out that you’re in favour?

    Step forward and tell the old gang;

    Qu’un sang impur
    Abreuve nos sillons!

    Let an impure blood
    Water our furrows!

    You may well ‘take great delight’ that ‘When the invasion of Iraq was suggested prominent Iraqis such as those in the DAWA party were part of the organisation of the anti-war protests.’ which naturally allowed you to follow behind them chanting no blood for oil, but then they immediately joined the government and the army and after elections called on the COW to stay a while longer while they got armed and trained to fight the war that you are not now able to work out and that they continue to fight! You are certainly not beholden to them, rather you just opportunistically exploit one ‘moment’ and ignore their whole strategic orientation that’s been clear all along.

    When I was saying a couple of years back how big the war in Syria was going to be I had hoped that U.S. interests would bring them in far sooner. They are involved now but nowhere near the scale of involvement required and Obama has been the biggest part of the problem.

    I know nothing much about Turkey but I take it that the political leadership of Turkey is having the greatest of difficulty just remaining so in the face of a persistent Egyptian like threat to them. Both countries are complex but both require the peaceful democratic struggle to progress the rights and livelihood of the peoples..

    Twice more the pseudoleft while always inconsequential has yet again split on that revolutionary transformations and harmed the revolutions. The Military coup in Egypt made full use of these dupes and so will the rats in Turkey.

    BTW Iran will most probably be less bloody in the coming decade as its people struggle for democratic reform and then get forced to revolution like what is unfolding in Egypt.

    The U.S. neglect of the region will probably lead to casualties on the side of progress beyond anything inflicted on the fascists of Iraq and that’s a great pity. Nevertheless…

    Tremblez,tyrans et vous perfides
    L’opprobre de tous les partis,
    Tremblez! vos projets parricides
    Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix! (bis)

    Tout est soldat pour vous combattre
    S’ils tombent, nos jeunes héros,
    La terre en produit de nouveaux,
    Contre vous tout prêts à se battre!

    Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
    The shame of all parties,
    Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
    Will finally receive their reward! (repeat)

    Everyone is a soldier to combat you
    If they fall, our young heroes,
    The earth will produce new ones,
    Ready to fight against you!

  5. 5 steve owens

    We clearly can find very little mutual ground partly because you have in your mind a strategic grand plan where the forces of democracy are locked in struggle with fascism both of the Baathist or jihadist types.
    I don’t agree with your assessment and see things as much more disjointed and convoluted.
    I have a very much poorer opinion of your US allies than you do. That the US would slaughter retreating conscripts does not surprise me.
    That the US would cooperate with Saddam in putting down the post war rebellions does not surprise me any more that the US still holding the receipts from the chemical weapons sales that he latter used on his own people.
    I do have an interest in promoting human rights and that’s why I’m outspoken about governments that abuse them rather than terrorists who abuse them, its because I expect terrorists to abuse human rights and to be immune from criticism where as governments should be defending human rights and should be open to criticism.
    Its hard for the current Iraqi government to uphold human rights when their predecessors set such a bad example.

  6. 6 steve owens

    oh just a word about my ignoring the Kurds “Not for you the co-ordinated advance of the Peshmerga”
    The Kurdish areas were in the 2003 invasion a sideshow just as today the well run Kurdish area of Syria is a sideshow. The main game was not in the Kurdish areas despite how important I hold these areas to be.
    Im sure your well aware of recent Kurdish media reports that the Kurdish troops are expressing dissatisfaction about being used to fight in Anbar. Apparently a lot of Kurdish troops don’t see it as their fight.

  7. 7 steve owens
  8. 8 patrickm

    Steve; Clearly you have found far too much mutual ground in the above thinking and it appears you don’t like it. Events have forced you to ‘see things as much more disjointed and convoluted’ than even a Marxist like me might. Never mind at least you are totally out of Neverland and you won’t be going back there.

    You know that your world’s changed since the U.S. ruling-elite around Bush the elder had the usual post WW2 realist thinking and policies and you don’t dispute it, so we are both quite clear on that.

    Steve doesn’t believe they were interested in the liberation of the Iraqi peoples’ to drain the swamp and neither do I. They kept that swamp a swamp. Halabja came and went with nary a threat to use force against Saddam and we both I think, from our current vantage point disapprove of that failure of the international community of nations?

    It wasn’t as if people didn’t know what he’d done. He ought to have been put out of the tyrant business then, but the U.S. led the world in turning a blind eye to it. (as the hands off brigade would have now in the case of Syria) Not for you or me. Both of us call for hands on.

    I guess we are both glad that world governments have moved that much further down from the trees, such that the much smaller use by Assad brought on the threat, and like Pollyanna we can both be glad of that!! Well at any rate the U.S. government currently has come down, though their knuckles are dragging and they could climb back up any time! Neverland, and all the openly right-wing realists are up there calling them to come back up. Knuckle draggers all!

    But I have to guess your line on this stuff because you go out of your way to avoid agreeing and then moving on and attempting to solve something else. You’re actually a bit like one of those miserable birds caught up in one of Saddam’s oil slicks. ‘ There you are covered in gunk and slippery as can be, squawking incomprehensible gibberish, while pecking out in all directions at once.

    Good thing I’m patiently washing Neverland off you and shoving words down your throat. It’s a thankless task and when you’re all cleaned up, you squawk that it’s all a ‘side show’! Sheesh!

    You want to pretend that your position is not miles away from your old Neverland mates when you are in favour of the deployment of the cruise missiles directed at Libya and used, and then almost used in Syria causing Neverland to take to the streets to denounce the deployments but NOT you.

    Advocating the use of cruise missiles makes you a cruise missile something or other. Sorry to inform you so bluntly, but that stance keeps you out of Neverland.

    Don’t panic, being a cruise missile something or other hasn’t made you any sort of Marxist and it won’t. People can tell the difference in our positions. I’ll keep that epitaph and you will have to be labeled something else by them. You could make an epitaph up for yourself I suppose. (but it might not stick, you being so slippery and all) In the end, you like me just have to wear the name after they (your ex mates still in Neverland) have correctly identified you as, whatever type of cruise missile advocate makes sense to them.

    Actually Steve, I believe I have a very much poorer opinion of your U.S. allies than you do. For example, if we had emigrated there you would have been voting for Obama, and I’d be stuck with the Tweedledee no vote.

    But that aside you ought to stop with the card-sharp-style word swaps. After all, Saddam didn’t kill anybody in the post Kuwait rebellions that I’m aware of. He gave the order and the retreated conscripts that were not killed or captured did that work. But then you know that. Any Soviet Red army that caught up with retreating ‘conscripts’ shot up as many as they could, but hey you know that too.

    It does not surprise me that someone fresh out of Neverland is confused about what cruise missiles do when they slam into a column of the enemy. But just to be clear, I don’t care that there were often good men wearing German uniforms in WW2. The job was to kill them till they were either all dead, or had laid down their weapons and surrendered. I am wise enough not to allow the enemy to regroup and start their work of killing me and my allies tomorrow. So are you.

    So we know that U.S. realists betrayed the Iraqi Shia of the post Kuwait war rebellions, and THAT does not surprise you any more than that those U.S. realists were ‘still holding the receipts from the chemical weapons sales that he latter used on his own people.’

    These were the very same realists that advised against Bush the younger overthrowing those sixty years of rotten policies. They are at one with all the old gang in Neverland in proclaiming the Iraq war a disaster that has destabilised the region! Blow me down if the Marxists aren’t delighted that stability is gone with the wind. But the realists are not.

    We have seen that where a broom does not reach in the ME no government is open to criticism. That’s why you cheer more than just the missiles! You cheer the whole process of people fighting back against their oppressors – you know how powerful those oppressors are – you’re glad that the western powers are meddling and want more meddling. That’s why you’re silent about your support of the French.

    The French President is deploying troops to Africa and has announced several bases across the region and he is visiting Turkey right now. Knowing as you do that a new Rwanda is always on the cards right across this less developed region of the world, you are three ways wise to close your eyes, ears, and mouth. Neverland is condemning the French, but you say nothing because anything you do say may be used against you. What a rat I am to use what you don’t say against you. Never mind, you will feel better when you spit out the words choking you.

    Over in Iraq the war as directed by the enemy against the peoples’ of Iraq is bound to cause slippage into sectarianism because that is what the enemy deliberately seeks. They are bound to be partially successful. The sort of people often called by the likes of Tariq Ali ‘the resistance’, are in this camp and have to be called out now that the COW has long ago gone home.

    The resistance turns out to be elements from the former privileged sector of the population and they are not resisting any COW now. A population divided 20% 60% 20% has real strategic consequences just as the South African divide has its specific problems. But there is no way forward that does not include support for the establishment of state institutions.

    It is just a fact that ‘people’ go to war with the army they have got! Our shared ‘interest in promoting human rights’ and the elections and so forth that are the foundation of those rights, required COW troops (when they were in Iraq liberating people from the Baathists and the subsequent resistance and Al Qaeda sorts etc.), to reform themselves because the old army that Bush had gone to war with showed up as partially ill-suited to the real warfighting he required of them.

    Steve knows as well as I do that the Sanchez-type officers harmed the war effort, and that Petraeus got them more correctly orientated and that it was right to stay a bit longer not go early as Neverland dwellers wanted.

    Slippery as ever. Perhaps you can’t face up to that either, though it might be nice if you don’t have to. Just stop digging the old hole and get back to work on how Assad’s air power gets smashed to bits. After all, we agree that his air force has to be completely stopped.

    I have a strategic grand plan to fight oppression by uniting the many to defeat the few, and those that bring a cruise missile to this task are just as welcome as those that come refugeeing out of Neverland with even an empty head, but at least a concern for human rights.

    A Neverland refugee won’t solve much more till you get a bit braver about dumping the old failed thinking and helping all get real about the current wars.

    Note: I see the Egyptian thug general is now being identified by the MSM as another Pinochet.

    To end with examples from The North Star.

    Pham Binh • 6 months ago

    Arthur: what do you think of “reactionary democrats” as a term to describe Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood? It’s derived from Kautsky’s observations in The Social Revolution about what he called the “reactionary democracy.” Clearly they are for democratic multi-party elections and in that sense are democrats rather than autocrats or fascists. Their behavior in office also clearly indicates they prefer a reformist/opportunist conciliatory approach to the fulool rather than a revolutionary or militant one aimed to breaking up, defeating, and crushing those elements.

    Arthur Pham Binh • 6 months ago

    Not unreasonable but doesn’t grab me. I’m not familiar with Kautsky’s usage. My impression is the (current) brotherhood would be more accurately described as “conservative” democrats in the Egyptian context. Salafi parties more reactionary (and less democratic).

    Anyone democratic is inherently less reactionary and conservative than the various “progressive” parties of the secular opposition who actually want to go BACKWARDS towards the Mubarek era. So emphasizing the conservative or reactionary character of the brotherhood is likely to give a misleading impression to people who are unaware of how bad the opposition to the brotherhood is.

    Also, I’m not at all sure that a reformist/conciliatory approach was avoidable in the first attempt. If they had simply confronted SCAF, they would have lost, there would have been no elections and constitution and things would be a lot less advanced than they are now. The people claiming they should have confronted SCAF have now proved themselves to be full of shit.

    I suspect they are now very clear about breaking up, defeating, and crushing the remnants 😉

    Along with them, many others would now also be more clear on this. I recall reading at the time of Mubarak’s speech asking to be allowed to retire with dignity that youth activists in Tahrir square were surprised that it resonated with a substantial section of the population and built a backlash against the revolution, whereas the brotherhood leadership understood how that conservative section of the masses would react.

    It isn’t just the disgusting liberals and “left” that have faith in the army. Seems to be pretty widespread in Egypt, so even now the brothers are just targeting the generals in command rather than the whole officer corps. If a Syrian situation can be avoided (as has been successful in Tunisia) then it is well worth trying to avoid it.

    Consider the foolishness of the old pseudoleft line sprouted just a few months ago!

    S.Artesian Arthur • 6 months ago

    Supporting the bourgeoisie has nothing to do with fighting for socialism. Arguing that there is a struggle against fascism that is separate and apart from the struggle against capitalism has proven its viability to and service for……fascism.

    That’s the real history of your so-called “fight for democracy.” And it has led to the slaughter of millions– in Spain, Bolivia, Chile. Vietnam, France, Indonesia, and yes the former Soviet Union.

    And I know you’re going to try and prevent anyone from looking closely into the results of the positions you advocate by calling those who reject your nonsense “fascists,” but let’s be fundamentally clear: You in your supposed fight for democracy endorsed and endorse the US invasion of Iraq. That puts the truth to your “anti-fascism.”

    Arthur S.Artesian • 6 months ago

    Pretending that you support some non-existent fight for socialism in Egypt will not prevent anybody from understanding that you are opposed to the fight for democracy in Egypt.

    Blathering about “Spain, Bolivia, Chile, Vietnam, France, Indonesia, and yes the former Soviet Union” won’t help you either.

    Throwing in Iraq is a useful reminder that the wrong views many people here hold about the Iraq war put them on the same side as you. Please continue as it may help others to rethink their mistakes on Iraq.


    You Steve are not ‘Pretending that you support some non-existent fight for socialism in Egypt’. So there is even more mutual ground heading our way. A bright future indeed.

  9. 9 Steve Owens

    Firstly thankyou for all your efforts.
    As to being a million miles away from my old mates well its not quite that far, my old mates in Socialist Alternate (I resigned in 2005) support the anti Assad revolution and support the revolutionaries in accessing weapons from where ever they may come.
    My disagreement with them is that I support the calls made by the Syrian revolutionaries for help from where ever it may come ie recently the FSA asked the USA to use patriot missles situated in Turkey to protect people in northern Syria. I support this because its a genuine demand made by people whom I assess to be the voice of the Syrian people.
    You on the other hand support unasked for assistance ie any agressive move made by the USA ie an invasion whether the Syrians asked for it or not.
    So there you are Im not with my old mate because they support too little and Im not with you because you support too much.
    My definition of Neverland is that its inhabited by people who drownd out the voices of the oppressed with the voice of the ideology in their own heads.

  10. 10 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Don’t look now but the helicopters on the embassy roof are warming up

  11. 11 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Iraq parliament fails to get quorum

  12. 12 Red Blob aka steve owens
    OK Iran has sent troops to defend Iraq
    Ive read Kurdish reports that say its all a plot for Maliki to become a dictator through getting emergency powers. It does seem odd that the Iraqi military would just melt away.

  13. 13 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Patrick you have wondered aloud over my silence in regard to Somali pirates, over East African extremists and Putin’s Hitler style aggression.
    Now that the neocon delusion involving Iraq has fully imploded may I question your silence?
    Meanwhile this lady sums up a reasonable response

  14. 14 Red Blob aka steve owens

    When your world view is flattened by reality it is an excellent time to ask yourself reflective questions rather than go the knee jerk defend my position and reality be damned option

  15. 15 patrickm

    ‘The reality is that, in the aftermath of the illegal 2003 invasion, [bourgeois] coalition forces pretty much ran the textbook of how to turn a functional nation [????] into a terrorised and devastated failed state.

    With utter disregard for the consequences for Iraqis, this US-led coalition dismantled the [huge fascist] state, gutted [a huge fascist] political and [huge fascist] military institutions and dissolved the [huge fascist] army, [huge fascist] police and [huge fascist] security apparatus.

    And, as if the goal was actively to hobble the nation (“liberation” and “democracy” in the interventionist dictionary), this coalition then set about marginalising [20%] Iraqi Sunnis, thereby [???] fomenting sectarianism and instability [by trying to institute a political system of government that gave them more than 20% margin no less!!].

    The US-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki only made things worse [??? by winning elections], pursuing corrupt, authoritarian and openly divisive policies – buying the loyalty of his own [Shia] people and bullying everybody else [by dealing with market place bombers and other fascists that kept crossing over from Syria no less].’

    Now that Obama’s idiotic dithering over Syria has brought on such great results you think you can claim to want to see hands on in Syria but NOT be glad of the hands on against the original greater fascist force at the heart of the whole swamp.

    Start by blaming the Blacks of South Africa. Lament the fall of that government and whinge about the whole reality of coming down from the trees. It makes as much sense.

    Neverland pseudo’s and realist right’s are now babbling like two demented tweedle twins in the face of the revolution and fight that is required to change our world. Some people don’t know how to unite the many to defeat the few and they have a record of not winning wars. This is no time to sing capitalism’s praises except by comparison to even more backward realities. Cannibalism anyone?

    You might like to contemplate just how bankrupt capitalism is when it produces people that can now face in every direction at the same time and claim they stand on this moral high ground.

    But last I knew you were supporting the revolutionary transformation of the whole region. You were glad that the use of chemical munitions had brought on a credible threat of U.S. led NATO war to the point of forcing Assad to rely on just the 99% of his killing methods to prevent democratic revolution from unfolding in Syria. After Syria there will be no simple re-run of the almost unopposed from the left, Hands Off everything ‘peace movement’. There is a pro-war left now! Ah well at least these days armed struggle is fully on the agenda and peaceful evolution out of a world of tyranny is long put behind anyone who is paying attention.

    But before you jump ship and try to get back on board any Neverland life rafts that are floundering about – and that’s what they are doing – just remember you may have climbed onto a realist raft because they are indistinguishable. Pro-war leftists are quite distinct from our right wing fellow travelers.

    For example, Blair was correct to dump the realist world views and follow the path of armed revolution years ago, and still is. As I said ‘They kept that swamp a swamp. Halabja came and went with nary a threat to use force against Saddam and we both I think, from our current vantage point disapprove of that failure of the international community of nations?’ The blind to Halabja era has now gone with the wind!

    I’m glad I’ve lived to see the start of this revolutionary stage. Even a self promoting peace rat like Obama can’t just turn a blind eye to very much smaller crimes, though he would very much like to!

    The truth is that even the attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t register on some people and they would not unite and fight. You’re welcome to come up with peace plans; as for me I think that world view has been flattened by reality and you ought to ‘cast aside all your illusions and prepare for struggle’.

    Being an Australian who believes in progress and class struggle I’m quite used to being called a lunatic and censored and misrepresented etc., but I’m not giving up on armed struggle, and revolution. I much prefer to think about how to win the next bit of revolution rather than complain that revolution has enemies. Years ago the job was to identify and more popularly name this phenomena of ‘left in form and right in essence’ politics that is still not widely understood even today. We at Strangetimes have been doing this better than most but no one much knows about it.

  16. 16 patrickm

    Steve said; ‘Meanwhile this lady sums up a reasonable response

    She sums up something alright and just to be clear about what it is, it’s a defense of fascism and an attack on democratic revolution.

    Oh woe, the Baathists had their tanks destroyed by an outside meddler who had their own reasons for destroying the biggest fascist tyranny in the region! Setting off a region wide revolutionary struggle has resulted! All good people know the COW had no legal right to destroy the fascists and pile up their bodies and any innocent casualties that got in the way of the process. ‘Good people’ say that was the job of other Iraqis that wanted to do it! Just like it’s the job of the Syrian peoples’ to destroy their tyrant (how is that working out?) and the Libyan peoples’. Al Qaeda ought to be left alone militarily to roam around the ME and Africa and anywhere else they feel, and good liberals like that great leader Obama can have his ever so nice wife hold up notes on the net saying ‘Bring our Daughters Back!! That ought to work.

    Let’s see, that’s one resolution at the UN, and two chats on ABCs ‘The Drum’ and ‘Four Corners’ programs about coal destroying the world, and a side order of laughter about doing exactly nothing and that ought to fix a ‘flattened’ world view.

    But now it’s 2014 and there is a civil war continuing with ‘two’ sides and the Baathists are not so well armed; it’s a disaster no less! Oh woe.

    If only the world had not thrown the Baathists out of Kuwait and instead left them in place then far fewer fascists would be dead. Oh woe, bombs are going off in market places right across the region – now that was never going to happen before those war making westerners turned up again and disarmed the biggest tyranny!

    There was once a splendid order and only communists and democrats had no guns in the good old days before this terrible destruction of lovely fascist troops and all their masses of equipment unfolded. Oh woe, oh woe. Now the whole region is fighting and Assad can’t even keep his tyranny in full control of all his happy people!

    Steve, did you notice that many years after your man Obama started to implement his peace policies things are not going so well?

    Ah yes, the liberal PC method of swamp draining. Just leave tyrants in power and something, something, something, then a good outcome will eventuate!

    Silence from me? Read the stuff above from January rather than react every time the enemy goes on the offensive and panics the less effective, and the always useless. Apart from the enemy offensive what exactly is new? The enemy won’t disappear so what is to be done?

    Thinking that faces all directions at once is clearly bankrupt. Calling for revolutionary struggle against oppression and not noticing the biggest obstacle at the time you make the call is more than just a problem it is THE problem.

    Here we are still a cruise missile Marxist and a cruise missile something or other.

    The Kurds have advanced and it looks like the issue of Kirkuk has been ‘resolved’. That is to say that now that the Kurds are peacefully in control of it (rushing in when the Iraqi army abandoned it) it is my guess that they are not going to give it up under virtually any circumstance short of a house to house fight.

    The issue of nations wanting liberation goes on it seems, but hey we already knew that.

    Now the one other clear issue is that the U.S. will have to start to whack the forces that Arthur and I said they ought to whack more than a year ago! That is to say that the drones can’t just fly around Iraq but will be flying over Syria as well. On top of that the complexity of who to shoot at ensures that they are going to have to take more risks in arming the FSA types and so they will have to get more special forces in and on the ground as well. But Obama is so bad that we could see the U.S. forces in Jordan attacked before he wakes up!

  17. 17 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Well thank you for your reply.
    Before taking a position on supporting military re engagement in Iraq the are some questions I would like to raise.
    Q1 After the COW invaded Iraq they were faced by an alliance of Sunni militia and Islamic fanatics. After a while the Sunni militia turned against the Islamic fanatics and started to fight them. Now we seem to have the Sunni militias and the Islamic fanatics cooperating again. I’m clear as to why they became enemies but do you have any idea as to why they are now friends.
    Q2 The current Islamic fanatics seem to be no more than a militia. Every picture I see of them is guys in pick up trucks driving along the highway. These guys are a militia where as Iraq has a military. I look up their strength its like 200,000 troops, 357 tanks, 4070 Armored fighting vehicles, 49 self propelled guns, 242 tow-able artillery pieces, 36 multiple rocket launchers and 212 aircraft. Yet this impressive military flees at the sight of guys in pickups waving guns really?
    Q3 There is a “terrorist army” marching towards Baghdad the Prime Minister calls an emergency session but no quorum turns up. Whats that about?
    Q4 There are areas of Iraq that are out of the governments control no amount of bombing will bring them under control. Just like before the Sunni masses and their militias need to be detached from the Islamic fanatics. One thing we must have learnt is that you cant find a solution to the problems of the Sunni minority by killing them, some sort of political solution must be found. After watching Iraq as closely as I can for a number of years I cant see Maliki coming up with a strategy that will work. I can see him bombing the shit out of Sunni cities but I think the more he bombs the further he will be from what I think a solution looks like.

  18. 18 Red Blob aka steve owens

    I have read reports that Mosul was taken by a force of 800
    This Kurdish report shines some light on motivations

  19. 19 Steve Owens
  20. 20 patrickm

    Steve you say ‘Before taking a position on supporting military re engagement in Iraq there are some questions I would like to raise.’ There follows your first preamble. ’After the COW invaded Iraq they were faced by an alliance of Sunni militia and Islamic fanatics. After a while the Sunni militia turned against the Islamic fanatics and started to fight them. Now we seem to have the Sunni militias and the Islamic fanatics cooperating again.’ then comes ‘Q1 I’m clear as to why they became enemies but do you have any idea as to why they are now friends.’ In thus presenting your question you miss the reality of what the COW really faced and what had remained intact but only melted away leaving only MOST of the larger weapons systems behind, only a very few dead and many who had gone underground to begin their real war.

    The massive, well trained Baathist army, of huge numbers and iron discipline did not vanish. When the order of the enemy disbanding it was given, how many of the real live soldiers thought that they no-longer had to obey an order that they received from their superiors? How many of these now more lightly armed soldiers then took to walking from house to house to inform everybody that nothing had really changed and that they the people were to do as they were told as usual or face the consequences? Given that this was an overwhelming force that was now underground and also over in Syria that has stayed in operation killing any and all that even thought that Baathist fascism had no place on planet earth ever since – isn’t it strange to forget about them?

    No matter; because after much killing of the enemies of democratic revolution since the liberation, there are all sorts of armed reactionary forces now in the field and they are very serious people. People who forget about the biggest force are not serious. But if you see them as a sad bunch of conscripts as you did on the road back from Kuwait – glad to be liberated turning over a new leaf and going to do good with their smaller weapons systems on the very morrow of their enemy’s order that disbanded them – then that presents yet another problem as they disappear from your narrative. Because at no point will you stoop to supporting Saddam and his army directly. What joy for you that these men were set free to join the democratic masses in the new Iraq!?

    To be generous its very difficult to sort out fanatic from sect soldier and while the fight drags on it gets more and more difficult, because the fanatic opponent of democracy won’t try to eat his meal in one gulp any more than will the revolutionary fighting for democracy. The swamp is lousy with god botherers, and when people are impressed with good fighters then excuses can be made over any doubts about what they might want for tomorrow. After all, things change and tomorrow you might be dead anyway so worry about that later. Within the sect ranks, people also try to unite the many to defeat the few and try their very best not to shoot at each other and to deal instead with the immediate enemy. That enemy just happens to be – now that the COW is long gone home – Shia and Kurds. Well governments are always problematic and the realists did warn everyone that disarming Sunni Baathists and letting the Shia and Kurds free would bring trouble. Yes indeed it’s a disaster alright but compared to Syria…

    Then comes your next preamble….’Every picture I see of them is guys in pickup trucks driving along the highway. These guys are a militia whereas Iraq has a military. I look up their strength its like 200,000 troops, 357 tanks, 4070 Armored fighting vehicles, 49 self propelled guns, 242 tow-able artillery pieces, 36 multiple rocket launchers and 212 aircraft.’ followed by ‘Q2 The current Islamic fanatics seem to be no more than a militia yet this impressive military flees at the sight of guys in pickups waving guns really?’

    Do you think that ‘this impressive military’ looks more like an army of occupation in Sunni regions and that these regions just rose up under ongoing widely integrated Sunni leadership and that some of them won’t show up in the ‘National Parliament’ because they are in revolt like the government said they were preparing to do?

    What caused the flight of the ‘occupation’ soldiers? I think that you DO think that the Iraqi government troops were really occupation troops and that leaves you glad that the country is breaking up? But then comes the real problem for you, what is coming to power over the bodies of the soldiers it is now systematically mass murdering as they are captured? Or do you say that’s not what has happened?

    I say they ran rather than be captured because they knew what would happen and would rather fight another day. Islamist fanatics you say are now in charge and are we to be as sad as the hands off types that are now lamenting the fall of the great Baathists leader and his ‘keep them ragheads all in line’ army? Are we to prattle like the ABC / BBC – I told you this would end badly – brigade when Syria is right in our faces refuting such nonsense year in year out?

    When the COW showed up they did not summarily execute soldiers only a few got tried and hanged by the Iraqi people themselves. That’s not how this lot play as they stream out of Syria, and they will now melt away again only to re-emerge, when the ‘Iraqi’ army does come back for a fight. Or don’t you think they should turn up? Should the international peace group convene and sort this out? Then tell me how was ‘Iraq’ going to be liberated from Baathists in the first place without a COW to do the job? How is Syria getting on? Can the Islamic fanatics and the Assad Baathists sort it all out? Is a region wide war erupting on Obama’s incompetent watch?

    People can wish that McCain was POTUS all they like but he’s not, this is Obama yr 6. Rice is not Sec. State, Kerry is; and Gates isn’t in charge at the Pentagon that giant of a military brain Hagel currently holds that job! The swamp draining and the retreat from the era of superpower imperialism is being run by this lot and they aren’t worth a cracker.

    You say ‘Q3 There is a “terrorist army” marching towards Baghdad the Prime Minister calls an emergency session but no quorum turns up. Whats that about?’ I don’t know. When the Baathists ran the show no one really had to show up but everybody did!! I guess the region is slipping into more war and that a COW is not around to help, but there is no way that any Sunni army is going to take Baghdad off the Shia majority in this century; and no way that Kurdish nationalism is disappearing up in their mountains; nor is Syria going back together under the old arrangements; and nor will Palestinians vanish, and ‘The war for greater Israel’ won’t start to become good for the U.S. ruling class or anyone else! Only irrelevant Australian politicians will blather about East Jerusalem being ‘disputed’ territory. More illusions will get cast aside more struggle will unfold. Whatever unfolds the pseudoleft will continue to exist in Neverland.

    You then start your next preamble….’There are areas of Iraq that are out of the governments control no amount of bombing will bring them under control. Just like before the Sunni masses and their militias need to be detached from the Islamic fanatics. One thing we must have learnt is that you can’t find a solution to the problems of the Sunni minority by killing them, some sort of political solution must be found.

    After watching Iraq as closely as I can for a number of years I can’t see Maliki coming up with a strategy that will work. I can see him bombing the shit out of Sunni cities but I think the more he bombs the further he will be from what I think a solution looks like.

    Q4 ….[but you have literally forgotten to ask a question]

    Whatever it was I say;

    The great problem about the Syria/Iraq fighting is that these countries are part of one revolutionary transformation in the heart of the ‘swamp’ and there has been a force operating between the two countries that calls itself the ISIS for years!

    This ISIS has quite a history and is a force that I have wanted to see fought, but others have excused.

    As you know the ISIS forces fight the Assad tyranny in Syria AND the elected government in Iraq as well as systematically carrying on as sectarian thugs wherever they roam. It has long had a policy of setting off bombs in Iraq’s Shia populated market place’s for example. The Shia have thus rightly hated them with a passion and this majority part of the Iraqi population were being provoked to do just that and more. The ISIS wanted the ‘hot heads’ to lash out. The policy has been to provoke a massive sectarian conflict and also drag in the entire region that is so clearly sect divided. It is a very difficult strategy to counter.

    It is sensibly protracted war that they fight and is designed to discredit those that fight against them as a protracted war because it so easily allows their armed fighters to swap to soft targets when the hard fighters are around and on the offensive. It is a peoples strategy and so requires a full mobilisation peoples strategy to defeat.

    It’s my view that the forces that have been fighting against this force and similar fellow travelers are not well led. However they are not fighting in a wrong conflict because of this fact and have always deserved the support however critical of democrats of any type. ISIS forces are opposed to the democratic process just as clearly as are the forces that chopped off the old mens fingers the other day in Afghanistan. They chopped of those purple stained fingers and that has to be fought!

    The enemy is not the U.S. and NATO, and nor is it the Iraqi armed forces that are (all) very low down on the political evolutionary path from humanities descent from the trees from my POV.

    Down comes the unprotected power lines; up get blown the shoppers; over goes the traffic cop shot in the drive by! The steady drip of the blood of innocents builds frustration and hatred just as it is supposed to. People are not saints by nature and will tend to shun the community from where this constant poison emanates, the good from that community will tend to be abandoned with the bad. Good – involved – revolutionary – Sunni democrats are being shot first by Sunni thugs right now.

    The ‘Surge’ when the COW was involved and people muddle headedly wanted them not to be, was led by Petraeus and part of his response was to ethnically separate the communities. I supported this then and see such actions as vital now and well into the future.

    The Kurds have done so well as they have (despite them being led by bourgeois nationalist elements and so forth) precisely because they have been able to be separate and develop. They have been able to get the electricity working and keep that power on! They have got very firm control of their borders! There has been no way for the enemy to move about undetected and attack at will when the opportunity presents.

    Back in December 2012 there was a discussion at TNS and many of the key issues were spelt out in the comments there. The comments from Arthur in debate and the long comment by me are still standing while the site itself as we know is now pure pseudoleftist idiocy.

    and one of the best comments was

    Arthur to Brian S.
    Brian, you seem to attach a lot of importance to whether or not they are an Al Qaeda affiliate (at the same time as saying “whatever that means”). That is a high priority issue for a US agenda because of Al Qaeda’s focus on striking at the “distant enemy” ie US and other Western allied targets. The US imperialist interest in democratic revolution is only an unavoidable consequence of their primary concern with removing the breeding ground for Al Qaeda et al. That US imperialist agenda even allows for leaving Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban as long as they don’t resume providing Al Qaeda with a base.

    But from a left perspective what matters is not whether or not they share Al Qaeda’s focus on Western targets but whether they are enemies of the democratic revolution who need to be crushed for the revolution to succeed. It is utterly plain that Jabhat Al Nusra are enemies of the democratic revolution. “Threatening to slaughter the Alawites” means they need to be crushed.

  21. 21 Red Blob aka steve owens

    “…many who had gone underground to begin their real war.” So you think that people have been lying low and now start their real war.
    Is there any evidence that people have been lying low for over a decade. Is this based on any facts?
    When Maliki called an emergency session of parliament only 128 turned up meaning 197 stayed away. That would mean all the Sunni Arab representatives, all the Kurdish representatives and a fair slice of the Shia Arab representatives. My question is why when there is an emergency would a wide cross section nah an overwhelming majority of parliamentarians boycott the session?

  22. 22 Red Blob aka steve owens
  23. 23 patrickm

    Currently there are some god botherers roaming this planet who will not tolerate democracy and a live and let live existence but instead are just summarily killing people they oppose – like genuine progressives just for starters – and then are moving on to the next town to kill some more people there and they will continue until they get stopped by someone prepared to fire a gun back at them.

    As far as I can tell twas ever so for all manner of botherer and leaving such people alone to not ‘live and let live’ but to allow them to get on with their ‘devil take the hindmost’ approach is really stupid IMV but that’s what the hands off mob have thought all along.

    Something declared itself to be at war with western modernity about a dozen years ago and there had to be a war waged by all progressives against it, though that is not the way that the pseudoleft saw things because there is nothing actually progressive about those people.

    So here we are mid 2014 and this latest phase of that real war is underway where this real enemy are on the offensive from one country called Syria to another country called Iraq (but it could be say Somalia to Kenya or from Yemen into Afghanistan or Mali or from Java into Bali etc) and I say that had to evolve. Its the same struggle that must be waged in all the airlines and on all the peaceful trading ships on the seas of the world as well for that matter, because modernity is global and internationalists are all about a world to win.

    Instead of a progressive and genuine left that understands that the Iraqi government is not the force that is setting off the market place bombs we have pseudolefts either asserting or implying that they are not just very far from perfect but the biggest problem in Iraq or that there is nothing to choose between them and ISIS and that the approach ought to be (as usual) a plague on both or all sides! Some simply in asserting that they worked with the COW find a sell out bunch of traitors and think they must be the biggest problem because there was a more or less noble or at least justified resistance to the COW. Thats not any sort of credible position for a leftist any longer so the general position is to shrug and change the subject.

    Now it is true that this war is difficult to think through because no side is much cop from at least my 21st C internationalist perspective but then the past wasn’t ever much cop so nothing new in that sense but frankly I’m not surprised that liberals and anti communists are confused. As an internationalist and revolutionary democrat I have never had a problem about uniting around demands and fighting against a known enemy and exposing those who go as democrat by day and anti democrat by night, let alone those who declare themselves open enemies of democracy and constitutional government. But here you are Steve a refugee from the old peace movement having abandoned Neverland up on the fence and claiming to be open to further unity yet unable to read even my first paragraph with care and generosity!

    But as you are NOW able to approve of a COW military re engagement in Iraq and as I accept that this is a dramatic declaration that you are out of Neverland then I can be gracious and help your thinking along.

    Your now open to the thinking because after the events in Libya and then Syria and the correction to your former position over the Northern NFZ war to protect the Kurdish rebels from Saddam’s Baathist army, you have been out of Neverland for a couple of years now and out of the mad sectarian pseudoleft for even longer so that process sees you now up on the fence. ‘Before taking a position on [getting down from the fence and clearly] supporting military re engagement in Iraq there are some questions I would like to raise.’ It’s difficult for an open supporter of the revolutionary transformation of the swamp to tell if you are leaning towards support for the coming attacks or opposition to this but I think you might want to jump down and run back to Neverland but can see this is not possible; so you are trying to think of a way to at least stay on the fence. Well it’s ‘not a good look’. The truth is no one cares much what fence sitters think. At least you won’t join any ‘big’ anti-war demo that is about to take to the streets chanting no blood for ragheads / oil.

    Clearly the ISIS would kill people like you on the spot if your people had migrated to the swamp rather than sunny Australia and it’s true that you could only exist under the post Saddam arrangements but I think that you would rather turn your back on the whole swamp and leave it to the people that actually live there. Well that’s more or less the way much of the western world looks at this and if it wasn’t for the mosquito problem Obama would do just that. Let them kill each other! The realist right will chant ragheads and the pseudoleft oil but the unity has been clear long before the ISIS have threatened to unite with others and block the swamp draining process.

    Now like that sad little bird covered in oil even considering support for a COW military action has so disturbed you that I note that responding sensibly is beyond you for the moment. That’s OK we both understand this stuff is difficult for people that have only recently emerged from the peace movement having ‘voted’ for Obama or would have if the parents had chosen differently. Now just remember that no one is reading this site at the moment so there is no point in distorting what has been said but if people were reading this what you have just written would get a sad laugh and no one would bother with you. Either way it’s pointless, so take a deep breath regain your senses and stop it.

    Who would have thought that you would be glad that a US carrier task force has moved closer to the fighting but you are! This gives you the option of approving the attacks on these mass murdering enemies of even the lowest level democracy. I have wanted revolutionary war made on these forces for even longer than I have been advocating cruise missile attacks on Assad’s forces so I am glad that more western cruise missile people are hopping on board the drone team.

    Yes the 2nd term POTUS wants to use drones and not put any troops on the ground and that’s better than not using drones, but some of your old mates think that only makes things worse. They think that having made a terrible situation US imperialism and all western imperialist forces should just keep their ‘hands off’ but you are prepared to admit that they got that wrong in Libya and that you got the whole No Fly Zone issue wrong after the 1st gulf war. So being out of Neverland and revolted by the inaction of the POTUS over Assad using chemical munitions to kill 1% of his victims you can conceive now of being wrong over what is to be done in Iraq. Bravo!

    Just remember that you are already a cruise missile something when it comes to Syria and that you are talking to a cruise missile Marxist so we are on the same side here. This enemy want’s to not just overthrow Assad but also the FSA and the Iraqi government that they have been hating and bombing for years (while the government of Iraq are more than soft on Assad!).

    Start by reviewing the Surge and considering how that worked when Obama said it wouldn’t and McCain was first to push for it.

    A surge of some sort right across the region is more than required now!

    Forget all the moral high ground junk and think of fighting in a way that will further the revolutionary war that is underway.

    Assad is still being disarmed of the Chemical Weapons and you are in favor of this and how it came about from imminent attacks but you are not in any way in support of the ISIS and they are not able to be compelled with a threat of Cruise missiles destroying their air force. So air power won’t be enough even if it is better than nothing.

    Boots on the ground have to defeat the ISIS just as the Nazis in WW2 had to be fully defeated and Germany occupied. Sunni’s can’t be permitted to run a supremacist mass murdering tyranny any more than Assad can be let get away with setting up his rump state that can only then exist into the future as a fascist state.

    Revolutionary swamp draining is very complicated war but air war is not enough even when you get around to catching up to Obama, boots on the ground must be advocated by progressives. People win war’s and the people must be mobilized and trained etc so special forces and training troops and lots more beside are required.

    Sure nothing is straightforward but people holding up a sign on the net won’t get those school girls back now will they!

  24. 24 dalec

    I am curious, which side would you guys have chosen in the 30 years war (1618-1648)?
    The Sunni vs Shia conflict goes back to the 14th century. Surely the most important thing is to resolve it – not to take the side that best serves the interests of an external player (Iraq, Syria, the US, Iran etc).

  25. 25 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Patrick some times I wonder whether you will run out of straw in the construction of your arguments. Where do I say live and let live?
    The idea that there is a war for democracy between Islamic fanatics and the west is a zombie idea ie its really dead but it continues to shuffle onwards. The Islamists dont hate us because of democracy just like their predecessors wernt fighting the Soviets or the crusaders because of democracy
    More straw about the Iraqi government not being the ones who are setting up roadside bombs yet it is the Iraqi government through arrests, torture and executions that is driving Arab Sunnis into an alliance with Islamic fanatics, those same fanatics who Arab Sunnis were happy to fight a few years back and afterwards the Iraqi government started to target the leaders of the awakening councils.
    And please stop referring to Obama as my man or that Im happy about the movement of the US navy
    More straw you say I support Assad being stripped of chemical weapons, wrong Ive argued that the chemical weapon stuff was a distraction and played into his hands. My argument about Assad is that Im against Assad not his choice of weapon.
    My request to you is any time you make an assertion just then provide a piece of evidence. If you do that your posts will in fact be shorter paradoxical but true.
    Dalec put me down on the side of the Protestants fighting for religious freedom.

  26. 26 Dalec

    Actually the Sunni Shia conflict goes back to the 7th century, after the Prophet died – was really serious by the 14th.
    The 30 years war was not really about faith it was about imperial power and control. Sound familiar?

  27. 27 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Wasn’t it essential for the development of Capitalism that the Imperial power with its feudal religion Catholicism be at least held to a draw in the 30 years war so that the new religion with the new ideas about personal responsibility and having your future in your own hands be given the opportunity to develop.
    I’m happy to be corrected but I thought that the emergence of non conformist protestantism had a significant part to play in the construction of Capitalism which I take as read we think was a good thing.
    BTW I know almost nothing about the 30years war I had to look it up after you mentioned it.

  28. 28 Red Blob aka steve owens
  29. 29 Dalec

    Steve, Thanks for the link I found it very interesting.
    As you say the dutch used the schism in a very positive way to lay the foundations of modern society.
    Other countries used it to further their repressive imperial aims.
    I guess my point about the Sunni Shia schism is that modern imperialism and repressive states find the division between Sunni and Shia to be very useful – along with the metaphysical clap trap that is associated with both sects.
    If the US had devoted resources to remove the divisions and promote a secular society after 2004 then the scope for Jihadi recruitment from both sides would have been radically reduced. Instead they installed Maliki, labelled all the Sunnis as Fascists and proceeded to create the present situation.

  30. 30 patrickm

    Steve you are NOT a ‘hands off’ live and let live sort but there are such people. You are a cruise missile something or other that – just at the moment and over this issue – is stuck on the fence. You were off the fence over Libya and you were cheering Obama’s military efforts.

    You have openly wanted action against Assad’s war making, NOT JUST his chemical weapons but that part IS a subset of what you have wanted Obama to take action over and you are therefore glad that U.S. forces were moved into a credible threat position to bring about that sub-set result. Wanting more is not on the fence or back in Neverland. Nor is your criticism that it is a distraction. It still makes you uncomfortable to be standing where you currently do, but WW2 united front theory is like that. With a bit of luck you may never be comfortable again.

    Currently people are prepared to fire a gun back at the advancing ISIS, and YOU think leaving such Al Qaeda type people alone is really stupid. You don’t think they can be left alone. Assad is not the only enemy we cruise missile types face in and out of Syria and we have called for people to make war on them all! We both have called on western powers to put hands on. When this enemy crosses to another country called Iraq we don’t change policies. They have been ‘crossing’ back and forth for more than a decade.

    Now we know that the Iraqi government is not the force that is setting off the market place bombs, and the Sadrist types are much more of – the just as bad as ISIS – Shia death squad types. But ISIS IS part of that market bombing side! Forget the past just for now because the Sadrists are back out of the bag due to the bungling of the Iraqi government forces under enemy attack, and the Obama admin all along. So what is to be done?

    I choose between the government forces of Iraq and ISIS and Sadrists types! I say there was no ‘noble’ resistance to the COW occupation nor any need for it. I say the COW occupation ended without defeat, therefore that is proof that my position all along was correct. I say there was zero need for an armed struggle to get them to go home. Everyone who understood or supported it was wrong.

    Now, what are we cruise missile types to unite around?

    Basic democratic demands and fighting against a known enemy and exposing those who go as democrat by day and anti-democrat by night, and in support of constitutional government? That’s simple enough, but specifically I approve of a COW military re-engagement in Iraq. You could take a stand either way but currently I can’t tell.

    I am glad that a U.S. carrier task force has moved closer to the fighting are you? I would like to see much more even though Obama is dribbling on about there being no military solution. The 2nd rate POTUS has put some specialist troops on the ground but would rather not and that’s better than not even using drones. Do you agree? After all he is not your man. Do you think he got the surge wrong and that some renewed surge of some sort right across the region is more than required now?

    Given that people holding up a sign on the net won’t get those school girls back what is to be done? You can’t really hide sitting up there on a fence!

  31. 31 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Many years ago I asked Barry what failure would look like in Iraq. Barry is a wise man, he never answered my question but may I suggest that an ISIS lead army marching on Baghdad, a dissolving of the Iraq army and Baghdad being defended by the Mahdi army might come close.

  32. 32 patrickm

    Would you prefer to be a local’progressive’ and make revolution against Baathists now in Iraq or now in Syria?

    But now what about talking to the actual issues?

  33. 33 Steve Owens

    Sorry yes the actual issues.
    I cant see the ISIS taking Baghdad but if they do well its game over and we start a new game.
    Its hard to see Maliki survive as PM now that Sistani has called for a government thats less divisive.
    I suggest that we chill out and see whose in charge after the battle for Baghdad.
    Over the past couple of years the Iraqi government has followed a very devisive path. I have been highlighting this but as usual words I write tend to blow away in the wind

  34. 34 Steve Owens
  35. 35 Steve Owens

    “I am very optimistic about about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”Joe Biden in 2010

  36. 36 informally yours

    Steve, why ask a question you don’t want answered? Barry never shied away from engaging fully with contributors even when they asked ignorant or silly questions until it became repetitious, tedious and boring. Consider the job he did on that all important excuse for Neverland not thinking; oil!

    I was watching my usual weekly dose of high blood pressure the Insiders and Bolt yesterday and Bolt put it succinctly that Iraq was chaos snatched from the hands of victory thanks to Barack Obama’s weak and vacillating leadership and the early withdrawal of residual rapid response troops etc.. Obama has pursued international policy with an eye primarily on domestic issues not on the interests of the subject at hand.

    As I see it we have long ago defeated stop the war coalition’s and the equivalent, cheering the so-called failure as some kind of retrospective ‘we told you that it wouldn’t work’.

    I am just watching the biased ABC now with the panic mongering about how ISIS has taken control of ‘strategic’ Iraqi border crossings and we’ll no doubt be inundated with guests unchallenged when saying that at least Saddam ran a country where there was ‘harmony’ between the now deeply warring peoples’. Harmony, what a sick and stupid characterisation of how life was under the mass murdering dictatorship of Sunni origin from Tikriti.

    I note Netanyahu is exhorting the world not to strengthen either side but to make sure that all the warring enemies are weakened.

    Meanwhile, John Kerry is talking about bringing about a government that is more inclusive as opposed to pointing out their policy to withdraw troops was wrong and premature, and that the PR system as implemented (admittedly under sufferance at first) in Iraq by his predecessor offers commensurate power depending upon demographic strength and ought to deliver the best outcomes under the circumstances.

    I have just re-read the initial article and I think the original points stand that there are a lot of wrong questions being asked and also plenty of playing with words. The question the author puts up front is; was the chance of freedom in Iraq worth the costs? The answer I think is unequivocally yes despite the warts. There is a preceding cost of doing nothing, and the costs of doing nothing are on display in Syria and back into Iraq.

    While it is the Islamic world that bears the brunt of most of the inter-Islamic conflict, it spills into the western world with devastating consequences and it is clear that ‘infidel’ culture is on top of the list of Jihad projects and that our world very much has an interest in fighting that which wants to challenge our more liberal and egalitarian social morays root and branch.

    The globe is a ‘shrinking’ one, and in the 21st C the Middle East is not a long way to send Antipodean sons and daughters to fight the good fight. They did a good job in the region way back in WW2 and as we ought to understand there are costs in turning the other cheek and falsely asserting we westerners have no interest in this region. We must be able to think ahead just as we can now look back on the history of the revolution as it has unfolded in the first decade of this century. We wouldn’t want our children looking in retrospect at a chance lost to finish a job that was started but went off the rails for another x period of months and years.

    I support the call to talk about the actual issues without the loaded questions and the triumphalism of the ‘failure’ of the intervention in Iraq.

  37. 37 Steve Owens

    Informally yours you are just straight up and down wrong on your idea that it was Obama who signed off on US troops out of Iraq as this quote from CNN highlights
    “The agreement mandating that all American troops leave Iraq by the end of 2011 was signed by one George W. Bush, before Obama took office.

    As negotiations over our departure proceeded in Obama’s first term, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki — eager to have the Americans gone so he could consolidate what would turn out to be a corrupt sectarian rule — refused to grant American troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. Without that immunity, there was simply no way American forces could remain there. We’ve heard many people say Obama “should have pushed harder,” but nobody says exactly what that’s supposed to mean, or why al-Maliki would have given in, especially considering how he’s acted since.”

  38. 38 Red Blob aka steve owens

    “Steve, why ask a question you don’t want answered?” That’s a joke, right?

  39. 39 informally yours

    No it isn’t a joke. I thought it was insulting and rather foolish to say that you had previously asked a question and you thought it showed Barry was wise for not answering it. (And the inference being Patrick is unwise for engaging with you) In other words you were saying that in now answering your questions we incriminate ourselves… therefore I asked why ask questions that you think it wise not to answer?

    I take on board your correction re; my assertion that it was Obama who signed off on the troops I now remember that it was of course GW Bush who did this, leaving open the question of final terms to the next administration.

    My point has not been undermined by this I don’t believe as both Obama and al Maliki seem to have both been in an unwise hurry to be free of each other. Meanwhile, the long suffering Iraqi masses continue their suffering while the world looks on playing word games as the article highlights. My concern remains how to understand the world and unite the many to defeat the few as opposed to your repeated attempts at sowing disunity.

  40. 40 Red Blob aka steve owens

    So with Andrew Bolt do you think he lied about Obama or is it just really sloppy journalism?
    It’s hard to believe that its sloppy journalism. This particular lie is common currency amongst war apologists but if I can fact check it in about 5 minutes its a pretty poor lie/journalism.
    Now if you think that Bolt is lying I wonder what other lies he has told.
    As to uniting people well Im guilty Im not trying to unite Im still trying to differentiate between truth and bullshit. Ive had enough of uniting around bullshit.

  41. 41 admin

    I have just heard that 100% of the Syrian Chemical Weapons stock (as declared by Assad) have now been handed over – less than a year since the attack that horrifically killed 1400.

    At the time Obama tried his best to avoid his red line and in the end he just could not do it! Actually he could have forced Assad a year earlier but better late then never! You are right that it’s a bit of a diversion but the world has changed since Halabja caused no problems for a functioning fascist regime.

    I don’t think you are a ‘war apologist’ now that you are advocating war but you sure are uncomfortable standing in the ‘fighting’ ranks with your rapidly fading peace badges. Best take them off and polish up the old political power growing appliance.

    Stop blaming us democrats for wanting to shoot back! We never start the shooting when we make the sort of demands that fall on deaf ears until Egyptian judges jail ‘innocent’ journalists.

    I think Andrew Bolt is just a bit sloppy with his journalism; I don’t think he lied, I think he is a ‘victim’ (as I was) of Obama’s own propaganda as a anti-war politician.

    Libya, Syria, the Ukraine – now back into Iraq, plus dealing with the fascist take over in Egypt and the interminable delay over Palestine – and who can forget Afghanistan and Africa? (while all the while Neverland chants hands off to everything) With this amount of war going on it is no wonder people from the old peace gang have gone barking mad. Deep breath now and climb down from the fence.

    The U.S. in its steep decline has to fight this ‘war’ so now it’s clear that Obama is just not very good at it and that ought not surprise anyone because he was elected on almost pure peace bullshit! Oh I forgot you would probably have voted for him and advocated that others vote for him and you now talk about dealing with bullshit, that’s rich. Pot? Kettle? black? Again I say, put it all behind you and climb down from the fence.

    An open conservative like Bolt is quite hopeless in many ways, but I don’t think he deliberately lies. The pseudoleft as you know certainly does deliberately lie and we have documented numerous examples over every issue that has ever come up on sites like Kasama and The North Star, and Larvatus Prodeo etc.. But then there is the greatest of all sin – the sin of omission. You are sinning on the fence you know so climb down and repent.

    The floundering pseudoleft (which Bolt constantly refers to as left and therein lies the biggest problem) provides a big enough target that he is replete with examples of wrongness and thus has no need to make them up anymore than we do, or you for that matter – you dumped THEM, and refugee like stumbled out of Neverland and are up there on the fence all alone; just keep going over the fence to the other side.

    Bolt suffers from a naivete that’s to be understood in the lack of experience in real political struggles. For instance a few weeks ago he smugly asserted that he had a superior analysis as he adhered to principles and others did not. Principles such as freedom of speech etc.. However, from experience I have found examples where there are competing principles on the way to a not so clear solution.

    Knowing as I do some of the people you have ‘united’ with I can see why you are now cautious after taking a different path from them. But right now you are stuck on that fence it seems. As you know I am an ex organiser for students’ against the war in Iraq Mk1 and so I’ve also made my share of errors that inform my current stance however I have always known that fence sitting is a cold and lonely existence.

    So Steve, another subject change and diversion won’t help. You know putting up so-called gotcha links with one-liners is not on and yet you have persisted with this approach. Who knows why? You continue to want it all your own way and do not offer even the slightest courtesy or goodwill to the participants here. (and right now it’s almost as quiet as the tomb, or say TNS, or Kasama, so why bother annoying people?) Try to climb down from the fence and write something that hangs together and contributes to you getting off the fence.

    Please re-acquaint yourself with the Rules of Engagement and change the ‘sniff and piss’ approach you have adopted or my patience will run out. If you’ve got something to say take it seriously and put in a bit of effort.

    Even though the site is almost in cold storage I think I ought to treat it as if it was lively and you were disrupting others. That being so, from now on one-liners accompanying links are under threat if they are not accompanied by previous recent contributions and link only contributions will be deleted.

  42. 42 patrickm

    Steve I was only just reading the (pre Syrian mass slaughter) 2007 Christopher Hitchens book GOD IS NOT GREAT and rediscovered this passage that is I think germane to this thread. I recommend it if you have not read it. I bet Obama was far too busy to read it, but at page 25 through to 27 the basic plot required to deal with the essence on events right now was spelt out. A couple of years before anti-war Obama became Commander in Chief, he ought to have read and grasped the following key points but he did not.

    With the throat clearing point of the book stated as…
    ‘Religion Poisons Everything. As well as a menace to civilisation, it has become a threat to human survival.’ and this being nothing that God bothering Obama could bother with, the key Iraq observation sailed passed as well.

    ‘I am not here going to elaborate a position on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003. I shall simply say that those who regarded this regime as a “secular” one are deluding themselves. It is true that the Ba’ath Party was founded by a man named Michel Aflaq, a sinister Christian with a sympathy for fascism, and it is also true that membership of that party was open to all religions (though its Jewish membership was, I have every reason to think, limited). However, at least since his calamitous invasion of Iran in 1979, which led to furious accusations from the Iranian theocracy that he was an “infidel”, Saddam Hussein had decked out his whole rule – which was based in any case on a tribal minority of a Sunni minority – as one of piety and jihad. (The Syrian Ba’ath Party, also based on a confessional fragment of society aligned with the Alawite minority, has likewise enjoyed a long and hypocritical relationship with the Iranian Mullahs.) Saddam had inscribed the words “Allahuh Akhbar” -“God is Great” – on the Iraqi flag. He had sponsored a huge international conference of holy warriors and mullahs, and maintained very warm relations with their other chief state sponsor in the region, namely the genocidal government of Sudan. He had built the largest mosque in the region, and named it the “Mother of all Battles” mosque, complete with a Koran written in blood that he claimed to be his own. When launching his own genocidal campaign against the (mainly Sunni) people of Kurdistan – a campaign that involved the thoroughgoing use of chemical atrocity weapons and the murder and deportation of hundreds of thousands of people – he had called it “Operation Anfal”, borrowing by this term a Koranic justification – “The Spoils” of sura 8 – for the despoilment and destruction of nonbelievers. [Here is the kicker] When the Coalition forces crossed the Iraqi border, they found Saddam’s army dissolving like a sugar lump in hot tea, but met with some quite tenacious resistance from a paramilitary group, stiffened with foreign jihadists, called the Fedayeen Saddam. One of the jobs of this group was to execute anybody who publicly welcomed the Western intervention, and some revolting public hangings and mutilations were soon captured on video for all to see. [Sound Familiar?]
    At a minimum, it can be agreed by all that the Iraqi people had endured much in the preceding thirty-five years of war and dictatorship, that the Saddam regime could not have gone on forever as an outlaw system within international law, and therefore that-whatever objections there might be to the actual means of “regime change” – the whole society deserved a breathing space in which to consider reconstruction and reconciliation. Not one single minute of breathing space was allowed. [Not of course something that would have surprised Mao, Churchill, Roosevelt or uncle Jo]

    Everybody knows the sequel. The supporters of al-Qaeda,led by a Jordanian jailbird named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, launched a frenzied campaign of murder and sabotage. They not only slew unveiled women and secular journalists and teachers. They not only set off bombs in Christian churches (Iraq’s population is perhaps 2 percent Christian) and shot or maimed Christians who made and sold alcohol. They not only made a video of the mass shooting and throat-cutting of a contingent of Nepalese guest workers, whom were assumed to be Hindu and thus beyond all consideration. These atrocities might be counted as more or less routine. They directed the most toxic part of their campaign of terror at fellow Muslims. The mosques and funeral processions of the long-oppressed Shiite majority were blown up. Pilgrims coming long distances to the newly accessible shrines at Karbala and Najaf did so at the risk of their lives. In a letter to his leader Osama bin Laden, Zarqawi gave the two main reasons for this extraordinarily evil policy. In the first place, as he wrote, the Shiites were heretics who did not take the correct Salafist path of purity. They were thus a fit prey for the truly holy. In the second place, if a religious war could be induced within Iraqi society, the plans of the “crusader” West could be set at nought. The obvious hope was to ignite a counterresponse from the Shia themselves, which would drive Sunni Arabs into the arms of their bin Ladenist “protectors.” And, despite some noble appeals for restraint from the grand ayatollah Sistani, it did not prove very difficult to elicit such a response. Before long, Shia death squads, often garbed in police uniforms, were killing and torturing random members of the Sunni Arab faith. The surreptitious influence of the neighboring “Islamic Republic” of Iran was not difficult to detect, and in some Shia areas also it became dangerous to be an unveiled woman or a secular person. Iraq boasts quite a long history of intermarriage and intercommunal cooperation. But a few years of this hateful dialectic soon succeeded in creating an atmosphere of misery, distrust, hostility, and sect-based politics. Once again, religion had poisoned everything.’ From God is not Great by C. Hitchens 2007

  43. 43 Steve Owens

    Patrick we don’t disagree on the desirability of removing Saddam. Where we do disagree is on the US capability to do the job. When the US decided on occupation of Japan they started teaching officers Japanese. When they occupied Italy they demanded that anti facsist forces hand in their weapons or be treated as hostile. When the Japanese surrended the Japanese army was told to stay put and keep order. In Iraq the mainly Shia conscript army was told to go home. The US was never prepared to put in the effort to make Iraq a success and in many ways Iraq was a much harder situation than Japan, Italy or Germany.
    The US seemed to actively undermine their own position by telling everyone how easy it would be and astonishingly by teaming up with Shia militias that were implicated in death squad activities.
    All this stuff I warned about before the invasion or shortly after.
    Interesting to see war boosters like Andrew Bolt now coming out and saying that we should back Assad and that we should have done more to help poor old Mubarak

  44. 44 Steve Owens
  45. 45 patrickm

    Steve, we disagreed on the DEGREE of desirability of removing Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people via a process of disarming that massive blockage and protecting the Iraqi peoples’ from the Fedayeen Saddam, Jihadists and a plentiful supply of well trained ‘residual’ Baathists etc., etc..

    We disagreed on the DEGREE of desirability of a COW doing this while they (the Islamist but relatively democratic – by the standards of the swamp – Iraqi peoples’) set to the task of:
    1. Establishing their mass based political parties and their mass media.
    2. Holding free and fair votes for a constitution and thus establishing a functioning state with a separation of powers. And then
    3. Holding the parliamentary elections to establish who speaks for whom in a proportional manner and;
    4. For these representatives to negotiate between themselves and set up a government that has a limited term etc..

    We disagreed on the DEGREE of desirability of establishing the NEW state that had been thus birthed and only then – having fought and occupied to achieve THAT – leaving only after helping in the real process of establishing the new state’s military – done in ongoing conflict with the enemy of the project – and we disagreed on ensuring that this – bound to be less than desirable military – was reasonably established and stabilised.

    We disagreed on the DEGREE of desirability of only then and only province by province handing total control to the new state forces until in due course full hand over and a total withdrawal first from the cities into the countryside, and then in negotiation with the new government HOME – naturally having left Iraq with a new reality in the balance of forces still contending in this desirable transformation.

    We don’t disagree that a new Iraq was left behind where only the local people – plus whoever feels they want to cross the border- thus conduct whatever fight was and is still required to transform that very warped country at the heart of a revoltingly backward region. Some people don’t even realise that this reality is desirable compared to the bad old days before the liberation but NOT you and I. We just disagree on the degree of desirability.

    Where we do NOT disagree is on the U.S. capability to do the job because that job was done years ago and they like the rest of the COW are not there now. Unfortunately they are all home or in a base in Japan, Germany, Italy or say Korea, England or Australia even. How about that nobody worth bothering with is worried that they are even in bases in Kuwait etc..

    Now the issue that we are thinking about is what next?

    We do this pondering as, and partly because the Syrian war seeps across the border in all directions, but dramatically into Iraq presenting western progressives with the usual hands on or off calls. The calls as we stand half way through 2014 from various political trends across this globalising world, are now all over the shop. But the neverland stance is consistent and just as irrelevant.

    When the U.S. decided on excluding the Stalin led USSR from mainland Japan and atom bombed defenceless people before the occupation of Japan they did start teaching their officers Japanese, but that is history and a bit of a diversion when we know they did the right thing from a progressive POV in fighting WW2 but then they followed up with 60 years of rotten to the core policies in the ME that progressives DO AGREE WAS WRONG OF THEM, and I think was foolish even from their own POV as it backfired on them as leftist and progressives said it would.

    My view is that the right realists sowed the wind and harvested the whirlwind. Anyone who has ever read Mao understands that there is nothing to be surprised about the peoples’ of the ME hating the U.S. imperialists’ (even when they are doing the right thing they are understandably despised)

    I wondered years ago if we in the western world had waved bye bye to policies of imperialism that just do not work anymore? I think we have, but that is not the issue for us now. The issue is what current policies ought we progressives adopt and promote?

    Is the Russian revanchist a bigger blockage to progress on the three big issues of our era ‘countries want independence, nations want liberation and the people want revolution’ or is western capitalism and particularly the Tweedle democracies? I think Putin is!

    I think the swamp has been getting worse under the Obama watch because of his policies. I think he has been a terrible ditherer and a poor POTUS because he is not good at making revolution and that is what this Arab spring is! Obama has been reactive rather than fighting from the front foot. He has always been looking for ways to not fight and to dump the ragheads rather than to take the fight up to the enemy and assist the peoples’ to make revolution across the world. I think that is obvious.

    Kerry does not impress me much and seems to be thrashing around after visiting Egypt where he put $500mil. down now and said we shall see about the other $500mil later and then Egyptian’s jail the journalists.

    Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been stringing them along and while they have been standing up to him it is pretty poor return on U.S. effort.

    When you say ‘The US was never prepared to put in the effort to make Iraq a success and in many ways Iraq was a much harder situation than Japan, Italy or Germany.’ I’m at a loss to know what to say, other than perhaps what you really mean is explained by the near total destruction of the countries that you are talking about, and the actual death of so many of their fighting men to the point of real national exhaustion, and a deep mass understanding of the pointlessness of any further fighting. Then perhaps liberation was understood as having arrived with food to end the starvation and then some hope arose as people understood who had brought on the war.

    Iraq was exactly the opposite. The country wasn’t pulverised like Syria is now or the WW2 enemies were then. Casualties were minimal and so many organised thugs and terrorists lurked anywhere that the few liberation troops were not in force. It seems to me that Napoleon’s dicta were forgotten, and so were Mao’s and this was not a good thing.

    I don’t think much of any of the political formations of the ruling classes in any country so I’m not shocked that ‘The US (ruling elite that HAD to respond with a strategic war to the reality of 2001 were inexperienced revolutionaries and ) seemed to actively undermine their own position by telling everyone how easy it would be (that’s the way it is with newbies) and astonishingly by teaming up with Shia militias that were implicated in death squad activities. ‘(that’s the swamp)
    BUT the COW made war on the worst of them! You forget that and those types are only now back on the street openly when the government has had a big setback.

    You say ‘All this stuff I warned about before the invasion or shortly after.’ and YET years after you dropped the old thinking and the sect politics, and then the peace movement hands off line, on the way to becoming a cruise missile something or other and climbing on the fence!

    What will get you off that fence?

    Sure if you were going to democracy you wouldn’t be starting up there on a fence but that’s where you are, and if you stay there you’ll just starve! So given that starving is not going to help and you have to get down and either move back to Neverland (where you had became miserable in the first place and that’s why you moved on and climbed up on the fence) or you can climb down on this side and wander along this side of the fence looking for the way forward to democracy. There is of course no easy direct route.

    Look at the drivel that Kerry said about Egypt being in it’s ‘transition’ to democracy! Bolt isn’t the only foolish right-winger but he has Al Gore’s measure and he has just turned up in Oz I see, so Bolt has an up side; what fun this complexity really is.

    I’m sure you were gagging with laughter as we were over the Egyptian ‘transition’ crap but now that those sweet liberals in the mass media are getting a taste of direct oppression let’s see how the naked fascism of the Egyptian ruling class goes down! Bolt will be in a spin! Abbott can understand why the MB had to be shot and jailed for winning elections but can’t grasp why you have to close down the free press! Blatantly calling black, white to chill the whole media and set some ground rules about how Egypt is to operate; well apparently that’s going too far!

    Well I for one am very glad the ruling-class judges have upset the liberals and spat in Kerry’s face! The struggle for democracy can’t progress without elections that mean something, nor without liberals in a free press. Combating liberalism is not an obsolete or superseded part of the Marxist world view. We unite with others we don’t capitulate to other views. That’s where we live and let live. If the MB is being shot and jailed then what is sauce for the goose?

    Right-wingers like Bolt dribble on with their pro-Zionism without the slightest clue that the world won’t roll backwards for that failed war for greater Israel. Israel is not going back into the Sinai, or Gaza, or Lebanon and a Palestinian state is coming! Who could imagine that the Golan Heights will be kept as a consolation prize, when they won’t be even able to keep East Jerusalem?

    Some people who think themselves as leftists and or progressives of some sort think that the Zionist project for greater Israel will be successful, or if not they at least take great pride in ‘knowingly’ proclaiming it an intractable problem! Well here we are and I still say U.S. interests really do require that they end that war and what’s been going on over this stuff has shown them up as such a diminished ‘superpower’.

    Despite it being a vital national interest they have still not wagged the tail. So I think that Israel can’t be thought of as just a tail! Obama is just not up to the task – and yet – and yet – it inches closer like a glacier.

    Progressives like myself and you Steve have enemies. The buildup of enemy forces in Syria and then lying low in Iraq to then rush forward and kill the hated ‘other’ even in drive by mode – just because they and ‘you and me’ are dressed as the hated other dress – is something worthy of any progressive responding to the problem. Get off the fence and respond otherwise they will eventually notice you and shoot you up there.

    Rapid advance across flat desert lands is a standard result from surprise attacks in the era of the internal combustion engine, but Baghdad is under no threat at all yet our breathless ABC type media gives that impression!

    People can withdraw in good time if they feel they must but remember people under attack don’t win their war by withdrawing. We have to think about the offense as well. Consider your own interests. Consider where you are really standing now and who wants to kill you.

    Neverland makes their smug tut tut sound and then apes the right realists who once more shrug and tell all what they told us that ‘democratic revolution was dangerous for western interests’ and that these rag heads really did need to be kept in line by a big fascist chemical weapons wielding tyranny. If he uses them on Kurds or Iranians or Shia, we good capitalist loving westerners who understand that humanity has reached the end of history are to just turn a blind eye and pretend that that’s just the way these people are.

    But that can’t be how the internationalist left view the world. We side with the oppressed and people who advance as this force just have – in the very manner of their advance – identifies them as our enemy. So off the fence and stand to your gun! Tell the world what side you’re on and call on NATO to make some war.

    Nothing good will come from staying on the fence and talking about the past. People are marching off to democracy and you ought to march as well. Obama might want to swat gnats with little missiles from remote controlled drones, but that’s not the way to win the 21st C revolutionary war for bourgeois democracy. Events in Syria over these last few years has changed the debate. What was once thought a disaster turns out to be less than what a disaster really looks like. I think that democratic elections in Syria will follow the sound of the cruise missile explosions! I think a big war is unfolding in Syria and I am still backing the FSA and the more NATO helps the happier I’ll be!

    Anyway you seem in favour of the U.S. getting involved in Iraq now. Have I got that part right?

  46. 46 Red Blob aka steve owens

    US getting involved? Am I in favor? Well the US is already involved. Im in favor of waiting a while. The Kurds need to decide, help Iraq or go for independence. Those in Baghdad need to decide whose leading them and do they really want the Arab Sunni areas back. Given a bit of time the Sunni Arabs will tire of the Islamic extremists who execute people for smoking.
    Lets see who wants to fight the ISIS before we get too gungho.
    I still support anyone who will give material support to the FSA and or the Kurdish fighters in Syria who remain the success story of the Syrian revolution.

  47. 47 Red Blob aka steve owens
  48. 48 Red Blob aka steve owens
  49. 49 patrickm

    The ISIL designation is the better nomenclature I think so I will use that rather than ISIS.

    You say ‘Given a bit of time the Sunni Arabs will tire of the Islamic extremists who execute people for smoking.’ Or those extremists might tire of this themselves, or wise up to just sticking to the task of killing communists and western minded liberals, uppity women and that sort of enemy, but then that would be us and people like us now wouldn’t it? Wise democrats don’t take chances on them being good to us – anymore than you could take a chance on Nazis tiring of filling the gas chambers. Clearly, it is only a fit thought for children and fence sitters. Middle eastern progressives will never get to democracy if they think like that.

    Because all progressives the world over want to fight the ISIL rather than ‘Lets see who wants to fight the ISIS before we get too gung ho’ we advocate that others who are less than progressive (like conservatives for example) fight them as well. People on the fence try the other way around and being vulnerable get picked off.

    The population in the enemy region may tire of troops that run around among them running the counterrevolution and killing ‘us’ and our allies but that is not our concern.

    People might say ‘I’m in favor of waiting a while. ‘ and that could mean that they are not in favour of a small – right through to – massive force of U.S. military ‘assets’ being moved into the strike zone, or it could mean that they favour them being moved up so that the option to strike becomes available. Which is it?

    If you are off that fence on the march to democracy side you will be glad of any COW type forces stepping up to be even available to advance the revolution. If you are down on the never unite side you won’t. If you are on the fence… well…?

    After I believe a request from the Iraqi government for 20,000 troops (that must gall them enormously) some few (300) potentially vanguard special forces have I think been sent. If that is so do you approve of their deployment? Baghdad is the capital of Iraq and there is still a legitimate government. That government at some point will change and hopefully for the better but any government that emerges will still be faced with a war. What is the nature of the conflict that this government has faced for many years? Perhaps that is too hard a question for you right now.

    OK, so negotiations with some forces and political changes may well be required in the way the government of Iraq goes forward – but revolutionary war making against the counterrevolutionary forces will still be central to any next moves – even twin track developments.

    Neverland do not approve, and I of course welcome the special forces with the criticism that I want many more ASAP and A10’s etc., to protect our side and destroy the enemy when the inevitable offence is launched. Do you consider that above mentioned deployment just (a prudent) part of actively waiting (I do). What is your view on this current tiny deployment? Ought there be no fightback any time these counterrevolutionaries advance, or just next time? Ought the democratic Iraqi forces and their allies not prepare an offensive in turn? Fighting a war by letting the enemy hold any gains is obviously Neverland style defeatism. It is pure junk from a cruise missile POV.

    The Sunni Kurds are still led by the same people as when you had your focus more directly on the worrying aspects of that leadership rather than the ‘looming’ threat from ISIL but you would (I think) agree that by the standards of this region they – as a whole – remain the greatest success story of the region. Are not the Sunni ISIL the direct enemy to focus on and have they not grown substantially under Obama’s policies while your focus or emphasis has been misdirected?

    Don’t the Sunni Kurds give the lie to this war really just being a ‘raghead’ religious conflict with neither side being any good at all? Ought not the Kurds continue with building up their strength and protecting their recent gains particularly Kirkuk and fighting the ISIL where they can? Won’t they do a far better job of this task if NATO were to commit to the job of sorting out the giant mess of Syria?

    I could speculate at length on what would be the best way to actually defeat the fascists but that is rather pointless. Let’s just get the big brush picture correct shall we?

    Neverland is mostly clear on this point. The usual suspects want the forces withdrawn from the region so that the current mostly hands off policy can not be changed to a more hands on policy as you know. You on the other hand were glad that a credible attack on Assad was so real that Assad handed over the chemical weapons and that process is now concluded. Neverland shuts up about this and though it is a little bit of a diversion I think it’s still a positive that such materials have been handed over and destroyed! Here lies a real bind though because as we know the deal enabled Assad to keep his air force going and the barrel bombs doing their hideous work to this day. I would perhaps have preferred that Assad’s air power had been attacked rather than this but Obama’s position led directly to Assad saying OK we will comply, so there was no attack on the ISIL attacking air power that Assad has and that the elected government of Iraq want to see attacking ISIL as we do.

    Steve if we put your 2 thoughts together others will see why this position is the hopelessly fence sitting paralysis that you should move on from. ISIL is a veteran organization from the fight against the elected government of Iraq and is an Al Qaeda type terror organization. It is a cancer that is growing not shrinking.

    Choosing the term ‘material support’ gives plausible denial in some events so you might like to clarify your position and state if you support the ‘material support’ of the POTUS moving U.S. military formations into the strike zone and then those formations launching attacks to destroy any and all of Assad’s air and artillery units and killing any and all of the troops that they can manage that block the FSA from advancing.

    I believe that for any FSA type forces this is a war on 2 fronts and U.S. power is still urgently required. All the delaying and dithering has made it worse. You argue for more delay and further dithering!!

    I think you have indicated that you support ISIL being fought in Syria even though they are anti Assad. If I have you wrong then that is your fault because you are able to write as plainly as I do but choose not to.

    Now that ISIL has grown and expanded when others warned that they would grow and go on with a further offensive if left alone by the U.S. / NATO we must face that.

    You seem in favour of the U.S. getting involved in Iraq now but are almost choking on that reality.

    Iraq has clearly three different regions and a confederation is no doubt best in any long term sense BUT the Sunni Arab region must not be what it has been (a zone for terrorists and Baathist thugs etc., to hide in and build up a force like this supremacist army and or to make low level war from).

    Also Baghdad will not disappear in any puff of logic anymore than Cairo or Damascus.

    You say pointlessly ‘Well the US is already involved.’ and then post a link demonstrating that Iraq is now buying weapons from Putin! Do the Iraqi government require these ‘cruise missiles’? Did the Vietnamese have a use for Soviet weapons in 1968 when the Soviet state capitalists were invading Czechoslovakia?

    The world is a strange place and these are strange times.

  50. 50 Red Blob aka steve owens

    The problems of Iraq are primarily political rather than military.
    When the Cow invaded they made a political mistake. They sided with Shia militias that were persecuting Sunni Arabs. This drove Sunni Arabs into the arms of what became ISIS.
    The US corrected this mistake and in conjunction with the injection of 30,000 extra troops (the Surge) the US armed the Awakening Councils. This arming was opposed by Shia groups. It wasn’t the surge that improved Iraq as much as it was the political reorientation from punishing Sunnis to protecting Sunnis.
    When the US left Iraq the government of Iraq had a choice be super generous to Sunnis or to persecute them. Within a week of the US leaving prominent Sunni politicians were on the run and the vice presidents staff were subject to torture to the extent that one died under questioning. Military leaders of the awakening were hunted down the prisons filled with young Sunni men and claims of secret prisons and torture flourished. Even Sadr has claimed that the treatment of Sunnis was too harsh and he lead death squads.
    So Sunni Arabs have again been pushed into the arms of the ISIS. Now Maliki’s allies can bomb the shit out of Sunni cities but it wont solve the problem because the problem is the governments persecution of the Sunni minority.
    Today was day one of the new Iraqi parliament. Iraq’s elected representatives have the power to appoint a prime minister today. The politics of that prime minister will go far to determine the outcome.
    Just on a separate point Iraq has had an order for jet fighters from the US for about two years and the US has sat on this order I think because the Kurds are keen for a balance of military force to be maintained, the reality of Iraq is that of dual power with a border dispute and warfare between Kurdistan and Baghdad a strong possibility. As a supporter of independent Kurdistan Im not at all happy about Baghdad gaining military superiority and neither are the Kurds

  51. 51 patrickm

    There are political problems and military ones and it’s correct to – as Mao would have said – put politics in command, but you’ve once again inverted the revolutionary struggle and have ended up making the apologetic case that the Sunni fascists would want.

    If you were off the fence and marching WITH others towards democracy your new POV would be clear of this massive blind spot where the fascists hide. It’s the fascists that most want you and your kind dead not the masses moving towards democracy, even those dragging along in the rear.

    The powerful fascist forces did not disappear with the destruction of most of their heavy weapons systems. They went underground and kept most of their terror control of the Sunni areas. These fascists had no control of the Kurdish areas because of the previous long and very costly armed struggle against them.

    The fighting Kurds had their own free troops who as you know – as part of the coordinated COW forces – swept forward capturing territory and killing only a few more of them back in 2003.

    The worst of the enemy (unfortunately) escaped and crossed into Syria and have as their way of life been waging counter-revolutionary war ever since. They have done so alongside others who contend for power, house by house, and street by street. It may not be absolute undisputed power they have but as all goons know, it is power, and ‘where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of its own accord’ nor will it ever.

    There was never a large enough COW (not in the beginning nor at any other point since even as the new Iraqi army began to grow and add their numbers to the armed Kurds) to surround and capture enough of the counter-revolutionaries. Bourgeois forces did the best they could given how pathetic their structure was for this revolutionary undertaking – but sadly they really are politically pathetic.

    But while it’s not true that you go to war (when it’s your choice when to start) with the army you have; it is always partially so. Western capitalist class ruling elites thinking and force structures were not set up for the real task required and some prime assumptions of how the liberated peoples would behave were not solid.

    Thus the ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech ought to have been the ‘Now the really difficult struggle begins!’ Churchillian style lecture. That would have had all the anti-war elements scoffing but the mass of western peoples’ would have better understood what was to unfold if the bourgeois leaders had themselves understood how difficult was the task ahead.

    The very best of the anti-war forces DID understand what was ahead so the anti-war forces then split in half. The better half had grasped that there was now an unavoidable task of building the new Iraq and thus its armed forces!

    They grasped the requirement for the COW to occupy restructure and hand back total control to the new forces established from the liberated locals step by step. They grasped the requirement for a constitution and elections and they understood that there was a zero requirement for an armed struggle to achieve these things. They did not support nor ‘understand’ the resistance.

    The pseudoleft headed deeper into Neverland the masses listened to the debates and moved in the other direction some getting no further than the fence.

    The COW forces were structured to militarily smash the big formations with heavy weapons systems and then hand over power to another bunch of local rats. Instead, the chaos of revolutionary upheaval was let loose from the top level down BECAUSE it was understood that the problems of Iraq are primarily political rather than military. (In the context that ‘all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’)

    The counter-revolutionaries were not even vaguely militarily defeated in the Sunni areas when the revolutionary reality was and is that they had to be crushed. Practice is proving the depth of their enmity and the protracted nature of the war required to free the oppressed in this swamp.

    As we know and can’t lose sight of, the reactionary Sunni ‘resistance’ targeted Shia. They did so to provoke that civil war, again, as we well know. The counter-revolutionaries had partially succeeded in this when rather than leave as some western people wanted the COW to do, the tiny U.S. political leadership backed the Surge in all its aspects. The Surge was launched against the views of Obama and the anti-war elements of all shades right the way through to the ‘let them kill each other, what is it to us’ types.

    Not being run by world-class revolutionary thinkers the COW made very many mistakes BUT only after having most importantly and crucially launched the all-important revolutionary transformation of Iraq.

    The dream of a revolutionary transformation is now a rolling reality.

    To the extent ‘they sided with Shia militias that were persecuting Sunni Arabs’ that stance had partly – one might even say mostly – arisen because of the vicious bombing campaign designed to bring on a region-wide sectarian war! Things got terrible but -only thanks to the presence of the COW- the enemy never got near that goal.

    Some Sunni Arabs fell into the arms of what became ISIL but most have either stayed under the sway of the very fascists that the revolution is directed at or moved on to fight them and ISIL and a huge number of the Sunni who have tried to fight have been killed by the counter-revolution.

    The revolution in the Sunni Arab areas is very difficult and almost ALL of Obama’s policies when confronted with the realities of Syria have made things far worse.

    Look what forces are doing well in the Sunni counter-revolution that Maliki has no choice but to fight. The Iraqi government might not be very good, but consider the terrible policies of the leave Saddam in place advocates. That is what the biggest disaster was and is!

    Unfortunately, a huge war WAS required to rid the world of German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese Militarism and lots of those sorts were still remaining after they all lost power. Rather obviously many Sunni Arabs have often shrugged while Arab Sunni terrorists have carried on for all these years so they -as a people- will have to have a rethink because only part of the problem is the government’s persecution of the Arab Sunni minority.

    I agree that ‘The politics of that prime minister will go far to determine the outcome.’ But that is in the short term because this war is extremely complex and becoming more so. History will not stop for any Iraqi Prime Minister anymore than it will for the Egyptian, Syrian, or Israeli thug leaderships. (It won’t stop for Putin either)

    The world that could turn aside while Halabja unfolded and is now turning aside while Syria goes on month after bloody month is going to change. Obama and the hands-off element are THE current political disaster on the democratic side of the struggle.

    Are you in favor of moving the forces capable of intervening towards the region or are you turning your back up there on that fence?

    The reality of Syria and Iraq is an ongoing struggle and on a massive scale and that is what Egypt faces as well (and that is before we SIMULTANEOUSLY consider what is to unfold across Africa!)

    Hands-on, or hands-off, will mean a lot to a huge number of people as this century unfolds. A ‘fighting left’ viewpoint is vital when a force like ISIL is on a rampage. Iraqi troops must regroup and advance on those ISIL fighters. Fewer people on the fence excusing bourgeois neglect is the best step forward at the moment.

    Steve; I started my response to you (in this thread) back in January by referring to Putin’s munitions and I’ve had a little sport in taunting you for being a cruise missile enthusiast quietly delighted that Assad was being disarmed of his chemical weapons. You ought to stop being so quiet.

    Those Chemical Weapons have now ‘gone with the wind’ that blows across the U.S. navy ship responsible for their immediate destruction, and the very many other ships that brought the process about by their very existence and forward deployment and their imminent deadly menace.

    Those ships of course came to that task from the previous hands-on task off the old Barbary coast where they had not just menaced but launched those missiles in an attack that we both cheered on to the great dismay of those of your former mates that remained in Neverland.

    I think it is more than just a progressive thing to destroy Assad’s barrel bombing air force AND the ISIL ground troops; I think these fights are vital for any progress in this swamp at all.

    200 years ago revolutionaries like Jefferson were also advised to ‘wait and see’ when they were inclined to change the world that they found. Rather than pay the pirate stand-over money as the cost of doing business -as the conservatives that ran Europe had done for centuries- those U.S. revolutionaries chose to plan, prepare and launch a revolutionary war.

    Jefferson the slave owner sent the fleet they built specifically for the job off to fight the war. That’s why we build armed forces. I like to think that even Jefferson-era revolutionaries would recognize ISIL on sight as an immediate military enemy today. We put politics in command to be sure but we do so in the context that ‘all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’

    Putin is still quite unsurprisingly involved in selling weapons systems to Assad and now -Quelle surprise- the Iraqi government is buying things it thinks it requires to fight the ISIL and any other enemies they have, or think they have, or choose to have. Putin is quite prepared to sell them what they want and Obama in not trading is apparently bringing this trade about.

    Now we must bear in mind that Obama’s claim to fame is lamenting that the U.S. brought the new Iraq into existence but he can never say that the people of Iraq do not now and did not then deserve to be liberated from the tyranny they were existing under. Anyone for a nice fat serving of the fudge he has to serve up! That’s what he and the anti-war squad serve up as a constant menu.

    The fact is the old fascist Iraqi government (that no one here is ‘defending’ but lots of people led by the likes of Obama wanted to be left alone) was nevertheless attacked, and yet only very partially destroyed and otherwise and overwhelmingly driven underground. Mission accomplished was only mission off to a very good start. Just remember, at that point, the usual suspects thought that this was a disaster!

    Neverland always talks about Iraq being attacked rather than the Iraqi peoples’ being liberated. Yet as soon as you correctly frame the question to ask ‘if a new Iraqi government ought to exist now for the Iraqi people as we westerners have for ourselves?’, you leave Neverland and get at least to the fence.

    The process to get a new government for Iraq – now that it’s far in the past – looks almost exemplary and quite smooth rather than any disaster and or a pack of lies that it was called at the time by the detractors and fools! It’s true that then the Iraqi peoples’ could have stood a period, as Hitchens put it, to catch their breath but they were not to get it and all revolutionaries know that is how the world works. The enemy never lets up of their own accord.

    AND it is obviously the case that the enemy won’t rest or let us do so! The fight as we saw in 1945 goes all the way to ‘the bunker’ and those that escape the closing net of the people’s war still have to be hunted down just like the nazis had to be. None of this is new!

    So we tell people to cast aside any illusions and prepare for the struggle against the enemy that has not given up on their thinking. They will never give up! The enemy will have to be killed in battle in large numbers until what remains are disarmed and then reformed over time with various different forms of struggle.

    Of course in this 21st century, any leftist will tell you that even people from the extended swamp right through Africa deserve constitutional government not lower than those of the bourgeois-democratic standard imposed on the axis powers post WW2., but cruise missile revolutionaries will tell you the world won’t get from here to there without a series of massive armed struggles any-more than Libya could.

    Those who think it will are welcome to forge their own ‘political’ way forward and in their unarmed state protect themselves from the nighttime appearance of the head lopping jihadists.

    If the Iraqi peoples deserve constitutional government then a crucial question follows. What ought its armed forces look like and where ought the writ of this government (imposed via those required NEW armed forces) extend?

    Beyond here there be dragons for fence sitters!

    We are both glad that this Iraqi government is not at war with the Kurds nor with their neighbors and would no doubt prefer it to remain so. But it is involved in a war and has been from day one against the residual fascist forces and others like the ISIL that are even removing the border with Syria and laying claim to both sides and beyond.

    Progressives must be glad that the Iraqi government wants to raise a bigger army and fight the ISIL but we are not glad of any help Assad derives from that so that’s a dilemma that we are forced to address.

    Notice the complex world full of scary mysteries that first look just like a jumble of bad people shooting others for all good liberals to tut tut about.

    ‘Journalists’ and other dim-witted liberal commentators in the mass media especially those on the ABC / BBC on their comfortable government-funded pay, really are as dopey as they now appear as they cling to the fence trying to defend dithering over Syria. They got and get it all wrong in Egypt! And even after the practical example of Syria demonstrated the bankruptcy of the ole ‘anti-war stand STILL condemn fighting off the front foot in Iraq!

    Phony pacifism is now the preferred option for them but that won’t work for you. You have already reviewed that view and found that you are part of the ‘fighting contingent’ of fence sitters who are just resting for the moment. Sitting there accepting the idea of being armed you’re trying to work out who are your friends and who are your enemies. That’s good. You want to be armed when there are ISIL types about so you have to extend that same thought and right to others termed ‘the people’, and that can’t include ISIL and Al Qaeda types any more than it can Assad’s troops.

    Liberal and conservative commentators presented as worthy experts in the MSM often start by complaining how Iraqi Baathism ought to never have been attacked by the COW in 2003 and like you remind us how they warned of the violence that would be so terrible if the COW removed the first and biggest tyrant of this ME house of cards. But they often make some sense over Kuwait and even the Kurds, so the trouble for them is that when making sense over those issues they expose the requirement to liberate the mass of peoples’ of Iraq! Thus their initial position turns to mush at least from an internationalist POV.

    But Neverland makes no sense at all and never did.

    Anyway here we are in the middle of a raging revolutionary war and fence-sitting won’t work. The bourgeois governments of the U.S., Britain, France, and Turkey are all helping the Free Syrian Army but not enough and they will have to do much more. They will also have to do more over Iraq!

    To be clear ‘hands off’ is very bad policy and you are now theoretically mixing in the ranks of the armed masses for a reason. That reason is that you don’t trust others to let people like you live if they find you exposed up on a fence.
    You’re now being swept along by the reality of people that want to kill you.

    Armed resistance to what ISIL propose and are imposing is totally valid. There are a lot of strands in the resistance because this is a united front not a capitulation to any one strand. Welcome to the ranks of the advocates of armed struggle!

    People can and will ‘walk and chew gum’ but the politics are in command as this existential threat to Iraq emerges from Syrian territory. You’re like a politician in the Iraqi parliament; very hard to pin down and get agreement over virtually anything out of, but the world spins under you!

    P.S. I’m glad to see the Europeans standing up to Putin over his blatant aggression in Ukraine. That war has been underway all year and is getting worse and will continue to get worse. But if you take your eye off Putin you will soon be on yet another fence. Europe and the U.S. are rightly backing Ukraine and together they are 10 times the economic power of Russia. Putin is the problem, not the country of Ukraine and the politicians that are responding to Putin’s aggression. That border to the east ought to be sealed by Ukrainian troops and Putin’s Russia treated as the pariah state that it is.

  52. 52 Red Blob aka steve owens

    “If you were off the fence and marching WITH others towards democracy…..”
    Marching with precisely who?
    The Kurds? they are trying to leave.
    The northern provinces will have to be taken with armed force and held as occupied territories not much democracy there.
    Baghdad streets are patrolled by Sadrs militia.
    Baghdad Sunnis are being rounded up. Not much democracy in Baghdad.
    I hear that the caretaker Prime Minister has promoted his son to head the military, not much democracy there.
    Syria and Turkey bomb Iraq democracy?
    The parliament is dysfunctional in the face of this crisis an State of Law MP in parliament threatened to crush the skulls of the Kurds.
    Iraq hasnt been a democracy its had elections followed by autocracy and clearly could fall back into dictatorship.
    I know that you think that Iraq is a democracy but really who are the democrats leading this revolution Maliki? Sadr? Obama?
    Just on a completely different matter what does worry me is that if Kurdistan breaks away the Peshmeger lacks for artillery, mobile amour and planes and will be very vulnerable if Iraq proper decides that succession means war.

  53. 53 Red Blob aka steve owens
  54. 54 Red Blob aka steve owens
  55. 55 Red Blob aka steve owens
  56. 56 Red Blob aka steve owens

    This is a great article not only because it clearly articulates many of my opinions about what has happened but also because it comes from that left wing rag Stars and Stripes

  57. 57 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Ok Ok while I wait for your answer as to whom we are marching with in the fight for democracy in Iraq you might consider this story. Its about Maliki accusing the Kurds of being ISIS HQ
    Wheres Barry he could sort this sort of stuff out for simpletons like me?

  58. 58 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Still waiting for Patrick to answer a straight forward question.
    Who is he marching with towards democracy in Iraq?
    It’s not John McCain. When McCain was asked what the USA should do he stated that he would defer to General Petraeus. When General Petraeus said words to the effect that bombing Iraq would be the idea of a brain dead moron McCain obliged and urged a bombing of Iraq.
    In the bombing campaign in Iraq the Iraqi air force has accidentally bombed targets inside the Kurdish zone. Clearly the Kurds are unhappy about these accidents.

  59. 59 Red Blob aka steve owens
  60. 60 Red Blob aka steve owens
  61. 61 admin

    Wait. We are not here to jump to your time table.

  62. 62 dalec

    Patrick will no doubt be very busy explaining to us how excellent it will be when (if?) Ahmad Chalabi takes over from Maliki.

  63. 63 patrickm

    The way I read McCain and Petraeus there is no great difference in what either advocate. Both want the military action to be politically guided so that a more broadly inclusive Iraq continues to emerge. No good distorting people (especially when no one is watching).

    You have followed along behind McCain for some years now and I’m sure that’s been hard for you to take but no good claiming he is a moron as it reflects badly on you most of all.

    ‘Marching with precisely who?’ is a problem that the enemy also faces.

    For now – and that’s what counts for your question – it undoubtedly includes the Iraqi government forces. Who can tell about tomorrow. As I said above ‘The worst of the enemy (unfortunately) escaped and crossed into Syria and have as their way of life been waging counter-revolutionary war ever since. They have done so alongside others who contend for power, house by house, and street by street. It may not be absolute undisputed power they have but as all goons know, it is power…’

    Democrats must organise and contend house by house street by street as well. These are the facts of life. Prayer won’t work nor appeals to an eternally benevolent external power. Look to the ‘horse’ called self interest and back that – as you would already know. Talk a way forward to unity. If you support others who adopt that ‘revolutionary’ way of life then who to march with starts to emerge pretty quickly in the course of that revolutionary struggle.

    I advocate for others what I want for me. I keep my demands in line with the vast mass of peoples’ and want no special treatment. I accept that the Iraqi people start with more basic demands that stem from the fact that their war of liberation was handed to them at a far higher level than the unfortunate revolutionaries all around them in countries like Syria.

    To ‘march’ is to at a minimum express your solidarity with the small number of COW troops that have just been sent by Obama. U.S. forces have been in the region for positive swamp draining purposes for some time now while a misguided left and an outright pseudoleft has opposed their liberating presence. You would march with them when you support their presence and expose the counter-revolutionary actions of those who want those forces all back in the U.S. where they would have the ships broken up, or better still never built in the first place. Not for Jefferson, he built ships specifically to fight in that region and as he owned slaves he evidently wasn’t perfect either and hence there is nothing very new in finding flawed people to march with.

    March with the French as they responded in Mali. Call for more western troops for Africa! Openly oppose hands off politics as a reactionary dead end. March with the international forces still in Afghanistan and call for this aspect of the bigger war to remain ongoing; accept defensive revolutionary war as a way of life.

    Support war as a way of life until the political forces that march along with you succeed in the offensive and have transformed yet another country. Put politics in command! Just don’t forget to have something to command. Accept the need to command an army. Accept the slow and patient ‘peaceful’ development of the Kurdish autonomous region. Understand a new world does not emerge from a process of retreat.

    At some point the forces of progress must stop retreating, and it may be the case that they are not able to reverse that process and be on the offense for many years; historically it has been even a couple of lifetimes! But consider why Marx said ‘the workers of the world are behind the stars and stripes’. Why wasn’t the confederacy allowed to just go in peace? Why was such an horrendously brutal war required? Why did Sherman bring the South such devastation”?

    Consider from the time both positive and the negative aspects of the Klu Klux Klan? Weren’t there real carpetbaggers? Why can’t those that have ‘suddenly’ emerged from Syria be allowed to draw what they would like as a border? After all, like the Kurds they are Sunni and in Syria they have been on the oppressed side of the ledger. While in Iraq under the Baathist terror they were very much on the oppressor side of that line but ought this force not now be permitted to establish its own form of confederacy? Why not let the people that live within the borders that they have established eventually disarm them and change their territory into a democracy in their own good time?

    ‘The Kurds? they are trying to leave.’

    That’s OK why not – they have been in a defacto separation all along and this is no surprise, one hopes the process goes smoothly and issues are peacefully resolved as they come up, but this is often not the case. Czechoslovakia I suppose is a reasonable example. I understand their desire especially after recent events.
    ‘The northern provinces will have to be taken with armed force and held as occupied territories not much democracy there.’

    That is understood ISIL etc., can’t be asked to go off to heaven by themselves.

    ‘Baghdad streets are patrolled by Sadrs militia.’

    Yes they are out and about again. They were forced off the streets before by the COW but now that will have to be more delicately attended to, and over some time but that is a process on the road that has to be travelled as no modern bourgeois democracy can progress without such militia disbanded.

    On the other hand perhaps that might imply that bourgeois democracies are no longer possible and the era of proletarian revolution is now solidly upon us? I don’t know about that; it may well be but I doubt it.

    ‘Baghdad Sunnis are being rounded up. Not much democracy in Baghdad.’

    If you exaggerate you will continue to be confused and understand nothing of what a fight like this requires. If you don’t understand that the enemy in a civil war is a real problem to find and fight well you won’t lead anything much for long. One has to detain quite a few people and Abu Ghraib showed how not to do it!

    ‘I hear that the caretaker Prime Minister has promoted his son to head the military, not much democracy there.’

    Well who ever was heading up the military failed, so it may be for the best, I don’t know who the PM ought to appoint but I do know who ought to be the PM till he loses the numbers in the Parliament.

    ‘Syria and Turkey bomb Iraq democracy?’

    I don’t even know what that means and I doubt you do either because I want ISIL attacked and I want (for example) those NATO forces put to good use ASAP. But if Assad’s forces bomb ISIL then it can’t be said to be a bad thing. As quite a few of us have said for some years, Assad must be fought and so must Al Qaeda and anything like it.

    ‘The parliament is dysfunctional in the face of this crisis an State of Law MP in parliament threatened to crush the skulls of the Kurds.’

    Well that’s what I would expect. Not much to work with and nothing to write to another planet about but there you go.

    ‘Iraq hasn’t been a democracy its had elections followed by autocracy and clearly could fall back into dictatorship.’

    Iraq could do anything but while we are dealing with the here and now we deal with today’s issues. Iraq is NOT an autocracy but rather it has had within its borders an extraordinarily difficult war fought and it is still there to fight. Thus being at war with a ruthless and highly skilled and motivated range of enemies Maliki is not functioning as he would at a dinner party. All these problems imply that this is not somewhere any western peace activist is going to be very keen to be. The skills set seem absent regardless of cruise missiles and drones.

    ‘I know that you think that Iraq is a democracy but really who are the democrats leading this revolution Maliki? Sadr? Obama?’

    Maliki and he is doing a very difficult job at least as well or better than the current U.S. ruling elite are getting the war for greater Israel ended (just for starters)!. Obama is NOT doing his job very well as one could guess. No western “leader” is worth a cracker. McCain is still the better, but so what.

    You say; ‘Just on a completely different matter what does worry me is that if Kurdistan breaks away the Peshmeger lacks for artillery, mobile armour and planes and will be very vulnerable if Iraq proper decides that succession means war.’

    Well then you ought to review what you have been focused on over the Kurdish issue over the last few years while this train kept coming down these tracks. Even allowing the walk and chew gum that we both advocate it looks like you were still mostly looking the wrong way.

  64. 64 Red Blob aka steve owens

    “The way I read McCain and Petraeus there is no great difference in what either advocate. Both want the military action to be politically guided so that a more broadly inclusive Iraq continues to emerge. No good distorting people (especially when no one is watching).”
    This may be true McCain called for immediate air strikes and Malikis removal. Petraeus wants Malikis removal and then airstrikes. I dont want air strikes because its “solving” the Iraqi peoples problems for them. Theres no reason to believe that US intervention will do more good than harm. Ultimately the problems of the Sunni Arab region will be sorted out by Sunni Arabs. US intervention may well delay this resolution.
    “You have followed along behind McCain for some years now and I’m sure that’s been hard for you to take but no good claiming he is a moron as it reflects badly on you most of all.”
    I have not followed McCain at all. He holds some opinions that I also hold, helping in Libya and Syria but he is way more of America leads the way sort of guy where as I think that the US can help in some situations I always held that position. As to him being a moron well he did sing that song about bombing Iran thats pretty moronic.
    You claim that my focus on Kurdish issues has been wrong. Sorry but I have been focusing on human rights for example the state sanctioned murder of journalists and general persecution of people critical of the government or families of the disappeared.
    The situation has changed with Malikis claims that the Kurds are in league with the ISIS. The threat to ordinary Kurds was coming from the Kurdish government and now the main danger comes from the Iraqi government.
    Thank you for announcing that you support Maliki. I once hoped that he could make a positive contribution but those hopes were dashed several years ago.
    Iraq has been embroiled in sectarian struggle it is very unlikely that this course will be reversed partly because people are focused on the immediate future rather than a long term vision. Maliki can hide behind the immediate national emergency needs but thats the way every dictator incrementally shores up their power. Every critic becomes a threat to national security every restriction on freedom makes sense with the imminent threat. Tartars must be deported, Japanese must be interned, Jews must be restricted, Trotskyists must be eliminated, people who wrong think are a threat and thats what a re education centre is for.

  65. 65 Red Blob aka steve owens

    “You have followed along behind McCain for some years now and I’m sure that’s been hard for you to take but no good claiming he is a moron as it reflects badly on you most of all.”
    I think that you Patrick have raised a crucial point here. John McCain wants the US to play the lead role in these struggles because like GW his main interest is in promoting US interests.
    My position is that when there is a struggle Im happy for the progressives in that struggle gain assistance from where ever they can.
    One position is mainly concerned about how the US will prosper and the other position is concerned about the people on the ground. Those two positions are clear.
    Your position is not so clear. You seem just to second whatever the most hawkish Americans propose. Ive not read from you any criticism of what has gone on other than criticism that the US was making. Even when Iraqis were agitating for immediate direct elections you echoed the US by saying that elections were premature.
    The problem with tailing the GOP is that you end up calling for America to be everywhere and do everything. That sort of warfare dependency leads to a well armed well trained army running in the face of a motivated militia. Why fight when we can call in US missiles?
    The US had virtually no Iraqi allies when they invaded. This is because the US couldn’t find anyone to trust and was hoping to find someone after. Well we now see how that idea worked.
    I know that you want to discuss immediate problems so heres a few.
    ISIS is exporting $1 million of oil per day through Kurdish areas.
    The Kurds have recently bought weapons from Bulgaria which the Baghdad government regards as unconstitutional.
    The Peshmerga are armed at the level of a militia and are currently outgunned by those in Baghdad and Mosul
    PS how many hits a day does this site receive. It doesn’t bother me how few because I use this site to clarify my ideas rather than to influence people Im well past that

  66. 66 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Patrick you say that “Iraq is NOT an autocracy” but just consider the following from Iraq expert Ali Khedery
    “Al-Maliki never appointed a permanent, parliament-confirmed interior minister, nor a defense minister, nor an intelligence chief. Instead, he took the positions for himself. He also broke nearly every promise he made to share power with his political rivals after they voted him back into office through parliament in late 2010.”
    “In short, al-Maliki’s one-man, one-Dawa-party Iraq looks a lot like Saddam’s one-man, one-Baath Party Iraq”
    “With instructions from Tehran, al-Maliki began to form a cabinet around some of Iran’s favorite men in Iraq. Hadi al-Amiri, the notorious Badr Brigade commander, became transportation minister, controlling strategically sensitive sea, air and land ports. Khudair Khuzaie became vice president, later serving as acting president. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Dawa party mastermind behind the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait in 1983, became an adviser to al-Maliki and his neighbor in the Green Zone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Sadrist detainees were released. And al-Maliki purged the National Intelligence Service of its Iran division, gutting the Iraqi government’s ability to monitor and check its neighboring foe.”
    You must have a very different idea of what autocracy is to the general understanding of the word.

  67. 67 Red Blob aka steve owens

    The IS will soon wear out their welcome. They are flogging anyone caught watching the World Cup. You can put women in burkas, you can behead smokers, you can ban bananas, you can ban music but trust me you touch football and you are in for trouble.
    PS the Taliban has publicly written to these guys saying whoa dudes calm down don’t become extremists

  68. 68 Steve Owens

    To smash the IS we would first need to smash the country where its money is coming from and through. Yes lets smash that filthy regimen.
    Lets see who is that, looking, looking, looking oh yes the filthy suppliers of funds to IS who are smashing democracy in Iraq is Oh No its Kuwait

  69. 69 Red Blob aka steve owens
  70. 70 Steve Owens

    Kurdish forces suffer first lost to IS forces

  71. 71 patrickm

    Steve you said above ‘I dont want air strikes because its “solving” the Iraqi peoples problems for them. Theres no reason to believe that US intervention will do more good than harm.’

    Are you supporting the air strikes yet? Even Obama has ordered air strikes now!

    I would point out that air strikes solved some immediate Libyan problems (and you supported them because you grasped what the alternative would be) but it does not resolve some rather bigger issues of revolution obviously. Air power can’t do the infantry occupies – political control – stuff.

    There are people who (in the face of the current attacks on the Yazidi by the ISIL who will say that Obama ordering strikes is the biggest problem for western leftists. Do you agree that such people discredit the very concept of what a left politic is?

    Some people just fall off the fence and effectively drop out of any democratic politics; safer if you just climb down and move on with the rest of us!

  72. 72 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Ho Hum time passes and the situation changes
    I said that US intervention would not solve anything where the IS has a working relationship with other Arab Sunnis and intervention was likely to reinforce the attachment between IS and other arab Sunnis
    The developments in the last few days are a different situation. There is now a humanitarian crisis that may well benifit from intervention. Just as in Lybia when Gaddafi’s army was about to massacre rebels Im not at all opposed to anybody doing stuff that actually helps the situation.
    This is not a new position that I hold I have long argued that the US military was correct to drop supplies to the anti Nazi forces in Warsaw despite having to fly twice accross occupied Europe and the the USSR was wrong to denie the USAF refuelling opportunities even though they had an air base 5 minutes flying time from Warsaw.
    Just like when the Soviet Union was crushing the Hungarian revolution and murdering leaders of the Communist Party. I am simpathetic to the idea of outside help to the revolution but realistic in the belief that nothing much useful could be done.

  73. 73 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Patrick are you sure that you still support Maliki you may be the last one New York Times Ali Khedery
    “If he were to step down, Mr. Maliki has reportedly demanded immunity from prosecution for himself, his family and his inner circle, and a massive security detail, paid for by the state.

    Given the number of enemies he has accrued over his time in power, and the well-documented instances of human rights abuses, torture and extrajudicial killings under his watch — not to mention wide-scale corruption at the highest levels of his government — many believe that Mr. Maliki would be immediately under threat of arrest, or assassination, were he to leave office without guarantees of immunity and protection.

    “Maliki knows if he steps down, virtually he is a dead man,” said Ali Khedery, a former American official in Iraq, who over the years has advised five American ambassadors and several American generals and was once close to Mr. Maliki himself.”

  74. 74 patrickm

    Steve are you sure that the Iraqi parliament is not the best place to decide who is to ‘get the numbers? Given that PM Maliki established the numbers and thus gained the position and many who were not his supporters have left (rightly or wrongly) to essentially set up separate countries – and that decision is best left to people who are on the spot Yes? – then the chances are that his numbers have increased.

    It’s all a bit complicated like with the revered Lincoln I suppose and we know how he ended up. Civil wars present such problems. Iraq is and always has been in some form of civil war / revolution. All three of the great issues of our era are always on the table to some extent in this horribly backward and culturally warped territory. I think it’s safe to say there is a region wide war underway.

    Obviously because I live in the most advanced part of the industrialized western world, in a country that is priding itself on being multicultural, I don’t know the intimate details of this; but if the numbers have changed then he perhaps can’t be blamed for being the person with the most support.

    Obviously if ‘the leaving’ would be reversed, if safety is the primary or major issue and the numbers are thus artificial, then THAT problem could be addressed and given that we live in this technical age a virtual parliament could be the first step back for the elected reps charged with this task. Long term confidence building and all that, but selecting PM’s is what reps do NO? They will have to manage that if free and fair elections are to mean anything.

    The numbers are not very complicated. What is complicated is for the privileged section of a community to abandon its way of life and whole superiority thinking (like white’s in Alabama have bit by bit had to do) It’s a similar problem in Northern Ireland and even more so in South Africa and it will be the same in Palestine. It can’t be done in years and has always (ultimately to really bed down) required generations in the past.

    But at this stage of our evolution humans haven’t got much of a handle on ‘The rights of Man’ type stuff yet. As Zhou En-Lei said about the French revolution something like -It’s a bit too early to tell how it’s working out-. This stuff really is the actual trans-formative work of several stages of the revolution.

    If the problem is that people want to kill him and that is spelt out in your quote then you better reflect on that because if he is not safe then the Shia 60% in general are not and he requires a very high level of armed protection. But now that the Kurds are more formally leaving the political formation of the past eighty years or so, where they have been held captive in, and more obviously establishing central Kurdistan -the numbers for the remaining Sunni are not real flash. There is a real demographic issue to deal with and now there is this fascist force called ISIL!

    I am in favour of arming the masses and making revolution, but not in some sort of nightmare anarchist or Trotskyite fantasy. Mao made plenty of revolution and lots of people hated him and tried to kill him. That is to be expected as was the hatred of all those very cultured Southerners directed at the despicable Abraham Lincoln. Even the slave owning Jefferson had many people that hated him in his day, not just Barbary Coast pirates mind, but refugees in what later became Canada. Fact is revolutionary leaders have enemies.

    Now I understand that people who despise Shia and think that they can be bombed year after year in their market places and so forth while the enemy bases themselves in say Syria and then crossing that post WW1 British and French imposed ‘border’ without very serious consequences are not themselves serious.

    If you think that the government of Iraq is the central problem and that Obama and his supporters complaining about a war fighting government ought to be taken to be a credible authority you ought to slow down and think again. Obama is only just attacking ISIL NOW!

    My ‘support’ is predicated on an appreciation of just how difficult fighting such enemies of the Iraqi revolution is. Obama shows virtually no understanding in anything to do with draining the swamp AND he has made things worse with his hopeless dithering.

    You and he have only just supported the first bombing runs in the Iraq war that IS still ongoing from the day that the liberation was launched! As a contribution to the swamp draining war that you have both joined it is late but very welcome.

    You have joined in supporting the fighting in Iraq and that is to your very great credit. You are off the fence trudging forward and like any footslogging ranker complaining about the officers! Good for you!

    You will find much more to complain about but please focus on those who oppose the attacks on ISIL. All western ‘anti-war’ types that can still get ten people together and chant some anti-imperialist idiocy are opposing the hands on.

    You must remember that you are supporting fighting from the same side as Maliki so best not to advocate that people fire in all directions at once.

  75. 75 patrickm

    Steve you say ‘Ho Hum time passes and the situation changes’ when actually a pathetic amount of time has passed and ISIL has not changed at all! Their intention to advance on democrats and others and kill all those who will not do as ordered by them as they establish the ‘Caliphate’ required a fighting response and you know it! When they WERE counter attacked at long last it was already late and ‘our’ side was already being slaughtered as a day in day out event.

    Thankfully the U.S. fleets were in the region. Not the sort of fleets that some want to be in the region mind. All of the pseudoleftist groupings have wanted this Navy back in the U.S.A. or better still broken up. Not you! Not any more.

    Now you at last catch on to the requirement to attack ISIL but rather obviously these attacks have always been required if there is to be any democratic revolution, any progress whatever!

    Now that you have joined in supporting the shooting in Iraq (and I note this is after Libya and Syria) and retrospectively in the ‘No Fly War’ against the Iraqi Baathists after the Kuwait liberation but to be honest I can’t make sense of your twisted logic over that back-flip and am just glad that you have now realised that you ought to have supported the U.S. attacks then – naturally there has been NO backflip from any trot organization – and I reckon you support the French turning up in Mali, (but you’re so slippery it’s hard to pin that badge of honor on you) you might like to consider why you are always late and talking about a humanitarian crisis that requires a response. Progressives of any stripe would rather not fight at all but when a fight for our freedoms is required then we want to fight off the front foot where ever possible.

    I do recall that you have long argued that anti-communist forces ought to be helped into power while communists ought to be left to fend for themselves. Ahh yes the good old days of bleeding the Reds and letting them do all the hardest fighting and most of the dying.

    Ah yes you recall the Hungarian ‘revolution’ but not the Hungarian army that marched east with Hitler.

  76. 76 Red Blob aka steve owens

    Patrick Hungary was a German ally during WW2
    During the Hungarian revolution hungary was lead by a communist named Imre Nagy. Demands of the Hungarian revolution included introduction of multi party democracy and Hungary becoming a neutral country
    When the soviet tanks rolled in Nagy took refuge in the Yugoslav embassy. He left the embassy after being given a written gaurantee of his safety. He was then secretly tried and exterminated.
    You may wish to smear Nagy with Hungarys pro facsist past but the fact remains that he was a communist and he was murdered for demanding exactly what you want the people of Iraq to have.
    There must be a double standard here somewhere. Iraq can have democracy but Hungary can not and if Hungarian Communists support democracy then your happy to see them murdered.

  77. 77 Stephen Owens
  78. 78 Steve Owens

    My god this Iraq thing is the story that just keeps giving. Now who are the people that work security at the US embassy Baghdad well its not Americans because they wont work for $900 a month and its not Iraqis because how could you trust them? Its Ugandans yes Ugandans

  79. 79 Steve Owens

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