A review of The Wind That Shakes the Barley winner of Cannes film Festival 2006

 

Just one gem from the past to help Steve notice his present. 

Posted by  anita  in  2006-09-30

I just saw the Ken Loach film ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ and what a splendidly made and politically-correct piece of pseudo-left propaganda (in the worst sense of the word) it is.

My partner is Irish Australian and quite familiar with this period of Irish history, but his first question was why would someone make this film now?  The answer was not long in coming as it quickly became clear that this film was made to make a, none too subtle, point about British involvement in Iraq.  When I came out from the film I picked up a leaflet and the message was crystal clear; ‘Speaking at the Cannes film festival Loach said: We live in extraordinary times and that has made people political in a way they maybe weren’t in the previous four, five, six years.  The wars that we have seen, the occupations that we see throughout the world – people finally cannot turn away from that.  It’s very exciting to be able to deal with this in films, and not just be a complement to the popcorn.’

This ‘historical’ film was made in order to tell a story that would be unacceptable to tell in the first-person.  This film was not really made to explain and explore Irish history from 85 years ago; it was made to encourage people to think negatively about the present British involvement in liberating the peoples’ of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Loach would not of course use the word liberation; he would speak of an illegal war and imperialist occupation forces etc.  Yuk!

From start to finish (in the current context) it’s a shameless film where the filmmaker hides behind the Irish people’s legitimate national struggle, to effectively promote the causes of Baathism, tribalism and the likes of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as these scum hide behind phony nationalisms today; though once again Loach would as a matter of course deny that as well; he would assuredly tell all who’d listen that he is on the side of the Iraqi people no less.  He would be sure to hate Saddam and Al Qaeda and the Taliban but would have also proudly marched for peace when others were advocating war against them.  They would be in power today if it were up to Loach.

Loach and the rest of the pseudo-left ‘opinion leaders’ are leading little on the street, but they are in control of the vast bulk of the mass-media; they dominate cultural output throughout the western world.  This film would be awarded in any western film festival; so the west is overdue for a cultural revolution.

The Wind that shakes the Barley is about the harsh ‘reality’ of all ruling-class armies.  It was made to a formula, like shooting pseudo-leftist shibboleth fish in a barrel. Show innocent death; show brutality of imperialist rule; show arrogance of ruling-class types; show the noble resistance that was only brought into being by the occupation; show a resistance as both necessary and reluctantly brutal (yet clean compared to British); show that elections under occupation and threat are invalid and draw the conclusion that free and fair elections cannot be held under threat of the gun, and that therefore Iraq’s process and government is illegitimate!

In the end, having dragged the viewer through the realist muck of British imperial criminality in Ireland during a time where the British stood in the way of the democratic revolution, Loach had to crucially distort the relationship of the foreign troops to the democratic revolution and the issue of voting to make his big point.  IMV Loach’s position is on the spectrum of xenophobia and racism.  (That would have the unarmed peoples’ of Iraq liberate themselves from tyranny and not to shed the blood of other Mother’s son’s and daughter’s to secure an international solution).

The key question that he distorted (after all he was making this film when the triple election process was in full swing in Iraq) was; can there really be a free and fair vote in countries that have occupation troops on the streets that by his implication are making a threat to the population as clear as was the proposition put to Collins of ‘immediate and terrible war as an alternative to the Treaty’.  Loach stands with the ‘heroes’ that won’t sell out; won’t compromise and therefore go to their ‘noble’ death’s as delivered to them by the ‘collaborating’ majority, and sell-out leadership.  He implies that the current government of Iraq is comprised of sell-out collaborators.  Phleese.

I found myself fuming at this cynical and sick distortion of the issues involved in liberation, in the context of and to the basic level of the bourgeois democratic revolution in 2006 in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone the Ireland of James Connolly’s generation.

The core questions raised in the Irish struggle for independence from Britain were not adequately highlighted by this film.  Specifically, did Michael Collins sell out by negotiating the Irish Free State?  What about the role of Eamonn DeValera?  ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ answers unambiguously, Yes the movement was sold out, and engenders the film with a cynicism and fatalism that leaves me cold.

These sentiments formed the main part of the final dialogue spoken by Damien O’Donovan a hypothetical Irish freedom fighter and main protagonist of the film, who declined to save his own life by refusing to convey intelligence to his brother (a Commander of the Free State Army) after his capture.

I found this part most disconcerting as there was the feeling that in the character Damien refusing to ‘sell out’ his ideals and being prepared to die for his ‘principles’ there was a direct comparison being made with current fascist insurgents and suicide bombers?

This film doesn’t do justice to any of the important matters raised by either the Irish struggle of so long ago, or the Iraqi conflict of today, and also has nothing particularly credible to say about the personal aspect of the brothers in arms either.  The film was littered with false oppositions (pragmatist v idealist; internationalist v nationalist; socialist v nationalist) simplifying the subject matter down to caricatures, rather than un-raveling the complexity of the revolutionary experience of Ireland for the viewer.

Rather than ‘raise discussion’ this film contributes to a dumbing down of the subject matter; even obfuscation of the issues is not too strong an expression.

By contrast, the film Michael Collins was about the same period and done as a Hollywood block-buster in 1996 (before 9/11 and the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq).  It too portrayed the British and their Irish collaborators as thugs and made clear that the Black and Tans were not there to help the Irish but to keep them down. But the treatment of the election process was very different and the empathy for the position of the negotiators of the Treaty was evident.

All in all, this highlights for me the need to adopt a dialectical approach to the world.  No truth can be found in establishing false dichotomies.  If Loach wanted to highlight how bad the war in Iraq is (it is after all fairly easy to portray death negatively) he ought to have just made a film about Iraq from a scared soldier’s perspective and exposed to the world how bad it is.

Ken Loach is apparently known for spurning the position of history from the great-man’s perspective, and specifically taking the position of ordinary people in his films. (As opposed to the film Michael Collins).  However, I think this was another real shortcoming with this film in that a real understanding by the audience continues to revolve around the main issues and players and the film really suffered for this one-sided approach. The dialectical approach tells us that light and dark are defined against each other, so too, ordinary people need leaders, and leaders cannot lead unless there are ordinary people willing to support them, anything else is pure fantasy and romanticisation and is not telling the complete story.

It’s just plain wrong to compare the struggle of Ireland’s freedom fighters with the current situation in Iraq and thereby engender corresponding sympathy for the so-called ‘freedom fighters’ currently bombing and disrupting the formation of a democratic Iraq.  The message of The Wind TSTB is if you kill people’s family and friends you’ve got to expect that there will be a reaction and that they will organize to kill you.  There is nothing debatable about this but this is not the real story because we all know that at times people and culture operate in a tooth for a tooth kind of avenge manner, but this is different to having the right political conditions present to unleash a real movement for national sovereignty as occurred in Ireland after the murder of the courageous leaders of the 1916 uprising.  (It was not so much that the people of Ireland necessarily supported the program of the rebels but that they reacted to the fact that many of the most prominent were all Court Martial-ed and shot)

Though Loach’s film makes it clear that the struggle for national rights was occurring alongside of the struggle for class rights it was again a superficial and opportunist handling of the question.  For instance, there is a scene where the courts of the Free State are hearing a case against a money-lender who is extracting extortionate levels of interest for a loan given to an old woman who is refusing to pay.

When the court finds against the money-lender ordering him to pay money to the old woman, a split amongst the people at the court develops and the members of the Army say “wait on”, we want him to give us money for guns…This part of the film could have been illuminating but was very superficial and the court decision was presented as extremely whimsical and showing that they were not really ‘fit’ to decide.

The brutality of this film had a stunning effect on the audience but it was a lecture from a coward.  In many ways it is this romanticisation of the idea of dying for one’s ‘principles’, Like a packet of Benson Hedges – where only the best will do – that renders the message of  The Wind that shakes the Barley as poisonous as smoking that packet of Benson and Hedges!

 

Posted by  owenss  at     2006-10-01Anita Im unsure from your Ken Loach movie review which side of the Irish Civil war you think progressive people should support. The side lead by Michael Collins or the side lead by Eammon De Valera?

 

Posted by     owenss  at     2006-10-01 02:57 AMAnita you claim that Loach and un named other anti war people have “….control of the vast bulk of the mass media…” poor old Ken produces a handful of art house movies and he controls the mass media?Yes now I see it The Wind that Shakes is the equivalent pro war Rupert Murdocks Fox News and Land and Freedom is the equivalent of the Sun newspaper or that film about a boy and a bird rivals Murdocks Australian newspaper holdings. Dont worry Im sure Barry is already preparing a piece to prove that Murdocks empire is minuscule.

 

Posted by anita at 2006-10-01 10:00PMLoach and the rest of the pseudo-left ‘opinion leaders’ are leading little on the street, but they are in control of the vast bulk of the mass-media; they dominate cultural output throughout the western world.  This film would be awarded in any western film festival; so the west is overdue for a cultural revolution.

Steve, I’m not suggesting conspiracies or anything like it.   I was trying to explain how if this film’s so bad, it won such acclaim.  First I thought this could only happen in France (anti-British and anti-Iraq war); then I thought wait on this would have happened in Australia.  My point was about my own world; I do not have Fox for example, so mostly the media I’m exposed to is the Australian ABC.

There is no presenter on the ABC Radio or Television who is for the Iraq war as far as I can tell.  I would be happy to be proven incorrect but take ABC 891 radio from Adelaide; Peter Goers the evening commentator who interviewed Tariq Ali and referred to him as the ‘Sage of the Age’; but at least Peter Goers deliberately has a pro-war commentator once a week in his guest right-winger Andrew Bolt each Tuesday night.

Bolt regularly looks like an intellectual giant up against the pseudo-leftist Goers on these issues.  But other than that, there is, to use the colourful expression of Mark Latham, a Conga-line of suck holes, pushing anti-Iraq war sentiment from morning til night.

It is wall to wall.

On the morning program almost every one of their guests except actual members of the government are anti-Iraq war.  The best they have done outside of that (that I have noticed) is an interview of the dopey right-winger Greg Sheridan.

Like employs like and over a period each organization develops a corporate culture.  The ABC is notoriously biased – of course it is mostly exposed by the right-wing in this country who criticize the ABC as left-wing.  BAH. It is pseudo-left mush.  Take the line it runs from morning to night on global warming; organic food; water crisis; plastic bags; peak oil; they go on ceaselessly with this pseudo-leftist green dribble.

The ABC gardening program is Gardening Australia; where the one time British soldier and peace campaigner Peter Cundall has a grand old time filling people with his composted thinking.  They push imbeciles like Tim Flannery, Roy Slaven, and David Suzuki.  The National Press club put on Peter Garret and the ABC ran and then later re-ran the program; but when Bjorn Lomborg was at the club the ABC did not even screen it!  The best he got was a quick and hostile interview on Landline!

I know you will remember the lies that Maxine McKew spread about Iyad Allawi and then never revisited.

Nationally on the TV the ABC have a show called the Insiders, again the balance they achieve is with the right-wingers Bolt, and Piers Akerman alternating on the show.  The mix is greater than three to one!  David Marr ex-Media Watch; Ian Henschke Stateline almost froth with the anti-war/green line; on and on it goes (throw some names in yourself, you won’t find it hard).  Consider that great organic beef producer Philip Adams how much more of a constant anti-Iraq war campaigner can you get?  Not the slightest attempt to hide the campaigning.

I recall ABC Adelaide’s morning commentators once going so far as to say that there is a serious possibility that the war could be about nothing (thus a GW Bush mad whim).  They employ as their international expert Keith Suter (full on pudding-headed anti-Iraq war and anti-Bush campaigner).  One of his recent great ideas was that if he had been President, rather than invade (liberate) Iraq like that dumbo GWB, he would be clever and offer a reward for OBL of $$$500,000,000 and that would interest the Russian Mafia and the Kazaks to get interested in rounding him up –just like the old US policy of handing a billion to the Al Qaeda sorts and getting the Saudi government to cough in another billion- handing over the reward to another international criminal group.  They have learned nothing.  Nobody even rang up to laugh at them.

In the News there is the constant barrage of terminology that is sympathetic to the insurgents, though I admit that referring to Iraqi Jihadi’s as the ‘resistance’ is no longer so evident.

We’ve also had Triple J using the ‘Don’t want to be an American Idiot’ song as its signature advertising jingle.  (Now if they were singing ‘don’t want to be a Jew idiot’; or ‘don’t want to be a Japanese idiot’; Indonesian; Aboriginal; etc then it would be clear what the sentiments are about.  Yet Australian tax-payers have funded the production of material on the xenophobic/ racist spectrum because anti-Americanism is perfectly acceptable in polite company).

Listen to today’s ABC News.  Or the national program AM.  Or the world at noon. Bob Woodward’s  book ‘State of Denial’.  I am sure you can get it from the net as a Pod Cast.  ‘Opinion poll today shows 80% think the war in Iraq hasn’t done anything to reduce terrorism.  91% think …85% …’ (The Lowy institute poll.)   ‘Doctors start campaigning to end Australia’s involvement in Iraq.’

The people are getting their views from somewhere.  They are not engaged in independent research but parroting back what the politicians and culture workers are feeding them.  Howard and Blair and Bush have been pathetic at selling the revolutionary requirement for this war against most of the ‘left and right’ intelligentsia.  But cultural food like this is breeding political cynicism, and paralysis not action- they all got re-elected – as the ordinary masses are much more sensible than the more ‘committed’ activists to the fact that the Coalition can’t just cut and run etc.

Now I think that I have been a little sloppy; but in my defense I’d been working on this for a while and wanted to get it published… but it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the old right and the pseudo-left.  They are saying the same poisonous things.  Bruce Springstein; Neil Young; The Dixie Chicks; they all believe the same stuff, while some think they are leftists and some think they are rightists.  They are all like Green Peace; nasty right wingers, it’s just that the pseudo-left uses some strange terms and methods for hiding from their bottom-line; terms that are utterly meaningless when combined with the policies that they push.  They can sing the Internationale all they like, but they want Australian troops withdrawn from Iraq and not involved at all in draining the swamp.

Loach’s film explicitly promotes the position currently being pushed by media internationally, namely that the war in Iraq is increasing the terrorist threat… there will be more Damien O’Donovan’s due to the ‘occupation’ of Iraq, you share this belief and subsequent rejection of the Iraqi government’s requests for assistance.

The American Peace movement currently relies upon celebrities as a draw card to Marches and rallies, and even this has not been successful in sustaining mass support against the war and moaning about how the people are just not getting it.  The anti-war movement do not want debate, they want one sided agitprop material, songs/films etc to change consciousness; they can’t stand up to in-depth analysis and rigorous effort; like yourself over the oil issue when you resort to a claim that oil was just a form of short- hand.  The real clear point is that the lastsuperpower could not do what the anti-war campaigners were claiming it was doing, and or would do.

As to your question about whom I support…Well I don’t feel well read enough about the period to put forward a hard position on it but since you asked my quite tentative and uninformed opinion based upon the films is that I am on Michael Collins’ side.  I was deeply moved when I first saw the Michael Collins film, and I am not sure if it is because Liam Neeson is OK by me whenever he is on screen (we are talking animal magnetism here-he is not a Hollywood Star for no reason) or whether Michael Collins was really such an engaging and brilliant leader in reality.  I take to heart Eamon deValera’s comments when he was the President of Ireland in 1966 (I got the spelling wrong last time) saying in effect that history would be kinder to Michael Collins than himself.

Speaking of being kinder I think you were really nasty to Barry commenting about how he is off attempting to back me up.  What a lot of nonsense.  As well, I was not commenting about anything else Ken Loach has directed but Wind.

The view that has been consistently put at lastsuperpower is held by a minuscule number of people around the world and it is not to be found on the ABC.  The closest we get is Hitchens served up from time to time.  Rather than continue to nit pick, while determinedly avoiding the main thrust of the articles on this site, you ought to try to write a larger piece trying to bring the bigger picture together as you have now come to understand things five years after 9/11: as an example the impending Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian State.  Israel just pulled all troops out of Lebanon, having been strung out to dry by being unimpeded by Rice and Bush.  Have they not thus demonstrated Israel’s limited military and political envelope, to the world?  Almost forty years after launching its 1967 war to grab Greater Israel, the war is coming to an end in defeat and the mass media and the pseudo-left just don’t get it.  Perhaps they are too busy applauding the re-making of Irish history.

 

Posted by  owenss  at  2006-10-02 04:09 AMAnita thank you for stating that in the Irish Civil war you would give your support to the side lead by Michael Collins.My next question is to Patrickm. Patrick do you support the side lead by Michael Collins?As to my offense to Barry. Guilty as charged. When Barry stated that the Iraqi resistance was minuscule I couldnt believe that he would defend that statement rather than just admit that he had overstated his case.Anita you invite me to make a serious contribution to this site and I wish I had both the time and the intellegence to do so. However it goes against the way I have become involved. I first contributed in response to Albert who stated that the Iraq project was going well.  I was further stimulated to contribute when people stated that the way forward in Iraq was to ramp up the killing of Iraqis who resisted. Again I couldn’t resist when contributors characterise the resistance in exactly the same terms used by the Whitehouse as I think this characterisation is a gross oversimplification.I was encouraged to contribute when Bill posted about resistance figures being paraded on Iraqi TV at the same time that a US soldier was let off after clearly murdering a wounded Iraqi who had already surrendered.

I uphold the Iraqi government as being just that. Having said that I look on them with the same contempt that I hold for Michael Collins who used Brittish weapons to kill Irish Republicans.

The Sunni arab population has the right to resist the oppression that they are experiencing. The Iraqi governments duty is to protect these people a duty I think they fail in the same way Collins failed the Irish. The rejection by the Iraqi government of peace proposals from numerous resistance groups is in my oppinion a tragic mistake.

 

Posted by  patrickm  at     2006-10-08 01:01 AMWhile a revolution unfolds in the Middle East, the pseudo-leftist web site ‘Socialist Worker online’ had this to conclude of its review of The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
But by the end of the film you can’t help being reminded of the British army in Iraq today, and Loach is the first to admit this.He said, “I think what happened in Ireland is such a classic story of a fight for independence, to establish a democratic mandate and to resist an occupying army.“Yet it was also a fight for a country with a new social structure.“The British army in Ireland during 1920-21 did what armies of occupation do the world over – adopt a racist attitude towards the people they are attacking and occupying.“They destroy people’s houses, engage in acts of brutality and generally oppress the people – and in Iraq that’s exactly what the British army is doing.“In spite of the suffering depicted, the fact still remains that the British marched out of Ireland. There is an element of hope in that.”Loach knows that British troops liberated Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in WW2 so why not show them?  But that would never do.  When trying to make his point about Iraq he had to skip WW2 and go back to British ruling class savagery in Ireland.  This film is only incidentally about the Irish.No liberation in Iraq folks; no elections; nothing to see but British brutality – move along and remember to chant no blood for oil, and later explain it away as a sort of metaphor when it turns out to make no sense whatever.
Anita thinks Michael Collins did the best he could; so did a majority of the Irish Parliament and so did a majority of the Irish people when the Treaty was put to a referendum.  The other side then brought on a fight and they lost that as well.  So there seems to be a pattern developing.

Steve ought to have a cover to cover read of Mao: losing is not a good idea.  The rejectionists were not sensible to fight and lose.  They ought to have not fought at all.  Mao often talks of avoiding fights unless you’re sure to win.  The blood was on their hands.  They had a way forward without slaughter and they chose blood instead.  History has yet to see the nationalist cause ‘victorious’ in all of Ireland, and I think interest is falling away in the context of being part of the reality of modern Europe; but history has, I think, recorded the civil-war in Michael Collins’ favor.

I can both appreciate the injustice of the Treaty and the decision of the negotiators to sign it and to trust to ongoing struggle to unfold further progress.  People both in the North and South were prepared to struggle for their rights, (in the long run they always are) and the civil-war in the Free State harmed that struggle.  History moves on and the Free State is ‘Gone with the Wind’.

The always required civil rights struggle in the North broke out again in the context of the same struggle in the U.S. in the sixties.  It was part of a world wide movement.   This struggle is now fully flowering (with power sharing; police force reform; anti- discrimination legislation enacted producing the inevitable demographic results and so forth).  All in the context of ongoing British ruling class decline in any ability to project imperial power.  The context of our reflections on the Irish Treaty is from this era of globalization and the rise of the Europe project.  Peace has broken out, and the continuity IRA, are a bad joke.  They are history repeating itself as a farce.  I am in favor of the IRA having ‘sold out again’.

 

Posted by  owenss  at  2006-10-08 06:29 PMPatrick so you think that you should never fight unless you are sure you will win.Well the Easter uprising never stood a chance, so they should not have done it?The provisional IRA could never defeat the British army, so they should have done what?You are also very kind to Michael Collins. Churchill put it to Collins either you attack the rebels or we will. I still lack respect for any Irish nationalist who will kill Irishmen at the behest of the British government

69 Responses to “A review of The Wind That Shakes the Barley winner of Cannes film Festival 2006”


  1. 1 patrickm

    Steve said
    ‘I read a book about the Irsh civil war which gave me a much greater appreciation of Michael Collins, previously I had always sat on the fence wondering how Irish Republicans could kill each other but now see it as a struggle between the Ideologically driven armed minority and the deomocraticly endorsed majority who were wedded to a much more pragmatic path. And yes I fully endorse Collins move to accept arms from the British something that had always been problematic’

    Steve wasn’t sitting on a fence but rather on the other side and now thankfully has woken up but not via discussion with the likes of us here. ‘I read a book’ indeed!

  2. 2 patrickm

    Another gem that this blast from the 8 years past reprint reveals is this;
    Anita
    ‘Loach’s film explicitly promotes the position currently being pushed by media internationally, namely that the war in Iraq is increasing the terrorist threat… there will be more Damien O’Donovan’s due to the ‘occupation’ of Iraq, you share this belief and subsequent rejection of the Iraqi government’s requests for assistance.’

    Steve could only say;

    ‘I uphold the Iraqi government as being just that. Having said that I look on them with the same contempt that I hold for Michael Collins who used Brittish weapons to kill Irish Republicans. The Sunni arab population has the right to resist the oppression that they are experiencing. The Iraqi governments duty is to protect these people a duty I think they fail in the same way Collins failed the Irish. The rejection by the Iraqi government of peace proposals from numerous resistance groups is in my oppinion a tragic mistake.’

    More market terror style bombs went off in Baghdad today! Now Steve can’t avoid facing up to just who leads the ‘resistance’. As they fight door to door in Kobane killing all who stand against them and being bombed by the U.S. airforce in turn. Steve is calling on the west to fly over and bomb them (selectively like the Australians are curently doing naturally) AND find some other Sunni to do the politics of country building with to be sure. Well that’s a bit different from the old style.

    There are ‘leftists’ who wrongly still think the COW hanging around to overthrow the door to door salesman, actually was and is the real problem.

  3. 3 Steve Owens

    sorry if Im a bit slow in adopting the correct position but I come at this from a left if not Communist background
    Communists both in Ireland and Internationally were opposed to Collins and gave their support to De Valera.
    Oh the book that turned me around was Ireland’s Civil War by Carlton Younger Fonatana Books 1968
    http://www.irishdemocrat.co.uk/features/communists-and-the-irish-civil-war/
    Patrick I never quite got your opinion was it for Collins?

  4. 4 Steve Owens

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roddy_Connolly
    See if we had never had this discussion I would have never learned about this guy

  5. 5 admin

    You are still not having a conversation/proper discussion and are apologising in a disingenuous manner. Conversations are about one person talking and the other responding to what has been said. You almost never do this – the best you do is pay lip service to what is said and then say what ever the hell you want. It is not about being slow to adopt the correct position it is criticism about your lack of genuine engagement. Now you are pointing out that certain others who thought of themselves as Communists at one time had other views to those expressed here – well what do you know – who would have thought that? If you had raised James Connolly’s son Roddy in the course of a discussion about the topic then it might have been interesting as opposed to irritating. The key question is how you conduct yourself here and no-one is interested in your game playing.

  6. 6 Steve Owens

    Admin I just don’t get your point. There was an Irish civil war there were two sides one side was the treaty side lead by Collins the other was the anti treaty side lead by De Valera.
    You have come to the conclussion that you are on the treaty side. I have also come down on the treaty side.
    The world wide Communist movement including Lenin himself was on the anti treaty side.
    I have known Patrick since we were 13 year olds and always thought that he was on the anti treaty side but as I read what he writes Im now not sure so I asked him straight out
    “Patrick I never quite got your opinion was it for Collins?”

  7. 7 patrickm

    That might be comrade Paddy O’Lenin from Cork you’d be thinking about Steve, not to be confused with the snowed under Russian leader who had his first stroke on 26 May 1922
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_general_election,_1922 so
    studying the 16th June 1922 election was not that high on the Russian patient / leaders bucket list that finished on January 21 1924 when Lenin died from his fourth stroke, but he no doubt took note of the election results that comrade Paddy O’Lenin didn’t think about even before the civil war broke out 12 days after the vote.

    Being anti-treaty and campaigning for the vote is not the same as then approving of the civil war.

    A civil war in Ireland unfolded but it was a disgrace that it was ever started by the anti- treaty side.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Irish_Civil_War After the bloodshed of a pointless test of arms the vote result in the next election was a belting for them and that is nothing to do with our beloved if uninformed Russian Lenin (notable for being the most informed in his country).

    17 August – Voting in Irish general election, 1923 takes place.
    Cumann na nGaedheal win 63 seats;
    Sinn Féin 44;
    Independents 16;
    Farmers 15;
    Labour 14;
    Independent Labour 1.

    About
    415,000 first preference votes were given to Pro-Treatyites and
    286,000 to Anti-Treatyites. (64% of the electorate voted.)

    1922
    May 26
    Lenin suffers his first stroke.
    1922
    November 20
    Lenin’s last public speech.
    1922
    December 15
    Lenin suffers his second stroke.
    1922
    December 24
    Politburo orders that Lenin be kept in isolation.
    1922
    December 30
    Formal establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
    1922-3
    December – January
    Lenin composes several letters into what became known as his Last Testament.
    1923
    March 2
    Lenin writes his last document; Better Fewer, But Better, on the reorganisation and reduction in size of the Soviet government.
    1923
    March 9
    Lenin suffers his third stroke. No longer able to speak.
    1923
    May 12
    Lenin removed to a Party sanitorium at Gorki.
    1924
    January 21
    Lenin dies from fourth stroke.

    I said years ago as above,
    ‘Anita thinks Michael Collins did the best he could; so did a majority of the Irish Parliament and so did a majority of the Irish people when the Treaty was put to a referendum. The other side then brought on a fight and they lost that as well. So there seems to be a pattern developing. Steve ought to have a cover to cover read of Mao: losing is not a good idea.

    The rejectionists were not sensible to fight and lose. They ought to have not fought at all. Mao often talks of avoiding fights unless you’re sure to win. The blood was on their hands. They had a way forward without slaughter and they chose blood instead. History has yet to see the nationalist cause ‘victorious’ in all of Ireland, and I think interest is falling away in the context of being part of the reality of modern Europe; but history has, I think, recorded the civil-war in Michael Collins’ favor.’

    Now what is unclear about that despite the stand of anyone else even Connolly Jr?

  8. 8 Steve Owens

    Irish Civil War commences June 28 1922 with Battle of Dublin
    Lenin has second stroke and withdraws from active politics December 22nd 1922
    So Lenin was politically active for 5 months after the commencement of the Irish Civil War
    Lenin was close to the leader of the Irish Communist Party
    The Third International was supporting the anti Treaty side
    The Irish Communist Party fought on the anti Treaty side
    Paddy O’Lenin lets hear no more of Paddy O’Lenin

  9. 9 Paddy O'Lenin

    The Irish CP argued that civil war was inevidable as early as 1921 and that Republicans should prepare. The leader of the Irish CP was in close contact with the real Lenin in 1921. The Irish CP fought on the anti treaty side. During the civil was the Communist International sent executive memeber Mikhail Borodin to London to meet the leadership of the Irish CP to offer support.

  10. 10 Rosa Lichtenstein

    Just thought that you lap-top generals might like to know that the truth about where Saddam got his WMD is now starting to come out:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/iraqs-hidden-chemical-weapons-us-covered-up-discovery-of-chemical-weapons-after-2003-invasion–and-many-are-now-in-isiss-hands-9795485.html

    Have a nice fume…

  11. 11 General Laptop

    Hi Rosa I made an attempt to read the New York Times original 8 part story but what really is the point? Yes Saddam did have lots of chemical weapons during the Iraq Iran war. Everyone knows that countries like the USA Great Britain and apparently Germany were very helpful to Saddam in his purchase of these aweful weapons. Shit when he gassed the Kurds the USA attempted to defend him. The story that you link to seems to be about old stock from like 30 years ago. As Ritter said “Ritter also argued that the WMDs Saddam had in his possession all those years ago, if retained, would have long since turned to harmless substances. He stated that Iraqi Sarin and tabun have a shelf life of approximately five years, VX lasts a bit longer (but not much longer), and finally he said botulinum toxin and liquid anthrax last about three years.[82][8”
    Im sure that if the USA had found antything more than some highly degraded old stock they would have been trumpetting it to the skys. Personally I expected the USA to bring some WMD along with them so that they could “find” it and justify their invasion. I was too cynical and they just altered the goal posts rather than bring the goal posts with them.
    Happy to talk with you if you would like to make your point more clearly
    regards Steve

  12. 12 Steve Owens

    Hi Rosa I was just wondering what your current position is. I support the Kurdish national struggle which is currently being threatened by the IS. The Kurds have appealed for international help. Im happy for that help to come from anywhere. What do you think, do we support the Kurdish demands or are we happy to see Kurds slaughtered?
    Some people here think that I have changed my outlook but they are mistaken I think socialist should support righteous struggles and as Trotsky once pointed out to hell with where the oppressed get their guns. (He was talking about Algerian nationalists getting guns from fascist Italy if my memory is correct. it was a hypothetical)

  13. 13 Rosa Lichtenstein

    Thank you for those comment Steve. The point of my post was to remind you that the US is a rapacious imperialist power, and in no way supports democracy, never has and never will (except rhetorically). Hence, the support offered at this site to the invasion of Iraq was seriously misguided, to say the very least.

    I agree with you over Kurdish independence, but you will see hell freeze over before the US supports it. Indeed, Obama’s strategy so far is plainly directed against it.

    http://www.counterfire.org/articles/opinion/17458-why-obama-s-airstrike-alliance-is-no-friend-of-the-kurds

    http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/bomb-bomb-bomb-isis-isn-t-working-but-does-obama-have-a-plan-b-in-his-brain

  14. 14 patrickm

    Two years ago some of us were thinking about the Syrian revolution and a debate went on in a number of threads at The North Star. as a ‘cancer grew’. Thankfully that cancer is now being fought by western military forces though that fight is very complicated. Even the current roles, let alone the next roles of Turkey and the U.S which are still being worked through – demonstrates much that’s in dispute between the ruling-elites of both countries. There is currently a bloody public standoff over Kobane that IMV shows up Obama as the strategic lightweight that I have always thought he is – but even this standoff tends to bleed ISIS, so there may be double play at work here (though I doubt this)but I digress. If it barks like a dog it may well be a dog.

    These earlier threads from TNS are worth recalling now, as is the way that the noxious pseudoleft dregs of the western intellectual marketplace then jumped in and outed themselves as hostile to the very project that they had coatailed onto. Being really anti democratic they then shut down even this one tiny attempt to get genuine debate going out of the OWS elements. Debate was the very raison d’etre for Pham Binh – with a couple of his mates (who were never politically ‘sound’ from any democratic or progressive standpoint)setting up TNS. The site was just starting to generate just such debates because the left field ‘dreadnought’ Australian contingent had got stuck in. Not being able to be sunk in debate they had to be silenced by censorship. The Australians had to be not just shunned and not published but banned as well from commenting.

    TNS site almost had a chance to kick into ‘real’ life having just started to be noticed in the micro tiny U.S. ‘radical left’ milieu, but because people talked in private rather than out in the open, it was soon enough doomed. The key player did not totally insist on his collaborators being fully open, honest, and above board from the very beginning. Pham Binh could not just relax and bring on board more willing democratic writers and share the platform. I for one offered to come onboard and regularly submit work, having already demonstrated in ‘the numbers’ an ability to generate interest and contension – the very debate that the site was suposed to produce. Instead of revelling in the differences that were emerging the owners panicked. The end result of that panick and retreat is on display as a site that’s now the ‘living’ dead, a corpse of a once lively site of real debate and here is almost the full record.

    Then Pham Binh dropped out and the other people involved chose to completely betray the raison d’etre and the predicted inevitable collapse followed.

    Here is one debate from 18mths ago.
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=8118 Have Islamists Hijacked Syria’s Democratic Revolution by Pham Binh on April 1, 2013

    AND below is my edited ‘best of’ comments…have a look Steve and see if there is anything you think ought to be added from the other comments.

    *****************************
    Arthur
    Excellent article!
    We need a consistent terminology when discussing muslims, sunnis, salafis (religious), islamists, jihadis, islamofascists, takfiris (political). Words like “moderate” and “extreme” are unhelpful in the same way that “hard left” and “anti-imperialist left” fail to accurately identify the pseudo-left.

    Salafis are a VERY conservative/reactionary religious outlook (dominant in Saudi Arabia) with a natural association to undemocratic politics. Many islamofascists and takfiris are Salafi but confusing the two broadens the enemy camp.

    Islamists include both the Muslim Brotherhood and various islamofascists and takfiris. There is inevitable conflict between revolutionary democrats and islamists. Nevertheless, islamists are central to the democratic revolution throughout the region and such conflict should currently be viewed as a struggle within the people’s camp. Treating “islamists” like the Muslim Brotherhood as the enemy rather than merely as rivals is roughly equivalent to treating the Puritans and Cromwell as the enemy in the English revolution.

    I like the term “islamofascists” for those forces currently fighting the Assad regime who are nevertheless virulent enemies of democratic revolution who must be fought as enemies. “Jihadis” was a suitable term used in Afghanistan but it can cause confusion as many non-islamofascist sunnis are rallying to the Syrian revolution as a “jihad” or “holy war”.

    A more popular term in the region itself is “takfiris” which explicitly highlights the most important characteristic of the islamofascists – their support for sectarian mass murder. I think we should adopt that term.

    Arthur Reza Lustig
    I remember the enthusiasm of “Marxists” concerning Iran. They were also very critical of Mao’s China for not sharing their enthusiasm. To me it marked a turning point with western leftists who had generally been instinctively hostile to the Soviet line actually backing an openly reactionary development.

    A big difference in Syria is that there is no Tudeh spreading poison in the name of communism (or at least those of that mindset are on the side of the regime rather than its overthrow).

    The actual social content of the Iranian revolution was hostile to modernity and progress with only the lies of Tudeh and the pseudoleft (and understandable hatred for the Shah’s regime) preventing people from understanding this. Although people on the left know as little about Syria as they did about Iran the pseudoleft has had many decades since Iran in which to comprehensively demonstrate its complete irrelevance.

    In Syria the social content of the revolution is for democracy and progress. The dangers you fear exist but it is a danger that can only be fought by helping to strengthen the democratic forces and not by leaving them reliant on support from the Gulf states.

    Although there is little we can do directly, the real interests of Western governments are not being served by their current failure to act. Stupidity can hold things up but there is clearly already a strong current for supporting the revolution. We could at least help prepare public opinion for that policy shift.

    Arthur Brian S.
    The video provides absolutely nothing to refute the fact that both Jabhat Al-Nusra and Al Qaeda in Iraq have acknowledged that Jabhat Al-Nusra is indeed aligned with Al Qaeda as claimed by their various enemies.

    The video also misses the point that the media attention to this is being used in support of more Western assistance to the mainstream of the revolution in order to reduce Al Qaeda influence. Instead it just fantasizes about some sort of vague conspiracy which has apparently both invented Al Qaeda as a myth to justify intervention and carries the danger of creating the very threat it mythologizes. One might as well cite “the usual suspects” as a video like that.

    Brian your insistence that Jabhat al-Nusra is not an affiliate of Al Qaeda while actually quoting them swearing allegiance to its leader represents “such Herculean pillars of absurdity that one can only shrug one’s shoulders. It goes to confirm the truth that a little mistake can always be turned into a monstrous one if it is persisted in, if profound justifications are sought for it, and if it is carried to its “logical conclusion.””
    http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/

    Brian S. Arthur
    Fine, Arthur, but I fear the world is more complicated that you seem to appreciate. If language always meant what it seems to say on the surface there would be many professions out of business. I also don’t know what an al-Qaeda “affiliate” means – this is not some sort of fast-food chain we are talking about.

    Arthur Brian S.
    Affiliation means pledged allegiance to its leader as just announced. Wake up!
    Brian S. Arthur
    So “affiliation” in your world is purely symbolic, with no practical content?
    Arthur Brian S.
    The practical content was identified long before the symbolic public announcement.

    As you have insistently ignored or denied, and has now been publicly confirmed both by Al Qaeda in Iraq and Jabhat al Nusra they were established by the same people who engaged in mass murder campaigns against the “Persian” majority of Iraqis under the banner of Al Qaeda in Iraq and were identified as such by Iraqi security when they moved to Syria and engaged in war crimes there. Get a grip.

    Brian S. Arthur
    And what is this practical content, exactly? Are you claiming that JN has been engaged in “mass murder campaigns” in Syria? (Your memory seems to be failing you Arthur – I sympathise – but you and I discussed this issue a very long time ago: which just goes to show that there is nothing new in these “revelations” despite all the media efforts to hype it)

    Arthur Brian S.
    You can find our earlier discussion here:
    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?…

    It ended with me drawing your attention to a video link posted on this site showing Jabhat Al Nusra opening fire on a mass protest against them and you not responding further.

    Of course there is nothing new in the “revelations”.Their position was well known and well documented all along. That’s the point. Your denial was a mistake then and now that it has been publicly confirmed by both Al Qaeda in Iraq and Jabhat Al Nusra itself your persistence in denial represents ““such Herculean pillars of absurdity that one can only shrug one’s shoulders. It goes to confirm the truth that a little mistake can always be turned into a monstrous one if it is persisted in, if profound justifications are sought for it, and if it is carried to its “logical conclusion.””

    Pham Binh
    Bad news. It seems Jabhat al-Nusrah (JaN) has disintegrated and been replaced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), who have recently assassinated a Free Syrian Army commander and picked fights in/near Aleppo over a rebel checkpoint controlling food supplies for regime-held territory:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/s
    https://www.facebook.com/photo
    ISIL is also spearheading the offensive in Latakia and took over the town of Dana in Idlib. Most of JaN’s fighters in the Aleppo area have joined them.
    Meanwhile the regime is pummeling Homs and may move at some point in the near future to try to take it as they did Qusayr.

    Arthur Pham Binh
    On the other hand, the good news is that FSA is now fighting them rather than letting the cancer grow.

    END

    Well there is better news now the western world is joining the fight!

    Rosa and others can see how Steve has changed when we are talking in a thread where he explicitly says how slow he has been to adopt a position that he was formerly bitterly critical of.

    Not only does Steve now support the Collins side of the Irish civil war but it seems quite obvious that no such war (such a test of strength through the gun) was required when there was a way to vote and talk, and so continue on in a peaceful manner, as was the way that has progressed forward once the civil war WAS ended with Collins dead but his side winning.

    A similar issue that had Steve changing over this period from not supporting a NFZ war in Iraq post 1990, to one of correcting his error and retrospectively being a supporter of the U.S. war to protect the Kurds. He once shared a view over this NFZ war – that has not changed for any organisation connected to western ‘leftist’ anti-war activities – Rosa knows that view and might be able to point it out to Steve how he has changed. Rosa might like to point out how Steve is not fooling anyone other than himself if he thinks he is not a cruise-missile something or other. I can’t remember if Rosa supported NATO attacks on the Libyan tyranny but Steve did and that was very uncomfortable as was the French intervention in Mali, and the Navies of the world dealing with pirates. Yes those were issues that ‘leftists’ dismissed with the glib expression ”what have the Romans ever done for us”.

    I have never understood why Steve is for war to deal with tyranny in Libya when the tyrant simply wanted the right to keep control of his own lawful territories, but wanted sanctions applied to Saddam when he decided to increase the number of people that were under his dictate. Apparently it has something to do with the number of human beings that would be killed doing something about it. Yet how Steve’s preferred method would cost less lives is not so clear now that Syria is a reality. Actually Steve HAS changed yet again because he now is prepared to concede that progressives or opponents of the tyrant that thought differently and called for war had at least an argument to consider. Rosa might like to tell him that there was no legitimate argument and that Kuwait (and it’s all important oil wealth) really belonged to the Iraqi peoples’ or some such formula. But here I am verballing Rosa..It’s the bit about never has and never will that makes me think Neverland. Rosa can speak for herself on her attitude to the Kuwait backwards and forward.

  15. 15 Rosa Lichtenstein

    Patrick:

    “I can’t remember if Rosa supported NATO attacks on the Libyan tyranny…” Do you mean the ‘Libyan tyranny supported by the US and the UK? No, I didn’t.

    “It’s the bit about never has and never will that makes me think Neverland.”

    In that case, I’d like to see your proof to the contrary.

  16. 16 Steve Owens

    Patrick I didnt quite get your take on Irish civil war.
    Do you agree that Lenin and the communist International supported the anti treaty side?
    Or are you sticking to your position that Lenin wasnt well?
    If you agree that Lenin and co were supporting the anti treaty side how do you explain their mistake?

  17. 17 Paddy O'Lenin

    Did you know that Vladimir spoke with an Irish accent?
    http://comeheretome.com/2012/02/03/vladimir-lenin-and-the-rathmines-accent/

  18. 18 Paddy O'Lenin

    Patrick Im still no clearer on your Irish position. Im arguing that civil war was on the Irish Communist Parties agenda from 1921, that the leader of the Irish Communist Party was in close contact with Lenin during 1921 and 1922. The Irish Communist party was on the anti treaty side of the civil war and the Comintern gave the Irish Communist Party support.
    You have argued that Lenin didnt have a position because he was unwell but any look at the course of his illness shows that he was absent from politics for a few weeks after the first stroke but then resumed political activity.
    In my opinion if Lenin had differences from the Comintern’s support for the ICP’s position he would have let it be known loud and clear.
    Your argument that Lenin didn’t have a position due to illness falls at the first hurdle.
    I’m happy for you to have a different opinion on this matter from Lenin. I think that Lenin, Connolly and the Comintern were wrong but really can you hide behind Lenin’s ill health rather than say that Lenin was wrong?
    I think that communists of the time supported anyone willng to fight British Imperialism and saw it as no big deal supporting those who wanted to fight rather than those who wanted to cut a deal.
    My position is that Collins had a democratic mandate to cut a deal and also had a much better idea of the balance of forces than did De Valera. If the anti treaty side had won Britain would have drowned Ireland in blood.
    It still rankles that Collins used British arms to kill Irish republicans and the judicial murder by the free staters of captured Republicans like Childers is just sickening but the International Communist movement lead by Lenin supported the anti treaty side not just in the elections but in the civil war proper. That you find yourself on the wrong side of the barricades along with me just needs a better explanation than Oh Lenin wasnt well.

  19. 19 STEVE OWENS

    Another February has past which means another year has been added to our argument that Iraq should/should not be invaded/liberated.
    In my opinion your argument rests on 4 pillars
    1 Iraq will be a better place post Saddam
    2 Once Saddam is gone the USA will pressure Israel into granting a Palestinian state
    3 A democratic Iraq will give a positive example and the Middle East will undergo regional change in a democratic direction.
    4 The demise of tyranny in the Middle East(swamp draining) will lead to the collapse of the recruitment of terrorists (mosquitoes)
    I think that the above 4 pillars are a fair and accurate summation of your position and I still think that each pillar has crumbled. Your argument no longer stands in a coherent form.

  20. 20 patrickm

    The Egyptian military thug is currently begging the international owning classes to make Egypt function and he is promising to pay back any loans that they make to him and his mates and Kerry claps his speech! What a joke! Nobody believes him and he will not get the flow of good money after bad that he in similar manner to a fun loving Greek or Spanish leader etc requires. Good money after bad and courts carrying on like that? I don’t think this will go down well.

    There is confusion everywhere and stability is very thankfully ‘gone with the wind’.

    In Tikrit the side progressives are on just blew up a mausoleum that obviously cost shit loads and had been around awhile without the locals destroying it that was built for Saddam if you don’t mind. That is to say that the peoples of Iraq had to tolerate a ruling class in the Sunni region that could and did insult the world with such an abomination! Some people like Steve complained when the Iraqi government tried to arrest and jail these leaders as if they did not require fighting against. They do! If you set up a mausoleum to Adolf in Germany see how long you get away with that! Obviously the dust of Baathist tyranny will be swept away a bit easier than the Nazis were swept away in Germany. But just as obviously they are not going to history’s dustbin without a costly fight!

    Another year has past of this revolutionary fight from the front foot fight and its only 12 years after Iraq was liberated and 8 since Hussein was hanged by the progressive Iraqi peoples. Obviously Iraq IS a better place post Saddam and will be an even better place post his mausoleum. Obviously the people he and his kind were and are oppressing would prefer not to be but they don’t have a choice. Anyway in 2015 people will no longer be tolerated to openly venerate such a mass murdering tyrant with an honorable mausoleum etc. People would be arrested for this type of thing in Germany and progressives ought to have nothing against such repression. If revolutionaries don’t repress the reactionaries then the revolution is not really underway. Steve actually supports this repression! Though you wouldn’t know it.

    The USA is now a ‘feeble’ superpower but still standing militarily well above all the old ‘Great Powers’ and still THE current vital element for interventions such as the Steve supported Libya war that saw the Gaddafi tyranny ended and the revolution between islamists and islamofascists break out. There is armed groups and bloodshed all through the region and progressives are under constant threat of death. Western anti war movements have lost the support of the western masses. As movements they have essentially collapsed as people now openly call on their governments to send troops to Iraq and beg them to take action on Syria. Steve now a cruise missile something or other anti communist is calling for more war and is pretending not to. Just as the US was vital earlier in the Balkans when Yugoslavia broke apart as all the nations sought their national liberation and then since Libya in Syria and now in Iraq again it is on the correct side of the struggle for progress.

    ISIL / Al Qaeda / Assad / and then there is Africa and Boko Haram and pirates etc. Not a peace march on Steve’s calendar. It’s war all the way now! Well done Steve; you don’t have to make sense about Iraq years ago so long as you continue to support the military effort now as you do. And YOU DO! Those Oz troops are in Iraq and you are not marching against the deployment!

    The US is looking more like the lastsuperpower as the post WW2 era of the superpowers comes to a close. US interests are -as clearly spelt out by Petraeus- bound up with ending the failed war for greater Israel. Netanyahu and Obama are at a pushing and shoving moment. Who now thinks that occupation is going well? Who will pressure Israel to end the occupation? The US won’t even say the territories are disputed they just say they are occupied and every occupation has to come to an end. Who will be ‘granting’ a Palestinian state?

    The demise of tyranny in the Middle East (swamp draining via an Islamist led bourgeois democratic or eventually even better because something will have to be done to make stuff work -some form of new democratic revolution) will lead to the collapse of the recruitment of terrorists no matter how long it takes. As Norway demonstrated a few are always around and produced by life.

    A democratic Iraq gave a positive example and the Middle East is undergoing regional change in a democratic direction. Each of these very old pillars holds up a coherent platform for any progress at all. The 4 alternatives would be the old discredited fighting off the back foot. No thanks! Syria has disgraced Obama and his supporters and fully exposed the people who thought Iraq was a disaster. Exactly the same complaint about every revolution really.

  21. 21 STEVE OWENS

    Patrick you say “Obviously Iraq IS a better place post Saddam” but really is it? What metric do you measure better by?
    I agree that life is better for the Kurds but not for the Sunni Arabs a roughly equivalent number who now live under IS rule.
    The Iraqi people have endured over a decade of violence, increased disease and reduced vital services such as electricity and hospital care. With somewhere around a million dead and several million refugees widespread ethnic cleansing and powerful religious militias. In Baghdad about 1,000 people are killed or wounded in terrorist attacks per month
    You say “There is confusion everywhere and stability is very thankfully ‘gone with the wind’.”
    As another person living in one of the most stable countries in the world please spare me the romantic tish tosh about how wonderful instability is. Try selling that in Baghdad and see how many eager buyers there are.

  22. 22 Steve Owens

    Percentage of Iraqis who lived in slum conditions in 2000: 17

    Percentage of Iraqis who live in slum conditions in 2011: 50

    Number of the 30 million Iraqis living below the poverty line: 7 million.

    Number of Iraqis who died of violence 2003-2011: 150,000 to 400,000.

    Orphans in Iraq: 4.5 million.

    Orphans living in the streets: 600,000.

    Number of women, mainly widows, who are primary breadwinners in family: 2 million.

    Iraqi refugees displaced by the American war to Syria: 1 million

    Internally displaced [pdf] persons in Iraq: 1.3 million

    Proportion of displaced persons who have returned home since 2008: 1/8

    Rank of Iraq on Corruption Index among 182 countries: 175

    Wow percentage of people living in slums under Saddam 17%
    Percentage living in slums when America left 50%
    In a country of 30 million 7 million live below the poverty line.
    Oh please do tell us again the fairy tail of how things have improved.
    You keep saying that Im from never-land
    but what land are you from? May I suggest bullshit island

  23. 23 patrickm

    The singer and the same old song.

    From the day that we were born we’ve been heading down a track
    Sometimes it’s made for good sometimes for bad
    But if we look behind us there’s a wave coming down
    Carrying us forward to a new age
    What about the world around us
    How can we fail to see
    And now that our fathers have gone
    And we’ve been left to carry on
    What about the age of reason
    So why can’t we be still why can’t we love each other
    Is kindness an ancient skill buried by our blindness
    And if we look behind us there’s a wind blowing in
    To create the age of reason
    If we consider carefully the options put before us
    So much wisdom so much love so much waiting for us
    And if we look ahead there’s the sun and the seasons
    Another day another age of reason

    Those are – for at least my generation – somewhat iconic Australian song lyrics and worth reflecting upon. Kindness, an ancient skill – from about the time of Genghis Khan – currently buried by our modern blindness. The song is a typical jumble of how the ‘love me I’m a liberal’ types present themselves and claim their banner is reason and science. I guess like lawyers, these types don’t usually believe a word of what they earn their money from; they just can’t be that stupid. More probably this thinking is like barrister Robertson – who is now calling for war against ISIS – cheap feel good ‘talk talk’.

    It’s like all anti-Iraq liberation stands because it offers no genuine solutions to deal with the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. But at least this song conveys the concept of progress and at least Robertson is calling for war against DAESH! Oh yes that’s right so is Steve!!

    Since apelike primates stepped out of the trees as a primitive form of humanity we’ve been social beings. The best of us – defined as the most socially developed – strive towards greater social development and thus a more ‘human’ existence develops. There are then those who become content and superior as ‘the best of our kind’, and smugly begin holding that process of social development back. Totally self interested reactionaries hold development back! They take the development far enough to suit themselves and then they become the old getting in the way of the new.

    Lately, a score or so of generations have pushed through rapid progress that stands starkly against earlier periods of snail like progress and countless generations of stagnation. These enlightened generations have still – and actually quite often – confronted periods of ebb tide marked by little progress, and periods of stark retreat as we see so clearly in the horror that was Germany of the early 20th C. So as we review where we stand now we can appreciate that 21st century progressives stand on the shoulders of those who were veterans of massively costly struggles as they battled titanic ‘monsters’ and changed eras in the past.

    Casualties in the fight for progress are as real today as ever and so is the damage to the required fighting qualities of proletarians done by pacifists and liberals. The mush that they feed youth leaves those young people that buy it defenseless in all manner of ways. Against armed oppressors who are a very powerful minority that stand against the progress of the vast majority of humanity they have nothing to offer but the ridiculous rule of law where Judge Robertson proclaims against GW Bush and co. for making war on the lawful tyranny of Saddam Hussein!

    The masses can be and often are disarmed and defenseless and the ruling classes use terror as a matter of course to keep the peoples’ in their place. So while the whole cultural development of modernity suggests that the proletarian majority will not stand still for generations and just be threatened, terrorised, intimidated and oppressed we can and have lost generations to reaction in the recent past and the present is looking very deadly in a dozen countries right now.

    A costly price has always been paid for progress and there is zero prospect of a change in the attitude of the owners so revolutionaries have always stressed the requirement to ‘cast aside illusions and prepare for struggle.’ Progressives from all classes and proletarians – the property-less workers that produce most things – can’t get past the oppressive and exploitative owning classes who really do block our path using their state to defend their property rights – without them extracting a deadly cost. Their stand to keep owning stuff will extract from our ranks a massive number of deaths and they will block us using the rule of their law as often as they do with direct thuggery.

    If we look at the historical record there’s a ‘gone with the wind’ history of classes that have been eliminated in that process of class struggle and an ‘age of reason’ continues to unfold in a life and death struggle against its opposite. The reality of why ‘we’ can’t just ‘love each other’ now is the age old problem of dealing with our oppressors. Kindness and courage exist across classes as do their opposites but class interests exist and both overlap and conflict.

    So political activists must consider carefully the options placed before entire classes of people and have a head for figures. We don’t try to reinvent the wheel every time a struggle confronts us, instead we build on the hard won wisdom that clearly speaks for our progressive classes and we progressive descendants of the enlightenment attempt to unite those many classes to defeat the very few who would divide us just to exploit us.

    Now as it happens class interests become sharply antagonistic in periods of capitalist overproduction and a financial crisis involves all who live as part of our modern global market economy and so it’s small wonder why ‘we are the 99%’ became a widely understood aspirational slogan that captured the essential mood (the vibe of the problem) during a brief struggle of some bottom of the pile non-owners to just take hold of a space in the heart of the leading owning classes financial district.

    The world’s leading capitalism has evolved through the era of capitalist imperialism past the Great Depression and WW2 and its brief period of overblown superpower status into the 21stC. The world’s biggest capitalism is globally integrated and financially challenged but still has a ‘mighty dollar’. Other owning classes like the Chinese will at some point dispute the method it claims for paying its debts as they fall due because the sums don’t add up. Indeed other capitalist economies are now fully involved in fora like the G20 in trying to make the sums add up. The finance ministries have developed methods of extending credit and rearranging payments but still there is no prospect of a solution to the downward spiral without actually going through a full blown crisis. The finance ministers have avoided the crisis to date while not in anyway altering the reality of shrinking return on economic activity. For a vast number of the world’s people because of a systemic problem the actual conditions of their lives in the 2nd decade of the 21st C is now getting harder. Capitalist society is producing a crisis as a part of it’s NORMAL functioning and so is producing – as push comes to shove – massive levels of gangster conduct right across the globe. Hard times does that as a matter of course and will cost many poor people especially children their lives.

    A Marxist analysis – through the WW1 lens of Lenin – IMV does much of the heavy theoretical lifting, much as any lever does, for us to understand THIS capitalist crisis that is as it develops producing a vast number of economic refugees and unemployed etc. But even if people are choosing to use that Marxist lever to get a clear understanding of ‘what next’ there is still no results from the work and progressives are STILL stuck over how to move progressive classes forward. Just as the slave owning class is not a progressive class now and has not been so for thousands of years, and yet supposedly ‘lawful’ examples of it were still found in the 20th C running countries like Saudi Arabia, we humans will be struggling against exploitative classes well past our URGENT requirement for dealing with the more gross tyrants!

    The 1% are now unable to effectively exploit all that remain available to exploit in their home market -child labour was long ago wrested from the owners as was massive over-exploitation with the introduction of the 8 hr day, aged pension and universal education and so on. In Australia there is a phoney 9% paid by employers as a giant investment fund to supposedly generate superannuated workers payments. Super is a giant investment fund that’s supposed to produce returns to your ‘capital’ as money for paying for a retirement period at the end of workers lives but IMV is a giant theft from wages to produce ‘stakeholders’ and incidentally produces real big bureaucrat capitalists that might perhaps top the pile of finance capitalists that dominate the whole system.

    Significant levels of unemployment and underemployment having now existed as a constant for many decades with no prospect of being solved and full employment returning anywhere is rising BEFORE the full crisis breaks out. Unemployment is now a full blown problem. What is now self evident is that no economically viable employment is available for the current ‘surplus’ of non-owners that the owning class now must currently sustain in some form of welfare/dole in western countries. That is to say it is not profitable for some owner class exploiter of labour to employ these people. As this crisis develops an ever growing number of non-owners are carried as an expense of owning. But the numbers are vast in the less developed parts of this global market and I think this cost has become a burden ‘too great to bear’. At any rate it is a constant source of dispute in policy battles between the Tweedle parties of capitalism.

    In the more distant backwater’s of third world capitalism the economic transformation from forest dwelling to modernity has turned back into a killer of humans as it unfolds. To generate further thinking as to what is a bright future only restricted by ownership issues, we have to insist on a class stand and a rigorous approach to honesty for this stage of our ongoing age of reason.

    Property-less members of the 99% will have to change the world around us for us.

    If we study the issues from a class stand, that is if we are concerned with the well being of the masses and put politics in command we will not ‘fail to see’ what has to be done. Past struggles to drag humanity to this lowly point, have not brought humanity -nor the planet- to either ‘the eve of destruction’ or even vaguely close to a Fukuyama historical nirvana for bourgeois liberalism. Class struggle carries on even amidst the glaring theoretical confusion in the ranks of those that simply proclaim their desire for an end to the exploitation of one human being by another.

    Western democratic revolutionaries (who ought to enjoy the privilege of living here and now) ought to make primary the question of how to extend this enjoyment. In other words rather than none of our business it ought to be our primary concern to get our thinking extended and out into the forest of barbarity that we still see going on all around us.

    We travel through our time on our increasingly similar roads marked by staggering technical progress that never drops from the sky or the trees but only ever comes from human effort across all productive classes. Many members of the owning classes still deliver on a fantastic level just as there are unemployables that always take. But the 99% still yearly plant further and harvest again just as the tree of reason delivers fruit from its lifeblood watered existence.

    All this happens while the 1% that own so very much can’t possibly justify their – very much less than Pharaoh like – existences. There has been progress since old Egypt. Private ownership of the means of such massive production is in the way of further progress but that is more evident when Egyptian military thugs simply impose their diktat and call themselves the law as they kill those that may want democracy but have no guns.

    The ‘what is to be done’ moment has yet to arrive in the west. But whatever it is that is to be done it will be via a massive increase in democracy and that will never be cheaply bought.

    Glad to see you resorting to united front armed struggle to deal with the islamo-fascists.

  24. 24 Steve Owens

    “….but still there is no prospect of a solution to the downward spiral without actually going through a full blown crisis.”
    Oh sorry your still waiting for an economic collapse. Well I guess that anything is possible but projections for world economic growth 2015-16 are for around 3.5%
    I used to believe in the “collapse” theory but I also saw the play Waiting for Godot and in the play as in real life Godot never comes.
    PS I never rested my case against the Iraq war on legal grounds or stealing oil grounds but on the grounds that an invasion would unleash social forces that would be disastrous for the people of Iraq.
    I remember repeating many times my theory that the invasion would turn Iraq into Somalia

  25. 25 patrickm

    It’s very interesting how you and Judge Geoff call for troops to go into Iraq NOW! Why not first demand that they only use side arms and then over time – say about 10 seconds – you won’t need the ten years it took to get to here – you can work your way to some sane position?

    Side arms fighting against the enemies of progress in Iraq is as silly as in Libya or Syria and unlikely to be sustainable even in Tunisia.

    It is of course insane as is the masses of Iraqi peoples taking on the nazi like Baathists as they formerly existed fully armed as a powerful functioning state and thus in total and undisputed brutal and constantly bloody control.

    But they take em on now as any fuckwit can see! The enemies of all and any progress in Iraq built themselves up again in Syria and are a formidable enemy of progress – even after the fantastic warfighting that WAS thrown at them and took away 80-90% of their capacity for killing Iraqi peoples – and they are attacking the democratic revolution by killing easy target people and destroying vulnerable infrastructure. Thats now what we expect when we come up against the people who want to kill us and anyone like us. The war as fought just has not brought the total defeat that WW2 did to the German and Italian and Japanese thats for sure, and it has not had great leaders but on the otherhand…

    Fighting such an enemy is not best left to the unarmed masses and that would be so obviously insane that YOU call for the use of the range of weapons that ARE being used. Well done. You are coming along just fine. Soon you will be reading Mao on protracted war.

    Why not comment about how was it that a Mausoleum was built given that it has now been leveled by some Iraqi people fighting other Iraqi people? This centre of reaction stood and was attended and staffed and so forth! You NOW call for the people that built it and kept it in their midst to be repressed! Well done. But that is what I expect from a cruise missile something or another. You used to complain about the repression and now you have thought better on it. Now you want the political leaders that were letting this sort of thing exist hunted down and punished and the whole type of political movement repressed. That is a very big step forward.

  26. 26 Steve Owens

    Just to be clear my position is to support the military appeals from the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army. As to sending help to the government of Iraq well my position is much more measured because I see their position as much more compromised as recent atrocity reports about their troops have even made the Americans question giving more. Anyhow those in Baghdad have already been given billions in military training and weapons they didn’t ask for US air support over Tikrit mainly I think because they are happier with the support that they are getting from Iran.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/13/iraqi-military-forces-equipped-u-s-commit-atrocities/

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/19/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-coalition-idUSKBN0MF1DW20150319

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/dirty-brigades-us-trained-iraqi-forces-investigated-war/story?id=29193253

  27. 27 patrickm

    What you mean by ‘just to be clear’, is that you would like to avoid addressing what you are backtracking over by mentioning some worries about how bad the Iraqi government is. Just to be clear! Try commenting on how you want those Sunni who ran that mausoleum repressed. How had they been getting away with such an outrage? What does that tell us about who is/was running the show in that fair city and that part of the entire country? How do Iraqi people fight them right through the various stages of the protracted warfare that progressives are involved in like it or not? So it’s OK for you not to like it but when you support a war you ought not TRY to appear like you are not supporting it. You support the blowing up of that mausoleum. That is you are on the side of the Iraqi government!

    And (just to be clear) given the % of the population that German Nazis managed to kill as a result of them fighting for and winning power – ditto Japanese militarists and Italian fascists etc., what would be a reasonable % of the Iraqi people that we ought to be expecting to lose their lives in this struggle against such clear enemies of progress? After all fascists kill us by the millions and without hesitation and they will never change anymore than progressives will stop fighting back against them. If it is achieved at half the cost it could be though cheap no? If it cost the same % of lives it might be expected. If it was achieved at 25% then that might be thought great human progress.

    Whatever it costs humanity – you are on the side of fighting so the question is how to fight. You can no longer play the ‘these deaths were all avoidable’ card. You know from Syria that very large numbers of deaths are unavoidable when fighting to overthrow fascists of all types.

    All this backtracking gives you a very interesting problem when it comes to being a democrat and furthering the revolutionary transformation of that part of the world. After all you are all for internationalism even if it is some form of well run world-wide capitalism or whatever it is you think humanity requires for the 21st C and beyond.

    You support ‘the military appeals from the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army’ who are both wanting DAESH attacked AND defeated, and would no doubt rather that this task was done by a western coalition of the willing with plenty of boots though I very much doubt that they could say this for public consumption. We just need some arms and air support and some training and massive amounts of aid for our refugee problems and….well thinking about a western army of occupation might be a reasonable thought for us progressives given the recent and current history of this war.

    You want the Syrian air-force shut down but they are not being shut down by Obama. Obama has not yet established a NFZ war and we ought to be – as cruise missile internationalists – be calling very loudly for him to get on with it. Smash Assad’s air force and destroy any of his artillery that they can. But how will we protect ‘his’ population from what they expect now as a bloodbath coming their way? Do you think it is coming their way? Don’t you think that we have a duty to prevent DAESH (and others) from doing on this front what they just did on the other front?

    If you think about it YOU want the U.S. and NATO to move plenty of the military assets that MIGHT be required into the region right now don’t you? And that probably surprises you. You want a response ready when intervention is as urgent as it was for those under attack from DAESH. They are now digging up mass graves from that advance out of Syria. If the COW had still had – even quite a small footprint in the deserts of Iraq – that DAESH bloodbath and the creation of the current reality would not have been viable. But Obama couldn’t get them out quick enough! The Iraqi government couldn’t get them out quick enough and how has that worked out? Now what?

    You now want not just the option of boots on the ground as well as air and sea power, you want them on the ground. You are following the incoherent lead of Geoffrey Robertson and his call is to deal with such conduct – that Obama let fester until it erupted with such a killing fury that you demanded that people under threat be rescued by anyone including boots on the ground U.S. marines and whatever it takes.

    DAESH will not be permitted to run the country they have established and expanded as opportunity permitted and you know this and are glad that they will not be permitted to do so anymore. Yet you are none too fond of the locals rolling them back. What a dilemma! Just to be clear!!! You should be openly talking, that’s how you will be clear. Engage with your dilemma in the open honest and above board manner instead of pretending to yourself that you were right all along to oppose the liberation of the people of Kuwait. If you claim to now be following the FSA and the Kurds what is it with this racist stand against Shia Arabs and the people of Kuwait? You know that the people of Kuwait were delighted with being liberated from the ‘just as bad as the nazis’ killers of Tikrit.

    Anyway (whatever you are brave enough to admit to)your actions show you ARE delighted that the U.S. are building up their own war fighting capacity in the region and Jordan in particular and are training Syrian forces in Jordan and you were thrilled that the U.S. belted DAESH in the fight up on the Turkish border. Interesting how that fight went and developments in the Kurdish issue in Turkey are also very exciting I think.

    In the old days when such a fascist force launched an attack to expand territory you wanted nothing done by the international community of nations. You will recall how it was when that Kurd killing tyrant grabbed Kuwait. But that’s long ago now. These days you look at the world with a deeper understanding of how to fight fascism.

    That seems so obvious when I think about it that I don’t even understand why anyone would call for NATO attacks to defeat Libyan tyranny and yet can’t see that an outside intervention and occupation will protect those that face defeat in Syria (the Alawites will have to be both defeated and protected) as much as it would protect the Sunni Arabs that are only 20% in Iraq and yet are causing such a massive problem in the same manner I suppose we might say as the racist whites did in South Africa.

    The savagery that some of the Iraqi Shia forces are bound to be up to – when they follow the likes of Sadr – ought not come as any shock to westerners by now.

    You will have no excuse for your negligence.

    Remember the necklacing in South Africa? Good thing that nothing like that is still going on in that democracy hey!? The Shia have their theocratic fascists almost as much as the Sunni.

    Just as with the removal of the chemical weapons – that you support – outsiders would help not hinder. Assad had to give them over or face a U.S. attack and that’s much better than when the U.S. was turning a blind eye to Baathists chemically mass murdering the Kurds! Good riddance to those old U.S. policies isn’t that so!

    Yes that’s right it is so! That is your position. The chemical weapons issue is only a small part of what you are backing now.

    If the world continues to let Assad get on with his work when his work is blocking the swamp draining and murdering anyone even vaguely interested in democracy and any form of toleration of the minorities in this region then the result will be more of what we see now.

    Obama is responsible for much of the disaster that has emerged from Syria but the pathetic remains of the anti-war movement that he has split to the point of destitution is now and has been wrong all along about what is the problem and what the solution.

    So when you say ‘Just to be clear my position is to support the military appeals from the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army. As to sending help to the government of Iraq well my position is much more measured because I see their position as much more compromised’ all I hear is the appeals that were always coming from the Kurds just as they were clearly coming when the masses had to be silent in Kuwait and the Shia had to stay quiet in Iraq or join the constant march of their fellows to an early grave at the hand of such unspeakable savagery.

    No wonder such savagery comes back from peoples who have been treated in this manner. Was it not always so?

    If ‘they are happier with the support that they are getting from Iran.’ we ought not be pleased about it. We ought to think through the revolutionary issues. Because that is ultimately what we are on about. Revolutionary war in response to oppression not endless war. Some broom to sweep away this abomination that proves us still ape like in our development.

    To that end; to say the very least, the current U.S. administration’s relationship with the blatantly racist Netanyahu government is not going well is it? IMV the relationship between the two countries has never been as bad as now. What is causing this? The fact that Netanyahu is a racist and Obama knows it is hardly the point as almost everyone round the world can now see that Zionism is racism. Even a rank opportunist U.S. president – that will not now even meet Netanyahu or waste his time on any ‘peace’ talks with him – can understand how U.S. interests are being damaged by Netanyahu’s continuation of the stalling over ending the occupation from the war for greater Israel. Obama is a disaster! But even then the elite tip of the U.S. administration is under no illusions about what the failed war was all about.

    People like Tony Abbott might be under illusions after all his kind are really quite strange people with if you think about it really weird beliefs so who can tell. The point is; how goes the war for greater Israel? I say not good and I say it is in U.S. interests to put preasure on over the delaying tactics of the mendicant Zionists of Israel!

    The left has always said that there was such a war and that it would not work. The right has pretended that no such war was planned and launched but rather that plucky little Israel was just defending itself against Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Well how is all that working out years after people have accepted as a matter of international consensus that there is going to be Palestinian state and that it will not be a Zionist imposed Bantustan type joke.

    Just to be clear you are calling for the war fighting that is required and you are about to accept that Kurds are no more deserving than the people of Kuwait and the Shia and that Alawites and all minorities will have to be protected.

    There is only ‘NATO plus’ to do the required job. So now just to be clear cast aside all your former illusions about peaceful roads past fascists and all the current ‘modern’ equivalents and call for more military resources to be sent to the region including Africa.

  28. 28 Steve Owens

    “…. what is it with this racist stand against Shia Arabs and the people of Kuwait?”
    So you are raising the question of my racist stand.
    Several years ago I was helping to organise counter demos to some Neo Nazi rallies.
    I invited you along and you turned up with a “draft” leaflet naming me as a facsist.
    I will treat your racist slur as I did your facsist slur in that I shake my head sadly and move along.

  29. 29 patrickm

    You can throw bulldust and pretend to be so offended but anyone can see you have got nothing to say to the charge of having a glaring double standard when you want some Syrians helped and some Kurds helped when they face aggression and you have zero problem with Jordanians and Turks being protected yet shia arabs from Iraq and anyone at all from Kuwait ought in your old and long discredited view get zero help dealing with the same things – called aggression and tyranny – coming out of Tikrit.

    You would rather go silent about how you are approving of the air strikes this very day in Tikrit.

    People get that.

    It is difficult when you are backing down from 30 plus years of a bullshit world view. But there you go thats what you say you did when you changed your mind and in retrospect NOW support the NFZ war waged against the Tikrit crime boss.

    NOW that there is a caliphate of terror that YOU want fought you get it! Before it was just a country of terror that WE wanted fought. Same place different name hey!! If this makes all the difference to you and GR well good-oh. I don’t mind why you have joined the war fighting ranks. But here you stand. You are now long out of Neverland AND now over the fence that you sat on for so long and you now are following GR! Good for you.

    And if you want to bring up any issue you have with my past conduct (instead of deal with the thing that everyone can see and that is what I have written above, you are free to explain yourself in detail but as we see you have nothing to really say.

    Yours is the classic method of slur. Just hint that there is something wrong with what I have at sometime done rather than deal with what I can be properly held to account for. You would do well to cast such behaviour aside.

  30. 30 Steve Owens

    The current struggle by the Iraqi army against IS presents several difficulties. The Iraqi side is being bolstered by an estimated 30,000 Iranian troops. Human rights organisations have complained that Iraq militias have been leveling Sunni villages in retaliation. There have been widespread atrocity reports against the Iraqi army units beheadings and torture.
    After the US left as arranged by the Bush administration the Iraqi government hunted down and executed many of the leaders of the awakening movement thereby destroying any hope of reconciliation.
    My point has been that for Iraq to progress some sort of accommodation needs to happen across the religious divide.
    You seem to believe that the Sunni Arab population can be bombed into democracy but I don’t share your simplistic view of the struggle.
    PS your post of 25 March was so full of distortions of my position that after making several attempts to correct it I just gave up.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/03/18/iraq-militia-attacks-destroy-villages-displace-thousands

  31. 31 patrickm

    Are you for or against blowing up that mausoleum in Tikrit? That really is not that hard to respond to.

    Here is the first paragraph to prove how you just can’t take that open step by step aproach.

    ‘What you mean by ‘just to be clear’, is that you would like to avoid addressing what you are backtracking over by mentioning some worries about how bad the Iraqi government is. Just to be clear! Try commenting on how you want those Sunni who ran that mausoleum repressed. How had they been getting away with such an outrage? What does that tell us about who is/was running the show in that fair city and that part of the entire country? How do Iraqi people fight them right through the various stages of the protracted warfare that progressives are involved in like it or not? So it’s OK for you not to like it but when you support a war you ought not TRY to appear like you are not supporting it. You support the blowing up of that mausoleum. That is you are on the side of the Iraqi government!’

    Make an honest attempt at that and lets see what I can make of your position. Stop proving my position by repeatedly doing what I say you are doing with or without the lame PS. You prove my central points with your determined avoidance.

  32. 32 Steve Owens

    OK Saddam’s mausoleum was leveled recently by Shia militias, this being the same mausoleum that was ransacked and burned by IS last August. I have no objection to people desecrating Saddam’s mausoleum.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/16/saddam-husseins-tomb-destroyed-as-battle-for-tikrit-rages
    Saddam’s mausoleum just doesn’t take centre stage for me. Generally I think these palace like structures could be put the better use rather than just blown up. Maybe it could have been used to house the people made homeless by this widespread practice of leveling houses.

  33. 33 patrickm

    You link to
    ‘Isis has controlled Tikrit since June, when it waged its lightning offensive that saw Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, come under their control. The militants were helped in their conquest of northern Iraq by Saddam loyalists’
    So your point is really unclear and misleading as DAESH are trained and assisted by Baathists and Saddam loyalists to a large and complex extent.

    You have, ‘just to be clear’ avoided the issue of suppressing these people who were building and maintaining a ‘sacred’ monument and organising at that place and so forth as they control a city and a region of Iraq. A site of ‘sacred’ import to the Baathist enemies of all progress, in the city of Tikrit that – as a whole – did so well under the Tikrit crime boss tyrant. A site much more important than any old statue like the liberated people of Baghdad pulled down, with some mechanical assistance from the liberating forces on their day of liberation as you and the world recalls.

    So ‘just to be clear’ when you say ‘desecrating’ YOU mean that YOU want the mausoleum and even his body deprived of its sacred character.

  34. 34 Steve Owens

    I am surprised that the Iraqi government allowed Saddam’s body to be placed in a Mausoleum. It seems to be an odd thing.

  35. 35 patrickm

    Exactly! So the people that hanged him are not in control in this part of the caliphate / country now are they!!

    To continue;

    That for example YOU think it correct to throw Osama’s body overboard and that it was a mistake of the Iraqi state not to have done the same in this case to Saddam!

    That you understand why the nazis burned Hitlers body to ensure it was not able to be ‘desecrated’ by the people that defeated him and his millions of supporters as Mussolini’s had been displayed for example just a short while before.

    The shrine may have been ‘desecrated’ by ‘Shia militias’ but I am saying that it ought to have been done by the Iraqi state that was caught up in it as the Iraqi army is the key element in the attack on Tikrit that you support and this is the key point.

    Not sure if Daesh – that in truth are less than ‘German’ in discipline – bothered their allies with a minor desecration or not, I googled and it was not clear among the horrors at all.

    Naturally you could have no objection to people who are fighting Baathists destroying Baathist places of importance but evidently you would not order this destruction if you could and would rather talk about Baathist and Daesh controlled areas being destroyed like war torn Berlin – leaving Germans good bad and indifferent dead in large numbers or often as not homeless.

    Yet you want to make war against this caliphate behind your ahem – clear thinking legal spokesman GR – and you know that war requires more than small arms and arresting of unarmed people. What happened to Kobane? Don’t recall you complaining about how the battle was fought there. You know by now that war is a question of killing and not being killed and that can’t be achieved all the time unfortunately but that is exactly what we try to do. We don’t want our side to lose any people and we want the other side surrendered or dead. Trouble is in the ME – with our allies – it is sometimes both. In Syria this has been perfectly clear that there is struggle in all manner of directions as our enemies have engineered. We are often forced to fight on the back foot!

    When asked to get specific you dodge with ‘Saddam’s mausoleum just doesn’t take centre stage for me’ and then turn from the specific to ‘Generally I think these palace like structures could be put the better use rather than just blown up.’

    But your real kicker is ‘Maybe it could have been used to house the people made homeless by this widespread practice of leveling houses.’

    Now that is hardly a way to fight let alone win a war.

    Daesh have a ‘country’ you want it attacked so you must expect that much of it will be made into rubble as they are good fighters and will fight and that the rubble will be a temporary shroud to many dead. You know or ought to that war is a % of the population scale issue!

    Despite WW2 and Syria and all your backtracking etc this is what you won’t face up to.

    When others wanted to make war over this ‘caliphate’ you didn’t think it was being done for the right reasons and wouldn’t support it but now you want it because you are compelled to deal with what has displayed itself to you. Following GR you blame the forces you now call on for causing this as well!!

    But STILL your big issue is how bad the locals are!! The very locals you wanted left alone to liberate themselves in the very first instance!!

    How foolish this is, is Syrian-ly obvious.

    The reason you want the monsters of Daesh fought was long ago displayed in Halabja! When the ‘civilised’ western capitalist world turned a blind eye.

    Thank whatever ‘GOD’ you want to that that is no longer the case.

    Lets try again with you giving an attempt at a real response shall we because
    a) we already understand that you don’t mind that Saddam’s statue was ‘hanged’ on the day of liberation it’s just that you won’t call those people doing the hand work liberated people and made free to smash up his state as well as his statue or if you do the liberation came at too high a price IYV and you recommend the Syrian model of self liberation where you are now -following the FSA to be sure- calling for intervention on the basis that the FSA have asked for it.

    b) we know that you don’t mind that Saddam was tried by the Iraqi state for his crimes it’s just that you think the US soldiers that captured him were not draining a swamp but making things worse by turning up even when they protected the elections that created that state though you also say you argued at some point that the troops ought not go home as quick as ALL the Neverland groups called for.

    c) we already know that you have had nothing but bad to say about the Kurdish leaders for ages until recently when you supported their current call for an assist against the Baathists and Daesh, even though you know that they advanced with the assist on the very first day of the war of liberation against the then massive Baathist army.

    GR looks foolish calling for war and so do you. But you don’t have to look as foolish as he is stuck with looking.

    You just have to be genuinely supportive of this war that requires allying with the most problematic and unreliable allies you can think of. Just focus on taking sides and killing and capturing the other side and don’t expect a very high standard to come from this war. One side is not like the Indonesians pulling out of East Timor and the other is not like the Australian forces going in. This is not even as good as what the US / Australia and so forth have been up to in Afghanistan and they have not been very good at bringing a social revolution to that sad country but as we see with the killing of that woman by the criminal mullah and his mob etc there now IS a social movement in progress there now past just fighting the tyranny of the Taliban!

  36. 36 Steve Owens

    “You just have to be genuinely supportive of this war that requires allying with the most problematic and unreliable allies you can think of. Just focus on taking sides and killing and capturing the other side and don’t expect a very high standard to come from this war.”
    See that’s exactly what I mean by simplistic approach that I have been criticizing you for years now
    Fighting a war is not about “…allying with the most problematic allies you can think of.”
    I don’t buy your one size fits all approach and guess what neither do the Americans. Air support for the attack on Tikrit was withheld by the US until militias accused of human rights abuses were withdrawn from the battle.

  37. 37 patrickm

    So the US IS doing the correct thing I agree that one size does not fit all and think like you do that the US did the right thing by holding back! So try again because you are not understanding what my position is but you are at war now and are backing the actions of the US in this war.

  38. 38 patrickm

    Tell me you are forgetful not wilfull as remember the following WAS posted above!!

    Arthur
    Excellent article!
    We need a consistent terminology when discussing muslims, sunnis, salafis (religious), islamists, jihadis, islamofascists, takfiris (political). Words like “moderate” and “extreme” are unhelpful in the same way that “hard left” and “anti-imperialist left” fail to accurately identify the pseudo-left.

    Salafis are a VERY conservative/reactionary religious outlook (dominant in Saudi Arabia) with a natural association to undemocratic politics. Many islamofascists and takfiris are Salafi but confusing the two broadens the enemy camp.

    Islamists include both the Muslim Brotherhood and various islamofascists and takfiris. There is inevitable conflict between revolutionary democrats and islamists. Nevertheless, islamists are central to the democratic revolution throughout the region and such conflict should currently be viewed as a struggle within the people’s camp. Treating “islamists” like the Muslim Brotherhood as the enemy rather than merely as rivals is roughly equivalent to treating the Puritans and Cromwell as the enemy in the English revolution.

    I like the term “islamofascists” for those forces currently fighting the Assad regime who are nevertheless virulent enemies of democratic revolution who must be fought as enemies. “Jihadis” was a suitable term used in Afghanistan but it can cause confusion as many non-islamofascist sunnis are rallying to the Syrian revolution as a “jihad” or “holy war”.

    A more popular term in the region itself is “takfiris” which explicitly highlights the most important characteristic of the islamofascists – their support for sectarian mass murder. I think we should adopt that term.

  39. 39 Steve Owens

    This struggle does have echos of WW2. I hate IS like I have learned to hate the Nazi’s. I favor Poland being liberated from Nazi rule. The Red army was the only army able to rid Poland of its Nazi problem. Ironically the Soviet Government was much at fault for Poland having a Nazi problem just like IS is the unwanted consequence of actions taken by the US and Iraqi governments.
    The Soviet Union liberated Poland and proceeded to give it 50 years of misrule. I want IS defeated but I am aware of the problems that can arise.
    My position is similar to George Orwell’s who stated that his 2 goals in life were to defeat fascism and to defeat the idea that what is happening in the USSR represents Socialism.

  40. 40 patrickm

    Steve finally admits that he thinks this WAR THAT HE SUPPORTS THE US AND AUSTRALIA AND NATO GETTING INVOLVED IN does have echos of WW2.
    and it is very nice to know that – like GR and others calling for war now – Steve says ‘I hate IS like I have learned to hate the Nazi’s.’ and I can presume the nazis-like Baathists and nazis-like shia death squads types that we revolutionary democrats have been bangging on about for a decade.

    It’s also good to know that in that distant past Steve’s anti communism would not prevent unity because ‘I favor Poland being liberated from Nazi rule. The Red army was the only army able to rid Poland of its Nazi problem.’ So we are agreed that you want to unite with unreliable allies and that war – whatever else it is – is definitely from a progressives POV about uniting the many to defeat the few.

    To many anti communists the Soviet form of government was the reason that the USSR had a Nazi problem coming it’s way for many years before it got there. Naturally that is weird thinking but nothing stops a rabid anti communist – and wrecker of any useful discussion – from dragging up anything anti communist even when dealing with the current united front in a war where there is not a communist in sight.

    Anti soviet war being plotted and sent east by the French and the British and that centre of anti communist right wing reactionary planning Poland under Józef Piłsudski—father of the Promethean strategy and ALL the other ruling classes (who hated the Soviet Government even more that George Orwell and Steve and even the honorable Geoffrey Robertson) had to be resisted by communists. To think that it had to be fought on the plotters ruling class terms is cute given that it wasn’t.

    The ruling classes and extreme right-wing reactionaries got the shock of their long gone lives when the Soviet government would not play piggy in the middle and made up the rules to suit the job of defeating all the enemies of the Soviet Union. But Steve he knows all that but always pretends that he has some justifiable reason for changing the subject back to his anti communist bullshit.

    We can all have a good laugh when Steve bleats like a long lost peace lamb ‘Ironically the Soviet Government was much at fault for Poland having a Nazi problem just like IS is the unwanted consequence of actions taken by the US and Iraqi governments.’ But really…

    You are avoiding the reality that you are calling for COW involvement to deal with the molehill of Daesh/Baathism when you didn’t want them to deal with the mountain that was fully functional state controlling Baathism! Breath taking stupidity but not important any more than your anti communism. Because you want IS defeated! So you are at war and supposedly on our side.

    OK so your second goal is to expose communists and our efforts at analysis as nothing to do with socialism and thats what this site is – the work of communists. I think your efforts in this thread are conclusive proof that this is your prime goal because you have been repeatedly asked to give your already dealt with views on WW2 and socialism a rest and engage with the issues of this century as they have and continue to unfold in the middle east without a fucking communist in sight.

    You say ‘I want IS defeated but I am aware of the problems that can arise.’ well so am I, so what are our different thoughts on how to lob our cruise missiles? The requirement to unite against islamofascists is obvious and imposes restraint upon people that claim to be doing so. Think about getting serious or give this anoying carry on up. Clearly no one is interested in your current conduct.

  41. 41 Steve Owens

    Patrick you often take me back to my position on Kuwait and I have given it plenty of thought but am unable to reverse it.
    The liberation of Kuwait restored an extremely privileged elite to their position. These people were Saddam’s war financiers.
    Saddam removed his loyalists from harm and left his massive conscript army to be shot down as they were leaving Kuwait or buried alive. I know that you have no problem with the mass killing of this conscript army but to me they would seem to be the exact candidates necessary to overthrow Saddam.
    The next problem with the restoration of the elite privileged group is the effect on the most vulnerable group in Kuwaiti society and here Im talking of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from Kuwait after liberation.
    Finally there was the deal struck with Saddam to allow his loyalist troops the access needed to put down the Shia rebellion.
    So there is my objection to the Kuwaiti liberation.
    Would I encourage any person of military age to place themselves in harms way for the purpose of restoring extreme privilege?
    Would I encourage that same person to fight a war that would lead to massive ethnic cleansing?
    Would I encourage a person to fight in a war that would exterminate retreating conscripts who could instead be won over?
    Would I encourage a person to fight in a war which would assist Saddam in suppressing his domestic enemies?
    To all these questions my answer is no I could not encourage any person to fight in such a war.

  42. 42 patrickm

    Steve the reason this thread even exists is to establish just how far you have changed from when you were expressing your thoughts in favour of the ‘resistance’ in Iraq.

    I quite agree that the U.S. ought to delay bombing the enemy in Tikrit and all the other places until higher standards are delivered by the Iraqi army. Measures must be taken to suppress Shia death squad militia engaged in revenge killing! The U.S. and Steve are essentially one on this issue, and this is 100% fine by me. This is what people that have argued for swamp draining war in the ME have always been about. The war has always been on 2 fronts as it was always going to be. There are always the Abu Ghraib scandals that MUST be dealt with that really do and clearly do harm the war effort. This is not surprising as the U.S. military are after all a long way from the sort of people’s army I would like to see in the field. But there is no people’s army and there are the fascists to be fought!

    If they are not fought well, they will be fought badly and the revolutionary war will be set back. But they will fight no matter what progressives do. Only they have the option. The oppressed do not have an option. NONE, ZIP, NADA the oppression and violence comes to them. Past surrender or fight there is nothing.

    Now you are cheering on the U.S. for holding back bombing DAESH until the shia dominated Iraqi army are better in control and the death squad conduct of the Sadrist types dealt with. You want the attack on Tikrit and then far beyond carried out by the Iraqi state forces with the COW. Good. You want those state forces rebuilt. Reformed and rebuilt! Great. SO do I and so do the NATO etc. ruling elites.

    Now you have to accept responsibility for fighting this protracted war that will require a very difficult occupation – if we correctly break this down a series of occupations – as this Caliphate area is brought back into some sane democratic modernity.

    Nothing going forward remains of a peace activist stand.

    Furthermore none of the Neverland type groups have changed their position nor the ‘nothing ever changes’ Chomsky types, or the Lemingist grouplets and their ‘Stop the War Coalition’ but as you have changed and nothing remains of any dogmatic anti-imperialist stand for you SO you can’t go forward with them.

    You have just become an anti-imperialist who is unafraid of dealing with the WW2 comparison and not prepared to scurry back like Ken Loach to WW1 to effectively mislead over what the issues are in Iraq. The issues were never about WW1 style motives. The U.S. and COW have not been defeated and their real goals frustrated – and this ‘other outcome’ been an unexpected result. That is now clear to you even if you are still not sure that it was the best way to get this region past its current revoltingly and murderously oppressive level of human association. You are sure that – going forward – broad based unity to prosecute revolutionary war is essential.

    The former position was; ‘The rejection by the Iraqi government of peace proposals from numerous resistance groups is in my opinion a tragic mistake.’
    and has now become (IMV);
    The Iraqi government must go to war as part of an international effort against DAESH/Baathists using U.S. airpower but at the same time must deal with the Shia death squad types that are – as all progressives know – just as bad.

    It is not important to me if you think you were correct both in the past and now and that it’s the world that has changed so you have had to change accordingly. Others will make their own judgement.

    What is important is that large numbers of ruling elites of western countries have now made it clear that Sunni regions of Iraq that have fallen to DAESH have no prospect of being left alone in the same way as Obama left the war in Syria alone till DAESH emerged to create their country that they call ‘Caliphate’. This is good policy and it is a policy of war. So DAESH/Baathists/and Shia thugs will be fought with YOUR blessing NOW and if they are not all targeted the war will go badly and drag on till they ALL are. The struggle will not go away. It has to be got right and fought through.

    The war is really about the establishment of modern democratic norms and it is THE revolution that revolutionary democrats have sought since the Enlightenment. It is no more than a basic duty of all civilised humanity to fight fascism let alone people that call themselves socialists and communists. We democrats have to go on the offence to make war on fascist armies and kill and capture the human beings involved. War is kill or be killed.

    This ‘country’ called the Islamic Caliphate is modelled on a Baathist example of pure terror and can’t be permitted to stay in existence anymore than that earlier Nazi like patch of planet earth,or anymore than the original Nazi patch.

    The Syrian revolution has demonstrated what depths of depravity the world’s owning classes have kept alive in the ME and we are in total agreement that the former U.S. policies are horrendous! They were Vlad Putin like on steroids especially back when that nice Mr Kennedy and clever Mr McNamara were sending conscripts to Vietnam for the Vietnamese to KILL. The Vietnamese killed them till the end of the war to achieve their freedom but they were in turn and far more often killed by the U.S enemy!

    Wars of conquest and acquisition have to be ended if humanity is to even look like stepping down from the trees and wars of liberation can’t be confused with wars of conquest and acquisition. The rights of small countries and the separate rights of Nations must not be subsumed into a deeper rights of ‘the people’ that somehow stands ethereally above these rights.

    Consider this comment from Arthur;
    Arthur April 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

    “Let’s step back for a moment and consider: Compare, for instance, the Vietnam War, in which perhaps over 4 million Southeast Asians were killed — for what? So that Vietnam can crawl today to the WTO for right to be a sweatshop in the global economy? ”
    “The Vietnamese (and Russian and Chinese et al.) Communists thought that such an enormous sacrifice was worth it. I don’t. Were the U.S. and allies solely responsible, politically, for the carnage, or were there other political actors involved, e.g., the Communists, who had their own agency and therefore can be held responsible for their own decisions, their own choices to sacrifice lives for certain political objectives?”

    Let’s step back for a moment and consider the world outlook expressed with crystal clarity in those sentences.

    Chris Cutrone says, explicitly and unambiguously that the “Communists” should be held responsible for U.S. imperialism killing millions of Vietnamese.

    This “moral equivalence” is basically the gangster logic of imperialism. After all the Americans would rather rule peacefully. The Vietnamese could have just accepted that the U.S. was entitled to decide who governed the southern part of Vietnam.

    By exactly the same logic, the Soviets are to blame for the millions killed by Nazism.

    It’s difficult to top that, but Chris Cutrone actually manages to do so. Vietnam is now a corrupt dictatorship that purged the people who led the fight against imperialist aggression. So that makes the fight not worthwhile.

    On that basis not only the Russian and Chinese revolutions but also the American, French and English revolutions – and in fact every progressive movement in history is futile because they all involve two steps forward, one step back and are all flawed and incomplete.

    For a final flourish Chris Cutrone announces that he doesn’t need to have a position on what to do about events in Syria right now because nothing matters.

    This is the traditional world outlook of all conservative cynics. You can’t win, nothing is worth fighting for, it doesn’t matter.
    Exeunt stage right.’
    END
    That is the proper response to your Kuwait thinking.

    Armies on the move are involved in the exercise of rights. One right confronts another and war settles the issue. If the fascists were to sit still and request nothing more than the right to oppress as they see fit in their Caliphate they will get no quarter from progressives.

    But when fascists pop out and attempt to pick off countries one at a time then even conservatives have come to understand that humanity can’t even STAND STILL with that conduct. The launching of an aggressive war of conquest post WW2 has -and will in the future- lead to further war and will do so because nations want their liberation, countries want their independence and the people want revolution. Hence the creation of the somewhat dysfunctional United Nations.

    Fascists fight the way one would expect them to! They suit themselves. They kill others and preserve themselves where they can. Both sides of any war does that. Where fascists bring on a war, a large % of the population are bound to die in the struggle to overcome them. So we ought to strive to intimidate them from launching any war at all.

    Revolutionary democrats would never be so unclear in our diplomacy as to cause them to be in any doubt but that we would unite and fight them till victory if they attacked us or any country as a method of expanding their ‘wealth and power’. Even sorting out a border dispute would not be something that we would have ‘no opinion on’. U.S. realists were so stupid and misguided that they failed to understand that fascist tyrants are often big gamblers because they have little to lose unless other people are prepared to pay a very big price. Making it ‘costly’ to oppose them is standard bully strategy. Saddam made that kind of wager with OTHER people’s lives. That’s what tyrants do; that’s exactly why it is urgent to get humanity past this tree dwelling.

    The fact is this: while fascists remain on the offensive things are getting worse for people who would like to defeat them and see progress and when fascists go over to the defensive we must pursue them and hunt them down. We can’t let any escape and regroup and resume their offensive. In this case we can see and have seen what happens if they are permitted to regroup across the border in Syria.

    But this revolution is now explosively complicated with Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian junta and Iran all getting drawn further into a massive regional war that has now spread to Yemen with no comment from us as yet.

    We now have to think through this region wide revolutionary period that is many years into being underway.

    You might want to consider that;

    an extremely privileged elite were restored to their position in France and Belgium and they went on to kill huge numbers of peoples in Algeria, IndoChina, and the Belgian Congo and so forth and many of these people were Saddam’s war financiers and sold him arms and chemical weapons precursors etc. But these facts do not change WW2 united front policies – that had that restorative aspect built in as a mechanical outcome – into unsupportable policies. As a matter of fact only where the red army writ extended were non restorative policies implemented so that for example no Promethean minded regimes were able to be re-established after WW2 in enemy countries like Hungary or Romania etc., nor non (directly) enemy countries such as Poland or Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, the revisionists soon enough came to power in the USSR and some very bad politics unfolded to the point that communists like me concluded even before the aggressive war of conquest against Afghanistan was launched that the USSR, had become the more dangerous of the two superpowers. We were proved correct.

    You say ‘Saddam removed his loyalists from harm and left his massive conscript army to be shot down as they were leaving Kuwait or buried alive. I know that you have no problem with the mass killing of this conscript army but to me they would seem to be the exact candidates necessary to overthrow Saddam.’ But that leaves the Kuwaiti ‘resistance’. Well what does that imply? Hitler never went near Stalingrad! There were no doubt some noble germans and there were undoubtedly war criminal reds but where can I go with that reality? When the order is given to advance do we support that order and accept that people who are on the other side who don’t surrender WILL be killed or don’t we? There is nothing but peace-mongering hope in such a sentiment.

    Armies that achieve cheap victories do not fall apart and overthrow their commanders. I have relatives that I love that fought in Vietnam on the wrong side and what’s more did so as honourable soldiers, but there is no good pretending that I am not a supporter of the Vietnamese people that were shooting at them. The fact is they were honourable soldiers on the wrong side of the shooting. Nothing can be done about soldiers who do not surrender that are on the other side but to kill them as the enemy that they (at that time) are.

    ‘The next problem with the restoration of the elite privileged group is the effect on the most vulnerable group in Kuwaiti society and here I’m talking of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from Kuwait after liberation.’ When the Palestinian leadership sold out the people of Kuwait so totally there was nothing surprising about the Palestinian people being told to go reside with your tyrant mate. That was one of Arafat’s most stupid political stands! On December 12, 2004, Abbas, now the Palestinian leader, apologized for the PLO’s support of Saddam Hussein during the invasion.

    On the first visit to Kuwait by a top Palestinian official since the invasion by Iraq, Abbas said: “I say we yes, we apologize over our stand towards Kuwait.” Just to be clear that stand by Abbas was 100% correct. The Palestinian people had like the German supporters who welcomed the Nazi horde in WW2 an unavoidable price to pay for such a disgraceful sellout of the host country. The leadership in selling out Kuwait brought a legitimate response down on the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people are not owed any apology in this matter.

    ‘Finally there was the deal struck with Saddam to allow his loyalist troops the access needed to put down the Shia rebellion.’ The U.S. realists sold out the Iraqi people they called on to rebel just by allowing the conscripts to go around and kill whoever they felt like. It is totally wrong to hide behind a term that has no quantifiable measure by you in this context. The word loyalist is a sham. For all intents and purposes they were all going to do what they were told and kill who they were told to and did.

    So there are your objections to the Kuwaiti liberation answered in full. Just as the issue of restoring the extreme privilege of the French and Belgian etc., owning classes did not enter your head when considering the issue of fighting fascism and forming and fighting in a united front for WW2 so it is irrelevant in this war and ethnic separation and expulsion – for the very great good of ALL concerned such as the ‘cleansing’ of the German supporters was appropriate.

    You say ‘Would I encourage any person of military age to place themselves in harms way for the purpose of restoring extreme privilege?’ NO you would choose another of the multiple reasons to fight.

    Just as revolutionary democrats had no choice but to be involved in exterminating retreating German conscripts who had not surrendered as THE fundamental aspect of war we can’t pretend that those people ‘could instead be won over’ because only those who lay down their weapons and surrender or come over to our side directly as very often happened in the biggest war ever fought in China can be won over. The alternative view is fantasy land.

    There was never a war fought for the liberation of Kuwait that in any way ‘would assist Saddam in suppressing his domestic enemies?’ It never happened. Saddam was weakened BUT even that less powerful enemy of all progressive humanity was easily capable of mass slaughter and the rotten U.S. realists once more -after the crimes of Halabja etc., in the past under their watch – shrugged their shoulders and let him get on with it. While they were still funding Al Qaeda in Afghanistan!

    They ought to all be tried and shot for all this!

    Thank GW Bush for starting to end this terrible policy era! He went weak in his second term when the costs rose but Obama brought much of this junk back and the result is that you are now on board with the new stage of this same war for the revolutionary transformation of the region!

    To all your muddle headed questions my answer is that this is the Trotskyite line on WW2 most ridiculously put forth by the ‘Maoist’ cult RCP/USA – Kasama. These cultist sectarian liars and just plain dolts can point out that this is exactly why WW2 united front policy was wrong as just one of Mao’s errors that they have ‘corrected’. It can be shortened to the ‘never, never, never’ mantra and is quintessential Stop the War Coalition NEVERLAND.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/ApproxPositionsWWI-1919.png

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_expulsion_from_Kuwait

    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=7703#comment-42615

    http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=7703#comment-47945

  43. 43 admin

    Steve still determined in your error over Kuwait I see. When opposing the Gulf war mk 1 student groups were misled by your tendency of the time the ISO. Good ole Glanzy et. al.. We were told in discussions that Kuwait was once a part of Iraq and therefore Saddam was merely taking back what was his but for the pesky re-drawers of the map. What a deliberate lie that turned out to be! When shown this I changed my view of the Gulf war mk1 and repudiate my involvement in students’ against war, or whatever it was back then.

    In this latest justification by you you are using post hoc knowledge to determine your position when there is no such information available at the time one needs to make the decision. So your position is just a time waster really. In addition it is just plain offensive to say “You have no problem with the mass killing of this conscript army” as clearly we here (even Patrick) are as appalled by the carnage seen in the Middle East as anyone else with a conscience.

    You seem to place your hat upon the fact that extreme privilege was restored after the liberation of Kuwait – again post hoc. Obviously it is better if a people’s army was developed and privilege overthrown but it wasn’t going to happen given the local circumstances. My view is that it has to be an improvement if your own bastards are in power as opposed to your neighbour’s Dictator.

  44. 44 Steve Owens

    Dear admin,
    At the time of Gulf War One I belonged to no political group.
    I never heard anyone say that Kuwait was part of Iraq. I knew that Iraq had a long standing claim on Kuwait.
    We can justify positions by what we know, by what we suspect and by what we learn in hindsight. Patrick has asked me with the benefit of what we now know,that I reconsider my anti war position. I have as asked reconsidered my position but with the benefit of hindsight I find myself unable to change my position.
    Several times Patrick and I have discussed the slaughter of Saddam’s retreating troops and every time Patrick has justified the slaughter.
    A peoples army did emerge in Iraq based somewhat on the remnants of Saddam’s surviving army. The anti Saddam peoples army took over 14 Iraqi provinces and were well placed to remove Saddam until the US threw its weight behind Saddam by allowing helicopter gun ships to fly freely, by allowing free movement of Saddam’s troops through COW lines and by blowing up weapons dumps that the peoples army wanted to access.
    Your suggestion that the restoration of extreme privilege is post hoc is just wrong. It was widely known at the time that Kuwaiti nationals were a minority in their own country and that the country was the virtual personal possession of the ruling family and that the declared war aim of the COW was to restore the status quo

  45. 45 Steve Owens

    Just for the record for anyone who thinks that the Kuwaiti government was justified in massive ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. While the Kuwait elite were harboring in Saudi Arabia what were Palestinians doing?
    “For example Fateh and PLO offices in the Kuwaiti district of Hawali organized a demonstration on 5 August to protest the invasion, and four underground leaflets were issued criticizing the Iraqi occupation throughout the fall, before the larger war broke out. There are also cases of Palestinians who engaged in the underground armed resistance, participating in military cells, and ferrying Kuwaitis and supplies around to a network of safe houses. There is even the case of Rafiq Qiblawi, a central Fateh leader in Kuwait, who was assassinated by the Iraqi military for his encouragement of Palestinians not to engage in the “popular army” that the occupation was establishing.[11]”

  46. 46 patrickm

    Steve for years you belonged to a group that held a political line on Kuwait and you sold the books promoting it. I now hear you say that ‘Iraq had a long standing claim on Kuwait.’ as if right around the world Marxist revolutionaries thinking from a working people’s POV don’t have a view on that very form of narrative AND the substance of that claim. I say we do. I say workers do not have an interest in the Tikriti tyrant’s play space called Iraq being said to have a claim on the separate country of Kuwait! That criminal ruling elite from the ‘nationally’ distinct Sunni city of Tikrit – nor even its acquired play space that included Kurdish ‘provinces’ and domination over Shia peoples’, nor any subsection of it has any legitimate claim to control the space taken up by the long established country called Kuwait.

    Nations do have a right to be liberated but Iraq is no such ‘nation’ requiring liberation with any legitimate claim.

    Countries have rights, but those rights exist in the independence of those countries from imperialist domination and exploitation.

    So this region is electrically charged with the rights of the Kurds and the Palestinians and all the other smaller or less well know ethnicities like the ‘tribal’ divisions that are exploding in Yemen.

    The ‘peoples’’ have rights and they are won through revolution, but the peoples’ revolutionary rights do not enter into the imediate question when all the people are under a dictator! They are on the agenda but revolution works like a taxi rank.

    There is no claim from Saddam, nor any of the ruling-elites before him that we progressives are to think of as ‘a long standing claim on Kuwait’ that we will give weight to. Such claims must be opposed as part of the very process of uniting the many to defeat the few that underpins all progress. Progressives can’t secure our own rights and well being with a devil take the hindmost attitude to others. Nor can we place a person’s class reality on a pedestal and ignore their actual conduct in the service of real policies. Revolutionaries rely on self and build unity based on mutual benefit.

    As you well know Kuwait existed in its current form long before much of the Ottoman empire was detached from that empire in the inter-imperialist defeat of WW1. That’s when the countries of the Middle East were established around the borders of Kuwait by the British and the French imperialist map makers. These countries as we all ought to know made most of the maps of the world. Iraq was detached and created at the same time as all the others – young students’ against the war, pre-mass internet access may not have known this but you well know it and in the future internet access will prevent the ignorance barriers of the past that enabled the ISO types to con them.

    These Neverland types at the time of the Baathist invasion of Kuwait kept people distracted from investigating these issues and focused the attention on no more than the chant ‘No blood for oil’. It was all about the oil from their ‘anti-imperialist’ perspective not that they were supporters of Saddam and his annexation heaven forbid NO. Stripped back that seems to be your position even now despite any distracting talk. No attacks on Baathism does not equal no blood at all though! Anyway, there is no legitimate claim of the murderous crime family from Tikrit that concerns us so you are running a distraction talking about his claim.

    You would not entertain any claim at all from Assad now on Jordan or Lebanon and you would – ironically and without hesitation -accept war as a correct response to such a Baathist attack or more realistically at the moment DAESH attack. If THEY were to act like Saddam you would say unite and fight and you have done so.

    You remain unable to change your position of Kuwait, or so you say but at least you will never sell such dreadful books again, and now you retrospectively support the NFZ war that continued from the initial UN conflict. What we are talking about was in case you didn’t know the biggest coalition since WW2. That fact at least met the progressives criteria of unite the many to defeat the few. The coalition you have joined against DAESH is getting pretty big as well. That’s the more important point of course. You are in the new coalition and just want to explain your historical absence from the old coalition.

    People have to spin fairy stories about how the world works to keep the faith now and so away you spin. For example the whole IRAN – IRAQ war just disappears from Neverland thinking that posits the conscript Baathist army as a latent revolutionary force if only they hadn’t been attacked especially on the ‘’Highway of Death”, and the many survivors had to run into the deserts and leave their vehicles and other loot smoldering with quite a few of their mates. For you a huge number of these Iraqi soldiers were about to remove Saddam and institute a shining light of modernity directly off their own bat right into the heart of the swamp. But that revolutionary victory was -apparently- prevented by the biggest coalition since WW2 killing and wounding 1:5 of them.

    I just looked this stuff up to remind myself and apparently there were 545,000 Baathist troops deployed to Kuwait and 650,000 deployed in the war zone. That’s separate from his other troops deployed to the Iran Border in particular, or involved in general deployment against other borders and the Kurds and his own people generally I gather. That is a lot of troops to get out of Kuwait. apparently up to 35,000 of those 650,000 were killed say 5% and say 15% wounded in the course of this war let’s say 20% all together hence 1:5

    Your silence when a central issue is raised is to be taken as agreement on your part.

    Several times the slaughter of Hitler’s retreating troops has been justified in silence by you. You would approve of troops laying in wait and killing them when these German troops were in a killing zone. You simply approve of these troops not being permitted to escape and regroup and go anywhere else to do anything else, and you don’t engage in the pointless speculation of them overthrowing their leader (yet he was almost got by some of them). You have a blind spot to the making of war against the German equivalent Baathist army retreating to regroup and then be re-deployed against the Kurds and democratically minded Shia majority etc.

    This is not interesting and you will not be trying to convince others that you understand how to attack and kill the enemy that you are at war with. This approach is not going to fly in a way that will convince anyone who is new to the issue to come on board so out comes the fairy dust and presto you can fly.

    You say ‘A peoples army did emerge in Iraq based somewhat on the remnants of Saddam’s surviving army. The anti Saddam peoples army took over 14 Iraqi provinces and were well placed to remove Saddam until the US threw its weight behind Saddam by allowing helicopter gun ships to fly freely, by allowing free movement of Saddam’s troops through COW lines and by blowing up weapons dumps that the peoples army wanted to access.’

    This is beyond error and into culpable if not deliberate distortion. There was no ‘anti Saddam peoples army [that] took over 14 Iraqi provinces’ so it could not have been ‘well placed to remove Saddam’. There was spontaneous uprisings all over the place (as I would have expected and hoped for) but nothing like a fucking peoples army. Ask yourself who was the leader of this army and why had it not had this revolution during the many years of the Iran war. I suppose you will blame the Iranians for not letting them take as much of Iran as they thought best before overthrowing their tyrant.

    How is it all this ‘well placed to remove Saddam’ rubbish came together only when the biggest coalition since WW2 turned up in the region AND then began a war AND the POTUS called on the Iraqis to rise up! So what on earth are you on? If they were so well placed provided that the counter attack war wasn’t started what made Saddam more powerful from having his army attacked? Simple for you to answer just divide his army into the loyalists that were preserved and the almost ready to overthrow him that were damaged to the point where they couldn’t then do the job that they were just preparing for, but would not have started unless he was attacked. Have you ever heard of Catch 22?

    Consider; the 2003 peace movement could not call for a restoration of the status quo and thus instantly collapsed when people realised that bring the troops home was not a good call as you claim to have concluded yourself. In the case of Kuwait there was no other prospect than a defeat of the aggressor and consequent restoration.

    You say ‘widely known at the time that Kuwaiti nationals were a minority in their own country and that the country was the virtual personal possession of the ruling family and that the declared war aim of the COW was to restore the status quo’. This is to say that you and your co-thinkers were prepared to throw the Kuwaiti people under the Tikriti tyrant’s Baathist murder machine bus, without doing them the same favour as you have done for the conscripts driving that machine and firing those bullets. You did not say… but the Kuwaiti people were just getting ready to have a revolution and they needed to be liberated with a NFZ war and given access to arms dumps when the ‘loyalist’ Baathists attacked them – as you now so willingly do for the people under the DAESH reality.

    Just for the record the Kuwaiti government WAS justified in massive ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. While the Kuwait elite who faced death had to refugee to places like Saudi Arabia just as 50% of the 400,000 Palestinians were doing as well. That left a different mix of Palestinians!

    When you say ‘ before the larger war broke out.’ you mean before the counterattack threw this massive Baathist terror army out of its cheap conquests.

    It is shameful for you to recall ‘There are also cases of Palestinians who engaged in the underground armed resistance, participating in military cells, and ferrying Kuwaitis and supplies around to a network of safe houses. There is even the case of Rafiq Qiblawi, a central Fateh leader in Kuwait, who was assassinated by the Iraqi military for his encouragement of Palestinians not to engage in the “popular army” that the occupation was establishing.[11]”

    Just understand that these are the very people you threw under that massive war machine bus.

    Fortunately nobody much bought the fairy dust thinking and that war machine army made of real live men killing on command was smashed by this biggest coalition since WW2.

    When you start with 400,000 Palestinian people and 200,000 leave as a direct result of the fascist invasion and seek all manner of other places to harbour themselves, you would mention it if you seriously thought about this. Of the 50% of the Palestinians that remained quite a few would have been loyal followers of Yasser Arafat (I think that is only reasonable to say). Arafat did not share Steve’s policy position that was to oppose the invasion but only apply sanctions to Iraq. That policy was -on memory- that all the people of Iraq were to be subjected to as big a sanctions policy as would cause the tyrant to withdraw and the status quo most probably reestablished. That was a VERY big call because faced with the actual destruction of his army – and their equipment- rather than back down, he let it happen!

    Naturally all the Neverland groups that hold this line now were happy to associate with groups that called these sanctions terrible and causing untold suffering and deaths especially among the children of Iraq with no real effect upon the military and the tyranny.

    But enough of your historical education. You’re on board against Baathists / DAESH now so I had better get back to learning something about the current region wide revolutionary war that as predicted is big and getting very much bigger. Issues of current unity are pressing and not just over Iraq, Libya or Syria. Yemen and everywhere else we turn requires that we think strategically.

    Kenya just had an incident where islamofascists cold bloodedly killed 147 people. They can ‘fight’ unarmed kids like this forever. They can’t be left alone in Somalia like Daesh were in Syria.

  47. 47 Steve Owens

    Hitler’s troops retreated in order to regroup and continue to fight the allied armies.
    Saddam announced a cease fire and ordered his troops to leave Kuwait.
    There is no direct comparison.
    The highway out of Kuwait was chocked with vehicles.
    The US blocked both ends of the highway and then mass murdered the stranded troops.
    This mass murder was a war crime and you approve.
    Post war hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed clearly a crime against humanity and you approve.
    A mighty mass revolutionary movement almost toppled Saddam but he was saved by the active collaboration of the USA
    Currently the world must combat Islamic terrorist organisations Remind me again how they got their start oh yes USA supplied weapons to Osama How did they get a leg up in Iraq and Syria oh yes total mismanagement by the USA.
    The head of SCIRI was once asked what help did they want from the USA to topple Saddam He said we don’t want any help we just want the US to stop saving him (which they did twice)
    Look if your position had anything in it except hot air the other contributors would be active but they at least can identify a dead horse.

  48. 48 admin

    Identify dead horse? Try and identify your dead end, useless time wasting conduct. No contributor here past or present has backed away from support for the liberation of Iraq. They have merely moved on to other projects and would find the ‘discussions’ raised by you currently as irrelevant and time wasting for them as far as I can gather. But I’m sure you think you know best and need to point it out to all. In fact, while we work out what is to be done with the site I continue ensuring that this site is a little better than a spam site. That is not optimal but is the current state of affairs. Read nothing into the fact that only Patrick and myself have the time and inclination to repeatedly engage with the likes of you.

  49. 49 Steve Owens

    point taken

  50. 50 patrickm

    The direct comparison is there if you understand that the invading force do not get to call time out and leave with their weapons when the killing is not going to their liking.

    They are entitled to surrender and that requires that they lay down their arms and step away from their artillery and trucks and so forth. You know this so you mislead yourself into giving the tyrant this right. You do this to make what follows ‘a crime’. All those unarmed troops with their white flags were then slaughtered as ‘a war crime’ is the impression that you want to convey. You actually know that these troops were not unarmed and surrendering at all so you are fully aware that there is no war crime that you can refer me to that would have caused people to be tried and convicted at all. So just who is talking a load of ‘hot air’ is quite clear.

    If DAESH move a column of troops back to Syria no doubt your advice is to block the front and the rear and don’t let one escape! What you would propose to do is not a war crime even if the leader of DAESH has declared a cease fire. They don’t get to do this as you know. They get to surrender or be killed because we are at war with them. I hope that they make such a move but doubt that they would.

    Armed troops are not murdered they are killed and you know that as well. Our side’s goal is to trap them or as you put it strand them and then kill them. The only ones that ought to stay alive are the ones who drop their weapons etc., and move unarmed away from their equipment.

    In a war our soldiers job is to kill the enemy and the more the better!

    Your accusation of criminal conduct is groundless waffle.

    If you can approve of populations being moved around in and after WW2 (for the good of all) then ‘ethnically cleansed’ as a ‘crime against humanity’ is just more groundless that is to say unfounded, waffle! Real ‘ethnic cleansing’ criminality will not see the leaders of those ‘cleansed’ apologize! You ignore that apology! You pretend that those who are being apologised to are guilty of crimes against humanity! That is pretending to rethink but not thinking at all.

    Pointing out that the U.S. ‘realists’ following their terrible realist policies sold out the Iraqi people is redundant at Strange Times so you are attempting to mislead yourself yet again. He was not almost toppled but he ought to have been! The Liberation of Iraq ought to have followed the liberation of Kuwait, but the realists would not go further and feared instability.

    It took 9/11 to change all that thinking and birth the new policies.

    Yes, ‘currently the world must combat Islamic terrorist organisations’ what we have for many many years called Islamofascism but we have always said that Islamists will have to become the main force in this fight. That fight is across the world even in Kenya and incorporates Baathists like Assad, SO to remind you about realist policies of the past is not required because you know how we have proclaimed 70 years of rotten to the core realist policies as sustaining this swamp.

    I recall hearing that there was no connection between the Arab spring and the strategic direction of the U.S. since 9/11. That the U.S. were not following different policies from all the years when people like me said they were. Well ‘currently the world must…’ and that was clear from 10/11/2001! Now days not only you but the head of the government of Iraq even call on the U.S. to help them deal with DAESH and the Baathists so it‘s very odd that you think they could have done the far harder job! They had no show IMV but that’s in the past and we are marching towards the sound of the guns!

    Your actual silence and changing of the subject and frustrated insulting ‘hot air’ style of non engaged false ‘debate’ marks you out as more disturbed about being in a united front with the U.S. than anything else, including accusing standard war fighting as war crimes that I so shamefully support.

    You can’t quantify the loyalists / conscript division and you know it. You also have not been willing to consider the % questions that arise for serious war making. Why not think harder and longer and more systematically about fighting wars than arriving late and misleading yourself. You are not capable of misleading anyone else with your clearly frustrated lashing out style non-responses.

    I’ve pointed out that you are in a cruise missile armed united front but that I could not work out what sort of political force you are trying to stand for and you have not clarified much and haven’t really tried to. This latest effort to essentially say we who disagree ought to be tried as war criminals is not your finest hour. That finest hour was when you became a united front warrior and it’s a bit like a tar baby. You’re stuck with it and no one is throwing you into the old briar patch!

  51. 51 Steve Owens

    “Our side’s goal is to trap them or as you put it strand them and then kill them.”
    Really?
    Just from memory I can name lots of instances from WW2 where troops in hopeless positions were offered terms and accepted them. Try Corregidor, Wake Island, Singapore, Cherbourg and Stalingrad. The Home Army in Warsaw was offered terms against the direct orders of one Adolph Hitler and they were irregulars. The commander of Soviet troops at Stalingrad sent Paulus a letter stating that surrender would stop the meaningless waste of lives.
    The US had the Iraqi troops plus civilians stranded on the highway of death and subjected them to relentless bombardment.

  52. 52 Steve Owens

    I forgot Tobruk

  53. 53 Steve Owens

    Even an ex US Attorney General thought that the highway of death was a war crime
    “Activist and former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark alleged that these attacks violated the Third Geneva Convention, Common Article 3, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who “are out of combat.”[9] Clark included it in his 1991 report WAR CRIMES: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal.[10]

    Additionally, journalist Seymour Hersh, citing American witnesses, alleged that a platoon of U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles from the 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division opened fire on a large group of more than 350 disarmed Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered at a makeshift military checkpoint after fleeing the devastation on Highway 8 on February 27, apparently hitting some or all of them”

  54. 54 patrickm

    So as these vehicles are rumbling along you as the commanding officer receive news of them moving. Presumably you instruct your pilot to attack the leading vehicle and the rear vehicles and stop and trap the convoy – is that at least agreed? So that when a Daesh/Baathist convoy moves in this war we are united in this attack and all are agreed that these armed troops will be attacked and stopped? Is that at least an agreed starting point or have I got this wrong?

    Your point seems to be that when they are stopped (all the places you spoke of were trapped after long battles not like this attempt at a breakout) and that ought to happen first before any further actions could be considered, then they could have been offered the chance to leave their equipment and walk away from it with no arms and they could be taken prisoner except that as I understand this you say their officers were not going to let them do this and so they in your view had to be let go free and continue to drive on!?

    I don’t want the Daesh troops going anywhere else with their weapons and neither do you so would you now explain how all your examples are comprable. After all even the US would rather they all had laid down their arms in Kuwait and surrendered. So what gives with your fantasy comparisons?

  55. 55 patrickm

    Forget the pilot just launch one of your cruise missiles to the front and one to the rear and trap the rest!

    You ought to read up on this Cherbourg surrender. One of the German officers even asked for some tank rounds to be fired at his own position so he could surrender against orders! http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_cherbourg.html

    In none of these cases were the exhausted and defeated troops permitted to drive off to another location, but hey you knew that.

  56. 56 Steve Owens

    Patrick you raise an important point. If a column of IS were trapped what should happen to them.
    Well in WW2 a distinction was made between the ideologically committed SS and the regular German Army
    In Kuwait there was a difference between Republican Guards and regular Iraqi Army
    Even in Iraq post 2003 there were distinctions between the resistance between Al Quieda in Iraq and Sunni nationalists a distinction that the US forces were able take advantage of.
    You make a distortion of my position in your last post (unintentional Im sure) that somehow “exhausted and defeated troops be permitted to drive off to another direction”
    The troops on the highway of death couldn’t drive off in any other direction they were stranded and defenseless. Cherbourg would have been the same if the Americans had said no we will just bomb you until you are all dead.
    I did read an account of the highway of death where the author stated that Saddam was happy that the US had taken out the highway troops as he considered them as unreliable and likely to be troublesome for him when they returned.

  57. 57 patrickm

    I’m glad to see you attempting to deal with this red hot issue right now. You force me to put words in your mouth because you so blatantly won’t converse in a productive manner.

    Let’s see now you want me to consider how troops trapped and being constantly killed by being bombed and shelled in;Tobruk; Corregidor; Wake Island; Singapore; Cherbourg and Stalingrad; plus The Home Army in Warsaw (by those less than trustworthy Baathist like Nazis) were then given – BECAUSE they were NOT on the move with their equipment and were absolutely trapped and their position was known to be utterly hopeless – an option of unconditional surrender to their on the ground surrounding enemy, provided they threw down their arms AND did not booby trap their equipment and indicate in usual ways their immediate surrender as they unarmed approached the troops now ‘dug into’ settled attack positions who would be expecting their surrender.

    AND you want me to compare these examples to troops moving with their equipment out of where they were about to be trapped who were attacked.

    These offers you refer to were made to the enemy as an alternative to the attacking forces losing any more lives killing the very last of these trapped troops or expending more munitions on them, and this is your comparison to attacks on mobile troops in a battle?!

    The troops trapped in Kuwait were not being permitted to escape and then double crossed. (however deception is a big part of war) They were moving on their own initiative. When they did move and AFTER the Coalition had these armed Iraqi troops plus any civilians with them stranded on the highway, because obviously any leading vehicles were attacked and kinetically stopped and any at the rear were bound to be kinetically stopped to ensure they were again trapped like they were in Kuwait city or say Tikrit the other day. All now done with I note your unspoken approval.

    Then THEY the troops under attack in this very fast moving battle could assess the situation THEMSELVES and throw down their weapons and move away from the high value targets like the artillery and the transport and supply trucks, tanks and so forth that would leave the column with only any loyalists not prepared to surrender and those remainder could then be with your blessing ‘subjected to relentless bombardment’ to ensure that the surrender was complete.

    Trouble is according to you the loyalists had to be shot by the surrendering troops or they would shoot them and this was all happening at the speed of air attacks.

    After all you are intimating that these troops were so unreliable that Saddam wanted them killed himself!! What amazing rubbish the ‘don’t kill the enemy western trots’ have spread around all these years. Good thing you are into killing DAESH.

    You ask ‘If a column of IS were trapped what should happen to them.’, trapped is the weasel word you are attempting to hide behind. They are under attack and must remain so till they are defeated and dead or surrendered. That is what happens in war. The very job of soldiers of every rank is to kill the enemy under the modern laws of war. The laws of war do not speak of trapped troops because that is what good soldiers do. They plan surprises and sudden attacks and traps and all the rest to ensure there is a completely unfair fight.

    All of the German Army was treated in the manner that the enemy must be. After they were captured they were appropriately sorted for criminality as will DAESH have to be. Obviously they all are the enemy.

    You want to make a case that ‘In Kuwait there was a difference between Republican Guards and regular Iraqi Army’ well not when the fight was on.

    Distinctions between the captured are made not between the armed and they absolutely do not get to declare a unilateral cease fire and move!

    The troops trapped in Kuwait drove off home till they were – I now claim with your blessing – again made to be ‘stranded’ and effectively defenseless. They had to surrender and prove to be unreliable to the loyalist officers among them who they presumably had to kill, and it all happened far too quickly for anyone to be taking charge.

    A great attack works just like that! You want utter confusion to be the reaction of your enemy. That is how we will be attacking the DAESH / Baathists. The guilty party for the deaths involved is the Baathists officers and men who stopped enjoying their killing spree in Kuwait and were travelling home or back up north to kill some Kurds.

    Get real.

    The war with DAESH will be best fought when we lose no troops and they lose 100% of theirs. Unfortunately this won’t be the case but our attacks are planned to try to make it so. We NEVER EVER want a fair fight! If they surrender good. Once they have surrendered they can be sorted out and dealt with according to what they have been up to but while they have their freedom our job is to hunt and kill them and let none escape. You don’t like that, but you know it’s true.

    The coalition you are a part of want all of the enemy trapped and not permitted to escape in the dark with or without their weapons. Any advantage we can get we want.

    Strafing a column of enemy troops is not any problem. If those troops are surrendering it would become a problem though confusion and mistakes will happen as well. Air war is very fast and intent of the enemy is of no interest to us. They are the enemy till when they are enemy prisoners and we have a new situation.

    We are in a war and you have fired 2 of your cruise missiles to START a battle. Your intent is to trap and kill all unless any surrender in an acceptable manner. Our job is to get these enemy soldiers out into the open so that we can kill them all without any other casualties. If and when they take hostages that won’t stop us. We will pay what price we have to as we go. The prime job is to find and kill the enemy.

    I hope that DAESH break cover and run back towards Syria. If they do they won’t get there! You will fire more of your cruise missiles. At present they will have to be fought street by street in Mosul in among civilians so they will cause us to kill many civilians as we fight them. That is the real issue. How to minimise these casualties.

    This type of issue came up during the battles on the Libyan front of this region wide war and here is what I wrote then.

    “The Obama accusation that Gaddafi has to go because he is destabilizing the region is a very curious summation from the ultra conservative Harvard lawyer. America is not at war in Libya according to Obama so instead it is an operation.

    The enemy for now is the Gaddafi forces and Rundle, Mark (Bahnisch) and so forth are involved to the extent of advocating that the U.S. etc make limited war on behalf of the people on the rebel side. All are disregarding the civil war aspect of this fighting and have backed taking sides and uniting with the ‘great Satan’. Well done. All are being surprised by events. Take for example the reported retreat from Sirte.

    It looks like the vast bulk of the tyrants military pulled out of Sirte and headed for Tripoli under the cover of a civilian escort. Probably one military followed by one civilian etc. Now there is a dilemma for humanitarians. If that convoy is permitted to make it back how will the civilians of Tripoli not ultimately suffer and of course the revolutionary forces that have to eventually liberate that city? I think some very precise killing is required now and wonder if the COW now under NATO with the current rules of engagement are wise enough not to let those big weapons get back to Tripoli. Perhaps they are ‘wise’ enough to let them get back to Tripoli after all then they won’t have any attack to answer for and in the end who cares as it will only be the Libyans or some working class western boots on the ground that end up suffering for it. At first blush on this I would hit the lead military vehicle again and again till the rest were abandoned or they were all totally destroyed. There would undoubtedly be civilian casualties because that is what is intended but would it not be better to get this done now and show all the other tyrants that such manoeuvring will not work for them? If it is not done and I suspect it won’t then other tyrants will no doubt do the same. Whatever happened I would not let those guns reach Tripoli.

    Anyhow all just a side thought among pro-liberation supporters of the war because as the war is progressing we are now only days away from there being only one large city left to liberate and no capacity to do it for a while so a holding operation must be applied and that is possible with what is available in the way of air power (at least if the helicopters land on the ground rather than just on the ships) and the rebels on the ground are given enough time to become capable or till a big enough ground force can be built from those that currently are.

    Meanwhile defence positions are also being built in Tripoli and the retreating forces will only add to that. At least once they are all in Tripoli the Gaddafi forces won’t be able to roam out of Tripoli with their civilian escort as that is only going to work once for them this once.”
    patrickm

    So there you go. This was an issue in the last front of this region wide war – we were allied in that part as well.

    In war fighters are not prepared to let the enemy move without trying to kill them!

  58. 58 Steve Owens

    Patrick I asume that we both support Imperialism lending a hand to the Free Syrian Army becuase we see the FSA as fighting a dictatorship in the interests of basic democratic rights. I assume that we both support Imperialist powers helping the Kurds fight IS because the Kurds are fighting for their survival as a nationality.
    However I think we differ in our assessment of Iraq proper. You are arguing that there is a democratic revolution underway that we are honor bound to support this process.
    I see things differently. That Tikrit was taken with large numbers of Shia militia and that these same militia were then accused of looting points to a different reality. I think that the actions of the Iraqi government and associated militias point to the fact that this is more a communal struggle rather than a revolutionary democratic one. I see little point in forcing IS out only to be replaced by Shia militias in national uniforms.
    So that is the divide you see the situation simply with a solution of kill more bad guys to victory where as I see an intractable problem that wont be resolved just by killing more IS because IS are the symptom not the disease.

  59. 59 patrickm

    ‘Oozing charm from every pore he oiled his way around the floor’ You are not able to get away with that stunt! You can’t just slip away when no one is looking. You are the one who called fight, rescue, deploy the marines. YOU have joined the war fighting and called on others to do so. This is not about Syria and not even about the Kurds. DAESH exploded out of Syria taking any territory they could and killing all who stood in their way. You have already committed to be part of the fight against this fascist ‘Caliphate’. Not one person who ever learnt to read can be in doubt about this so you are not able to now pretend you are not at war with DAESH. You are it is true fighting on multiple fronts but so are all progressives.

    I remind you ‘the reason this thread even exists is to establish just how far you have changed from when you were expressing your thoughts in favour of the ‘resistance’ in Iraq.

    AND I also remind you that
    ‘I quite agree that the U.S. ought to delay bombing the enemy in Tikrit and all the other places until higher standards are delivered by the Iraqi army. Measures must be taken to suppress Shia death squad militia engaged in revenge killing! The U.S. and Steve are essentially one on this issue, and this is 100% fine by me.’

    BUT
    You are not protesting against coalition forces nor the legitimate fight of the Iraqi government though we are stuck with identifying any criminals and bunglers within OUR ranks and dealing very harshly with them.

    You are in this war now so you will want to fight with effect. Chomsky for example might have gone a bit quiet but he DID NOT JOIN with you and GR who has not retracted nor declared victory and wandered off to play judge and try some minor African thug back in the Hague. You have split with Chomsky and you are supporting the military effort.

    Good fighting effect is had by narrowing the focus of who is the enemy. We both support the fight to not permit DAESH to consolidate a ‘country’. Western progressive efforts are all to broaden our ranks and to see the Iraqi government consolidate and suppress those that want to run shrines to their dead crime boss in Tikrit as but one example.

    Your period of unity has not come and gone but only just started! Even ditherer in chief Obama has said DAESH will be degraded and over time defeated and you have only just joined up and only metaphorically fired 2 missiles.

    The fact that Kurds under the leadership that you have been critical of for years are fighting and the fact that the FSA is fighting just – like the Libyans you support elsewhere – is not relevant when it was this front that you called people to fight over. Just as the Kenyan army has – I fully expect – your approval in hunting for an enemy that conducts themselves like we have just been witness to, our support can’t be a 24hr emergency issue. Western progressives whole policy stand is to unite and don’t split. Your call for emergency ‘rescue’ months ago is in line with the real actions that are NOW underway and will be for years and so you can’t walk away from them hoping no one will notice.

    If you want yourself and presumably others to believe that YOU have all these subtle nuances and that I am just focussed on one issue and blind to the Shia death squads problem you could not do it here. I have been constantly mentioning Shia death squads in the same sentences as I mention DAESH and the Baathist enemies for years.

    WE are fighting against any force that is impeding the development of basic democratic rights at least where it comes to ‘Iraq proper’ just as we are in Kenya, Mali, Libya and Syria.

    Steve, YOU declared war on DAESH when they sprang from Syria and trapped people on mountains etc.. You united with others as DAESH and the Baathists killed Iraqi peoples’ and anyone at all that was not to their liking in blatant war crime manner. All the while you have explained that you will not tolerate and excuse tit for tat reprisal actions from the also criminal oppressors like Sadr’s mob and I have agreed all along on that.

    We united for the counter attack and as it is underway mass graves are being uncovered!

    For years I have seen imperialism as a policy – so Russia is currently imperialist and so is Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Yemen, but Britain and France and the U.S. are currently (in the context of the ME at any rate) not.

    Now you have just killed the people in the lead vehicles and in the rear vehicles and have snapped the first part of a trap on the enemy that are now going to look to escape from that trap if you let them. Darkness is coming and the enemy will try to run away, disperse and hide in the ‘dark’. If we have night vision equipment we will use that equipment against the enemy.

    If the FSA and the Kurds were both even more Islamist forces -than they currently are- I would still enthusiastically advocate unity because they are at war against Baathists and DAESH and even their level of democracy is a step forward.

    Stepping forward; imperialism is a policy position that capitalism is not compelled to continue with under all circumstances. It’s an owning class option that if chosen means war.

    You now want to back away from war saying;
    ‘ I [some DAYS later?] see things differently. That Tikrit was taken with large numbers of Shia militia and that these same militia were then accused of looting points to a different reality. I think that the actions of the Iraqi government and associated militias point to the fact that this is more a communal struggle rather than a revolutionary democratic one. I see little point in forcing IS out only to be replaced by Shia militias in national uniforms.’ What? so you want to take your missiles and go home?

    You want to back out because you ‘…see an intractable problem that won’t be resolved just by killing more IS because IS are the symptom not the disease.’

    I see the situation as one where people ought to talk much much more and work for the very broadest of unity even with what is evidently very flakey and temporary allies and to kill more precisely targeted enemies as we advance. The victory that I am after is nowhere in sight and some people want all the fighting done by others even after they have just joined the war!

    There is nothing ‘intractable’ about fighting Islamofascist types but it is protracted. Just as GR understands our fight for democratic norms is a ‘problem that won’t be resolved just by killing more IS because IS are the symptom not the disease.’, so do I but they are not to be left alone while we have joined the war they are to be fought, that is killed.

    I said above “You just have to be genuinely supportive of this war that requires allying with the most problematic and unreliable allies you can think of. Just focus on taking sides and killing and capturing the other side and don’t expect a very high standard to come from this war.”

    You said ‘Fighting a war is not about “…allying with the most problematic allies you can think of.” Think again as in dancing two steps forward and one step back and leaving such an oily slick as you go you are demonstrating just how problematic and unreliable some people are.

  60. 60 Steve Owens

    Patrick I think that the Americans are coming around to the idea that Iraq is broke and cannot be fixed well at least by this current Iraqi government. I have been critical of the Kurdish government because kurdish critics of the government have a habit of turning up dead. I have objected to these breaches of basic human rights. You have not ojected and critises me for doing so which I do find most strange. Any how it will be interesting to see if the Republicans can get their seperate group funding model through congress.
    http://ekurd.net/us-expert-iraq-is-partitioned-by-war-and-we-cant-put-it-back-together-again-2015-04-30

  61. 61 Steve Owens

    The two Presidents will meet soon Michael Rubin writes the questions that Obama should ask.
    http://ekurd.net/questions-president-obama-should-ask-kurdistan-president-massoud-barzani-2015-05-02

  62. 62 Steve Owens

    Patrick hopefully you will read this article and agree with me that human rights should be supported even when the abuser is someone that you support in fact especially when it is someone you support.
    http://ekurd.net/families-of-missing-people-in-1994-98-brother-killing-war-protest-in-iraqi-kurdistan-2015-05-11

  63. 63 Steve Owens

    Here’s some stuff about Kurdistan but I would also like to add my voice to the human rights issue of indegenous Australians. There is an idea that Aboriginal problems are associated with kind hearted but misguided people who supported the equal wages campaign.
    Before passive welfare came indirect welfare. Station managers were given child endowment payments which rightfully belonged to the mothers of children in Australia. Station managers encouraged aboriginal people to live on the station because the child endowment payments were a nice little earner. Plus the aboriginal stockmen were given virtual slave wages which was ended by the equal wages campaign. There was at this time a great disaster for aboriginal people and that is that they were driven off stations because the station owners only wanted them as slaves. To blame the granting of equal wages as the cause of this disaster is to place the blame on the wrong people. It wasnt those campaigning for basic human rights it was the wealthy bastards that owned and ran the station who are completly at fault.
    http://ekurd.net/resolution-for-families-of-iraqi-kurdistans-disappeared-2015-05-21

  64. 64 Steve Owens

    Washinton hinders fight against IS, this on top of the admission that US military trainers in Iraq cant find enough people to train.
    http://ekurd.net/u-s-senate-blocks-directly-arming-iraqi-kurdistan-in-islamic-state-fight-2015-06-17

  65. 65 Steve Owens

    I know that the people who initiated this web site must be deeply demoralised. How else could it be, the actions that they gave their full support to directly lead to the monster that is Islamic State. How many times did those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq have to contend with Barry’s taunts about our position leaving Saddam to rule where as now Barry’s position has lead to IS rule yes it is a fact no invasion no IS.
    But that is past history something only good to learn from. The impulse to see and end to Saddam was not wrong and the desire to see an independant Kurdistan is not wrong.
    Its time to dust ourselves off and support arguments in favour of defeating IS arguments like this one
    http://ekurd.net/the-us-senate-fails-those-who-fight-isis-on-behalf-of-the-world-2015-06-25

  66. 66 patrickm

    Steve, you appear to be sat on a tuffet – speaking of kurds this way!

    As a man of Irish heritage and direct connection, I could hardly be unsupportive of the Kurdish nation’s struggle for their national liberation despite all its complexity. The Kurds are rather obviously a central part of humanity’s common fight through the three great issues of modern wars. ‘Nations want liberation’, just as ‘countries want independence and the people want revolution.’ All these types of wars are simultaneously underway right across the “non European” world’s of the Middle East and Africa. We live in an era of politics by other means and that is why you and I claim to be cruise missile something or others, keen on seeing U.S. and Australian troops deployed to assist in the fighting that must go on.

    Proletarians right across the world have a direct interest in the modernisation of Turkey as the Kurds live where they do, mostly in Turkey. There are even seven national divisions in Iran, and no real prospect for any resolution of their various oppressions (obviously including the Kurds) without a European style modernity emerging. There is very little prospect for a peaceful overthrow of the theocracy in Iran but within the theocratic elite there is a struggle for more democracy and the people are swinging behind the moderates as this deadly game unfolds.

    The reactionaries struck back in Egypt, with as we saw the wild enthusiasm of western pseudo-leftists who had no grasp of the Mao dictum of ‘unite and don’t split’. Western government’s have been useless ditherers and Putin style government’s clear supporters of the counterrevolution in Egypt that itself is having a dramatic effect upon the further development of ending of the now so obviously failed war for greater Israel and the U.S. (still almost backroomed) backed establishment of a Palestinian State.

    The Palestinians are but the most obvious but everywhere revolutionary transformation is required. Hence revolutionaries have always opposed the swamp preserving policies of the ‘realists’ that preserved the swamp as they shook hands with Saddam etc..

    You may well be coming around to the notion that the region is broke and that the capitalists that own this world have a very poor grasp of what is required to fix the world to make it a fit place for 21st Century humans to live in, but you don’t have to be that clear in your thinking about what to do about it as we learn to make revolution by making revolution and that is in essence what you are now proposing.

    Across the western world it has long been apparent that an understanding of the term pseudoleft is required to even begin to think about what a rebirthed left might look like.

    It will not have a Greek phony as any kind of ‘leading’ theorist telling people that capitalism really is a great system if only more loans are obtained!

    There will not be any ‘green’ working class hero convincing working people that reversing history and lowering the masses standards of living via a carbon tax is required policy of and for workers.

    There is now no answer to refugee flows that currently see thousands drowned. No answer to the obvious economic refugeeing that would see the least class conscious ‘devil take the hindmost’ people rewarded and the revolutionary fighters abandoned.

    What there is, is a world system throwing up stark contradictions that have no national solution. An international perspective is required. We ought to relearn the words of the Internationale.

    The scourge of unemployment and the spread of gangsterism across the planet is not a temporary blip, but rather the stamp of the times that will face humanity for the remainder of our lives. So whatever the lastsuperpower ruling elite are ‘coming around to’ they will I suppose do little and do it late and the people’s will suffer for this. But the US remains the last superpower because that era is gone with the wind.

    At least you now know that all western ‘leftists’ who have opposed ‘imperialism’ in Syria and current deployments of Australians etc to Iraq were wrong (at some point) and are wrong and you are not withdrawing your support for these forces NOW.

    The revolution in the region and beyond is underway and we all know it is not of an advanced kind!

    I remain glad like Pollyanna and you are now changed beyond denial.

    The swamp mozzie’s do their swamp mozzie work. They do it in Tunisia, France, Sydney and all round the world; did they do it in all these places because the people of Iraq were liberated and permitted to contest elections? They didn’t do it when Kuwait was liberated! Do you now get that level of liberation from fascism?

    ISIS came out of SYRIA when ‘the’ war ought to have liberated Syria! Chomsky type opposition to western involvement is long behind you and you are supporting the making of war against little brother Assad! Get real comrade you are a revolutionary.

    What – is the fact – is that no liberation of the Iraqi peoples’ from the fascists equals no kick starting of the revolution!

    Death to Baathists and death to ISIS and death to all the enemies of the democratic revolution.

    Long live the revolution!

    Glad to see you are not abandoning the unity with western imperialist armies.

    Now have you worked out just what kind of Cruise Missile warrior you are yet?

    This Cruise Missile Marxist is very far from demoralised.

    I think we ought to now think about how progressives want to progress.

  67. 67 Steve Owens

    Patrick theres lots of stuff in your reply but my question remains unanswered. Do you support directly arming the Kurds or do you think that the staus quo is ok?

  68. 68 Steve Owens

    Patrick you claim that the Greek leader is a phoney but what is phoney about leading a party that wants to reject austerity? The Greek people agreed with him and elected his party. The Greek people then voted overwhelminly to back his hard line negotiating position.
    He could only be a phoney if somehow anti austerity is phoney but Iceland has proved that a country can emerge from the crisis in ways other than embracing austerity. Bill and Barry are currently running pro Iceland posts on their blogs although as I pointed out to Bill people could have read pro Iceland posts here at Strange Times several years ago.

    Posted 2011
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9550667.stm

    Posted May 2014
    http://richardhughes.ca/politics/how-to-beat-the-1-iceland-embraces-a-cool-solution/

  69. 69 Steve Owens

    Hi Patrick I just finished reading the Spanish Civil War by Anthony Beevor. In the book is the story about the demise of the communist Nin. Nin was a founding member of the Spanish communist party. During the civil war Nin was arrested by the Stalanists, now I know from previous conversations that you think it fine that Trots should be arrested and shot but Nin was tortured to death again no big dealt in the Stalinist world but what is of interest is what the Stalinists did then. Instead of boldly saying here is the body of the Trotskyist Nin they dressed several German speaking members of the International Brigade up as Gestapo and do a moch raid on the prison holing Nin so that the Stalinists could claim that the Gestapo had rescued Nin

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