The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that’s a good thing.
I don’t mean that the loss of American and Iraqi lives is to be celebrated. The death and destruction are numbingly tragic, and the suffering in Iraq is hard for most of us in the United States to comprehend. The tragedy is compounded because these deaths haven’t protected Americans or brought freedom to Iraqis — they have come in the quest to extend the American empire in this so-called “new American century.”
So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat, for a simple reason: It isn’t the defeat of the United States — its people or their ideals — but of that empire. And it’s essential the American empire be defeated and dismantled.
The fact the Bush administration says we are fighting for freedom and democracy (having long ago abandoned fictions about weapons of mass destruction and terrorist ties) does not make it so. We must look at the reality, no matter how painful. The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein’s despised regime, but that does not prove our benevolent intentions nor guarantee the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.
Throughout history, our support for democracies has depended on their support for U.S. policy. When democratic governments follow an independent course, they typically end up as targets of U.S. power, military or economic. Ask Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In Iraq, the Bush administration invaded not to liberate but to extend and deepen U.S. domination. When Bush says, “We have no territorial ambitions; we don’t seek an empire,” he tells a half-truth. The United States doesn’t want to absorb Iraq nor take direct possession of its oil. That’s not the way of empire today — it’s about control over the flow of oil and oil profits, not ownership.
In a world that runs on oil, the nation that controls the flow of oil has great strategic power. U.S. policymakers want leverage over the economies of its competitors — Western Europe, Japan and China — which are more dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Hence the longstanding U.S. policy of support for reactionary regimes (Saudi Arabia), dictatorships (Iran under the Shah) and regional military surrogates (Israel), aimed at maintaining control.
The Bush administration has invested money and lives in making Iraq a platform from which the United States can project power — from permanent U.S. bases, officials hope. That requires not the liberation of Iraq, but its subordination. But most Iraqis don’t want to be subordinated, which is why the United States in some sense lost the war the day it invaded. One lesson of contemporary history is that occupying armies generate resistance that, inevitably, prevails over imperial power.
Most Iraqis are glad Saddam is gone, and most want the United States gone. When we admit defeat and pull out — not if, but when — the fate of Iraqis depends in part on whether the United States (1) makes good on legal and moral obligations to pay reparations, and (2) allows international institutions to aid in creating a truly sovereign Iraq.
We shouldn’t expect politicians to do either without pressure. An anti-empire movement — the joining of antiwar forces with the movement to reject corporate globalization — must create that pressure. Failure will add to the suffering in Iraq and more clearly mark the United States as a rogue state and an impediment to a just and peaceful world.
So, I’m glad for the U.S. military defeat in Iraq, but with no joy in my heart. We should all carry a profound sense of sadness at where decisions made by U.S. policy-makers — not just the gang in power today, but a string of Republican and Democratic administrations — have left us and the Iraqis. But that sadness should not keep us from pursuing the most courageous act of citizenship in the United States today: Pledging to dismantle the American empire….
Remember when Michael Avenatti was the Democrats’ big hope for 2020? He wasn’t just that, though. Parachuting in to launch his presidential campaign to the DNC’s “Ethnic Council” and its black caucus in Chicago in August, he enthusiastically adopted the party’s guiltspeak. “People that look like me, ... Read More
Donald Trump’s wayward counsel, Michael Cohen, was sentenced today as part of a plea bargain with the government. As part of that settlement, Cohen has admitted to criminal violations of federal campaign-finance law and has implicated President Trump in those violations. The press is ablaze with headlines ... Read More
The president wants them away from the border. Read More
Florida's Republican state Senate president told colleagues Thursday that embattled Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes cannot rescind her previously announced resignation in order to contest her suspension by Governor Rick Scott. Snipes, whose office missed a crucial recount deadline and ... Read More
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you just standing there eating Zarg nuts), I had a bad idea. It wasn’t a terrible idea, like asking a meth addict ... Read More
Donald Trump probably can’t win the 2020 presidential election, but the Democrats can lose it. What I mean is that in a contest between Trump and a generic Democrat, Trump would almost surely lose if the current political climate holds through 2020. According to a Fox News poll this week, 38 percent of ... Read More
Fired former FBI director James Comey is at it again. Last week, Comey testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In a single appearance, Comey, on 245 separate occasions, while under oath, stonewalled questions with “I don’t know,” ... Read More
Andy makes a host of excellent points and I think I agree with pretty much all of them (though I probably need to noodle a couple). I particularly regret that I used his column to illustrate my central point (which I still stand by) for all the reasons that Andy lays out. I wasn’t trying to imply that Andy ... Read More