Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Norman Solomon: Why Iraq Withdrawal Makes Sense

Why Iraq Withdrawal Makes Sense


By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
From: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/031805Z.shtml

Friday 18 March 2005

President Bush just told reporters that he has no intention of setting any timetable for withdrawal. ''Our troops will come home when Iraq is capable of defending herself,'' he said. Powerful pundits keep telling us that a swift pullout of U.S. troops would be irresponsible. And plenty of people have bought into that idea - including quite a few progressives. Such acceptance is part of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism."

Sometimes, an unspoken assumption among progressive activists is that the occupation of Iraq must be tolerated for tactical reasons - while other issues, notably domestic ones, are more winnable on Capitol Hill. But this acceptance means going along with many of the devastating effects of a militarized society: from ravaged budgets for social programs to more authoritarian attitudes and violence in communities across the country.

"The bombs in Vietnam," King said in 1967, "explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America." He rejected the insistent claims that it would be more prudent to avoid clear opposition to the war in order to concentrate on domestic issues. "I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted," he said. "I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam."

As spring 2005 begins, many who like to praise Martin Luther King are going out of their way to evade the fundamental destructiveness of this war. Of course, throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, a prevailing argument was that removing U.S. troops would be a betrayal of U.S. responsibility to the people of South Vietnam. Today, likewise, opposition to a swift U.S. pullout from Iraq is often based on the idea that the American military must stay because of a responsibility to the people of Iraq.

But most Iraqis want the U.S. military out of their country - pronto. As Newsweek reported in its Jan. 31 edition: "Now every major poll shows an ever-larger majority of Iraqis want the Americans to leave." Yet we hear that U.S. troops must stay for the good of the Iraqi people - even though most of those people clearly want U.S. troops to leave. (Are we supposed to believe that Americans know better than Iraqis whether American troops should stay in Iraq?)

To paper over such illogic, a media-stoked myth tells us that getting out of Iraq is a notion remaining outside the boundaries of what the U.S. public could take seriously. Most politicians and pundits insist that it's off the table. But polls are telling a different story.

"According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken after the Iraq elections, 59 percent of the public believes the United States should pull its troops out of Iraq in the next year," Amy Quinn of the Institute for Policy Studies wrote in early March. "Yet the ranks of those actively demanding that the president produce an exit strategy from Iraq are slim."

In mid-March, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that a large proportion of the U.S. population has a negative view of the war. For instance, the poll asked: "All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting or not?" Only 45 percent said "worth fighting," while 53 percent said "not worth fighting."

Such nationwide poll numbers hardly indicate a country where few people are interested in proposals for extricating U.S. troops from Iraq. But the point is not only that political space exists in the United States for a grassroots movement to effectively organize for a swift pullout. It's also the best alternative for Iraq.

Consider the perspective of David Enders, a brave American journalist who has been in Iraq most of the time since the invasion. While writing for such outlets as MotherJones.com, the Nation magazine and the British daily Independent, he actually covers Iraqi society firsthand rather than staying behind American lines. Days ago, responding to my questions via email from Iraq, Enders provided some of the reasons for his assessment that American troops should leave rather than stay. For instance:


- "It is the will of the Iraqi people." Enders cites a recent survey by Iraqi pollster Saadun Al-Dulaimie, who found that 85 percent of Iraqi people want U.S. troops out of their country as soon as possible.

- "The U.S. does not provide security for the average Iraqi, and it never has."


- "The U.S. has not prevented a civil war from taking place. If anything, it has exacerbated it."


- "It is not morally derelict to pull out; it's morally derelict to stay. Returning real control and sovereignty to Iraqis is the most effective way to prevent the country from breaking apart. U.S. troops complain Iraqis don't want to stand up and fight for themselves, and a big part of the reason is the occupiers' presence."

Meanwhile, Enders voices enthusiasm for the resolution sponsored by more than two dozen members of the House of Representatives "expressing the sense of Congress that the President should develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq" (House Concurrent Resolution 35.)

This spring, as U.S. activists work to build a strong movement against the war, the need to pressure Congress is clear. What's less apparent is the need to also push - and, if necessary, confront - hesitant progressive organizations that are taking the easy way out by refusing to challenge the ongoing war.

Fortunately, some national organizations are providing forthright leadership to pursue the goal of getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. Those groups - including United for Peace & Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, Military Families Speak Out, TrueMajority, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Campus Antiwar Network, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Pledge of Resistance, American Friends Service Committee, Democracy Rising and U.S. Labor Against the War, to name just a dozen - inspire as they organize.

Only clear opposition to the war can change the terms of the national debate. Taking the paths of least resistance won't get us very far.

*************

Norman Solomon's latest book, "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," will be published in early summer. His columns and other writings can be found at: normansolomon.com.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news