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Kazerooni and Prince criticized/praised

July 30, 2007

 What follows are two (of many) critical comments from friends and family about the `Speak Out’ piece that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News Sunday supplement to the Denver Post. The piece appears in full below on the July 29 (1)blog entry. The piece was cut some by the News staff. If you want to see the version sent to the paper, it is below on the July 18 blog.

1.

Rob.

I’m usually 100% with you down the line, but I have to take some exception on this one. Reading what your co-author and you wrote, I realize your target is the Democrats, and I would concur with not putting many eggs in that basket. However, your column can also generically be read as doom and gloom, that there is not any cause for optomism altogether.

As you and I recently discussed, and as you wrote in a previous column, there is a torpor about the current antiwar movement, however, that doesn’t change the fact of widespread antiwar sentiment. The latter could change one way or the other, but I remain cautiously optomistic that history is on our side, as it was with the Vietnam war, and that the antiwar sentiment will widen and deepen (sounds like old-fashioned historical materialism, which isn’t really what I’m trying to say).

If we can creatively keep focus on the war and its debilitating effects center stage, the political and economic costs will continue to rise until an eventual tipping point is reached.

That’s our job, as I see it, to stay in the streets, work the aisles, etc., not to be Pollyannas and promote any false optomism, but not to toss a wet blanket on the smoldering embers, either.

Jay Jurie, Sanford Florida

2.

Congratulations of getting your piece in the paper.

Your article doesn’t help my feeling of being totally depressed about the world though.

(from someone near and dear)

3

I’m afraid you are right. Every time I say something similar, I am dismissed as uber cynical or (which pisses me off more) still carrying a torch for the Army (I went into the Army when my choices were: Army, Canada forever–it was more than a decade later when Carter granted amnesty, or prison). There are no indications that the services have planned a withdrawal or even a pullback.

Withdrawing the huge amount of material and personnel, movement to port shipments, debarkation, convoy shipping, refurbishment and storage would require enormous logistics coordination. You could tell by the response to Clinton’s query about withdrawal plans that there are very well none. We are not planning a withdrawal. Plans are to use Iraq as a major US firebase in the area.

Anyway, it was an unpopular thing to say. People think that we can simply pull out and be done. Wrong. This international policy mess will haunt us for decades. Getting out will take years.

(from a friend I used to teach with)

4

The Project for a New American Century crowd, even in the 1990’s, gave premier value to the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq. They are the heart that pumps the blood through the vitals of the imperial enterprise, the capital A in the neo-con Agenda. They are so crucial to success of the whole bloody exercise that they are scarcely mentioned in the media lest a too overt awareness of them by the unwashed masses possibly threaten their existence. They are barely acknowledged in the halls of Congress for the same worrisome reason, both the media and Congress being as they are imperialist to the marrow.

I think the sentiments of pessimism expressed by Kazerooni & Prince in a recent op-ed piece are prescient and justified. Like the Roman legions in Gaul, the Americans are already dug deep and durably into the Iraqi dirt and no little credit goes to the ongoing zealous support of the Democratic Party.

Gene Fitzpatrick (note – this comment comes from the guestbook)
Prince responds

Although the piece was cut some by the good folks at the Rocky editorial page (they did call to let us know though) , the essence was there. What were we trying to do? Essentially deal with what we consider a number of illusions about the US Occupation of Iraq, specfically

1. that it will end soon.

2. that the Democrats in Congress are serious about withdrawal or that they do not support the main lines of the current US `war against the world’ –or as they put it, the war on terrorism.

We are aware that many democrats at the grass roots level oppose the war, understand its profoundly inhumane, immoral and politically cynical nature and are doing what they can to get the US out of that mess. We also have great respect for the different strands of the peace movement and know, that despite its narrow base (discussed below somewhere), that it has made a difference and the situation in the Middle East would even be worse than it is without the pressure of public opinion, both here and abroad bearing down.

That said, one cannot change the world, without understanding it in its most sober light. That was all we were attempting to do.

In response to my teacher friend…

Actually, Ibrahim and I both support getting the troops out of Iraq and dismantling all the US bases there as soon as possible. We just don’t see it happening. To the contrary, the US is digging in for the long haul. They might retreat to their mega-city bases and let Iraq disintegrate into three states or some other form of anarchy, but getting the troops out of Iraq and ending the occupation is a horse of another color. This means we need to reconsider how to reshape our peace movement so it can respond to the realities as they exist on the ground.

Gene Fitzpatrick does well to mention the Project For A New American Century and its blueprint for permanent bases in Iraq. Again people tend to be skeptical that there was some kind of blueprint and that if there was one, that it was implemented. Google the Project For A New American Century. Read the text, and you’ll see how closely it was followed. Talk about implementing a party line!

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