DO NOT Support "Our" Troops: The Toxicity of
Center-Rightists, Liberals, and the Establishment Left
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pamphlet #1 in a new AIL Series: "Revolutionary Self-Criticism and Ideological Purge-Purification: Painful but Necessary"
INTRODUCTION: THE IDEOLOGICAL CRISIS
Time for some house cleaning. The American imperialist project has reached new levels of viciousness, inhumanity, and immorality with support, explicitly and implicitly expressed, from all quarters of the American political spectrum.
Rather than burden the Federation rank-and-file and sympathizers with a meanderingly obvious screed against the war criminals currently occupying the White House, the Federation instead has chosen to aim its polemical energy at an overlooked target: insidious counter-revolutionary elements who APPEAR to be our allies, but upon closer inspection, ultimately reinforce American empire as much -- while getting away with it.
All Federation members and sympathizers, if they have not done so, should loan or purchase Noam Chomsky's 1969 anti-Vietnam War classic, American Power and the New Mandarins. In this work, Chomsky delineated two strains of anti-war thought: 1) radical strains that repudiated the war on principle for its imperialist assumptions and original stated raison d'etre (all regardless of outcome or level of success) and 2) the pragmatic-practical liberal-bourgeois strains that escalated protest because the war became increasingly unsuccessful, prolonged, expensive, or politically costly. With slight modification, we can apply this model for analyzing the motivations of those who purport to be against war to the present imperial excursion into Iraq.
It is imperative that we not be hoodwinked and fooled by the unprincipled "anti-war" thought of organizations and characters like MoveOn.org and former partisans of Howard Dean and John Kerry. Equally important is the development of immunity to the nonsensical "Support Our Troops" mantra emanating from many center-right, liberal, and establishment left circles. Regardless of personal or familial ties, it is impossible to "support" direct agents and executors of a racist-imperialist war crime.
These two topics will form the subject of this pamphlet, the first in a new Federation series to which all readers are encouraged to contribute.
PHONY ANTI-WAR OPINION
When encountering one who professes to hold anti-war views, one should query the individual for specificity. The results are frequently revealing and unpleasant.
Most responses do not repudiate the notion of pre-emptive war and its racist contempt for Iraqi self-determination. They instead adopt the following lines:
* That the war was "not adequately planned," particularly after the initial invasion, the implication, stated or not, being that if it were, then the imperial excursion might have somehow been acceptable.
* That weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were not found, the implication, stated or not, being that if they were, then the imperial excursion might have somehow been acceptable.
* That the war is costing unexpectedly large sums of money, the implication, stated or not, being that if it could be conducted on the cheap, then the imperial excursion might have somehow been acceptable.
* That the war is taking longer than the originally projected six months, the implication, stated or not, being that if it could quickly and tidily, then the imperial excursion might have somehow been acceptable.
* That the war was conducted in a "unilateral way" "without allies" by our President, and that had the United States gone through an imperialist body like the United Nations or NATO, the latter instrumental to the illegal imperialist excursion into Kosovo, then the Iraqi imperial excursion might have somehow been acceptable. Beating up someone alone: not cool. Beating up someone "multilaterally" with a group of like-minded thugs: kosher, goes this logic, embraced by the likes of Howard Dean, MoveOn, John Kerry, and their devoted cults.
None of these unprincipled strains holds up to much scrutiny, and from them, one can easily extend logically to pro-war positions. It is these unprincipled strains, however, that dominate political conversation from the center-rightists, the liberals, and the establishment left. As revolutionaries, we need to actively resist deferring to them. Only one position ought be acceptable to us: the complete repudiation of the pre-emptive war doctrine regardless of practical outcome, and two, a corollary, the advocacy of completely removing ALL impediments to self-determination for potential targets for the US "friendly" imperialist project, such as deadly embargoes, sanctions, and support for totalitarian (and often pro-capitalist) dictators.
ANTI-WAR RACISM AND THE CASE OF MICHAEL MOORE
An equally unsettling notion -- but one that we must confront -- is that racist elements pollute and degrade large segments of American anti-war thought. We must differentiate ourselves explicitly and forthrightly from these noxious tendencies.
The first tendency consists of apologists for the occupation. Some who say "the war was wrong" (almost always along the lines previously stated above) now argue that the US occupation is nonetheless necessary, "that we must stay the course," "finish the job," and "can't just pack up and leave." Again, such is the line adopted by the Kerry-MoveOn-Dean wing of the center-right-liberal-establishment-left spectrum. The underlying racist assumption is that Iraqis cannot govern themselves without the benevolent paternalist (and, presumably, superior) meddling of the United States. But as the social revolutions in Brazil, Venezuela, and Indonesia are demonstrating, even after decades of grave repression, social regeneration can occur WITHOUT the oversight of the benevolent United States empire-monster (no thanks, please). The apologists for the occupation claim that the "insurgents" must be quelled without mentioning that 1) the primary reason behind their efforts is ejection of the United States, that 2) their primary recruitment source is (rightful) anger over the United States and private United States business interests' presence, and that 3) the majority of the Iraqi population supports both the ejection of the United States and the broad resistance to it. Rather than continue an incompetent and racist occupation, the United States ought:
a) Pay MASSIVE material reparations for devastation of their country: first by Reaganite support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, then Clintonian bombing and sanctions throughout the 1990s, and finally, Bush imperialism of the 21st century.
b) Ban all American private enterprise from Iraqi construction or energy and instead allow Iraqi enterprise to re-develop the country and its economy.
The second tendency of Racist Anti-war Thought (RAT, which is what it resembles) is the excessive emphasis placed on American troops, who in the past year have been directly implicated in systematic torture, humiliation of enemy combatants who have surrendered, and activities defined clearly as war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law. The political devolution of sell-out filmmaker Michael Moore, who supported war criminal Wesley Clark for President before becoming a Ralph Nader-baiting partisan automaton for war criminal John Kerry, is a useful lens to examine this second RAT tendency. Moore deserved accolades for including brutal images of US military terror and its Iraqi civilian consequences in his recent film, "Fahrenheit 9/11." Unfortunately, the overarching framework of that film and sell-out filmmaker Moore's subsequent web site pronouncements and book projects leave much to be desired. Moore, like so many people in the center-right-liberal-establishment-left spectrum, places undue or total emphasis on American troops, but makes little mention of the far higher level of Iraqi civilian casualties and injuries the imperial project has caused at the hands of these very American troops. Moore ends his film, for examples, with "Will they [the American troops] ever trust us again?" and this is the title of the new American troop-centric book he has recently published. Besides racist hierarchizing of American troops' welfare over that of Iraqi civilians, this critique fails to mention "the troops" and their disgusting behavior. The brutal details of the Fallujah decimation (a military victory via wholesale razing and devastation rather than any tactical ingenuity) are beginning to emerge. One précis of a firsthand accounts reads:
"Aside from the usual killing, the Marines made a point of wrecking every house they searched, blowing holes in every bare wall they could find, and leaving bloody footprints on the floor of a mosque (where shoes aren't allowed) and shitting there.
It's not enough to kill people in great quantities, they want to humiliate the survivors too."
To ignore this barbaric behavior while ethnocentrically urging support for its executors while devoting little to no focus to its victims is profoundly racist. We will explore this contradiction below.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS (YOU MEAN WAR CRIMINALS? NUH-UH)
This brings us to the conclusion of this Glorious Revolutionary Pamphlet: a discussion of imperial agents -- i.e. the "troops" -- and the call by many of the center-right-liberal-establishment-left spectrum to "support" them.
No. No. No.
There exists a question that all those of the "Support the Troops" tendency must confront: how does one "support" troops executing a grotesque and inhumane collective war crime?
The Federation cannot support agents of the following: destruction of civilian hospitals, destruction of civilian water and energy supplies, destruction and razing of civilian homes, prison torture and humiliation, and military orders to shoot without regard for whether potential targets are "hostile." The Federation cannot support agents of barbaric behavior such as that described in the anti-Hugo Chavez London Independent (hardly a bastion of radical sentiment) below:
"Mr Tellaib, 33, a merchant, said: 'We were stopped, in a line of cars, by some Humvees which had overtaken us. One soldier waved us forward, but as I drove up there was firing from another Humvee. I was shot in the side of the head, and my wife and elder son were shot in the chest. I think they must have died then. There was blood all over my eyes. I lost control of the car which fell into the river. I managed to get out, and then tried to get the others out, but I could not and the car sank."
The only troops deserving of "support" and who deserve the term "war hero" are those who disobey orders and resist this war. It is impossible otherwise to support the troops when the troops are carrying out war crimes and are thus war criminals themselves, some individually, all collectively. "We were just following orders" did not work for the Nazis -- it should not work for the American troops, either.
The Federation hopes this pamphlet series helps us identify counter-revolutionary elements disguised as "progressive" forces. Those interesting in contributing to the series are encouraged to do so.
The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killers is an anti-racist, anti-capitalist student insurgent group based at Columbia University. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at: www.fortune500killers.org.
Other Statements by the GRFF500K
Sean Penn: Go