Two Things to Note on Iraq

Although I have always considered myself a liberal, and, for most of my life, I even thought of myself as a staunch Marxist, I could never understand the Liberal/Marxist bias against Israel.
How could they, I would ask myself, grant the right of self-determination to some–the Palestinians–but not to others–the Jews in Israel. Their moral calculus, which justified the deliberate murder of innocents when they were Jews but not the (for the most part) accidental deaths of Palestinians, seemed to have roots in another belief, what I now see as anti-Semitism.
But what I now think I understand is that the moral calculus of the self-declared guardians of the liberal tradition is based upon the actions of the great powers alone, and has nothing to do with the peoples involved. They, to paraphrase a friend and mentor Paul (Shaul) Croitoroo, are guided by their unbearable guilt to support any cause that convincingly paints itself as the underdog. This guide-by-guilt ideology is very pertinent to the Iraqi issue.
Take two letters that recently went out over the Columbia Student Solidarity Network (CSSN). The first, by Lailan Sandra Huen, gives the following justification as to why we should oppose the war:
Why Stopping the War on Iraq is Critical: Stopping Bush’s war on Iraq is important for many reasons–to stop Bush from murdering innocent people of color, to defeat the dangerous policy of “pre-emptive” wars, to make it harder for Israel to follow through on its threats to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous people, etc..For our movement, it’s also important because if we can impose a defeat on Bush on this front, it will help us defeat Bush on all fronts in the “War on Terrorism.” With Bush politically weakened, it will be far easier to end the detentions and deportations, to roll back the PATRIOT Act, to shift money away from the military and into public services, to make it much harder for Bush to unilaterally overthrow other governments across the Third World.” [emphasis added]
Just two quick comments:
1. Since when has Israel been making threats to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous people? I am unaware of any such plans. Seems to me that, as Martin Kramer pointed out, the hard-left has a tendency for condeming Israel in advance.
2. Doesn’t Ms. Huen realize that those same Third-World governments she is trying to protect from the big-bad democracy are tyrannies, which brutally suppress their own people? I am sure Ms. Huen knows this–then why is she advocating their defense?
On the other hand, however, I was very happy to see the following missive also on CSSN:
“The “Save The People Of Iraq” campaign has started to gain some media attention: Please keep sending us your signatures, also tell your family and friends about it. It is only YOU who can make it succeed. Save the People of Iraq Campaign
“We, the undersigned Iraqis, urge the Security Council, when it meets to discuss Hans Blix’s 27th January report, not to leave the Iraqi people in Saddam’s hands but to agree on taking any means necessary to rid Iraq of Saddam’s regime and to help install a genuine democracy. To sign this petition please reply to this email stating your name and city of residence. The “Save The People Of Iraq” campaign was launched by the Iraqi Prospect Organization on Wednesday the 22nd of January.”
Maybe there is some hope of a debate over the freedoms of the Iraqi people.


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