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Dear John, I appreciate your desire to set us all straight about Patrick Buchanan, but I think you are misconstruing his mien almost entirely. Your strongest criticism concerns those of his words and writings that indicate that he is an unrepentant Cold Warrior. I'll give you that . I'll give you more than that -- I read his book too! He is an absolutely unapologetic defender of the depredations by Americans, both as British colonists and later as citizens of an independent republic, against the Indians and their hold on the land which the settlers coveted. Yes, he is an unredeemed apologist for American "Manifest Destiny." But you see, John, these obnoxious positions of his, while he is very open about them, are not different from most mainstream American beliefs, definitely not from those of other major candidates for the US presidency. None of them separates Buchanan from the pack. What DOES set him apart are the rest of his positions on foreign policy: He condemns what he clearly identifies as "American imperialism" from what he considers its inception during the conquest of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American war, up to and including the current war against Yugoslavia. This is, in fact, the major thesis of his book, if we are to be fair to him. Now, there is no major candidate running for office here who offers anything but a continuation of those same bellicose, hegemonic policies. Not one who will take a stand against the inhuman sanctions on Iraq or the criminal bombing there. Not one criticizes the US/NATO savage bombing of Yugoslavia, and the continuing sanctions there. Buchanan does, and he makes no bones about it. To him, this is "imperialism." We have no business there, or anywhere else in the world really: our only business is to defend our own shores, unless it can be shown that some ultimate threat to our sovereignty is imminent --essentially, the politics of "isolationism." Does any other candidate dare to offer, as Buchanan has, to make his first act as president a lifting of US sanctions against Iraq, Cuba and North Korea? None dares! Now, this is not to suggest that Buchanan is some kind of born-again progressive, or that we should expect that a Buchanan presidency would mean a rose garden for organized labor (despite his recent schmoozing with the Teamsters Union while marching arms-in-arm with them against the WTO). But I think we have to take care to understand this phenomenon for what it is. Labels are easy to apply, but are his the positions of a "fascist?" No, it is the positions of his competitors that are essentially fascist, at least with regard to foreign policy. Of course, his ardent anti-Communism will never endear him to the Left, but this business of smearing him as "anti-Semitic" should not be allowed to stand without something more than innuendo to support it. There are anti-Semites around, yes, but they make statements that demonstrate their position -- they are easy enough to identify. I suspect that he has acquired this cachet precisely because he DOES openly oppose the continued US subsidy of Israel/Egypt, which drains many billions of dollars annually out of the US "defense" budget. Let's call a spade a spade, but let's be clear about our terms as well. I find his perfervid anticommunism as problematic as you do, but not every anti-Communist is a fascist, just as not every anti-fascist is a Communist. I think the Spanish Civil War proved that. Collegially, Ken Freeland -----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of John Smith Sent: Monday, January 31, 2000 6:30 PM To: Colin Rowat Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Ultra-right US politician on sanctions and Iraq Dear Colin, thanks for your candid and thoughtful comments on Patrick Buchanan's demagogic criticism of US government policy towards Iraq. I share your apprehension about the dynamic which can be set up whenever disagreements are aired and explored. So, I want to preface my remarks by saying that I totally respect the sincerity of your point of view and greatly admire what yourself and CASI have been able to achieve in the cause of exposing and opposing US/UK crimes against humanity in Iraq. You were impressed by > [Patrick Buchanan's] claim that, "More Iraq children have been lost in nine > years to U.S. sanctions than all the American solders killed in combat in > all the wars of the 20th century" strikes me as about as powerful a > comparison as one can possibly make in the US: take every fallen American, > commemorated in all of our national war memorials. The number of children > that we have helped to kill is less than these. I think you meant to say 'more', not 'less'. I agree with you that this is an extremely powerful comparison. I am sure that we can also agree that it is also shocking, horrifying, enraging. I think it is also important to state that Iraq is far from being the only country with which this comparison can be made. More Vietnamese and Korean civilians were killed by US military forces than all of the US's 20th century combat dead. More civilians died during the US/UK-backed military coup in Indonesia in 1965; more German p-o-w's in US concentration camps after 1945 (see James Bacque, 'Crimes and Mercies'); if we count the 100,000+ victims of Guatemala's military dictatorship installed by the CIA in 1954, then, with Nicaragua and El Salvador, these three small Central American nations have offered up as many of their civilians to the cause of US imperial supremacy as the number of sons donated to the US military by the American working class. > I also think that Buchanan's reasons for opposing the sanctions ("because > they don't work") is reasonable. It seems to me that we might oppose > something because we dislike the idea of it, or because we dislike the > effects of it. I think you miss the point here. Buchanan shares the war-aims of the Democrats and Republicans: to force the rest of the world (in this case Iraq) to submit to US power. He expresses a tactical disagreement ("they don't work"). It is irrelevant which side of this dispute is reasonable or unreasonable, rational or irrational. Both express conflicts within the enemy camp. > Furthermore, I think that a large reason that people > dislike the idea of something is because they dislike its effects: people > may dislike imperialism because it involves subjugation and oppression. > So I think that opposing sanctions on Iraq because one thinks that their > effect has been bad is a very defensible position. To support the aims of sanctions but to dislike its effects is contradictory. It is the same, to use your apt analogy, as supporting the idea of imperialism but not liking the consequences which imperialism wreaks upon the majority of humanity. This is not a defensible position. It is, however, a near-perfect definition of liberalism. It is 'futile', as I said in my original posting, for anti-sanctions campaigners to slip into using "sanctions are counter-productive"-type arguments because they implicitly accept the aims of those advocating sanctions, they implicitly accept their right to intervene, their right to violate Iraq's national sovereignty. They don't challenge, but on the contrary make unacceptable concessions to the pretexts ("the will of the international community" etc.) which disguise the real content and intent of these policies. > The Militant implies that Buchanan thinks that sanctions not working > primarily means that they have not toppled the government. Given > Buchanan's powerful remarks about child deaths, though, I don't know what > relative weight Buchanan gives to these two concerns that he has about the > sanctions. Without getting more information, I'd be hesitant to conclude > that his sole concern is toppling Saddam. We should be under no illusions that this extremist would be quite prepared to annihilate the entire population of Iraq and the Middle East if this was necessary for the US to crush opposition to its domination. In his recent book, “A Republic, Not an Empire”, Buchanan revealed his attitude to military violence against sovereign nations: “Vietnam was a legitimate war of containment that could have been won in half the time if the United States had used its full conventional power at the outset, and refused to set geographic limits on the use of that power.… It is the mark of a Great Power that when it commits itself to war, it commits itself to victory, and all the force necessary to prevail.” The Militant has closely followed Buchanan's trajectory, as anyone searching their website for articles on him can verify. They have reported his anti-Semitism, his demand for extreme force to be used against immigrants attempting to cross the US border; his veneration of McCarthy, Franco, Pinochet. They characterise him as not just another right-wing politician, but as a fascist who is seeking to build a fascist movement in the USA. As the Militant says, before Buchanan goes to war abroad, he wants to win the war at home. > "Sanctions have become a way for the United States to vent its > anger on the cheap", said the rightist politician. Use them, but > use them to deadlier effect, he advised. "If they are to be > reapplied, I will understand what the world used to know: that > embargoes and blockades are weapons of war." > > If this guess is correct then Buchanan is merely saying that there is > nothing innocent about sanctions, they are weapons of war and we should > not pretend otherwise. I think that his allusion to "what the world used > to know" is simply a reference to the earlier term for economic sanctions, > "economic warfare". If so, I again think that Buchanan is correct with > that sort of statement. Well, he is “correct” in that he’s telling the truth. It doesn't mean that he is against “economic warfare”, but merely that he doubts its efficacy, especially when its perpetrators don't have the self-confidence to come out into the open, but pretend to be doing something else. In my original posting, I stated that it is "in the end fatal for anti-sanctions campaigners to slip into using opportunist arguments against sanctions, such as “sanctions are bad because they don't work” "- because along will come someone like Buchanan with policies to remove Saddam which do work, and we will have not prepared any defences. JS -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi