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RE: [casi] Sanctions: "Hypocrisy, thy name is Rahul Mahajan!"

I don't agree with the overall position that 'justin' appears to take, but
many of the points that he makes are correct, and Yasser's right to agree
with them. We should not sacfrice the wellbeing of the Iraqi people in the
cause of anti-Americanism, or even anti-imperialism, just as we (well, most
of us) were correct in opposing the US/UK policy to sacrifice the wellbeing
of the Iraqi people in the cause of anti-Saddamism.

If we want immediate demands, they ought to be:

Lift the sanctions
Drop the debt
End the occupation
No war but the class war

I note that the Russian state is currently agreeing to the lifting of the
sanctions and the US/UK control over Iraqi oil, just so long as the $7
billion claims that they have against the Iraqi state are honoured.

Oppression is being temporarily scaled back, the better to allow for

Chris Williams

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Yasser Alaskary []
> Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 2:20 AM
> To:   casi-discuss; AS-ILAS
> Subject:      Re: [casi] Sanctions: "Hypocrisy, thy name is Rahul
> Mahajan!"
> wow, a semi-decent article.
> and i'd just like to applaud voices for taking the stance they have and
> cast
> my disgust at the stance so many others, some on this list, have taken of
> either ignoring the whole issue of sanctions or actually wanting them to
> stay.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "AS-ILAS" <>
> To: "casi" <>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 9:41 AM
> Subject: [casi] Sanctions: "Hypocrisy, thy name is Rahul Mahajan!"
> Why the left-turnabout on sanctions? Hypocrisy, thy name is Rahul Mahajan!
> Remember how the sanctions were the equivalent of "genocide" committed by
> the Evil American Imperialists against the Oppressed Peoples of Iraq?
> Well,
> that was then, according to Rahul Mahajan, writing on AlterNet, and
> reprinted in Counterpunch and Commie Dreams, but this is now, and I quote:
> "After five years spent working to end the sanctions on Iraq, I find
> myself
> in an odd position. I'm opposed to the current U.S. plans to end the
> sanctions."
> Say what? So "genocide" is no longer genocide? Apparently so. As Rahul
> puts
> it: "The new situation is fascinating."
> Well, uh, yes, it is, in the same way that a car wreck or a heart attack
> is
> fascinating: if only to observe how ugly reality can get. And how
> knee-jerk
> anti-Americanism, and not concern for the Iraqi people, motivates a
> certain
> section of the anti-war movement in this country and abroad.
> Oh, but "actually, it's not so confusing," Rahul reassures us. You see,
> the
> evil U.S. refuses to set up a puppet government in Iraq "under neutral UN
> auspices rather than under those of an occupying power with clear plans
> for
> increased regional domination." Instead of making Kofi Annan and the UN
> bureaucracy the absolute dictators of Iraq, the U.S. is going to rule
> directly, set up permanent military bases, and use this as a platform from
> which to launch attacks on Iran and Syria.
> While Rahul is right that Syria is definitely in the Bushies' sights, Iran
> is a different story altogether. The Iranians were cheering on the U.S.
> invasion, albeit not too loudly, which eliminated their deadliest enemy
> and
> chief regional competitor. Now we learn that they were all the while
> negotiating with the Americans in order to come to some kind of mutual
> understanding. Power politics, it seems, is a bit more complex than the
> "America, bad, everybody else, good" doctrine of the Third World Left.
> The really telling example of U.S. perfidy, however, is Rahul's trope
> about
> how those dastardly Americans are also plotting "to force the Palestinians
> to acquiesce to the Israeli occupation through the latest 'peace plan.'"
> Give me a break, willya? The Bushies are going out on a political limb
> with
> this "road-map" business, which the Israelis are hopping mad about: "Force
> the Palestinians to acquiesce"? That has got to be a typo! He must mean
> force the Israelis to acquiesce. Or else why has their American amen
> corner
> gone ballistic at the mere prospect that the "road map" may lead to the
> creation of a universally-recognized Palestinian state?
> The whole thing, avers Rahul, is a plot by the U.S. to "privatize, at
> least
> in part," Iraq's oil wealth, and "pay off American corporations" while
> planning the conquest of the Middle East. Military force can accomplish
> these goals, is the contention, but
> "Some problems are the kind that can't be solved by bombs. Existing UN
> resolutions require Security Council approval for Iraqi oil sales and for
> disbursement of oil money to pay for other goods. Other countries may be
> leery of buying Iraqi oil without some clear understanding that what
> they're
> doing is legal, so the United States cannot simply declare those
> resolutions
> void by fiat, the way it declared war on Iraq."
> What this boils down to is: who gets all that Iraqi oil? Rahul wants the
> UN
> to get it, and the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Dennis Miller cabal wants to reward
> "corporations like Bechtel that are closely tied to current and past
> administration figures in closed bidding processes with no foreign
> corporations allowed." The war, it turns out, was mostly a scheme so that"
> the United States will be able to use Iraq's money to pay off mostly
> American corporations." And that's not fair! Why not let some of the other
> nations - who, after all, just stood around and watched as the U.S. beat
> up
> the schoolyard weakling - in on picking the victim's pockets? Why, those
> greedy American imperialists!
> What world do these lefties live in? Rahul complains that "the draft
> resolution being currently circulated would give the United States very
> open, explicit control over Iraq's oil industry and the money derived
> therefrom." This is uttered in a tone of outraged disbelief, but why don't
> "anti-imperialists" of the Left take their own rhetoric seriously? The
> U.S.
> imperialists are acting on the "principle" of might makes right, a
> doctrine
> well-known to their Soviet predecessors - and to Marx, one might add. Yet
> poor na´ve little Rahul is shocked - shocked! Well, isn't that tough. The
> question is, now what? Rahul's answer, incredibly enough, is . more
> sanctions!
> The whole campaign to lift the sanctions is a ploy by the U.S. to escape
> the
> alleged "legal obligation it shares with the United Kingdom." What
> obligation - what law? "Since they committed an illegal, aggressive war
> (with no Security Council authorization) against Iraq," Rahul writes,
> "they
> are financially responsible for the reconstruction. Iraq should not have
> to
> pay for its own reconstruction, especially since for years to come its oil
> revenues will be barely enough to meet the basic needs of its people."
> First we are told that the evil U.S. is intent on building "permanent
> bases," and then we are lectured that the Americans have an "obligation"
> to
> rebuild an entire nation - yet how, exactly, will that be done without
> setting up permanent American bases? Indeed, how will it be done without
> Americanizing Iraq? The American conquerors of Iraq are supposed to pay
> for
> everything, and control nothing - a proposal that could exist only in the
> Bizarro World parallel universe inhabited by all too many leftists, where
> reality is inverted and he who pays the piper doesn't call the tune.
> There are apparently no limits to the illogic induced by anti-Americanism,
> a
> delusionary doctrine in which Washington is - and must be - the root of
> all
> evil.
> What trips up the phony anti-imperialism of the pro-UN left in this
> instance
> is that the U.S. invokes international law - embodied in UN resolutions -
> as
> a rationale for the war with at least as much justification as the UN
> fetishists of Rahul's sort invoke it to prove the war's illegality. The UN
> Security Council approved Gulf War I, and imposed the sanctions, to begin
> with. Indeed, it was an American President, the present Emperor's father,
> who declared that the first attack on Iraq was the herald of a "New World
> Order" - and made a point of his internationalist piety by going to the UN
> Security Council before putting the question to the U.S. Congress.
> The United Nations is itself an agent of foreign domination over subject
> peoples; look at Bosnia and Kosovo, where the ethnic cleansing of Serbs
> and
> the eradication of all political rights was ratified by UN overlords. The
> big debate in the West is not between the proponents of an American Raj
> and
> the defenders of national sovereignty, but over which band of bureaucrats
> (or gang of profiteers) will have control of the loot. On the grounds that
> anything is better than the Americans, the amateur anti-imperialists of
> the
> Left side with the UN - but there is an alternative. Unfortunately, their
> ideological blinders prevent many on the Left from seeing it.
> The sheer absurdity of the left-turnabout on sanctions underscores the
> inherently nonsensical internationalism that is the emotional and
> political
> core of left-consciousness. Workers of the world, unite: militant
> idealists
> who find such slogans attractive are likely to find irresistible a crusade
> to "make the world safe for democracy." What is their chief concern? Not
> America, not their home city, town, or state, but the world! The evil of
> war
> requires a large canvas. Dangerous idealists are nearly always global in
> their aspirations.
> The pathetic rationalizations uttered by our friend Rahul - "the way that
> the sanctions work is not the way they used to" - would be funny if the
> issue wasn't serious. Yeah, they sure don't make draconian economic
> sanctions the way they used to, if the Iraqi people really won't be harmed
> at all by them, as we are assured. But then, was the anti-sanctions
> movement
> dead wrong all along - did tens of thousands not die because of them?
> "In the long run," writes Rahul,
> " the sanctions must be lifted because they impose a highly inefficient
> foreign control of the Iraqi economy, causing the collapse of local
> economic
> activity and requiring money that should be spent internally to be spent
> on
> foreign corporations. In the short run, there is no compelling reason to
> lift them in the absence of a legitimate Iraqi government that has the
> right
> to make choices about how Iraq's oil wealth is to be used for the benefit
> of
> the Iraqi people."
> Translation:
> "In the short run, f*** the Iraqi people - just as long as we get revenge
> on
> the U.S. by any means necessary. Who cares if the Iraqi economy collapses,
> the bad guys profit, and ordinary people suffer - none of these are
> 'compelling' enough reasons to stop pompous fools like myself from
> determining what is best for the Iraqi people."
> Anti-Americanism is the anti-interventionism of fools. And it is rooted in
> anti-capitalism. Why are what Rahul describes as the "state oil companies"
> run by Saddam Hussein and his mafia-like family sacrosanct? Why shouldn't
> they be privatized? And why not allow foreign ownership? I'm shocked -
> shocked! - at Rahul's "xenophobia."
> Okay, that was a bit too easy, I know. Plenty of left-oriented activists,
> notably the widely-respected Voices in the Wilderness, oppose this nutty
> pro-sanctions position. Let's file this under "It just goes to show." - as
> in "It just goes to show how crazy the Left can be if it takes some of its
> more untenable principles too seriously" - and move along.
> But one important point needs to be made. As the embodiment of the one and
> only successful libertarian revolution in history, the United States is by
> its very nature a potentially liberating force in the world. The idea that
> no good could possibly come of this war is obviously wrong. But it is not
> far off the mark, either, and needs only to be amended: Nothing good for
> the
> U.S. can come of this war. All the benefits, such as they are, will be
> reaped in Iraq, by the Iraqis, while we pay and pay, in human lives and
> treasure looted from the private incomes of Americans. We spread liberty -
> or some deformed version of it - abroad, and nurture tyranny at home: that
> is the price of our rulers' internationalism, and we'll be paying it for
> some time to come.
> - Justin Raimondo
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