Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Notes from all over

They don't make quagmires like they used to

Ralph Peters argues that the press is wrongly portraying the Ba'athist attacks on US troops in Iraq as a quagmire.

Our troops are doing remarkably well - but the headlines make it sound like a disaster. Last weekend, almost as many Americans died in a residential balcony collapse in Chicago as have been killed by hostile fire in "postwar" Iraq. As a former soldier, I don't discount any American casualties as unimportant. But the fact is that, despite real errors and miscues, reconstruction efforts in Iraq are going surprisingly well. How bad is it in Iraq? It's terrible - if you're a former Saddam loyalist, ex-secret policeman or Ba'ath Party muckety-muck on the wrong end of Operation Sidewinder. The party's over for Baghdad's bully-boys, and they don't much like it. ... We shouldn't be surprised that the last embittered thugs are engaging in occasional acts of terrorism against us - on the contrary, we should be relieved that we see so little continuing resistance. After toppling a totalitarian regime that ruled a population of 25 million for over a generation, it's amazing that we face only one or two attacks every few days. We could be suffering hundreds of incidents daily, if the population stood behind Saddam & Co. On our worst day last week, when two convoys came under attack, more than 600 other U.S. convoys didn't hear a single shot. Two patrols got into firefights. The other 500 patrols didn't even get hit with a water balloon.

 Peters disagreed with the press all throughout the Iraqi Freedom campaign. He was right, as it turns out, and they were wrong.

The French

Not a big fan of Little Green Footballs, but they are right to denounce the removal of the American flag from the Battle of Normandy Museum in Bayeux, France. This is not only dishonest historical revisionism, but sacrilege. My uncle came ashore on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. He was four-foot eleven, but after looking at the proud pictures of this sophisticated French Museum, I can confidently say that he had more courage in his little body than may be found in all of French polity today. The French deserve themselves.

Some Real Intellectualism for a Change

Those of you who pine for a higher level of intellectual discourse, i.e. Leftist discourse, need wait no longer. A guest blogger from France at Winds of Change writes this gem. Note the clarity of analysis. Observe how the Marxist critique allows the mind to virtually soar on wings.

The False Bourgeois Consciousness Of The Left: Towards A New Hermeneutic
by Gabriel Gonzalez

"I am not a Marxist" – Karl Marx

The debate over the war in Iraq has exposed a gaping chasm between the Left's rhetoric of opposition to Western domination and imperialism in the cause of championing a progressive and nominally pro-third world agenda and the hard "reality" implied by the concrete positions it actually espouses. The contradictions between left-wing anti-war moralism and the horrors of an oppressive police state have laid bare the symptomatically flawed dialectic within leftist discourse. This is most manifest in the structuration of current leftist dogma articulating a set of ideological themes that share as their central focus a neo-capitalist reconceptualization of exploitation and oppression within a narrow range of political discourse. These dominant leftist themes are:

  1. anti-globalization,
  2. an uncompromising and essentialist pacifism,
  3. an extreme desexualized feminism, and
  4. a pro-Palestinian (anti-Israeli) ideology.

On all of these issues, whilst the Left views itself as externalizing positions and motivations in opposition to global capitalism and empire and in favor of liberation from exploitation, in reality, these positions and motivations reveal themselves to be objectively pro-capitalist. Indeed, they reflect two related political facts: (1) the false bourgeois consciousness inherent in leftist ideology and (2) the reduction of leftist politics to a tool of late imperialist capitalism.


The left's opposition to globalization is clearly not motivated by a concern for "true" liberation from oppression – i.e., intrinsically and independently self-validating – or for the interests of third world peoples, who largely favor free trade and open markets as a means towards sustainable development. Indeed, leftist narratives, upon closer examination, tend to advocate the localization of surplus value within advanced capitalist societies, thus promoting inequality and, more important, allowing the resolution of conflictualities arising out of the concentration of increasingly diffuse – and hence uncontrolled - means of production within a dialectic that is both satisfying and depolarizing. The outcomes are reflected in the form of increased capitalist exploitation of labor in pre-proletarian advanced economies, coupled with increased imperialist domination in pre-capitalist societies. The exportation of such dominant ludic pedagogies to third world elites perpetuates the system of patriarchal imperial capitalism on a global scale in which such elites are complicit, even if unconsciously so, thereby maintaining, and demonstrating, the force of the substructural determinants of the dominant ideological, self-referential narrativity of bourgeois values. Leftist ideology thereby contributes to the defense of capitalist systems and the impoverishment of the developing world...

Read the whole thing. I believe he's serious.