Jack Weber’s March 30 letter to the editor “Dear Mr. Noyes” mouths imperialist propaganda about the Iraq war and, not surprisingly, distorts reality.
Weber reiterates the tired Bush administration claim that there is a meaningful link between Iraq and al-Qaida. He suggests that if the United States didn’t trample Iraq, this would be tantamount to “leaving al-Qaida unchecked.” What this sentiment ignores is that even the U.S. government largely has abandoned the supposed Iraq/al-Qaida connection, like the fabled weapons of mass destruction hooey. Such misguided pre-war hype subsequently has embarrassed politicians and journalists alike, leading to investigations which are ongoing.
By analogy, Weber says the Iraqis resisting the occupation are the “same type of people who crashed 747s into the World Trade Center Ö ” This is a failed comparison. Iraq was invaded illegally three years ago by the United States and some meager “coalition of the willing.” Occupation provokes resistance. Those confronting empire at home are not the same as those exporting terror abroad.
Weber goes on to invert the framework more directly, while mixing in some good old fear-mongering so often employed by President George W. Bush and the Oval boys. “If we fail in Iraq, terrorism will only become stronger and attacks on U.S. soil will become more and more frequent,” Weber writes. I’m sure failure in his terms would be likened to abandoning the mission to spread democracy afar, failing to stay the course and other official jingoisms. But common sense and mere observation dictate the opposite is, in fact, true. For instance, has the U.S.-backed Israeli militarism diminished the uprisings in Palestine, whose people have become more violated and desperate, and therefore more prone to the humiliation of using retaliatory violence?
World public opinion agrees that human society is less stable because of U.S. interventionism. Before the war millions took to the streets globally to protest the imminent aggression. Now, according to a poll released by the BBC in February, 60 percent of people in 35 countries believe the Iraq war has increased the likelihood of terrorism. More than 41,000 people were polled, and in 21 of the 35 countries, a majority believes the toppling of Saddam Hussein was a mistake.
The United States is playing a leading role, structurally or financially, in the occupations of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti. Weber and other apologists for Empire behavior need to be put in perspective. Their hegemonic camp is in the minority. Another path is possible and necessary, and favored by most of us. In the words of Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, “It’s time to recognize that no amount of nuclear weapons, or full-spectrum dominance, or ‘daisy-cutters’ Ö can buy peace at the cost of justice.” So to say, it’s time to reject state-sponsored violence and embrace an alternative political model based on compassion, respect and ecological balance. As for justice, escorting Bush to the International Criminal Court at The Hague seems befitting to me, right after his impeachment.
Fortunately, we still have tools of nonviolent resistance available in this country. Let’s use them to end the occupations now.
Christopher Larson works for University Bookstores. Please send comments to [email protected]