The Left Hook! Archive


Wed. Feb. 26, 2003


Mixed Left Reactions

to the Right's Latest Smear

"The Pro-Saddam Mob," screams the headline, and it's an "oy!", a disbelieving roll of the eyes, and off we go again on the American right's latest ugly excursion into squelching any honest discussion of the Bush administration's Iraq policy. Beneath that Wall Street Journal headline (from 2/18/03), those who have taken to the streets to demonstrate against that policy are described, by James Taranto, as "anti-American" and "idiots" who, in 2001, were "defending an Afghan regime" of the Taliban. Apparently, "anti-Arab bigotry lies at the root of the 'antiwar' agenda," and there's a lot of "anti-Semitism" behind it, as well. Taranto gloatingly quotes the Associated Press:

"Iraq on Sunday gloated over the global outpouring of opposition to the U.S. threat of attack, saying anti-war demonstrations in dozens of countries signaled an Iraqi victory and ``the defeat and isolation of America."

This sort of garbage crops up every time anyone to the left of Attilla the Hun raises questions about the appropriateness of a foreign military adventure. It's the lowest sort of political pornography, and, as it's generally confined to trade among the right's raincoat brigade, your harried editor is usually more than happy to let it pass without comment. Some folks don't feel that it should, though, and today, LeftHook! has a pair of examples of how they're addressing the matter.

This first piece is a response to the reports of Iraqi gloating over the worldwide anti-war demonstrations of two weeks ago by a frequent usenet poster called xofpi. The second, by John Rybock, is a response to the "pro-Saddam" accusations thrown at those who question the Iraqi policy.

Check 'em out, and, as usual, your thoughts are welcome.

Harried Editor

An Open Letter to Saddam Hussein from an American Anti-War Protester


Do not mistake our anger over the Bush administration's rush to war in your country for an excuse to shirk you own responsibility for the mess the world finds itself in. We hold you responsible.

You may think that Bush's idiocies overshadow your own, but that is profoundly foolish. Bush distracts us, it's true. And there are those in this movement here in the US who, in despising Bush and mistrusting the American corporate state's relationship with the Third World, really do overlook and understate your crimes against your people.

But be aware, you piece of filth, that not all of us on the left, are ignorant or tolerant of what you and your foul Baathist regime represent. The vast majority of us in this peace movement are democrats--with a small d--the intellectual descendants of the philosophes and revolutionaries who overthrew the bankrupt tyranny of kings and gave the world the notion of justice for all. It's our loathing of anti-democratic authoritarianism that makes us enraged at the Bushists' stubborn rush to war and unwillingness to hear any voice but their own.

What makes you think you, of all tyrants, could ever have our respect? We know what you've done to your own people, to your enemies, to your imagined enemies, to their wives and daughters. Don't imagine for one second that any but the tiniest, tiniest, most insignificant minority among us would mourn your passing if someone had the wisdom to plant a bullet in your brain--or drop a bomb on it. On the contrary, the vast majority of us will celebrate louder than Bush. (We're anti-war, motherfucker, not pacifist.) Perhaps you'll be wise enough yourself to do the world the favor.

It's not you we want to spare from the misery and horror of another war, certainly. It's the people whose lives you hold in your blood-stained hands, the people you brutalize for your own self-aggrandizement, the people you have indifferently permitted to suffer for your own survival's sake.

I ask you to cooperate with UNMOVIC--NOW. Don't play foolish games with them thinking the anti-war momentum has given you more survival time. Because the Bushists will have this war, whether we or you like it or not. And you will probably die in it, horribly. And no one will mourn your passing, least of all the people you have enchained to your fate. But they will continue to suffer, long after your wasteful survival game is over.



A puzzling characterization. Well, maybe not that puzzling. There are a miriad of reasons people are opposed to war at this time. None that I have seen have expressed support for Saddam as a leader. The closest is that a pre-emptive war to remove someone you feel will be a future threat will create a precedent that can be very dangerous. But even this shows no love for Saddam himself.

Perhaps the reason is that the hawks need to deflect problems with their position. They characterize the opposition as loving Saddam, it automatically makes the anti-war folks out to be the bad guys. Doesn't take any mental effort to do so, no ability to  actually defend the original position.

This way, Bush doesn't have to address the timing of everything: How does the US drag its feet in sharing the "overwhelming" evidence of WMD with the inspectors until mid-January, and a week later declare that the inpections have obviously failed? Why do they suddenly do it when the inspectors finally have the transportation neccessary to run suprise inpections outside of the Bagdad metro area? Seems like the administration is afraid the inspectors will not find anything, and that will take the wind out of their sails. Maybe not, but we don't hear anything about it, because we get the same broken-record soundbites, and anyone who questions is a Saddam lover and so their questions need not be answered.

There are plenty of other issues that the hawks and the administration should address, but instead deflect with this intellectual cop-out of "Saddam lover." But it won't work in the long run--by not creating a compelling case, most of the country is in the camp the hawks are smearing, Bush's ratings have been wasted to pre-9/11 levels, and even our allies in this action are trying to blackmail us (Turkey), or hedge their bets (England).

I, for one, have no love of Saddam. I think it would be a better world without him over there. But Bush has failed to put together a clear, comprehensive argument for the action he is advocating, and until he does, I cannot support it.

--John Rybock

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