Category Archives: War

A Principled Left Should Tell You What To Go Do With Yourself.

Over at Common Dreams, there is a piece titled “Why a Principled Left Should Support the Benghazi Inquiry” by Ajamu Baraka.

And if you thought that didn’t bode well, here’s the subtitle:

The GOP want to destroy Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in one fell swoop, but there’s a deeper issue to investigate that deserves public scrutiny: How the US/Nato invasion of Libya unleashed widespread violence across North Africa and beyond.

So basically let me sum this up for you. You can’t understand Boko Haram without understanding how the operation against Qaddafi’s Libya and the weapons we provided the rebels energized all sorts of crazy radicals in Africa. Oh, but Boko Haram is older than that operation. Also, there are emails that may indicate the administration mislead the public, if by “mislead” you mean “pre-emptively PR spin to counter any possible assertion that the attack was a direct result of U.S. policies,” which I guess is true because nothing is completely a result of U.S. policies. Also, if by “the administration” you mean “one guy in the administration.” Oh, and if by “emails” you mean “an email.”

He also says that… oh fuck this, I’ll just quote him.

The response from the Democrats has been predictable. Democrats already lined-up behind a Clinton campaign understand that no matter what comes out this inquiry, Benghazi has the potential to become a permanent yoke that wears down the Clinton candidacy. But in another bizarre display of political and ideological subordination to the Democrat Party and its rightist elite, elements of the left have also expressed opposition to this inquiry.

One would think that those on the left would support this inquiry, as limited and partisan as it will be, on the democratic principle that the people have a right to know what occurred before, during and in the aftermath of the attack. But even more importantly, by demanding a more comprehensive examination of all the activity of the U.S. in Libya in the aftermath of the destruction of that state, including the mission of the CIA in Benghazi, the left can and should raise serious questions that expose the dangerous strategy of empowering anti-democratic, right-wing forces, from al Qaeda-connected jihadists in Syria to neo-fascists in Ukraine.

Holy fucking shit I can not believe a Lefty human being living in the U.S. over the age of 40 actually wrote that. Limited? Really? Like Ken Starr was limited to investigating Whitewater, then spent YEARS digging into every orifice the Clintons had in order to come up with SOMETHING they could use against him? Partisan? You’d better fucking believe it’s partisan. The only difference now is this has race mixed into it, something you’d think Mr. Baraka would understand, since he’s done a whole lot of work talking about racism in the U.S.. He honestly tries to convince us in this essay that he thinks this is aimed at Hillary Clinton, but not at Barack Obama. Then he flips it around again.

I welcome the hearings and could not care less about the implications for the candidacy of Hilary Clinton or the reputation of Barack Obama.

Neither do I.

I am more interested in curbing the right-ward militarist trajectory of U.S. policy.

You’re a little late for that, and if you think that trajectory is going to be changed by a Tea Party-driven investigation centered in the Republican Majority in the U.S. House, you’re out of your goddamn mind.

As an African American the plight of the more than 200 school girls captured by Boko Haram holds a special outrage for me. But I am also outraged by the murder of people defending their rights to self-determination at the hands of U.S.-supported thugs in Odessa Ukraine, outraged by the fact that people are daily terrorized by the constant buzz of U.S. drones that kill women and children in wedding parties and individuals who may “act” like they might be so-called terrorists, outraged that people can call themselves moral and even progressive and support the brutal Israeli occupation and de-humanization of Palestinians.

Yeah, you’re a goddamn clear-eyed humanitarian. Except for the continued inability of minorities in the U.S. to get the benefits they need, especially in states that (in a shocking coincidence) not only have shitty Medicaid benefits, they also refused the Medicaid expansion and are suppressing the shit out of minority voters! By the way: before someone accuses me of valuing the lives of people in the U.S. over people outside of it, read on, there’s a little lesson for you at the end here.

And I am outraged knowing that U.S. policy-makers don’t give a damn about the school girls in Nigeria because their real objective is to use the threat of Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country to justify the real goal of occupying the oil fields in the South and to block the Chinese in Nigeria.

You display a stunning ignorance as to why this is happening, even as you’re so outraged by it.

Exposing the whole sordid story of the destruction of Libya and the role of Al-Qaeda as the “boots on the ground” for U.S. geo-strategic objectives in North Africa and the Middle East represents the only strategy that an independent and principled left could pursue in wake of the fact that the hearings are going to occur. Anything other than that is capitulation, something that the left has routinely done over the last six years, and some of us still struggle against in the hope that one day the “responsible” left will eschew the privileges that stem from its objective collaboration with the interests and world-view of neo-liberal white power and re-ground itself in authentic radical principles and the world-wide struggle against Western domination.

Let me say this in the clearest, most concise manner possible.


The Benghazi hearings are about electing Republicans and defeating Democrats. Period. The overthrow of Qaddafi was as much about local politics in the EU as anything else (a big part of it being an attempt to bail out BP because of their massive losses in the US after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which was destroying pension holdings in the UK). We pulled out of Viet Nam because a domestic political shift made it politically untenable to remain there. Same for Iraq. Same for Afghanistan. If you want to make a long-term change in the behavior of people towards something that’s far away from them, find the intersection between the effects that thing produces and how they live their lives and hammer on that. You do not do it – ever – by giving political cover to your enemies.

All that the Left would do by supporting the Benghazi investigations is help the GOP to continue bashing anyone to the left of Ted Cruz. Assisting the party that is actively encouraging the disenfranchisement of your base is not the way to win in politics unless you are attempting to start a revolution. If that’s what you’re trying to do, you’re a horrible human being because you’re (from a position of authority and privilege yourself) saying that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and by eggs you mean people who have virtually no power or voice in this world. Way to go!

Finally in the spirit of the title, I’d just like to say this:

Bin Laden bites self, plays to own base.

Informed Comment has an astute analysis of the possible impacts of the latest Bin Laden videotape. It is wonderful (despite the darkness of the subject matter) to find a truly three-dimensional view of the Middle East, when all the U.S. media usually gives us is cartoony allegories masquerading as news. I truly believe that the situation in Iraq is more complicated than either the Dems or the Repubs truly wish to admit. A clear examination of the issues is not in the interests of either party – for the Repugs, it would highlight not only that the insurgency does have significant popular support, it would underscore that we shouldn’t be there at all. The Dems, on the other hand, would rather not address the fact that a good portion of the insurgency there is composed of radical terrorists who are killing more Iraqis than Americans.

In this entry is also mentioned a rather interesting change for al-Qaeda, as Zarqawi has just changed the name of his group to “Mesopotamian al-Qaeda” and pledged fealty to bin Laden. Truthfully, apart from noises of solidarity made among like-minded groups after 9/11, I don’t recall hearing about a solid statement of fealty to al-Qaeda from anyone before (then again, I live in the Middle East news vacuum that is the U.S., so who knows). It will be interesting to see if Zarqawi’s pledge is only one of political convenience, since according to Cole’s article, they can only do damage to the reputation the other has with the world at large, and Iraq in particular.
Yes, I know I’m speaking of fundamentalist Muslim groups and the topic category icon has a Christian emblem. Perhaps it would explain things if I told you that the icon is also the logo of an excellent punk band named Bad Religion. [SB 1/18/05 – this refers to when the entry was on the PHPNuke site] Speaking of which, I reccomend you go to their site and pick up a copy of the lead singer’s PhD Dissertation!!!!

Oil for Food, again.

An article over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has some good food for thought (Sorry for the repeated food references. Must be a quitting smoking thing, 2 1/2 weeks!). It’s a critique of Fox’s blatant fantasizing in which it lays blame for Iraqi hunger, world corruption, the common cold, and Barney at the feet of Kofi Annan, but the author also makes a few points about the “scandal” I hadn’t considered, and states a few others I’d already known with singular clarity.

Hm, isn’t when we really get our shit together on an argument about the time the Republican Attack Machine pulls some bit of misdirection? Look for another social scandal involving homosexuals wanting to get married, a murder, a teacher, Christians being persecuted for openly admitting they’re Christian (boy I’d love a don’t ask, don’t tell policy on religion to be in place for a month, so those crying persecution would get the tiniest taste of how it feels) a young light-skinned female, or a cult. Perhaps involving a cultist homosexual teacher (male) who murders a light-skinned female (who, before her untimely demise was actively involved in fighting Christian Persecution, or for the persecution of Christians, depending on how sympathetic she is with the focus groups) because he was obsessed about getting her out of the way so he could marry her husband, then killing the husband and himself because he (#2) turns him (#1) down.

The scary part is that they’d be salivating over that story. Wow this country is depressing.

When “nie wieder” becomes dogma.

Everywhere around me I see people beating other people over the head with dogma. The particular dogma I’m sick of at the moment is, as Liat Weingart put it in his excellent essay on how the Holocaust has been manupulated and in many ways altered into unrecognizeability, “…that Jews were led, like sheep to the slaughter, to the gas chambers, that they alone were murdered, and that the event of their annihilation had no precedent in history and therefore, no event in the present can compare to the Holocaust.”

Mkay. Let’s be realistic about this:
1. The Jewish victims account for just over one-half of the total number of victims in the death camps.
2. The Nazi extermination programs were NOT neat and clean, only taking place in the camps. More Soviets – twelve million – were killed by the Germans (during the invasion of the Soviet Union) than any other people. Half of the almost 6 million Poles that were killed were not Jewish. A LOT of peoples were butchered by the Reich.
3. The Reich was philosophically based on a “Social Darwinistic” notion of racial superiority. If you weren’t Aryan or enslaved, you were going to be killed, if they had their way. They got their way a lot.
4. A few examples from China the Americas, Cambodia, and Africa are easily found of previous atrocities of unimaginable and inhuman scale. On these levels, the human mind can no longer grasp the enormity of what was done.
5. What the Nazi Germans had that these others didn’t is hellish efficiency through the techniques of mass production. They even tested different ways of killing in preparation. The number of people moved and killed was staggering, as was the number of people involved in carrying it out, the organization behinde it, the physical infrastructure, and the enormity of it. But to focus completely on what happened to the Jewish people is to turn away from what is important: What happens when you combine a demagogue, a national religion, a wildly advanced scientific community, a cultural history of prejudice and bigotry, and the Protestant work ethic.
6. Israel’s leadership has been, and is abusing the moral authority that the Judeo-centric view of the Holocaust gives them.

Add to this that Israel has a tiger by the tail, and Israel’s position as global martyr has and will continue to buy them more trouble than it’s worth, not to mention dispossess, terrorize, or kill millions of Palestinians.