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December 03, 2006

Bill O'Reilly's Question Activism  Iraq  Politics

Stan Goff is somebody worth reading and listening to. He's a veteran of the US Army Rangers, Airborne, Delta Force, and Special Forces, who served in Vietnam, El Salvador, Grenada, Panama, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Somalia, and Haiti. Which is to say, he's seen imperialism up close in a way few of us ever will. Now he's a very determined, very smart, and very thoughtful activist, working against war, patriarchy, and empire. Here's a post of his on a question of Bill O'Reilly's:

There is nothing more tragically amusing than watching the right-wing catch liberals off guard.

Bill O'Reilly has caught the whole crew flat-footed with one of those trick questions: Do you want the United States to win in Iraq? Set aside for the moment that this ignores the fact that the US government has already lost in Iraq, and that the question is constructed a little like, "Yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife?"

This is pissing off the Democratic Party establishment because it is outing them, the same way Republicans outed John Kerry by stating, quite accurately, that Kerry supported the war when the national blood was up. Not a single public official will answer this question the way it needs to be answered if we want go on record saying that the lives of people from abroad are as valuable as American lives.

O'Reilly needs his bluff called.

Do you want the United States to win in Iraq?

ANSWER: No.

The US occupation force in Iraq is there with a malignant purpose. It was sent there to install a puppet government and establish permanent US bases as part of the post-Cold War re-disposition of an imperial military. The invasion and occupation was illegal and immoral; and it has been characterized by the slaughter of innocents by US forces, by premeditated murder and rape, by prisoner abuse, by the systematic humiliation of the people who live there, by the destruction of whole cities, and at the material, mental, and moral expense of the people who — for a host of reasons — find themselves in the US military. The Iraqis have a right to defend themselves, and a right to fight invaders.

Moreover, the US reliance on the miltiary to prop up its domestic economy and justify the future employment of militarism against other people is a net negative in the world. It is also a net negative for the US people, as opposed to defense contractors and politicians. One way to inhibit the future use of military invasion and occupation as a tool of US control over other peoples' lives and economies is to learn the hard way — by accepting the humility that comes with divesting of our overweaning naitonalist pride, our self-delusion of superiority, and our belief that we have the right to direct the affairs of the whole damn world (using soldiers, of course...none of the engineers of these adventures suffer a day of discomfort).

Not only do I not want the US to "win" in Iraq — whatever that is supposed to look like. More importantly, Bill, the US has already lost. What I want is, I want the US to acknowledge its loss sooner than later. Because the Bill O'Reillys and George Bush's of the world are not paying the price; and neither are the Democrats who are wringing their hands when they are confronted with the terrible specter of their own inescapable national chauvinism.

You're acting like cornered rats. Oh me, oh my, yes, we want to win, but it's complicated. Your complication is your desire to further your shitty careers by avoiding the uncomplicated truth. I'm glad Bill O’Reilly put Democrats' asses on the spot. You are walking over the bodies of the dead when you equivocate.

The price of this standing defeat is being paid right now, today, by Americans and Iraqis inside Iraq. And the civil war there now is not being quelled by the American presence; it is being catalyzed by it.

Bring them home now. [Emphasis added]

Amen to that. Dennis Kucinich aside, where is the Democrat with the courage and heart to say such things?

(See also this, from a year and a half ago.)

Posted by Jonathan at December 3, 2006 04:11 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Comments

I would simply ask Bill "When did we change the goal again?" Now it is for the US to win. Previous goals were regime change and removing weapons of mass destruction. The last goal was democracy. Hmmmmmm....now how can Iraq have a democracy when they have a foreign country occupying their country? I would think that the goal of democracy would imply Iraq and the Iraqi people exerting control over their own country and thereby "winning" but Iraq cannot "win" without the US leaving. So for the US to win Iraq must give up the idea of a democracy. Are we throwing that out now Bill?

Posted by: Charyn at December 4, 2006 05:05 PM

This is just the latest in a string of right-wing trick questions about Iraq. (Probably the first was "Would you be happier if Saddam Hussein was still in power?" For those who care or have a lot of time on their hands, my answer to that one can be found toward the end of a post at whoviating.blogspot.com/2004/03/happy-anniversary.html.

As for this latest one, the first time I heard it my immediate reaction was "Just what is the definition of 'win?'" Seriously. In a case such as, say, World War II, "winning" could easily be defined as the surrender of Germany, Italy, and Japan. But what does the word "win" mean in Iraq?

A "democratic" government? Gee, we'd been told they've already got that - there was all that hoopla about ink-stained fingers, remember.

Well, then, a "stable" government? Hell, they had that before we invaded.

An "end to terrorism?" Please. As long as there are people and governments, there will be those using violence against innocents for political ends - i.e., terrorism. Hey, Bill O., do you expect to see a world totally without crime of any sort? No? Omigosh, you want to lose the war on crime!

So the question stands: What does "win" mean here? Without an answer to that, the question is meaningless.

Posted by: LarryE at December 4, 2006 11:57 PM