by John Hawkins | May 6, 2004 11:59 pm
It goes without saying that the Paleocons and anti-war left have written some squirrelly things about Iraq. But, I have to admit that I haven’t seen many columns about Iraq more off kilter than this one by wildly popular “Big L” Libertarian Lew Rockwell.
In all seriousness, I cannot imagine how any knowledgeable person could read Rockwell’s of mixture warped left-wing drivel, complete lack of knowledge about what’s happening in Iraq, and bizarre suggestions, and continue to take him seriously.
There are so many hours in a day and it would take thousands and thousands of words to fully correct all the dubious assertions made in Rockwell’s delusional column, so let me just hit some of high spots and add a bit of commentary….
Rockwell begins the column by saying…
“The US has lost the war. Now its efforts in Iraq will be defined for the history books by the photos of psychosexual torture methods used by US soldiers and civilian contractors in Baghdad. There is no avoiding this.”
This fairly minor incident perpetrated by a small number of degenerate goofs at one Iraqi prison that has been blown all out of proportion by the Western media because of the seedy pictures that have emerged. But a year now? It’ll be a historical footnote like Enron, Gary Condit, & JonBenet Ramsey and all the other media firestorms that dominate the news cycles for a few weeks and then for the most part drop off the radar screen.
Now here’s where Rockwell starts to go way off the rails…
“Clearly, nostalgia for Saddam is sweeping all sectors. The experience of Jasim Muhammad Saleh demonstrates this. He is a former general of Saddam’s Republican Guard. When the US pulled back from Fallujah – the first really smart thing the US has done in this entire war – he drove into the city wearing his old uniform and was cheered. He was the de facto head of state in that city, his legitimacy deriving entirely from his association with the old regime.
So too with the new commander of Iraq’s army, Amer Bakr al-Hashimi, who publicly announced that he is “proud” to have served Saddam. What is the US to do? Making such statements only reinforces his status. Punishing him does the same. Replacing him will only destabilize matters more. Day by day, the US is realizing that the status quo ante is the only way out, but US officials are unsure how or to what extent it can go back.”
How can any person who’s actually keeping up with what’s going on Iraq believe that “nostalgia for Saddam is sweeping all sectors”? There are practically no Kurds or Shias who want Saddam back and polls that have been taken in Iraq show that even vast majorities of the Sunnis are glad he’s gone. Furthermore, putting a few Baathist generals back into the army does not mean we’re trying to go back to the “status quo” either. As a matter of fact, before we even went into Iraq, the word was that we intended to use some of the Baathist generals and units that didn’t fight as security right off the bat — it just didn’t work out.
Back to Rockwell…
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“Yes, the troops ought to come home. When? As soon as they can get packed. The same goes for the phonies calling themselves the “Coalition Provisional Authority.” All these bureaucrats need to admit is that they have no legitimacy at all, but rather acted as civilian cover for a martial law junta that ruled by blood and lies. Then the UN can work with Islamic clerics, the merchant class, and other Iraqi leaders to fill the void, not with force but with peace.”
So Rockwell thinks we could just pull out and the UN could “fill the void, not with force but with peace”? You’d think a 15 year old Berkeley high school student wrote this. Even anti-war stalwarts like Howard Dean understand that if we pull out, Iraq would explode into civil war. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that Turkey and Iran would take advantage of the situation to grab land & oil. But Rockwell seems blissfully unaware of all of this.
Then Rockwell advocates apologizing and afterwards bizarrely swerves again…
“Perhaps the US can assist in establishing something resembling a representative democracy in Iraq, or at least not deliver the final death blow of permitting an Islamic dictatorship to arise in what used to be the most liberally-minded nation in the region. This cannot be done by the US as such, but under the guidance of an international delegation of the sort that Jimmy Carter has led in the past, operating again under the aegis of the UN.”
Let me get this straight. There are 150k+ Coalition troops in Iraq right now trying to help them establish a representative democracy. But Rockwell thinks we’d be more likely to get results by yanking out all those troops and replacing them with Jimmy Carter and few members of the UN striped pants set? I don’t know what to say beyond “how can any thinking person believe this”? It boggles the mind…but not as much as the direction Rockwell goes in next…
“…Saddam must be immediately released and escorted back to Iraq under the protection of an international delegation. At that point, Carter can supervise elections with Saddam among the candidates. And yes, it’s not impossible that he might win.
Is this a shocking suggestion? Yes, and I hesitate to be the first one to say publicly what so many people – including ex-government officials and long-time foreign policy commentators – have been saying privately for months. But at some point, such thoughts will become commonplace. It is a fact that this war was unjust. Releasing him would at least concede that the US was wrong to wage it. This is the first step toward ending the bloodshed and terror.
In fact, there is no other option for Iraq at this point. Phony polls aside, the US has made Saddam more popular than when he was in power. The US can choose between keeping Saddam locked up and thereby continue to stir the pot, leading to ever more violence, or it can release Saddam without any charges against him – let alone by Ahmed Chalabi’s son – and have a hope for reconciliation and peace.”
You know, I’ve seen polls, commentary from people who’ve been to Iraq, read hundreds of articles about what’s happening there, & perused various Iraqi blogs and off the top of my head, I can’t think of ANYBODY, and I mean ANYBODY, except Rockwell who seems to think Saddam is wildly popular in Iraq.
In fact, it’s such a bizarre allegation that I think it can be fairly compared to claims that the Pentagon was hit with a truck bomb and not a plane or that the Illuminati are giving George Bush orders behind the scenes.
How in the world did Lew Rockwell get so popular pumping out this sort of loopy “crankery”? Un.Be.Lievable.
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