Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Sunday, August 21, 2005


The Army has announced that they are planning for the U.S. to continue its occupation of Iraq for at least the next four years. Is there any doubt that the U.S. government (controlled today by the oil and weapons industries) has no intention of ever leaving? Last night I got an e-mail from a Maine friend who has a son in Iraq. He just got there and killed his first Iraqi a couple of days ago. He told his parents he barely missed being killed himself. Why do we have to stay in Iraq any longer? How many more innocent lives must be lost? How much more of our hard-earned tax dollars must be wasted there before the American people speak out with a resounding and emphatic NO?

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us speak out with a resounding "YES".

How many will die if we leave right now? This instant? Over night even?

Hell, get our boys out of kosovo, then worry about Iraq.

8/22/05, 12:43 AM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

The image accompanying your post is of an M60 tank. The boy throwing the rock is a Palestinian. No idea where his parents are.

Your filename is Iraqkid.jpg

You do bother to fact check your book more carefully one hopes.

8/22/05, 1:13 AM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Some of us speak out with a resounding "YES".

Shrug. Some of us remember that Viet Cong were at best a minor harrasing force after 1968. That the NVA was sent in to take over the fight for them. We know that the Easter 1972 invasion (more tanks than the German army owned in 1940) was stopped dead in the tracks (with local exceptions) by South Vietnames ground forces and air and log support by the US.

We remember that the cost of turning back that invasion was light (for the US) compared to the task completed.

We remember that two years later, a Democratic controlled congress slashed funding to South Vietnam - five cartridges for each soldier - and eliminated medical supplies. NVN repeated the offensive in 1975 and won. Even brave soliders cannot fight without ammuntion, and blanche at the thought of surgery without anesthetic. Or bandages.

So, yes. By all means abandon the theater. Let us make sure that Iraq is another Vietnam in all respects, including the ending. Then the far Left can (again) say we told you so and (again) completely miss the reason behind the loss.

8/22/05, 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An obvious propaganda piece...
All I wonder is who it's for...

And yes that is an Israeli tank...so that can't be a picture of Iraq.

Maybe we shouldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place but leaving now will hurt the U.S., hurt the troops and hurt the Iraqi people. What is your agenda?

8/22/05, 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Bob the Atom said...

Wow, of all the places on the web that I can find logical, well thought out, reasoned responses, its on the comments section of this blog. What a world.

On a side note: That is a real wicked COOOOL looking tank!

8/22/05, 10:27 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

While we're 'remembering' with Brian what happened in Indochina, and sympathizing with the 'brave soldiers' starved of support, I wonder if we might dial the Wayback Machine back before 1972-75, or even 1968

Were we to do so, we might remember that the US, with the full support of several western allies (including my country, Canada), basically worked to sabotage the 1954 Geneva agreements by, among other things, frustrating arms inspections aimed at verifying international agreements about military build-ups in the Southern Zone (Gee, where have I heard a similar charge echoed recently?).

We might also 'remember' things like the escalation in the mid 1960s of the bombing of South Vietnam, and perhaps 'remember' also that this whole criminal enterprise, which spread to Laos and Cambodia as well, ended up killing millions of Asians before it was finished.

That is, we might remember these things if we were willing to avoid being fixated on one narrow point of comparison between Iraq and Vietnam: the cost in lives to the US military (light, Brian says).

Oh, and the 'ending' Brian speaks of isn't the ending for the people over there. To this day, on Laos' 'Plain of Jars' children and farmers try their luck every week with the unexploded remnant of the two million tons of bombs dropped on the place between 1964 and 1973 by the United States military.

Who 'remembers' them? What thought was given to their bandages or anaesthetic by those who ordered the bombing?

8/23/05, 3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank GOD there was no mass genocide after our withdrawal.

8/23/05, 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Bruce, your commenters are right, that's an Israeli tank. The pic was probably taken in the West Bank or Gaza. Not Iraq, not an Iraqi kid, not an American tank. So how about posting a correction.

8/23/05, 1:35 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

That is, we might remember these things if we were willing to avoid being fixated on one narrow point of comparison between Iraq and Vietnam: the cost in lives to the US military (light, Brian says).

Correction - I noted that the cost to the US in lives was light for the 1972 Eastertide Offensive. That offensive lasted from March to October, 1972. The casualty figures for that year, and the year previous are below.

1971
KIA 1,380
WIA 18,109
MIA 16

1972
300 KIA
3,936 WIA
11 MIA

8/23/05, 1:51 PM  
Blogger Vic Jacobs said...

Oh, and the 'ending' Brian speaks of isn't the ending for the people over there. To this day, on Laos' 'Plain of Jars' children and farmers try their luck every week with the unexploded remnant of the two million tons of bombs dropped on the place between 1964 and 1973 by the United States military.

Think they'd still be dealing with that problem if the American left hadn't snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?

8/23/05, 10:58 PM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

I'd pont out that we've still got troops in Germany 60 years after WWII, and 13 years after the Soviet Union fell. No blood for bratwurst, I suppose.

8/23/05, 11:18 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Think they'd still be dealing with that problem if the American left hadn't snatched defeat from the jaws of victory?

Well, they dealt with it for about 30 years while the US government basically ignored its obligation to help clear up the ongoing human catastrophe it had created, refusing to release details about the UXO on the grounds they were classified.

Not sure what responsibility the 'left' would have for that decision to let children and farmers go on being killed year after year.

8/24/05, 12:23 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Not sure what responsibility the 'left' would have for that decision to let children and farmers go on being killed year after year.

The left is just as much a part of the political game as 'the right'. You want to participate in the political process, you own the results. This is called responsibility.

The 'left' held power for nearly half the time you cite in the US; three presidential terms. Hardly the powerless position your question implies.

8/24/05, 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Yogimus said...

So... you want us out just long enough for the place to go to hell, and THEN you want us to fix it?

How bout you let us FINISH the job, and then we don't have to deal with "fixing" anything?

8/24/05, 3:26 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

The 'left' held power for nearly half the time you cite in the US; three presidential terms. Hardly the powerless position your question implies.

Nothing that could seriously be called 'left' has ever held power in the United States. So-called 'liberal' Democrats like Kennedy and Carter (he of the 'human rights presidency') have been responsible for serious foreign policy crimes. Republicans like Reagan, however, are in a class by themselves. Just so we're clear 'Democratic Party' does not equal 'left.'

8/24/05, 3:42 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Nothing that could seriously be called 'left' has ever held power in the United States

So-called 'liberal' Democrats like Kennedy and Carter

Just so we're clear 'Democratic Party' does not equal 'left.'

Statements like this do tend to cause my world to wobble a bit; this .. place you live where Ted Kennedy is not a true liberal ... is it nice? The caretakers are treating you well?

8/24/05, 4:54 PM  
Blogger Vic Jacobs said...

Not sure what responsibility the 'left' would have for that decision to let children and farmers go on being killed year after year.

Because it was the American left that prompted the withdrawal from Vietnam? Had we allowed ourselves to win that war, that unexploded ordnance would have been cleaned up afterwards.

Plus, hundreds of thousands of children and farmers and others wouldn't have been purged by the Vietnamese communists when we pulled out. Oh, wait, those deaths are our fault, too. Somehow. I'm sure of it. Unless, since it was communists who did it, we must accept their deaths as eggs for the omelette.

8/24/05, 9:03 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Statements like this do tend to cause my world to wobble a bit; this .. place you live where Ted Kennedy is not a true liberal ... is it nice? The caretakers are treating you well?

Quite well, and at the public's expense of course.

And don't worry, you're not the only one who's world goes wobbly from time to time. I've experienced similar disorientation upon hearing Colin Powell described as a 'dove,' Fox News as 'fair and balanced,' Pat Robertson as 'a Christian,' and American military/economic hegemony as a benign 'empire lite' (quoting Canadian Michael Ignatieff).

More seriously, don't you find it odd that mainstream North American public political discourse occurs today within such a narrow spectrum that 'Ted Kennedy,' to take your example, is considered near the outermost limits of acceptable opinion?

8/24/05, 11:35 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

More seriously, don't you find it odd that mainstream North American public political discourse occurs today within such a narrow spectrum that 'Ted Kennedy,' to take your example, is considered near the outermost limits of acceptable opinion?

I did not say, or imply that. Funning aside, I find the left/right spectrum near useless to descibe anyone's position with accuracy.

This works better, imho. Not a perfect model but certainly better than one inherited from the French in the 18th century.

http://www.baen.com/chapters/axes.htm

Getting even more serious - I find that most people involved full-time with any political movement can be a little too focused on their movement and can ignore (to their detriment) anything that does not fit their group's preconceived notions of right/wrong.

I'm hopeful that the growth of the internet, with it's many-to-many model of traffic, can eliminate the professional busybody in favor of a horde of part time activists. It's possible they would bring more nuance to a discussion.

8/25/05, 4:35 PM  
Blogger Kim du Toit said...

Still waiting for the inappropriate picture to be replaced with a correct one... or am I being naive to suppose that such a change would ever occur?

The lie, if repeated often enough (or left in place on a blog long enough), becomes the truth?

8/26/05, 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now wait a second. The right wing movement has repeatedly apologized for pat robertson.

8/26/05, 12:41 PM  

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