Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A "Progressive" Iraq?

Been waylaid by a nasty flu/cold virus and on my back for the last few days (TV Land is the sick person's best friend -- Mr. Ed seems funnier in a haze), so, for those who care, apogs for the lack of posts. You'd think that Red State stock would be of firmer texture! Another Lib Media myth . . .

A little behind the curve on this story, but still wanted to comment on it, as it simultaneously shows the horrors of post-invasion Iraq and the shamelessness and desperation of our domestic warriors still looking for a justification that will last beyond a week. The torture and execution of Iraqi trade union leader Hadi Salih has provided some supporters of Bush's war & Halliburton's agenda another body atop which they can proclaim the righteousness of their cause (scroll down to graf 10 here). There have been antiwar commentators who've denounced Salih's murder (in addition to Doug Ireland linked above, there's Nathan Newman and Marc Cooper, in whose comments section you'll find pro-war lib Josh Legere getting his simplistic rants sliced to fine ribbon), but the majority of concern can be found on trade union sites like the Iraqi Federation of Workers' Trade Unions, LabourStart, the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, and US Labor Against The War.

Of course there are numerous differences between these and other labor groups (to be expected), but it's clear that union activists and working people in Iraq are united against both the US occupation and the Ba'athist & Islamist thugs who pine for an authoritarian order. And any antiwar movement worth its name should be in solidarity with these brave people who face overwhelming odds. (I've yet to see a piece about Salih's murder at ZNet -- did I overlook it?) But let's be clear about one thing -- Bush did not invade Iraq to secure workers' rights or to build a trade union movement. Quite the opposite. Iraq, should it ever be fully suppressed, is meant to compliment Western corporate designs for the region, and this naturally means that the country's resources will be privatized for foreign use. Which is why ex-viceroy Paul Bremer reinstated Saddam's anti-union policies (the part of Saddam that US elites admire).

Dealing with a violent superpower is bad and hard enough (esp now that BushCo is going the Salvadoran route). But let's say, somehow, some way, the Iraqi left were to gain state power and start to implement its secular, anti-corporate policies. Wouldn't it face a reactionary counterinsurgency? And which side would the US take? If American involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s is any indication, the US would rather see the likes of Osama bin Laden take charge than any semi- or pseudo-socialist order -- so long as the Islamists behaved and understood who's boss. Well, we saw how that turned out. And the notion that after decades of supporting, directly and indirectly, authoritarian rule in Iraq, a murderous invasion and occupation would magically set things right is equally ridiculous, dangerous and tragic.

Progressive forces in Iraq deserve our support. They're up against a lot -- not the least of which are those who pose as their "liberators."