The Draft


The antiwar movement continues to support the Iraqi insurgents despite the abject violence and terrorism they direct against the Iraqi people. Arthur Chrenkoff points to a post by Mike Whitney of the Axis of Logic, extolling the virtues of the Iraqi insurgency and decrying the actions of the American hegemon:

The greatest moral quandary of our day is whether we, as Americans, support the Iraqi insurgency. It's an issue that has caused anti-war Leftists the same pangs of conscience that many felt 30 years ago in their opposition to the Vietnam War. The specter of disloyalty weighs heavily on all of us, even those who've never been inclined to wave flags or champion the notion of American "Exceptionalism" .

For myself, I can say without hesitation that I support the insurgency, and would do so even if my only 21 year old son was serving in Iraq. There's simply no other morally acceptable option.

Mr. Whitney has resolved his moral quandary, but he does not support the insurgents just because they oppose American Neo-colonialism. He views them as a true resistance movement fighting for the future of Iraqis:

At the same time we have to recognize that the disparate elements of Iraqi resistance, belittled in the media as the "insurgency" , are the legitimate expression of Iraqi self-determination.

Independence is not bestowed by a foreign nation; the very nature of that relationship suggests reliance on outside forces. True independence and sovereignty can only be realized when foreign armies are evacuated and indigenous elements assume the reigns of power.

Independence was bestowed upon Germany and Japan after World War II. Both nations still host American armed forces to this day, but never mind. While Mr. Whitney pens his screed, one of the leaders of the insurgency, Abu Asaid Al-Iraqi, the Commander of the military wing of Al-Qaeda in Iraq releases a statement reveling in the death, destruction and carnage caused by a weekend of violence:

"My beloved Sheikh and Amir, I have received your message, in which you asked us not to let night fall on us without having our swords dripping from blood of the enemies of Allah. I have already sent out the best lions of your soldiers to pound the castle of the cross worshippers and their collaborators. Alhamdulillah, the catch was great, American casualties were in the tens, apostate Iraqi casualties were even more, by the Grace of Allah."

[:]

O Abu Misaab, we swear by Allah, we will not retreat from the path of Allah, even if our blood runs like rivers, or if our souls are snatched from our bodies, until the word of Allah (His religion and Sharia) is on top and the word of Kufr and Taghut (the system of the unbelievers and the tyrants) is at the bottom. We give you glad tidings: You have soldiers who have already said to America and its allies "If you were up there in the clouds, Allah will carry us to you (to fight you), or will bring you down to us (to fight you). We have nothing for them except the sword."

It should be noted that al Qaeda is a foreign presence in Iraq that is attempting to influence the internal affairs of Iraqis. This simple fact should be obvious to Mr. Whitney or anyone that writes for a web site that presumptuously calls itself the "Axis of Logic" . No doubt Mr. Whitney believes the final line of Abu Asaid Al-Iraqi's rant excludes him and members of the antiwar movement. As useful idiots to al Qaeda, do they believe their blood would be exempt from the sword? Perhaps he is not aware of the death of Marla Ruzicka at the hands of a suicide bomber or the fate of Margaret Hassan, the antiwar aid worker murdered and dismembered by the "freedom fighters" of Iraq.

The message of Mr. Whitney's beloved resistance is so powerful that al Qaeda in Iraq resorts to blackmail to fulfill its needs for suicide bombers:

The man exploded his red Kia sedan roughly 15 feet from a barrier to a coalition base in east Baghdad, Iraq. The car bomb failed to detonate properly and the vehicle caught on fire. Soldiers manning the gate reacted quickly and saved the driver, coalition officials said in a release.

An initial investigation revealed that terrorists had kidnapped the driver's family and that he was forced to carry out this suicide-bombing mission to protect his wife and children, coalition officials said.

No soldiers were injured in the attack. The driver is being treated at a military hospital and is cooperating with authorities.

Coercing native Iraqis is not a new development in the insurgency. Al Qaeda has had no qualms in the past forcing women to act as suicide bombers, paying for Iraqs to kill their own or resorting to the despicable act of convincing a young man with Downs syndrome to carry out a suicide attack. Such is the honorable nature of Mike Whitney's resistance.

Unlike those Iraqis who never had a choice of whether or not to join the insurgency, Mr. Whitney didn't even get drafted. He volunteered. Enthusiastically, and without hesitation.



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READER COMMENTS: "The Draft"

Posted by USMC_Vet at May 2, 2005 1:54 PM ET:

These comfortably removed armchair intellectuals make my blood boil. But hey, Maybe Mike Whitney is above my intellectual plane. Personally embattled, consider this a plea for clarity, Oh Great One, Mike Whitney...

The greatest moral quandary of our day is whether we, as Americans, support the Iraqi insurgency. It's an issue that has caused anti-war Leftists the same pangs of conscience that many felt 30 years ago in their opposition to the Vietnam War. The specter of disloyalty weighs heavily on all of us...

Well, you could have fooled me, Mr. Whitney, Oh Brilliant One. You yourself point to the 'moral quandry' as a difficult choice, yet in the same breath champion why it is not a difficult chioce for you at all. Please point to a 'pang of conscience' for us all. We seem to have missed that bus.

But, on the other hand maybe I am irrevocably lost and confused. I am impressed that you find it a moral quandry yourself. You seem to rise above the fray. Brilliant!

Please help me, Oh Great One.

Independence is not bestowed by a foreign nation; the very nature of that relationship suggests reliance on outside forces. True independence and sovereignty can only be realized when foreign armies are evacuated and indigenous elements assume the reigns of power.

Before I bow down at the altar of your Geopolitical Prowess, Oh Whitney the Great...can you explain to me the difference between independence and freedom? I struggle with this concept, but am told that it is simple.

Some neo-con bastard keeps trying to tell me that "Of course they are not independenct yet. They have no means of self-defense yet, but we are helping them re-build their own forces. Once that occurs, then they will truly be independent. But they are free today, if not independent yet. Don't you remember the elections? They chose their own government! In time. Their democracy must grow first from nothing and eventually become self-supporting and self-sufficient."

Damn Neo-Cons!

Mr. Whitney, I just know for certain that he is full of crap. But I need your help arguing with him. I think that Neo-Con is just trying to trick me. A Jedi Mind Trick.

Help me. Find the hole in his argument.

Please, Oh Master of GeoPolitik. Educate me.

Posted by ShrinkWrapped at May 2, 2005 2:01 PM ET:

Whitney is an example of a bright person who has some facility with language and fancies himself an intellectual, using his language abilities to construct a narrative which supports his own self-image and self-esteem. He self identifies as a progressive/leftist; his narcissism insists that he see himself as better than those of us who appreciate how messy and dangerous the world can be. Since his world view requires America to be evil and dangerous, he has no choice but to see the Iraqi "insurgents" as nobles fighting the good ifhgt. If he were to admit they are savages who practice indiscriminate murder of innocents in order to support their desires to control others, he would be unable to maitain his sense of superiority. For certain chqaracters (and I do not know Whitney and am merely using him to illustrate how the minds of many academics/media elites, etc work) their self esteem is comparative. If they are not better than you and I, it is devastating. If they are wrong, it is humiliating, and humiliation leads to rage...or despair. They are increasing their distortion of reality because their lives, literally, depend on it.

Posted by GK at May 2, 2005 2:03 PM ET:

The astonishing stupidity of Mr. Whitney and his ilk is truly fascinating. He actually says there is simply no other 'morally exceptable position.'

Somehow, they just cannot grasp that if another 9/11-type attack were to occur on US soil and they happen to be at that place, that they too would die.

I still say that people like this are pre-selected by nature to hastily ensure their own departure from the gene pool (Darwinian filtering). That they take such self-destructive actions is pre-programmed into their genes by nature. We just have to not get dragged down with them.

On a brighter note, the fanatically anti-US and phonily named blog www.nonviolence.org is running out of money and will hopefully shut down soon. Browse through that blog to see some extreme leftism..
http://www.nonviolence.org/

Posted by USMC_Vet at May 2, 2005 2:15 PM ET:

Oh, Where art thou, Lord Whitney?!?

Please do not not leave me in here alone at the mercy of such zealots!

Lord Whitney, Why hast thou forsaken me?!?!?!

Posted by DirtCrashr at May 2, 2005 2:24 PM ET:

The continued support of the violent and bloody criminal insurgents by the so-called "antiwar" movement reveals them to be anti-peace and pro-violence. Wonder where they stand on gun-control?
What was the other "morally acceptable option" again? To countenance the continued propagation of mass-graves of women and children? To support a pseudo-"insurgency" of criminals, gangsters, and chaos-loving thugs, so they can carve out a series of protection rackets?
It is more reprehensible and hateful that he locates as his straw-man, a sacrificial son he doesn't have - Abraham was prepared better than that.
I was raised by anti-war Socialists and I'm finally getting clear of it, but I'm still confused by people who proclaim themselves "morally superior" simply because they hold a certain thought in their minds, identifying themselves as Great Humanitarians, yet have done little or nothing to support that self-delusion.

Posted by GK at May 2, 2005 2:57 PM ET:

DirtCrashr,

The 'morally superior' comment by Whitney, and his other writings, are very similar to Maoism, if you study and compare the two.

Maoism, of course, resulted in the deaths of 45 to 70 million people, both within China and among 4-5 neighboring countries that China attacked.

Go to www.nonviolence.org to see some more lunacy.

Posted by USMC_Vet at May 2, 2005 3:30 PM ET:

DirtCrashr:

You just may enjoy this then:

Champions of Humanity and Protectors of Peace: The International Left


At any rate, has anyone seen My Savior, Lord Whitney? I feel so alone in here.

Please, make the voices stop!

Posted by Justin B at May 2, 2005 3:35 PM ET:

The enlightened Liberal and their elitist mentality is why the world hates us so much. They walk around the streets of foreign countries with their arrogance and inflated sense of worth. They are college educated and speak English, yet do not recognize that many of the prople of the world scavange through garbage or work as landless slave farmers to provide simply subsistence.

Our system of property ownership and capitalism provides the basis for these elitists to ponder the evils of Neo-Colonialism. It provides the mechanism for them to sip their $4.00 Lattes and discuss how evil capitalism is.

We are not out to conquer the world, as surely if we wanted to, we have the might to do it. We could have dominated Western Europe the way the Soviets did Eastern Europe, but chose not to.

It is a testament to the wonderful nature of our democracy that people like Whitney are not disposed of the way that a Government under someone like Mao, Saddam, or Stalin would take care of an anti-government turncoat.

Posted by Don Miguel at May 2, 2005 3:49 PM ET:

When writing for something called the Axis of Logic, it would behoove Mr. Whitney to know what any first year philosophy student knows: your argument is no good with so many false premises.

Posted by socialism_is_error at May 2, 2005 4:11 PM ET:

Why do these people parade their lack of knowledge and reason before the whole world?

A high-school student could disassemble this nonsense, if not a younger person.

The worst is leaving out the Iraqis themselves from his roster of world-wide opinion; they are the only ones who really matter and he bloody well knows what that poll would show.

Posted by GK at May 2, 2005 4:55 PM ET:

This person's email address is fergiewhitney@msn.com

I doubt he knows we are all ripping into him. Anyone want to refer him to this message chain?

Posted by Enigma at May 2, 2005 7:34 PM ET:

ATTENTION ANTI-WAR LEFTISTS:

Human shields needed in Iraq to support the noble insurgents against American Imperialism. Guaranteed lifetime employment. No education or experience necessary. Must be willing to relocate.

Posted by GK at May 2, 2005 7:46 PM ET:

Good one, Enigma. Actually, if one joins Al-Qaeda in this capacity, then they don't need to relocate and can work from home. Just once of the many benefits of an MNC over a local startup.

They even get company-paid flying lessons in some cases.

The ad should contain something about the 72 virgins, as lately some employees have been dissatisfied with the quality of virgins they have been receiving. It is important to compete on post-employment benefits as well.

Posted by Ryan at May 2, 2005 8:32 PM ET:

After the election, there is no real basis to support the insurgency. There is no indication at all that any of the results from the Iraqi election were innaccruate because they perfectly reflected polls that were conducted prior to it.

Vietnam was an entirely different and much more murky situation. The US supported Diem, who was despised by his people, only because he presented an alternative to communism. Ho Chi Minh was very popular during the entire conflict and would have won an election of a unified Vietnam at any time. Even though it was in a way traitorous, one could see how an American could refuse to support the US military in Vietnam.

I didn't support the War in Iraq. I thought it was a mistake and Iraq was not a real threat to American security and I still feel this way. But supporting the insurgents is a totally different situation. Shiite control reflects the will of the majority and that's what the government looks like right now. Supporting the insurgency leads to a longer occupation. If the insurgency is put down quickly, the occupation will end quickly. It's either 2 alternatives for Iraq:

1) Shiite control and continued occupation with a lot of violence and not much economic progress

2) Shiite control with no occupation, relative peace and a bettering of the general conditions in the country

The Sunnis can't win. They are outnumbered and outgunned. What is worrisome though is that they may be able to continue a low scale conflict for many years.

Posted by Enigma at May 2, 2005 9:04 PM ET:

Ryan,

I pretty much agree with your post, with the following comments/caveats:

I don't think there ever was any basis for supporting the insurgency. The election confirmed what was already generally known from information sources within Iraq. Besides, I think it's been clear from the beginning that the insurgents were not the good guys. Bill did a pretty good job of documenting all that before the election.

Regarding Vietnam, I have no comment. I prefer to let the wounds of the past heal as best they can.

I wasn't quite gung ho for the Iraq War (though I longed to be rid of Hussein), but once the troops crossed the LD, I was routing for the them to go fast, go hard, and come home. I, like you, didn't believe at the time that American security was seriously threatened by Iraq. I believed the no-fly zones and the sanctions were containing Hussein, at least for the time being. I have since changed my mind and am really, really glad that I'm not running the country.

I think there's more than just the two alternatives in Iraq. I don't think we're looking strictly at Shiite control. The way things are currently set to work, the Shiites can't control Iraq themselves. They have to form a coalition with the Kurds, and that seems to be happening. They're also reaching out to the Sunnis, so I think there's a decent chance there'll be a government that's more broad-based than just the Shias.

I almost agree with you that the Sunnis can't win. They shouldn't be able to win, and I don't think they will, but you never really know for sure until after the fact. A long-term low-intensity conflict is indeed worrisome, but more so for the Iraqis than us. We're not going to bring a final end the insurgency, the Iraqis are. I think we'll only be there in force long enough to stand up the Iraqi security forces, then we'll turn the operation over to them. There's indications the insurgency may be falling apart from within, so it may not even get to that point. We just have to wait and see.

Posted by Enigma at May 2, 2005 9:24 PM ET:

ATTENTION ANTI-WAR LEFTISTS

Drivers wanted in Iraq to support the noble Iraqi insurgency against American Imperialism. Lifetime employment guaranteed. Fun, exciting work. A real blast. All drivers may apply. Taxi driving experience a plus.

Posted by Jim Rockford at May 2, 2005 9:54 PM ET:

Someone once explained the Leftist support for Communism and other anti-American dictatorships:

*Intellectuals long, just once, to hold the whip hand on the masses.

That's it.

As for the Left and Democratic Party, they are rushing over the Cliff. Bill Clinton told them to STFU and the won't listen. Democrats now have a brand identity with voters, against America, the military, national security, for appeasement, America's enemies, the idea that Americans are no better than anyone else, the idea that Americans are morally unfit to defend themselves, and the idea that bin Laden's terror attacks on us are legitimate and our defense illegitimate.

In short, no matter how badly the Republicans and Bush handle things domestically, the Democrats will not be a serious alternative because they don't stand for America. It's so bad that even Bill Clinton sees his party going down the tubes but they won't listen.

Being against America is not a winning proposition when asking to be entrusted for America's defense.

Posted by Ryan at May 2, 2005 10:03 PM ET:

Jim:

I guarantee you that the Democrats will be in power again. As soon as the economy sours, the Republicans are gone. I think the Democrats were a pretty serious alternative in 2004 considering Kerry lost the election by only one state.

Posted by Michael Meckler at May 3, 2005 6:12 AM ET:

The Whitney essay was among the most bizarre things I've read on the Internet. (Not quite on the level of Holocaust denial, or spriritual awakening through unusual sexual practices, but certainly well beyond the standard DailyKos, MyDDD and Oliver Willis fare.)

When Mr. Whitney wrote

The Declaration of Independence is revolutionary in its view that we have a "duty" to overthrow regimes that threaten basic human liberties. We must apply this same standard to the Iraqi people.
I thought he was going to justify the war against Saddam. Mr. Whitney's view of Saddam's regime is rather contradictory. On the one hand, he recognizes the "brutal apparatus of state-terror that was employed by Saddam," yet on the other hand he claims that "the people of Iraq were better off under Saddam Hussein in every quantifiable way than they are today." (Clearly to Mr. Whitney, measures of democratization that can be counted, such as the number of candidates in a election, or the number of voters who turned out at the polls, are not "quantifiable.")

Mr. Whitney dismisses the legitimacy of the current Iraqi government because, in his view, it "excludes 20% (Sunnis) of the population." But rather than characterize the insurgency as a heroic civil-rights struggle by a disenfranchised ethnic group against the tyranny of the majority -- which would be a more logical rhetorical ploy even if rationally suspect -- Mr. Whitney claims that the insurgency is "the legitimate manifestation of a national liberation movement" and the only currently effective opposition to the Bush administration's "campaign of global domination by force."

One does not even know where to begin to refute this convoluted nonsense. It is akin to making a reply to a nursing-home patient with dementia. I find it hard to believe (and disturbing to believe) that any rational observer could take Mr. Whitney seriously. One certainly could express legitimate concerns about whether American strategic interests justified the war in Iraq, or on the faults of intelligence gathering, or even that removing Saddam was a matter for the Iraqi people alone (though I consider the latter to have been an extremely unlikely proposition), but to claim that democracy is somehow a worse option than tyranny, and that terrorism is somehow more likely to lead to peace than, say, peace, is beneath rationality.

Mr. Whitney writes, "The peace and security of the world's people depends on the compliance of states with the clearly articulated standards of international law...." Neither Saddam in Iraq nor the Taliban in Afghanistan adhered to these standards, and both had given ample evidence of their willingness to disrupt peace and security. The end of both regimes made the world safer, regardless of whether the delusional Mr. Whitney recognizes it to be so.

Posted by Robert M at May 3, 2005 9:16 AM ET:

In comment no 11 an e-mail address is posted for anyone whom wishes to comment directly to a poster. This has got to be out of bounds. You have opened up his e-mail to spammers, crackers and malware. I do not think you want your site to be used in such a manner or any commenter to suffer the same fate. Take that part of the comment down.

Posted by Enigma at May 3, 2005 7:29 PM ET:

Calm down, Robert M. That email address comes directly from the link that Bill provides to the article discussed. All GK did was save everyone a single mouse click to get there.