Monday, October 02, 2006
"Liberation." posted by Richard SeymourIt was in April this year, that is to say three years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, that the Euston manifesto was launched. I don't know what those people are doing these days - staging minute gatherings, I fancy. But a word that its authors insisted on using continues to leap out at me as an affront, as a real disgrace on every level: "liberation". Stop it. Simply stop it. The authors of that colonoscopic insight into the thinking of the pro-war left insisted on describing the US invasion of Iraq as a liberation. I try to imagine what it's like to think this: it is something akin to graduation from being an earth-bound creature to being a sublunary sattelite occasionally receiving garbled messages from a weather balloon.
After more than three years of carnage, is it really "liberation"? Put it another way: is it a "liberation" that you would choose for yourselves? Well, is it? Would you consider relocating to Baghdad right now? Do you even think it is better than what persisted before? Bear in mind the small matter of excess deaths, which one of the authors of the Lancet report estimated at the beginning of the year must be in the vicinity of 300,000. The point about excess deaths is that they are a measure of how much worse the present situation is than what went on before. They topped the winning combination of Saddam's brutal dictatorship and their own despotic sanctions regime. How many have been added in the last six months, or does anyone care? A UN official recently suggested that the use of state torture is now worse in Iraq than it was under Saddam - that doesn't include the unofficial, disavowed torture meted out by the Special Police Commandos and the other auxiliaries of the Interior Ministry, built with the loving hands of the CIA, a friend to terrorist dictatorships all over the world. What else do you need? Rape rooms?
And if there is no excuse now for such deluded horseshit, there never was any excuse. To imagine, to fantasise that the people who calculatedly and maliciously imposed the genocidal sanctions regime on Iraq, a wilful and wicked assault on Iraq's civilian population - to dream that such people are likely to want to 'liberate' Iraqis, except from their mortal coils, is a profound and shocking abdication from the duty to analyse and think through a situation. To then on the basis of this preposterous illusion go on and publicly, clamorously, boisterously demand invasion and occupation is to advertise a kind of collective insanity. And the hide n seek game, so beloved of the 'humanitarian interventionists', won't do either - "we found some Kurdish leaders who agreed with us, so we must be right." Of course the Kurdish leaders agreed with you - they, as the single Iraqi group most imbricated with the US, had the least to lose from it and the most to gain (at least in the short term). What happened to thinking for oneself? What happened to thinking?
"Liberation" - the canard of every bullshitter and hypocrite in the world, and yet another example of a cynosure of radical discourse being enclosed on behalf of imperialist tyranny.