I'm talking about leftists after the beginning of the invasion of Iraq.
Now, a lot depends on what you count as "Left" -- are you defining it so narrowly as to exclude the LBO-talk members whom I cited here (at <http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/pipermail/lbo-talk/Week-of-Mon-20070528/010513.html> and there are more if you look into the archive yourself)? -- and it is possible that social democrats "of mediocre caliber on issues of imperialism," to use your phrase, are overrepresented on this mailing list compared to the total population of leftists in the real world.
But consider the sizes of demonstrations before and after the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. Anti-war demos before it were much larger than those after it. That is in part an indication that even many of the people who had marched against invasion came to think that "the us has to fix what it broke. to walk away now would surely mean a country in chaos" (to repeat the way an LBO-talk member summed up a common view here at <http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/2004/2004-September/021356.html>), etc. once the occupation began, and that line of thinking remained prevalent even on the Left for a long time. Among other reasons, they were being browbeaten that the Iraqis didn't want US troops to leave right away:
[lbo-talk] re Hot Air Advisory! (Was: Tariq Ali)
Todd Archer todda39 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 14 13:06:35 PST 2003
>But the poll confirmed what Christian told me -
>that Iraqis are glad to be of Saddam (the guy at
>the MR party tried to convince me that SH was
>popular and had done good things), don't like
>being occupied by the U.S. and don't at all trust
>Washington's motives, but are worried about
>what would happen if the U.S. simply pulled out.
>It's a complicated and contradictory
>position . . . .
Granted. So what could be said in a sound-bite
or on a placard that could contain those concepts
(ie SH was unpopular, but so was the invasion and the
occupation, but please don't up and leave or else
there might be more chaos)? "U.S. OUT NOW!"
seems to be verboten with this info.
I'd think that immediate US withdrawal, with no ifs or buts, finally became a majority opinion on the Left a little before John Murtha came out against the occupation (albeit only to re-deploy the troops elsewhere): Edward Epstein, "Murtha Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq," 17 November 2005, <http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/11/17/MNGV2FPT755.DTL>.
Given the lack of clarity even on the Left and ambivalence among the general US public that lasted for a long time after the beginning of the invasion, there is no mystery about the behavior of the US power elite and ruling class. The rulers are capable of believing their own propaganda, too. And since they, unlike the general US public, have material as well as ideological stakes in US hegemony, they have trouble making up their minds about what to do confronting the fact that the guerrillas and terrorists in Iraq made the occupation a lose-lose choice: continuing the occupation will further erode US hegemony, and so will retreating in defeat.
On 5/30/07, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:
> For the first years (and
> this will continue to be the case until 2009 at the earliest) the real
> goal of the anti-war movement is simply to consolidate itself, recruit
> new members, gain experience, be visible.
Have you taken a look at Cindy Sheehan's farewell letter?
<http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/28/12530/1525> "Good Riddance Attention Whore" by CindySheehan Mon May 28, 2007 at 09:57:01 AM PDT
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?
However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.
On 5/30/07, tfast <tfast at yorku.ca> wrote:
> Not to mention that the anglo (Canada, British, Australian, New Zealand SA)
> centre and left were against the invasion and occupation from the start.
Canada and New Zealand against Iraq deployment, yes, but in Britain and Australia "_centre_ and left were against the invasion and occupation [of Iraq] from the start" (emphasis added)? How did they manage to send and keep their troops in Iraq, then? Or perhaps your definitions of not just Left but also Center are much more stringent than mine?
As for Canada and New Zealand, what do their leftists and centrists think of their nations' roles in Afghanistan? -- Yoshie