Bremer’s Baghdad Bolsheviks

The death of Saddam’s two sons was the occasion for a well-organized Team Bush assault on the President’s most potentially dangerous – and unforgiving – enemy: the American public. The Washington Post reports:

“The Bush administration made a coordinated effort yesterday to rebuild fading public support for its Iraq policy, using Tuesday’s killing of Saddam Hussein’s sons as a platform to highlight the successes of the U.S. occupation.”

Gunning down the ex-dictator’s 14-year-old grandson might be considered a success – if you’re Attila the Hun. Washington finally decided to issue full-color photos of Saddam’s fallen spawn, bloodied and leaking gore, instead of sticking their heads on pikes in Baghdad’s central square. I’m waiting for Rummy to show up at his next news conference clad in animal skins, wielding Uday’s thighbone.

Cut to Bush in the Rose Garden, looking “clearly pleased,” according to the Post, and equally clueless:

“Yesterday, in the city of Mosul, the careers of two of the regime’s chief henchmen came to an end…. Now more than ever, all Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will not be coming back.”

As if in answer, a few hours later, in the city of Mosul, the careers of three American soldiers came to an end – ambushed by Iraqi guerrillas.

An eye for an eye, an ambush for an ambush. Are we winning, yet? Gee, I thought we had already won.

One almost feels sorry for the Bushies as they scamper frantically about trying to patch up the huge holes in their case for war and occupation, like ants caught up in a hurricane. Their pathetic efforts are so fruitless, their shifting stories and threadbare rationales so unconvincing, that it’s impossible for any patriotic American not to feel a twinge of embarrassment, no matter what your party or your views on the war. Are these fools really my government?

The administration has been characterizing the growing resistance as the “remnants” of Saddam’s supporters, Ba’athists and other “loyalists,” also known as “die-hards,” but this fiction is bound to dissipate, to begin with, as soon as Saddam Hussein meets his sons on one of hell’s lower rungs. Short of that, however, the “neo-Ba’athist” construct proffered by the Pentagon is bound to fall apart due to the public pronouncements of the guerrillas. If the news media can get American troops to go on camera and voice doubts about their mission, then surely they can get the Iraqi resistance fighters to talk, just like CBS did the other night:

“Three men who claim to have participated in several recent and deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers say they’re not doing it for love of Saddam – but instead for God and their country. U.S. officials blame ‘remnants of Saddam’s regime’ – ‘dead enders’ they call them – for the unending attacks.

“‘Are any of you former Saddam loyalists? Work for Saddam? Love Saddam?’ asked CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins. The men all shook their heads ‘no’ as a translator said, They just follow the instruction of Holy Koran.’ ….

“‘Why do you fight? Why do you attack American soldiers?’ Hawkins asked.

“‘This is occupation, so we fight against the occupation,’ said a fighter.

“‘You’re very upset the Americans are here,’ asked Hawkins, ‘but are you glad Saddam is gone?’

“‘We feel happy now because we can speak freely, but at the same time we don’t want Saddam neither, or America. We just want the American soldiers to leave our country.'”

Does anybody besides myself remember the movie Red Dawn? It’s a cold war morality play in which America is invaded, conquered and occupied by the Soviets: the story revolves around the exploits of an underground resistance, consisting mostly of teen-agers, that springs up to combat the Red Army and its collaborators. The resistance starts out small, with minor acts of sabotage, and escalates over time into a well-coordinated and virtually unstoppable general rebellion that ends in the defeat of the occupiers. Our government’s rhetoric – referring to the military subjugation of Iraq as a “liberation” – is an echo of Red Dawn, where the commissars, Soviet and home-grown, also called their invasion a “liberation.”

In Red Dawn, the Red Army generals appoint local Commies as their Quislings. In Iraq, U.S. viceroy Paul Bremer is promoting Communists to the decorative “Governing Council,” made up of Iraqis willing along to go along with the terms of the occupation. Agence France Presse reports:

“Among the more surprising choices made by the top US overseer in Iraq, Paul Bremer, known for his neo-conservative leanings, was to allow communist Hamid Majid Mussa to sit on Iraq’s new Governing Council.”

Not really all that surprising, though, when you consider that a great many neocons are ex-Communists of one sort or another. It’s a toss-up as to which side of the political spectrum is apt to be most embarrassed by this weird ideological convergence. A top U.S. official explained the logic of Bremer’s decision:

“‘He has two main concerns: preventing extremists taking the key positions among the Shiites and keeping the economy going,’ explained one of the international advisors involved in the selection process. ‘He hesitated at first but became convinced that the communists could prove a counterweight to the imams,’ he added, asking not to be named.”

The Iraqi Communist Party, for its part, explains the alliance in similarly hard-headed practical terms: the appointment, according to them, was simply a recognition of the Communists’ popular support. But there is more to this bizarre Popular Front than just pragmatism: there is a certain ideological affinity at work here.

The Communists, like the Americans, believe that the way to transform society and achieve the transition to true democracy is by establishing an “interim” dictatorship: in the case of the former, it’s the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” while the Americans call their dictatorship the “Iraqi Interim Authority.” But that’s just semantics. Both want to forcibly modernize and secularize a deeply religious, consciously conservative society, and seek to “liberate” women: both commies and neocons see themselves as “progressive,” on the right side of history, and both have force at the core of their methods.

There is really nothing all that odd about the Commie-neocon axis of “liberation”: it represents the reunion of the Bolsheviks with their long-lost Menshevik brothers.

The predicament we now find ourselves in was aptly summed up by Murray N. Rothbard, the late libertarian theorist, in his 1992 speech to the John Randolph Club:

“When I was growing up, I found that the main argument against laissez-faire, and for socialism, was that socialism and communism were inevitable: ‘You can’t turn back the clock!’ they chanted, ‘you can’t turn back the clock.’ But the clock of the once-mighty Soviet Union, the clock of Marxism-Leninism, a creed that once mastered half the world, is not only turned back, but lies dead and broken forever. But we must not rest content with this victory. For though Marxism-Bolshevism is gone forever, there still remains, plaguing us everywhere, its evil cousin: call it ‘soft Marxism,’ ‘Marxism-Humanism,’ ‘Marxism-Bernsteinism,’ ‘Marxism-Trotskyism,’ ‘Marxism-Freudianism,’ well, let’s just call it ‘Menshevism,’ or ‘social democracy.’

“Social democracy is still here in all its variants, defining our entire respectable political spectrum, from advanced victimology and feminism on the left over to neoconservatism on the right. We are now trapped, in America, inside a Menshevik fantasy, with the narrow bounds of respectable debate set for us by various brands of Marxists. It is now our task, the task of the resurgent right, of the paleo movement, to break those bonds, to finish the job, to finish off Marxism forever.”

– Justin Raimondo

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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is editor-at-large at Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].