Friday, December 27, 2002
Here is letter I sent to Matt Welch that he posted on his letters page on 11-7-01 (this was before he had comments). It got some approving responses, and I thought I should archive now on my space:
I am probably in the most Left-wing professional environment you can be in here in the United States outside of academia. I have been affected: I voted for Nader last year. However, I also voted for Tom Campbell. I was glad to hear that you voted that way too: Even I thought voting both Green and Republican the same year was weird, and it was nice to know that I was not alone.
My main problem with the left is credibility. Currently, having lost all other arguments against the war, some are emphasizing the seven million supposedly at risk for starvation. If they are right, then we should stop, at least for the winter. But as this is only prediction, and is only coming from people who were blaming the US for the attack and oppose everything the US does, I simply cannot consider the sources believable.
Credibility problems of the Left:
I. Everything the US does is wrong. In a previous column, you asked: What should we do about a repressive regime?
Option 1) Military Aid. Obviously wrong. We are providing the weapons that kill the innocent. See Israel, Turkey, Columbia, Reagan-era Iraq, etc.
Option 2) Economic Aid. Wrong. We are financially propping up the regime. See Egypt, Indonesia, etc.
Option 3) Humanitarian Aid. Still Wrong. By relieving the regime of its financial duty to feed its people, we free up their money for military uses. See Afghanistan, where the US supported the Taliban by providing $43 million in humanitarian aid in exchange for the Taliban not exporting Heroin, thus sacrificing 12 million women to the alter of the failed War on Drugs.
Option 4) Trade / Constructive Engagement. Wrong. This is merely an excuse for US corporations to profit off of the regime's repression of its own people. See China and Reagan-era South Africa.
Option 5) Economic Sanctions. Wrong. The economic sanctions in Iraq have killed 6,000 people a month for the past 11 years, or nearly 800,000 victims of US foreign policy.
Option 6) Military Attack. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! See every military conflict that the United States has every engaged in. (Caveat: There may be a possible exception for the US Civil War, which will be considered obviously justified if you are talking to any white person born in the former Confederacy.)
Option 7) The Prime Directive. Wrong. It is intolerable for the most powerful nation in history to sit by and do nothing while thousands die. It probably stems from a racist lack of concern for people of color of persons of other religions. See Rwanda, Bosnia (not to be confused with Kosovo, which falls under Option 6, above).
II. The US gets all the blame, but never any of the credit.
When Lefties take a breather from blaming us for all the misery in the world, they sneer about how unfavorably we compare to Western Europe. So where would Western Europe be without past heavy-handed intervention by the United States? Without the US in WWI, WWII, the Marshall Plan, the Cold War? Ruled by Fascism, Nazism, or Communism? Or maybe still ruled by hereditary Monarchs? Personally, I see Europe and Japan as US success stories.
III. If you can't say something mean, don't say anything at all. Have you ever heard a Left opinion about Kashmir? There may be one, but I can't find it. In 1999, Pakistani forces entered Indian-controlled Kashmir. Two nuclear powers were shooting at each other, so I thought it was important. I tried to follow it in the news but no mainstream source was reporting anything about it. So I turned to Democracy Now! and other "alternative" sources. And I heard... Nothing. The blanket of "censorship" had covered them just like it had covered the corporate media. I had to spend weeks reading foreign sources on the internet for weeks to stay informed about how close my Indian brother-in-law was to being nuked. My conclusion: The Left is waiting for the US to pick a side, and then they can jump on the other. If we side with India, they can recycle all their Israel-Palestine opinions. If we side with Pakistan, they can search their many files of opinions on US support of military dictatorships to find the best ones to recycle. They could berate the US for not getting involved, but since this is an ongoing situation, they would then have to PICK A SIDE THEMSELVES, and say what the US SHOULD do. Better to wait for disaster to happen, and THEN criticize the US for not intervening. (For obviously racist reasons.)