Begin The Inquisition! I'll Bring The Handcuffs!

I once supported the mass invasion of Iraq under Bush. I was stupid and wrong, mainly for "supporting" or "not supporting" something about which I knew very little.

Let me know if that's good enough or I have to throw myself off a bridge.

Once we're done beating up on me (please do; the safe word is: Khuswant Singh), please let me know if you're interested in having conversations on how to effectively support resistance to any of the violent or absurdly tyrannical projects in the world today (Burmese government, Iranian rightwing, American fundamentalists, Gujarat, etc.).

It would be interesting to hear other people's thoughts on specific tactics and approaches on situations they know about. International actions? Sanctions? Boycotts? Consumer activism? Studied noninvolvement on principle? Resistance to all governments?

Post Script: And In Another Seeming Coincidence, I come across a book review from Frontline:

Opposition to neo-conservative agendas and military intervention should not mean ignorance of local forces fighting oppression from a different source. The result of the configuration that Postel exposes is that engagement with struggles for liberty and the rule of law has been duplicitously cast in `all or nothing' terms. Involvement is equivocated with supporting the neo-conservative zeal of the Bush administration and opposition is understood as the knowing ignorance and lack of support for those who may fight a different but equally repressive enemy.

This book is a timely indictment of the Western left's apathy, which justifies itself by constructing a deceptively dualistic model of Western engagement with the world. The time has come for the emergence of a new "radical" liberalism that rejects such misguided political perversions and reclaims the right to both engage with the struggles of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in Iran and elsewhere, and denounce the Bush administration's tyrannical politics of military intervention.

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The book review is bang on.

The book review is bang on.

Back when the war was young I

Back when the war was young I used to think that I really wouldn't have minded it if it were sold and organized as a purely humanitarian intervention. I was 99% sure the WMD claims were bogus, but Saddam sucked and our sanctions regime sucked and I thought a good, temporary American administration could improve the situation.

But I've abandoned that belief today (flip-flopper!!!). I no longer think that the US can effectively exercise its muscle in a purely humanitarian way. For example, I don't see how American liberals working with Iranian reformers would help either group. Even reformist Iranian groups have views that will bristle all of those "mainstream Americans" whose votes liberals need here, while cooperating with "interlopers from the Great Satan" isn't going to help reformers gain credibility with the Iranian public anyway.

I really think we need to just step back and let self-determination go (except when it directly conflicts with our safety, such as with legitimate cases of WMD acquisition). People have been revolting and challenging leadership long before the American Century, and they'll keep doing it long after we're no longer a player. And the alternative is Iraq, where our crappy interventions just resulted in pro-American, pro-democracy factions being killed or otherwise negated before they had any chance to exercise real political power.

I agree with your general

I agree with your general sentiment, Neal. But it leads to this question: how does acknowledging that non-interference by the U.S. is generally far better than any other position that the state could take change the way that you engage situations?

Also, given that the state (U.S., Iran, E.U. Saudi Arabia, etc.) will choose to impose itself when it wants to for the foreseeable future, regardless of what is good, what do you do about it?

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