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US soldier in Iraq Photo: Reuters
US soldier in Iraq Photo: Reuters
 
 

Left, Right and Iraq war

Traditional definitions of Left, Right no longer applicable

Yaron London
Published: 03.26.07, 23:43 / Israel Opinion

The war in Iraq is entering its fourth year and the Americans are sick of it. Does the seed of failure lie in the notion that a regime change alters the character of a society all at once, or perhaps it wasn't a principle error, but rather, bad management that led to the ongoing catastrophe?

 

President Bush's rivals are accusing him of the war's bloody cost, but they stay away from dealing with the ideology that guides it. Those espousing this ideology – categorized as an insane offspring to the family of right-wing views - believe that freedom is what all people in the world care about most. Give them freedom and they will sprout democracy, become peace lovers and prosper as do the peoples of the West.

 

Is this foolishness? Those reviewing the pages of history will find that this argument can be verified as well as refuted. Those who

predict that the war will lead to disaster – will be right. Those who argue that an avoided war will inevitably lead to a war that inflicts a terrible cost will also be right. Had US policies been successful and had the Iraqis established an accepted regime, would the Americans also have regarded this war as principally wrong, or would they have praised their country for embarking on war to emancipate an oppressed people?

 

Not everyone has given up on the idea that guided the war. The hardcore of right-wing republicans still adheres to it, but are we not mistaken in classifying them as right-wingers? Yes, they do maintain right-wing ideology in certain aspects: They espouse conservative family values, they are religious and object to a "large government," but in other important aspects they are more "leftist" than the Left.

 

Leftists unmoved by Darfur genocide 

Isn't the Left supposed to espouse the optimistic view that human nature is basically positive and that under emancipated conditions it will excel? Isn't the Right supposed to be pessimistic about human nature, which in turn leads to its conservatism and opposition to aggressive acts that ground existing reality? Isn't the Left supposed to guarantee the freedom of all people, whereas the Right is supposed to be entrenched in selfish national policies?

 

Isn't it the traditional Right that believes there are superior and inferior cultures, the latter of which do not warrant advancement? Isn't it the traditional Left that believes in the common interest of all people, which obligates the powerful to assist the oppressed in ridding them of the yoke of oppression? According to the classification of traditional views, it wasn't supposed to be the Right but the Left that should have espoused the war in Iraq, and the Right should have opposed it.

 

The reversal of world views on which the battles of the last century revolved has been abandoned in every global arena. For example, the traditional Left denied the importance of nations and states and hoped for a world void of barriers, yet it is currently opposing globalization and seeking to strengthen the power of these states, and in the spirit of multicultural concepts it recognizes their most important values.

 

Enslavement of women in Afghanistan within the framework of an oppressive regime – of the worst type in history - did not prompt the Leftist movements in the West to take a single step towards protesting in the squares. The Leftist movements are not even shocked by the genocide in Darfur and are not calling on their governments to penalize the Khartoum government.

 

In the mythology of the global Left, the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939 was considered a shining example of assisting the oppressed. The good were on its side, it was written about the volunteers of the International Brigade. Had such a war erupted in our times, the global Left would have demonstrated in favor of the fascists.

 

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