Friday, April 14, 2006

Into the Labyrinth in New Haven

We shot up here on Thurdsday on the train after a whirlwind of flights. Dorothea from Labyrinth Books gave a powerful intro (here's an excerpt):

there are few things that are more urgent to discuss than the disastrous situation in Iraq and we are lucky to have with us for this discussion Anthony Arnove – one of the most consistent, most clear and bold voices in the mobilization against the occupation. The war, as all of you know, ushered in a new doctrine of preemptive warfare by the US that is readily available on the White House website and should be required reading. Though there has not been a more secretive government in this country, it never ceases to amaze what the current Administration is unashamed to say out loud. The opposition to this war was, for a short time, strong. The opposition to the occupation is now quickly growing stronger. And Anthony Arnove has written a quasi-manifesto, which will be an important tool in the hands of those working to further strengthen that opposition. As one reviewer put it: "Buy it and share it. Ask your librarian to purchase it." (This reviewer forgot to add: from an independent bookstore)....

Retired General and former Director of the National Security Agency William Odom – an early and consistent critic of the war and the occupation who will be one of our speakers at Labyrinth this coming Monday – has explained very succinctly the ways in which today’s mistakes in Iraq mirror the mistakes of the Vietnam War, writing that in the late 60s

“The obsession with tactical issues [how the war was being fought or in today’s terms how the occupation is being conducted] made it easier to ignore the strategic error [the reason for going to war then and now]. As time passed, costs went up, casualties increased, and public support fell. We could not afford to 'cut and run,' it was argued. Supporters of the war expected no honest answers when they asked 'How can we get out?' Eventually, Senator Aike of Vermont gave them one: 'In boats.' ”

And the discussion amongst the 25+ people who attended that followed was very lively. People raised some excellent points about the need for the antiwar movement to take up the issue of justice for Palestinians, the historical memory of Algeria and the resistance to French colonialism, Islamophobia. A debate also broke out about whether the pro-Israel lobby versus control over oil explains the US motivation for invading Iraq. And like in other tour stops, the question of a possible attack on Iran hung over the discussion.

It was clear that the majority of the audience found the discussion useful for clarifying our understanding of the state of the occupation and prompted an urgency about the need for withdrawal of US troops.


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