Iraq, War, Farenheit, Clinton, and other stuff

A few things, now that I have a minute to blog again.

First, it seems they did the ‘handover’ of sovereignty in Iraq a couple of days early. Now Saddam Hussein can be tried before an Iraqi court. One wonders if that court will get into his long history with the CIA and such… perhaps not, since the current PM also has such a history.

A comment on this: it makes the ‘sovereignty’ bit into a bit of a joke, doesn’t it? Rather like Bush asserting his firm control over Iraq by sneaking in like a thief in the night to ‘handover’ some turkey in November? You know you’ve got amazing sovereignty when you get it in a surreptitious ceremony. Why did they do it? Did they suspect the insurgents would mount an ambitious serious of bombings and attacks on the 30th, and there will be various protests and so on, and they wanted to manipulate the timing and the media? Or maybe they just wanted to do something to counter Michael Moore’s film on opening weekend?

I said last night, under the influence of a multifaceted good mood, that I thought Farenheit 9/11 is just what the US needs right now. It seems to me, from the content of the film and the response to it, that Michael Moore has essentially become the official opposition in the United States. When Tariq Ali did various speaking engagements in North America last year as the Iraq insurgency was beginning to become widespread, he said: the difference between the US and Iraq is that Iraq has an opposition and the US does not. Moore is filling that void.

I realize the film has limitations, and so on. But even the limitations are understandable choices I think. What I like about it more than anything else is that it is really making a case, in a very strong way. Moore knows how to talk to people who are undecided, or rather, to tell a story that makes the case on its own. He understands North Americans and US culture.

Speaking of US culture, it’s worth talking a little bit about Clinton, hype about whose book is overshadowed only by Moore’s movie right now. Why do we have to suffer Clinton after having suffered Reagan?

Diana Johnstone has part of the answer I think. Michael Albert discussed Reagan in terms of elites flexing their pro-Bush muscles. This makes sense to me. But I think the Clinton business is similar. Essentially, if Reagan was celebrated to try to show that Bush is still kicking, Clinton is being celebrated to make the case for Kerry. Kerry bends over backwards to say he’s not anti-war per-se and that he’s a devout imperialist. So, too, does Clinton. Kerry bashes Bush’s way of doing the Iraq war, and Clinton, as Johnstone said, had a ‘good’ war in Kosovo. There’s some saying that says to fight monsters you have to worry about not becoming a monster. Well, the Democrats’ problem in this election, and indeed in general, is how to beat the Republican monster while still staying a monster themselves. The Clinton way is the best way to pull this off, so it’s no wonder that Clinton’s little book tour is their answer to the Reagan bonanza.

But it seems to me that Michael Moore’s little film could throw a wrench into their plans…

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.