Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
At this grim moment, we can do nothing to stop the ongoing invasion. But that does not mean that the task is over for people who have some concern for justice, freedom, and human rights. Far from it. The tasks will be more urgent than before, whatever the outcome of the attack. And about that, no one has any idea: not the Pentagon, the CIA, or anyone else. Possibilities range from the horrifying humanitarian catastrophes of which aid and relief agencies that work in Iraq have been warning, to relatively benign outcomes – though even if not a hair is harmed on anyone’s head that will in no way mitigate the criminality of those willing to subject helpless people to such terrible risks, for their own shameful purposes.
As for the outcomes, it will be a long time before preliminary judgments can be made. One immediate task is to lend what weight we can to more benign outcomes. That means, primarily, caring for the needs of the victims, not just of this war but of Washington’s vicious and destructive sanctions regime of the past ten years, which has has devastated the civillian society, strengthened the ruling tyrant, and compelled the population to rely on him for survival. As has been pointed out for years, the sanctions therefore undermined the hope that Saddam Hussein would go the way of other murderous tyrants no less vicious than he. That includes a terrible rogues gallery of criminals who were also supported by those now at the helm in Washington, in many cases to the last days of their bloody rule: Ceausescu, to mention only one obvious and highly pertinent case.
Elementary decency would call for massive reparations from the US; lacking that, at least a flow of aid to Iraqis, so that they can rebuild what has been destroyed in their own way, not as dictated by people in Washington and Crawford whose higher faith is that power comes from the barrel of a gun.
But the issues are much more fundamental, and long range. Opposition to the invasion of Iraq has been entirely without historical precedent. That is why Bush had to meet his two cronies at a US military base on an island, where they would be safely removed from any mere people. The opposition may be focused on the invasion of Iraq, but its concerns go far beyond that. There is growing fear of US power, which is considered to be the greatest threat to peace in much of the world, probably by a large majority. And with the technology of destruction now at hand, rapidly becoming more lethal and ominous, threat to peace means threat to survival.more