'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Wolfowitz Went to Iraq (and All You Got Was This Lousy Blog Post)

Wolfowitz went to Iraq again. While he was there he drove around in an armored personnel carrier with a stupid name that's controversial because it's supposed to be a piece of shit, repeated the worst argument in all of political discourse, and said that Turkey's war on terrorism is a good model for the US's counter-insurgency war in Iraq.

American Leftist agrees with Wolfowitz on that last point as long what we mean by "a good model" is a model that accurately reflects reality rather than a model that is morally positive. Turkey's war against insurgents has been anything but morally positive. In fact it demonstrates what is wrong with the whole metaphor of a "war on terrorism". Wars on terrorism provide a convenient way for states to wage illegal wars against powerless political opponenents--in Turkey's case proponents of a Kurdish state--while hypocritically taking the moral upper ground in their rhetoric. Turkey pursued violent "ethnic cleansing" policies throughout the nineties, and now it can couch such atrocities in the guise of its "war on terror" and people like Wolfowitz will hold it up as an example for the world.

Turkey also has a history of using the fight against terrorism as an excuse to stifle free speech*. In 1999 it convicted celebrated author Gunay Arslan of disseminating propaganda and almost exactly a year ago Turkey tried to use anti-terrorism legislation to convict Chomsky's Turkish publisher*. I guess this is the sort of thing that Wolfowitz thinks is a good model for the US.

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