Thursday, January 17, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
The January/February issue of The Humanist magazine features an article by Jende Huang entitled “Fighting for
Huang argues that “the justification for such an endeavor can be drawn from Enlightenment values as well as common human decency,” the endeavor being “the opportunity to free the Iraqi people from decades of oppression;” oppression which manifested itself through “forced deportations, secret arrests without cause or justifications, torture, political suppression, and murder.” Yet Huang fails to recognize that the correct way to liberate a people oppressed so is not by dismissing international norms and laws and it is not through an unjust, illegal and immoral military invasion and occupation which completely devastates a country and its people, but rather, in the case of Iraq, by supporting movements within Iraq consisting of Iraqis liberating themselves; such as the 1991 Shiite uprising which had the potential to overthrow Saddam, but which the United States did not support, thus ensuring its failure.
Furthermore, in Huang’s view, it appears that the will of the Iraqi people is either irrelevant or negligible, which is bizarre considering his defense of the invasion and occupation is allegedly predicated upon the liberation of the Iraqi people and the desire to develop a viable democracy. The will of the Iraqi people is clear. They want a withdrawal of the occupying forces, which they consistently regard in polling as producing more violence than it prevents; which is understandable for sure, the U.S. military occupation has further wreaked havoc on an already devastated country and people who had suffered through not only the brutal and savage Saddam regime, but also the murderous sanctions regime, initiated by the U.S. endorsed and implemented by the U.N.
Huang does mention the extensive polling of Iraqi public opinion by citing the minority in a single poll who expressed “that the
The will of the Iraqi people is as clear as it could ever be. Were Huang to be at all serious about the liberation of the Iraqi people and were he at all concerned for the elementary tenets of democracy, he might concern himself with the overwhelming will of the Iraqi people.
Huang’s absurd claim that “we” have the “obligation to fight alongside the Iraqi people” is made nonsense by the sobering fact that the Iraqi people fighting are fighting against the occupation and thus the
Huang is correct to point out that “the march toward some from of democratic governance” will not “flow” from “the barrel of a gun,” which makes nonsense of his general thesis - a defense of the invasion and occupation as forces of liberation which will allegedly initiate the development of democracy – and supports the accurately applied humanist position, articulated in the pages of Free Inquiry, that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was an unjust, illegal and immoral war, that, says Paul Kurtz, converted “the presidency into a bully pulpit for God, which simultaneously masks underlying imperialist economic ambitions while it suggests divine sanction for American policy.”
The humanist and Enlightenment values Huang speaks of, let alone “common human decency,” rather strongly opposes the contemptuous dismissal of international norms and laws and the violent invasion and occupation of other countries for strategic political and economic reasons. The way to justly liberate a people and develop democracy is not with “the barrel of a gun,” but rather by supporting the people and movements working towards liberation and democracy through political and economic support and by rallying the international community around the people's movement.
 Values which elsewhere were applied virtually unanimously against the invasion of
 Huang would have us all forget that the Bush administration and its allies have trampled on habeas corpus, the foundation upon which the judicial system is built, kidnapped suspected terrorists, sending them to Abu Ghraib and black site dungeons around the world in order to be tortured.
It is this government, sanctioned in our name, conducting secret kidnappings, revoking basic civil and human rights and torturing those who have been kidnapped without charge or trial that Huang would have “liberate,” in a moral crusade, the people of Iraq who have been subject to for so long just the same sort of treatment only on a much more sinister scale.
 “International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment..after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of