And Whose Side Are You On?


Reese Erlich’s "Iran and Leftist Confusion" has enjoyed wide circulation among progressive-types these past three days.  Off-hand, I can recall iterations of the piece at CommonDeams, ZNet, Democratic Underground, PortsideTruthout., Twitter.  Surely there are others.  In fact, there is no telling how many others.

I suppose it goes without saying — though a lot of people will disagree — that on the subject of Iran, this embrace of Erlich’s "Iran and Leftist Confusion" constitutes an absolute nadir for the Left in the States.  At least until the next absolute nadir comes along.  Any day now.  And receives even more iterations.

The closing 45 words of Erlich’s
"Iran and Leftist Confusion" read:

A repressive government has killed at least 17 Iranians and injured hundreds. The mass movement may not be strong enough to topple the system today but is sowing the seeds for future struggles. The leftist critics must answer the question: Whose side are you on?


Although I can’t pull incontestable evidence from my back pocket (though do see Seymour Hersh’s reporting on this topic), does Erlich honestly expect us to believe that there has been no U.S. interference in the lives of Iran’s 70 million people, either in 2009 or these past six-years-plus? 


Can Erlich himself produce one shred of evidence that the U.S. Government and its allies in Israel, Britain, across NATO, and in the Mujahedin-e KhalqNational Council of Resistance of Iran haven’t attempted to destabilize Iran? Or that the Obama regime cut-off the several-hundred-million dollar destabilization campaign of its predecessor some time prior to June 12, thereby wiping the slate clean?

In lieu of such proof, how should we take Erlich’s rush to deny that the U.S. Government and its allies have played any role at all in the demonstrations to date (June 12 – July 1)?  And how about Erlich’s rush to brand some long-time leftist critics of U.S. imperialism and past campaigns of foreign meddling as the group suffering confusion — including MRZine, Foreign Policy Journal, Venezuela’s Foreign Mnistry, and "prominent academics such as retired professor James Petras," among others?


One point is clear: Erlich’s rush to dismiss "left-wing Doubting Thomases" is playing very well among progressive-types.  In fact, it’s going over so well, I’ll bet that if he’s so inclined, he could even take his show on the road to the Wall Street Journal or Fox News.


Yet, it is likely that the U.S. Government, U.S. allies, and armed groups sponsored by them have killed more than 17 Iranians and injured a number unknown since the current round of destabilizing Iran kicked-off some time after the last American President announced "Mission Accomplished" from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003.  (Again, see Seymour Hersh.)


What is more, taking our starting point as the month of October 2001, the U.S. Government and U.S. allies have killed hundreds of thousands and in all probability well in excess of 1 million foreign nationals (i.e., not just 17 Iranians), also injuring unknown numbers, driving literally millions from their homes, and detaining and torturing thousands of others.

These are just some of the facts the true significance of which the contributors to MRZine and Foreign Policy Journal, or at Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry, and James Petras et al. (say, Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann and most of the rest of the G – 192) aren’t as quick to forget. 


In the final analysis, we all can agree with Reese Erlich that these matters are "no academic debate or simply fodder for bored bloggers," because "Real lives are at stake."


But the rush to affirm the home-grownness of The Opposition inside Iran, and to dismiss the streetwise, historically-minded caveats about enduring U.S. imperial ambitions and foreign meddling as somehow beneath the dignity of the Left in our more sophisticated era, already began to sound like cracks-of-the-whip during the first days after June 12, when all that was solid inside Iran really did seem to be melting into air.  By now, going on three weeks later, they are nothing more than the disciplinary tactics of enforcers    


Also, they are sowing the seeds of real confusion, and evidence of the further splintering of what remains of the Left in the metropolitan centers.  Just like we’ve witnessed so many other times these past 20 years. 


So which side is Reese Erlich really on?



"The Iran Plans," Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, April 17, 2006,

"Preparing the Battlefield," Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, July 7, 2008

"The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test," George Friedman, Stratfor, June 22, 2009
"The Real Struggle in Iran and Implications for U.S. Dialogue," George Friedman, Stratfor, June 29, 2009

"Has the U.S. Played a Role in Fomenting Unrest During Iran’s Election?" Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, June 23, 2009 

"Iran: This Is Not a Revolution," Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, MRZine, June 23, 2009

"Some Observations on the Iranian Presidential Election and Its Aftermath," Phil Wilayto, Truthout, June 19, 2009
Iran: Non-Violence 101," Steve Weissman, Truthout, June 21, 2009 
"Iran: The World Is Watching," Steve Weissman, Truthout, June 30, 2009

"The Fourth ‘Supreme International Crime’ in Seven Years is Already Underway," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Electric Politics, May 16, 2006
"Hegemony and Appeasement: Setting Up the Next Target for the ‘Supreme International Crime’," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Electric Politics, January 29, 2007 
"The U.S. Aggression Process and Its Collaborators: From Guatemala (1950-1954) to Iran (2002-)," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Electric Politics, November 26, 2007

"Iran and the Americans," ZNet, June 22, 2009
"Non-Violence 101," ZNet, June 30, 2009



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