Sunday, April 03, 2005

LeVine Spencer Debate?

After a Frontpagemag article (Marxist Rock Star) about UC Irvine assistant Professor Mark LeVine (who is particular on the V) Robert Spencer posted a recap of his previous article and email exchange with LeVine here.

Toward a Truce with the Muslim World is the Levine article that Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch harshly critiqued. For more you can check Answering Islam's longer critique.

I personally took up the cause for a civil debate between the two. After contacting both they have agreed in principle to a November or early December debate.

Mark Levine's webpage. A collection his articles.

2 article I found that at least demonstrated a degree rational thought absent from the shrill partisan left so often.

  • War stirs debate on UC Irvine Campus
  • "It's too easy to focus on Bush as the bad guy ... we need to be able to develop a more holistic discourse," LeVine said. "It's stupid to say 'Stop the War.' If that's the depth of the discourse, you're going to waste people's time." According to LeVine, the antiwar movement's failure to provide a feasible alternative to the war will only bolster President George W. Bush's misguided intentions. "I think we have to figure out what it is we need as an alternative," LeVine said. "What do we do instead? Other than just to stop? Then what? Do we go back to the status quo?"
  • LeVine stressed that the antiwar movement must be honest in its portrayal of Saddam Hussein-just because protesters are against the war doesn't mean Hussein is not a dictator."The lack or real lack of acknowledgement" of Saddam's crimes, LeVine explained, will only characterize antiwar protesters as anti-American.

He doesn't say what "Bush's misguided intentions" are? But he does admit why many left of centers have moved away from the Democratic Party and are turned off by the academic and ideological shrill left.

  • Bush Wins the Left's Nightmare Scenario
  • Sadly, based on the inability of the majority of organizations involved in the movement to foreground Hussein's crimes along with U.S. imperial strategies (as if the two aren't intimately related), the prognosis for a proactive discourse is not positive. Too many of us seem strangely unwilling to acknowledge publicly either how brutal Hussein's rule has been, or that his removal from power and facing justice would in fact be good things.

Yet when a meeting of antiwar organizers in Cairo last December had the moral temerity to admit" only to "restrictions on democratic development in Iraq" in comparison to Israeli and American crimes, doesn't anyone remember the genocidal Anfal of 1988, where upwards of 100,000 Kurds were killed in Iraq? We see how easy it will be for President Bush to seize the high ground...........

Even more discouraging, when I asked a senior organizer why the movement doesn't expand the focus of protests to include regimes like Sudan's, which is prosecuting a decade-long war of lavery and genocide, she replied that she feared President Bush would agree with protesters, and use their arguments as a pretext to invade Sudan next.

If a self-styled global peace and justice movement refuses to focus on any conflict not implicating the United States for fear that highlighting a regime's crimes would serve as a pretext for yet another U.S. invasion, then we have arrived at an unprecedented, Orwellian level of self-censorship. I am not alone in this line of thinking, by the way, as I've received complaints from senior colleagues with ties to the major alternative media/news organizations and antiwar groups about the lack of serious consideration of how to prepare for a Bush Wins scenario. Because the reality is that if the war is quick and a U.S.-occupation established effectively, progressive forces need to accept the removal of Hussein as a great opportunity to builddemocracy and justice in Iraq, whatever the actual motives of the Bush Administration.

You can read the rest.


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