More from the antiwar Right

The American Conservative, 8 September 2008

Two major articles deal with the fear that haunts many of the “Old Right” contributors to this publication, the fear that America is becoming dependent on foreign powers.  An obituary for Lieutenant General William Odom discusses the testimony the general gave to the US Senate in early April, in which he pointed out that US forces in Iraq depend “on a long and slender supply line from Kuwait, which runs through territory controlled by Shi’ite forces friendly to Iran” [a quote from the obituarist, not Odom’s own words.)  American service personnel in Iraq are therefore hostages at the disposal of Iran. 

Andrew Bacevich attacks American consumerism and its economic consequences.  Our insatiable appetite for luxuries, Bacevich argues, has saddled us with debts and a dependence on imported fuels that we can manage only by maintaining a constant war footing, while our wars serve only to increase our debts and deepen our dependence.   

The American Conservative, 25 August 2008

Remember George W Bush saying that the fall of Saddam Hussein meant that the “rape rooms” in his prisons would forever close?  Abu Ghraib made a sick joke out of that boast.  Well, the return of rape rooms wasn’t the end of it.  Since the current war began in March 2003, well over 2 million Iraqis have been forced from their homes.  Most of them left empty-handed.  How have they been surviving since?  Kelley Beaucar Vlahos shows how; tens of thousands of Iraqi women and girls have been forced into prostitution.  No one in authority is even collecting statistics about these victims of daily rape, much less trying to help them.   On the contrary, when it was revealed that a major US defense contractor was shuttling women and girls between Kuwait and Baghdad to be used as sex slaves, the story went nowhere.  The matter remained so obscure that even Vlahos misreports the name of the whistleblower who revealed it.  She calls him Bruce Halley.  His name is Barry Halley. 

A memoriam for the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn of course mentions his role in exposing the horrors of the Gulag and galvanizing moral opposition to Soviet Communism, but focuses primarily on his critique of Western materialism. 

Bill Kauffman reviews The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal under the title “The Last Republican.”  Here’s a sentence I noted in that review: “In the late 1980’s, Vidal called for a ‘neo-Clayite’ candidate to campaign on internal improvements and avoidance of foreign quarrels.  I wish he had run the race himself.  But by 1992, three such men were running: Ross Perot, Jerry Brown, and Pat Buchanan, in the most interesting poitical year of the post-Republic era.”   

Chronicles, October 2008

My notes on Chronicles may sometimes leave you wondering why I call it an “ultra-right wing publication.”  They’re antiwar, critical of unrestrained consumption, concerned about the growing gap between rich and poor, and always emphasize the importance of a connection between humans and the natural world.  Those concerns may sound like a left of center magazine.  Any impression to that effect can be cleared up with a glance at this month’s issue.  It really is a big letdown- last month‘s issue was almost completely free of racist tirades or anti-Muslim paranoia or ranting about how horrible Mexico and its people are.  Those things are all back in this one.  

Editor Thomas Fleming writes a piece that begins as if it were going to be about the presidential race.  He does indeed make many remarks about the candidates, but what he’s really interested in doing is confessing that he’s afraid of black people.  He tells a story of a friend “whom I know as well as I know myself,” who recently had a series of unpleasant confrontations with a black neighbor.  In the last confrontation, the friend’s son got into a fistfight with a guest of the neighbor’s.  This apparently proves that a race war is in progress.  At any rate, Fleming argues, “When distinctions, no matter how arbitrarily arrived at, are made, we have a duty to make sure that they are not used to cut against the interests of ‘our’ people as opposed to ‘their’ people.”  In a color-blind world, says Fleming, we could all live peacefully together.  Fleming believes that it’s all the fault of affirmative action programs and black politicians that we don’t live in such a world. 

The second most racist piece in the magazine is praise of Congresswoman Sue Myrick, Republican of North Carolina, for proposing an anti-Muslim agenda in very much the spirit of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy.  A series of short articles about Barack Obama also contain a lot of feverish anti-black sentiment.  The issue as a whole is a pretty sorry production; if it weren’t for a sober assessment of the Georgian crisis by Srdja Trifkovic and George McCartney’s insightful review of Woody Allen’s latest movie, it would be a total loss.

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1 Comment

  1. cymast

     /  October 8, 2008

    Fleming, however, is right about affirmative action. It does more harm than good.

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