A Reply to David Peterson: Do I really support “massive American violence” and interventionism?

June 1, 2009

David Peterson knows must know full well I’ve been a long-time and outspoken opponent of any U.S. interventionism in Iran. It has been a subject of scores of articles available on line, it was a major part of my doctoral dissertation, addressed in my book Tinderbox, in my speeches available on podcasts, and elsewhere. To imply otherwise is completely ridiculous.

I have never ever bought into “massive American violence, and diversions onto the state of affairs inside Iran.”

Peterson should know that my arguing that the United States is not being the recent protests in Iran does not mean I am not aware of the countless way the United States really has illegitimately intervened in that country to pursue its imperialist objectives.

Peterson should also know that if a terrorist group like MEK happens to re-post one of Ackerman’s articles, it does not mean thereby that Ackerman supports the MEK. There are anti-Semitic groups which have re-posted articles of mine on Palestine, but that certainly does not mean I support their agenda.

Peterson should also realize that defending someone from being wrongly accused so something does not mean I agree with that person’s overall political agenda either. Ackerman and I disagree on any number of things and he and I have acknowledged that publicly. Some of the comments he made in that article I have publicly challenged. But just because he is wrong on some issues does not mean that the accusations against himin the Weissman article are correct. I defended Saddam Hussein from false charges of him having WMDs, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t realize other criticisms were valid.

As I pointed out in my article, ICNC has done workshops for Palestinians, Egyptians, Western Saharan, West Papuans, Guineans and many others struggling against U.S.-backed regimes. The only reason there have not been more workshops in the United States is because they have not been asked. ICNC did facilitate two workshops for immigrants rights activist, as well as recent a recent workshop in Portland for a variety of anti-war and social justice activists. Medea Benjamin approached about doing workshop for Code Pink, to which ICNC responded favorably, but she hasn’t gotten back to us yet. As a matter of policy, ICNC does not initiate contact. People have to come to them.

To imply any kind of ideological agenda on ICNC’s part is totally groundless. Why would people like me, Cyndi Boaz, Stellen Vinthagen, Tom Hastings, Les Kurtz, Janet Cherry, and Philippe Duhamel be so actively involved? Why would Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, David Swanson, Frida Berrigan, Dan Ellsberg, Paul Ortiz, and scores of other prominent radical scholars and activists come to ICNC’s defense against such charges?