In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Marx notes that the philosopher\ud G.W.F. Hegel had observed that “all the great events and characters of world\ud history occur twice” (Marx 1852/2002:19). To this Marx added the wry observation\ud that this repetition meant that the second time round things happened as farce.\ud Few would disagree that this sentiment captures a key element of contemporary\ud political drama. The U.S./British presence in parts of the Middle East seems to be\ud a restaging of the old colonial script. The son follows the path of the father, not so\ud much with a coup d’état as the ‘little nephew’ had followed Napoleon’s overthrow\ud of the French Government in 1799, but where the ‘War-On-Terror’ repeats and\ud expands the atrocities of the Gulf War, where the manufacture of the Al Qaeda\ud threat caricatures the Evil Empire of old, where the spectre of ‘unfinished business’\ud (in Vietnam) haunts the regime and is used to restore a pyrrhic ‘pride’ in the armed\ud forces and the nation. We note many examples where the repertoire of demons and\ud scenarios is doubled in horrific yet untenable parallel: Most recently, in August\ud 2007, George W. Bush went so far as to think of Iraq as a new Vietnam and used\ud this as reason for never contemplating an end to the war
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