'IRAQ - U.S. PREPARES NEW DESERT SLAUGHTER - 17 OCT 2002'
World Events of Significance
U.S. Prepares New
The following statement by the Internationalist Group, U.S. section of the League for the Fourth International, was issued on October 17 2002.
Imperialist war criminals are about to launch an Armageddon on the Tigris and Euphrates.
In the early morning hours of October 11 2002, the United States Senate joined the House of Representatives in voting war powers for President George W. Bush to launch the full weight of the imperialist war machine, "as he deems appropriate and necessary," against Iraq. The Pentagon now has a "bipartisan" green light to carry out the wanton slaughter that the White House had long since ordered. After the ritual debate and rubber-stamp approval from Congress, there will be a similar charade in the United Nations. There will then be some haggling among the "Great Powers" in this imperialist den of thieves - as Lenin called its predecessor, the League of Nations - over if and how much provocative "inspection" of Iraq to require, or whether to have a one-stage or two-stage resolution to trigger the attack. Most likely, Saddam Hussein will be presented with an ultimatum he can't accept (as the UN did earlier with Yugoslavia's Milosevic), demanding unhindered movement for "UN" forces inside Iraq - an invasion without war. And then, sooner rather than later, the "preemptive" U.S. invasion will be launched, the terror bombing of Baghdad will begin, and Iraqi blood will run like rivers over the sands.
The League for the Fourth International and its U.S. section, the Internationalist Group, call on the international working class to defend Iraq and fight to defeat the imperialist war, "at home" and abroad. The U.S. "superpower" has decided to show off its military prowess by carrying out mass murder on a vast scale, hoping to intimidate the rest of the world (including its "allies") and grab direct control of the world's second-largest oil reserves. The war on Iraq is also a war on the workers, on black and Latino minorities, on immigrants and all those in the U.S. who produce the wealth while stock market speculators and corporate criminals rake off billions and the economy goes to hell.
It is a war to regiment the population for more war. This is capitalist carnage, the product of a boom-bust system which endlessly spawns war, racism and poverty. Today, U.S. rulers use endless incantations of "September 11," hoping to befuddle the population and whip up bloodlust.
The "free but responsible" media marches in lockstep to war. But no matter how much they censor the news from Baghdad, as the cruise missile show on TV is replaced by images of soldiers' body bags, opposition to the war will increase. Many will see that the "glory" of an empire that sucks the lifeblood of the peoples of the world while keeping total control over the oil spigot means misery for the Iraqi masses, and wholesale attacks on the working class in the U.S.
It is urgently necessary to mobilize opposition to this impending slaughter. But on what program? Already 400,000 marched in London and a million and a half demonstrated around Italy against the war on Iraq. On October 26, a protest has been called in Washington, D.C. to "stop the war before it begins" (as if it ever ended).
In the coming weeks, tens and hundreds of thousands will join in antiwar demonstrations where they will hear moral appeals from clergymen, slippery speeches by bourgeois "dove" politicians politely dissenting from their "hawk" colleagues, empty rhetoric from union bureaucrats who will do nothing that could endanger the capitalist system which they support. There will be a sprinkling of would-be socialists on the podium - often in the guise of one or another "campaign," "coalition" or "mobilization" - to piece off the left and keep impatient youth in line. What they will not say is that the bloodbath won't be stopped with peace parades and appeals to "conscience." Calls for a more "humane" foreign policy or a multilateral approach are hogwash: the warmongers in Washington will not be swayed by appeals or opinion polls, they must be defeated. As opposed to bourgeois pacifism, we communists call instead for class war against the imperialist war.
U.S. Plans to Nuke Iraqi "Bunkers"
U.S. troops in chemical warfare suits during 1991 Gulf War.
The invasion of this impoverished, semi-colonial country is as blatant an imperialist aggression as there has been since Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in 1935. The murderous rampages of a tin-pot strongman like Saddam Hussein are nothing compared to the devastation that is about to be unleashed by the real "Butcher of Baghdad," who is sitting in the White House. Washington is carrying out this carnage not because of a mythical Iraqi "threat" but because U.S. imperialism needs this war to enforce its world hegemony.
In 1999, Democrat Clinton bombed hospitals in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in the name of "human rights" for Kosovo. Last year Republican Bush conquered Afghanistan, using the indiscriminate September 11 attack on the World Trade Center as an excuse.
Today Bush II is preparing a new "Desert Slaughter" against Iraq, to "finish the job" that Bush I left undone in the first Gulf War. And tomorrow? The endless "war on terror" proclaimed by the U.S. will be a prelude to a third imperialist world war - in which the ultimate targets are its Japanese and European allies and rivals, who are naturally less than enthusiastic about the impending Iraq attack.
In the diplomatic horse-trading, the Europeans, Russians and Chinese in the UN Security Council want to dispatch "inspectors" to Iraq to look for "weapons of mass destruction." (The Bush administration has gone into "thwart mode" to block this, since all its scare talk of "WMD" in Hussein's hands is purely a pretext - sucker-bait for "lily-livered liberals" and the like - and it doesn't want anything to delay its planned attack.)
It should be clear that such inspections are nothing but spying on the victim of the upcoming imperialist attack. The U.S. now claims that Iraq "expelled" UN inspectors in November 1998, whereas the reality is that the UN withdrew them in order to make way for the U.S. bombing of Baghdad that December, code-named "Desert Fox" after the nickname for World War II German general Rommel.
Iraq complained at the time that the inspectors were secretly funneling information for the U.S. It was later revealed that this is exactly what happened, as CIA and NSA agents disguised as "UNSCOM" inspectors placed an elaborate electronic eavesdropping system in key sites which was then used to guide U.S. bombers.
The claims of "legality" for the various "sanctions," "inspections" and other measures against Iraq are ludicrous. The so-called "no-fly zones," prohibiting Iraqi aircraft and allowing NATO warplanes over two-thirds of the country, were simply decreed by the U.S. and Britain. The UN "sanctions" cut off and then severely limited Iraqi oil exports, while prohibiting the importation of medical supplies and vitally needed machinery to restore electrical plants and waterworks systematically bombed by the U.S.-led "coalition" in the first Gulf War.
The resulting toll has been more than 1.5 million Iraqi dead from preventable diseases, among them a million children, in addition to the 200,000 killed in the U.S. attacks on Baghdad, Basra and other cities. For the past dozen years, Iraq, once the most prosperous and literate country in the Near East, has been driven into dire poverty by the UN sanctions regime. Now Bush and his poodle, British prime minister Tony Blair, are getting ready to blast the country again, deepening the misery and taking untold lives. And the U.S. war planners expect the Iraqis to stand on their rooftops and welcome the "Allied" bombers as "liberators"!
Opponents of imperialism must reject demands for "inspection" and oppose all UN "sanctions" against Iraq, which are nothing but punishment of the Hussein regime and the Iraqi people for losing the 1990-91 Gulf War. U.S. imperialism has huge quantities of nuclear weapons (which it used on Japan) as well as of chemical and biological weapons (used in carpet-bombing Vietnam) - not to mention the radioactive "depleted uranium" shells it has rained on Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.
So does its ally Israel. The fact is that if Iraq really had nuclear weapons, which it has every right to, this would serve as a deterrent to a U.S. invasion. Bush charges that Hussein has "used chemical weapons on its own people." What the U.S. war propaganda leaves out is that Iraq used mustard gas, VX and other C-weapons during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war with the full knowledge of the United States, which armed Iraq, supplied it with satellite photos of Iranian positions and had on-site battlefield observers. While the existence of this clandestine program was reported by the New York Times (18 August) in a dispatch that was quickly forgotten, the Times neglected to mention that the United States also supplied Iraq with "seed chemicals" to jump-start its chemical weapons program.
The cynicism of the U.S. rulers knows no limit. While endlessly proclaiming that it is "advancing democracy," after imposing an imperialist protectorate on Afghanistan, whose puppet "president" Karzai is guarded by U.S.-contracted mercenaries, the White House is preparing to impose a U.S. military occupation government on Iraq that will be in place for years. General Tommy Franks "would assume the role that Gen. McArthur served in Japan after its surrender in 1945" (New York Times, 11 October) - that is, he would be an all-powerful dictator over the Iraqis' destinies.
This is what is euphemistically known as "regime change" in the Orwellian language of Bush-speak. Meanwhile, amid all the talk of Hussein's hypothetical "weapons of mass destruction," the fact is that the Pentagon is preparing to use "tactical" nuclear weapons on Iraq. The U.S. News & World Report (22 July 2002) revealed:
"The Pentagon's nuclear priesthood believes an earth-penetrating nuclear bomb might be used to destroy underground bunkers . This dramatic shift in nuclear policy is the most recent evidence of a new Bush administration military strategy that contemplates pre-emptive first strikes - and even the remote possibility of using nuclear weapons - against outlaw states such as Iraq."
Just as the German Nazis used the Spanish Civil War to try out their Messerschmidt and Junker warplanes by dive-bombing Republican columns and obliterating Guernica, the Yankee imperialists want to test-drive their nukes in the Iraqi desert and on Iraqi cities.
Don't forget the more than 400 women and children killed in the U.S. "surgical" bombing of the Al Amiriya air raid shelter with a U.S. GBU-27 "bunker buster" in 1991.
Absolutely nobody among the movers and shakers in Washington believes the government's stated reason for the war. Even the CIA admitted, in declassified sections of a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee, that the Iraqi regime is "drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks" against the U.S., that the chances of Hussein initiating an attack with weapons of mass destruction were "low" if unprovoked but "high" if Iraq is invaded (New York Times, 9 October 2002).
The forces that have most actively pushed for a war on Iraq are practically a caricature of "Daddy Warbucks" weapons manufacturers, military construction firms and oil millionaires extending into the White House. They think war will be great for business, and may even pull the Dow Jones stock index out of its downward spiral. Spokesmen for the Bush administration assure journalists that the fighting will all be over in a matter of two weeks to two months. The Congressional Budget Office estimates three months, at a cost of $44 billion (Wall Street Journal, 1 October 2002).
Those who are counting on a cakewalk and getting war on the cheap may be sorely surprised, but even if the U.S. military force is able to overwhelm all resistance, an imperialist occupation of the country would drag on for years.
(Where Bush I got NATO and Japan to cough up the cash to pay for the war, Bush II intends to pay for it with money siphoned off of Iraqi oil production - kind of a "leveraged buyout" on a grand scale.)
The fight to defeat the imperialist war drive must be waged not only in Iraq but internationally, in particular in the imperialist countries, notably the United States. Asked why the administration's drive for war suddenly went into high gear in September, coinciding with the kick-off of the fall election campaign, the White House chief of staff cynically replied: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." The White House took the measure of the Democratic leaders, who predictably roll over and play dead when accused of being soft on Saddam. But those who think that marketing war is just like selling toothpaste could get a rude awakening from the very people they think they are hoodwinking. Popular support for this war is very thin and can be broken.
Attack on Iraq: Trigger for New World War
The Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International (IG/LFI) warned last year, in calling to defeat the U.S. assault on Afghanistan, that Bush's "war on terror" is a prelude to a new inter-imperialist war:
"Just as the Balkan
wars of 1908-1913 fed into and touched off World War I, just as the
Spanish Civil War, Japan's invasion of China and Italian imperialism's
war on Ethiopia (Abysinnia) prepared World War II, the U.S.-led imperialist
wars over the last decade against Iraq, Yugoslavia and now Afghanistan
point to a third imperialist world conflagration growing out of the
heightened rivalries between the major capitalist powers."
The second war on Iraq sharply escalates this drive to world war, particularly over the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive strikes." Combined with growing inter-imperialist economic tensions it could trigger spiraling clashes between the "great powers," in which erstwhile allies from the anti-Soviet war drive increasingly become enemies.
While various reformist left papers - People's Weekly World (CPUSA), Socialist Worker (ISO), and Workers World (WWP) - have reported the horrors of the Gulf War and the martyrdom of the Iraqi people under a dozen years of UN sanctions (while conveniently leaving out their own treacherous role in blocking with the Democratic liberals who first called for sanctions), they pass over lightly the wider dimensions of the new war on Iraq.
The U.S. imperialists' war aims go far beyond seizing the Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization" and its oil riches. Last year, U.S. vice president Cheney declared that the open-ended "war on terror" would last the lifetime of most adults.
Now the U.S. administration has unveiled a new military doctrine calling for "pre-emptive strikes" against perceived enemies of U.S. imperialism. "America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed," - Bush's National Security Strategy announced in September. Proclaiming a "single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise," the strategy talks of "the possible renewal of old patterns of great power competition" and "aggression from other great powers," declaring "that the President has no intention of allowing any foreign power to catch up with the huge lead the United States has opened since the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago" (quoted in the New York Times, 21 September 2002). Written at Bush's insistence in macho language so it could be understood by "the boys in Lubbock" (Texas), the document states: "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."
This is clearly not referring to Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Afghan Taliban, the conglomeration of Islamic "holy warriors" Washington has dubbed "Al Qaeda," or any of the other countries currently listed on Bush's "axis of evil." Rather, it is aimed at the Chinese bureaucratically deformed workers state, the capitalist Russia that emerged from the collapse of the USSR, and the European NATO imperialists who bridle at Washington's arrogant behavior. In a thinly veiled call for counterrevolution, the national security strategy document declares that "China's leaders have not yet made the next series of fundamental choices about the character of their state" and warns Beijing against pursuing "advanced military capabilities that can threaten its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region." We have repeatedly warned that the U.S. imperialists are hell-bent on destroying the remaining deformed workers states (China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam) along the road to a third imperialist world war. Ultimately, Washington fears the economic powerhouse of West Europe united with a resurgent Russia with its military/nuclear capabilities and tremendous oil and gas resources.
This is not a new obsession. For decades during the anti-Soviet Cold War, the U.S. was able to keep the other imperialist powers in line by emphasizing the need for a common front against the "threat of Communism." The Soviet workers state, born of the October 1917 Revolution led by Lenin and Trotsky, was a conquest of the world proletariat which Trotskyists tenaciously defended, even after its bureaucratic degeneration under Stalin and his heirs with their conservative nationalist dogma of "socialism in one country." The very existence of the USSR also made it difficult for Washington to simply sweep away various Soviet-allied "Third World" nationalist regimes. No more. As the Soviet-bloc regimes were crumbling under the relentless economic and military pressure of imperialism, a collapse that was prepared by the treacherous policies of "peaceful coexistence" pursued by the sell-out Stalinist bureaucracies, George Bush Sr. proclaimed the "death of Communism" and the birth of a New World Order at the time of the first Gulf War. But while the United States emerged as the "sole superpower," a U.S. dominated New Order has not been nailed down. Instead, the post-Soviet world has been marked by rampant disorder, with raging nationalist bloodletting and repeated imperialist wars.
Bush Jr. is the front man for the team of Cold Warriors who led the assault on the Soviet Union under Bush Sr. and who now vow to establish a global American Reich. U.S. military forces are now stationed in more than 130 countries around the world. Their purpose was summed up in a document ("Defense Strategy for the 1990's") written in January 1993 by Dick Cheney, then U.S. secretary of war, which is the precursor to the Bush strategy doctrine. The central focus of the Cheney document was "to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests" (defined as Europe, East Asia, the Middle East/Persian Gulf and Latin America) and to "strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the United States and our allies." The "unilateralism" of the second government of the Bush dynasty was already laid out in this document, which declares that the U.S. must not "allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms." Earlier drafts of the Cheney document were developed by a team led by Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby and Eric Edelman, who are once again the "defense" ideologues of Bush II.
This strategic orientation of U.S. imperialism is behind Washington's supreme indifference to whether it has the support of the UN or an international "coalition" for its war on Iraq. The Bush gang want to demonstrate to one and all that they can go it alone, the rest of the world be damned. The United States doesn't need Persian Gulf oil, which supplies barely 12 percent of American consumption; Europe and Japan do, and U.S. rulers want to make it clear that they can turn off Near Eastern energy supplies at will.
At the same time, the Bush administration proclaims the virtue of "free trade" while slapping protectionist tariffs on steel imports and maintaining huge subsidies to American agribusiness. This has caused consternation among its NATO allies. French president Jacques Chirac has dug in his heels over Washington's demand for a one-shot UN Security Council resolution authorizing war on Iraq. German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder just won re-election by loudly declaring he would not join an Iraq invasion, whether or not it is authorized by the United Nations. This is simply posturing, for in the end they will go along with the action demanded by the U.S. But the European imperialists are not just worried about being frozen out of a post-invasion Iraqi oil bonanza. They understand that the Bush doctrine is aimed at them.
In the United States, West Europe and other imperialist countries, the "war on terrorism" has been accompanied by a dramatic escalation of police-state repression, as we warned immediately following last year's September 11 attack (see the IG statement, "U.S. Whips Up Imperialist War Frenzy, Drives Toward Police State" [14 September 2001] reprinted in The Internationalist No. 12, Fall 2001). The Bush regime wants to use this war as a wedge to attack trade-union rights while establishing military tribunals for "aliens" and even U.S. citizens it labels enemies, ordering indefinite detention without charge, hundreds of thousands of deportations and blatant racial profiling for immigrants, carrying out massive electronic spying, introducing pervasive "security" measures and establishing a "unified military command" with the authority to deploy the armed forces against the domestic population. The government - with the full participation of the Democrats, who first called for a "Homeland (Fatherland) Security" department - is consciously laying the basis for rule by state of siege. ...
... The idea that the United Nations can bring the U.S. dogs of war to heel is just the kind of deception of the people that Lenin warned against. This feeds into the call of Democratic Party politicians who want more UN "inspections," counterposing the "war on terror" to Bush's war on Saddam Hussein. There is no counterposition, the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same war and the task of UN "inspectors" will be to set it off. UN sanctions set the stage for the first Gulf War and have continued to impoverish and murder the Iraqi people ever since. From the Korean War to the war on Yugoslavia, the United Nations has served as a cover for aggression by U.S. imperialism.
Now, whatever its outcome, a new UN "debate" will again lead to untold death and destruction in the Near East, not only in Iraq but also in Palestine. Israeli rulers led by the butcher Ariel Sharon are chomping at the bit to carry out mass expulsions of the Arab population from their lands in the West Bank and Gaza (euphemistically called "transfer" by the Zionists) the minute the first U.S. bomb drops on Baghdad. Revolutionaries demand an end to all sanctions and inspections of Iraq and that all U.S. and UN forces get out of the Near East, now!
If it is grotesque to ask the UN to bring the U.S. to order, it is no less absurd to call on the European imperialists to rein in the American "cowboys," as many liberals and reformists on the Old Continent do. Ignacio Ramonet, the leader of ATTAC, the French bourgeois "anti-globalization" umbrella organization, wrote recently in Le Monde Diplomatique (October 2002):-
"An empire doesn't have allies, it only has vassals. Most of the states of the European Union seem to have forgotten this historical reality. Before our eyes, under pressure from Washington, which has obliged them to enroll in its war on Iraq, countries which are in principle sovereign have allowed themselves to be reduced to the sorry condition of satellites."
Ramonet goes on to explicitly appeal to NATO to block "this first war of the new imperial era." He calls on "Europe" to "block the military instrument, NATO, which Washington is counting on for its imperial expansion and whose use is subject to the vote of the European states."
But these fellow imperialists already have their hands covered with blood from the wars on Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, wars that Ramonet neglects to mention because they were largely supported, to one degree or another, by the "anti-globalizers," and they are not about to become a force for "peace." By joining with such forces and appeals, various European pseudo-Trotskyists such as the French Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) are lining up with their own bourgeoisies, as the social democrats did in World War I.
... U.S. seizure of Iraq could set off roiling unrest threatening decrepit "old regimes" that have a tenuous grip on power in many predominantly Muslim countries. While reactionary Islamic fundamentalist forces will seek to profit from this, they do not have a monopoly on opposition to these deeply corrupt regimes. Where the war sparks broad social unrest, proletarian internationalist forces would seek to intervene with a program to pose the struggle along class lines.
In Algeria, the revolt of secular youth and minority populations that swept Berber regions last year has been quieted but not eliminated - witness the recent mass boycott of the regime's phony elections in Kabylia.
In Pakistan, trade-union opposition to the U.S.-allied military dictatorship of General Musharraf has frequently clashed with Islamist jihadis ("holy warriors"). In Turkey there are sizeable leftist-led unions and numerous self-proclaimed socialist groups. In Indonesia, where shadowy military cliques allied with Muslim fundamentalists are trying to destabilize the shaky Megawati government with terrorist provocations, the opposition labor movement that helped bring down the Suharto dictatorship is restive. ...
This is the classic "butter instead of guns" rhetoric of social-chauvinists whose real concern is the domestic costs of the war - which hinder their class-collaborationist schemes - and who would not dare to take a stand on the side of the working people of Iraq, who are once again to be the victims of monstrous war crimes that the U.S. is gearing up to commit.
Moreover, this motion (and a similar one by the San Francisco Labor Council) would never have been passed but for the fact that the local Democratic Party had come out against the war. The fact that Democrats in the House of Representatives voted 126-81 against the war powers resolution is indicative of the divided opinion in the country. (Recent polls show barely 51 percent for the war, falling to 33 percent if there are 5,000 casualties - so much for the premature announcement of the death of the "Vietnam Syndrome.") But the House Democrats "took pains to describe their vote as not simply a pacifist protest against all military action, but rather a difference of opinion on the need for an international force versus unilateral action" (New York Times, 11 October). Rather than an "open-ended 'war on terrorism'," they want a more "focused" war arguing that the main enemy is Bin Laden, not Hussein. We say the enemy is U.S. imperialism, which is by far the most murderous terrorist force around. ...
[TVOTW NOTE: The above article is a revealing dissertation as to the actions, conduct and culpability on the part of the current and preceding U.S. administrations in relation to foreign and domestic policy, acts of terrorism by the U.S. and the fallout therefrom.
However - TVOTW does not foresee any remedy to the plight of the world community by entertaining the type of political solution referred to by the authors of the above work.
FURTHER IMAGES - Iraq - 1991
TVOTW - ICOPO
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