Revolutionary Worker #1190, March 9, 2003, posted at http://rwor.org
We are in the rapids. Powerful forces in Washington are clearly determined to launch this war. And this moment demands that millions of people respond with an even more powerful determination to resist.
The Revolutionary Worker salutes all those who manifest bold resistance to this war on the National Moratorium to Stop the War on March 5 and in the days ahead.
The people of Iraq are standing in the crosshairs of the "Shock and Awe" bombing plans--while U.S. war planners rev up the troops, plot the occupation, and secretly plan to carve up Iraqi oil reserves.
And, in the global arena of public opinion, the warmakers are now pulling out the stops. They are pumping out rivers of war-time disinformation--to portray themselves as "liberators" and to demonize anyone who opposes them. We can expect them to manufacture incidents and rumors to generate a war fever on their "homeland."
The U.S. government has been stung by its isolation--both from the governments and people of the world. They are looking for Iraqis who welcome and endorse their invasion. And U.S. agents are ruthlessly arm-twisting governments all over the world.
Their so-called "coalition of the willing" is truly "a coalition of the bullied and the bought."
The world was forced to watch the ugly bartering between the U.S. and Turkey's oppressive government--haggling over how many billions of dollars Turkey needed to join an invasion of its southern neighbor. While the U.S. demanded permission to use Turkish bases, airspace and troops, Turkey's ambitious ruling class demanded their cut of the spoils -- including a slice of Iraq's northern oil production.
Then there is the hour-by-hour drama of the United Nations Security Council-- where the U.S. is seeking to pound together approval for a pro-war resolution.
The extortion used against Angola, an African country on the Security Council, is a raw example: After 1975 the U.S. government poured military and financial support behind UNITA, a brutal, contra- style, anti-government force, and helped plunge the country into 15 years of civil war. Angola was left in ruins--hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and a million desperate people live as refugees. Now, after all this, the U.S. hints it may provide funds needed for reconstruction --but only if Angola's government votes to give the U.S. permission to devastate yet another third world country.
It is not just the world's poorest countries like Angola or Guinea that are being arm- twisted to support this war. Britain's Tony Blair often pauses in his hyped moralist speeches to coldly argue that only by standing at the side of the U.S. in whatever wars it launches can Britain maintain global influence in the future. France, Germany and Russia publicly oppose this war, but they feel heavy pressure from the U.S. gangster logic of "with us or against us." Few ruling classes in the world are eager to piss off the world's only superpower -- and virtually all of them are vying and shoving for the best place within any "new world order."
If the U.S. wins approval for a UN war resolution, it will not be "the voice of the world community"--it will be an ugly victory of the most naked bourgeois power politics.
The U.S. government wants to make this war seem like an inevitable and "liberating" thing. And it is all the more important for us to keep a firm grip on what this war is for and why it must be opposed.
First of all, this war would be a great injustice against the people of Iraq. For its predatory purposes, the U.S. government is willing to batter the Iraqi people again, shatter their cities, and decide what their future will be.
The public justifications of this war are rooted in colonial logic--on the outrageous idea that this superpower has the right to pick the rulers of other countries. It is openly said that third world countries like Iraq have no right to self-defense and self-determination--if the U.S. chooses, they are to be disarmed and ruled by military conquerers.
Second, it is important to peel away the layers of rhetoric and uncover the larger purposes this war serves for those running the U.S. empire and what this war will mean for the people of that surrounding region and the world.
The real, underlying motives for this war are imperialistic--they are about using a moment of military supremacy to promote U.S. domination in the world. If the U.S. succeeds in crushing Iraq's defiance--it will only be emboldened to threaten and bully many more countries.
In addition, the U.S. also wants to cement its control over this whole Persian Gulf region-- with its highly strategic oil production and reserves. This is not only, or even mainly, to make more money off oil or to secure more petroleum for wasteful domestic consumption. Control over Persian Gulf oil would make the U.S. better able to control all those people and countries that rely on Persian Gulf oil-- including much of the third world and major powers like France, Germany and Japan.
This is a power move intended to help cement the U.S. position of "sole superpower" for decades to come--and preemptively make it difficult for rival powers to challenge U.S. domination.
In short: a U.S. victory over Iraq would have a profound impact on the future for billions of people, including on how the labor of working people is exploited, on where the wealth of the planet flows, on who is served by the governments and armies of the world.
And, for that reason, such a victory would be deeply against the interests of the people of the whole world. And it will not become "better" or "supportable" if there are adjustments in how it is waged or who joins in.
Let's be clear: It is the antiwar resistance that represents the interests of the people of the world, not the United Nations.
It is important to grasp that this war would still be totally illegitimate --even if the U.S. coldly arm-twists a pro-war resolution (or a dozen resolutions) from the UN security council.
This war would be unjust and colonialist--even if the rulers of France, Russia or Germany all climb onto the warwagon, in hopes of a slice of the action.
This war would remain unjustified-- even if the UN inspections provide the invaders with some "trigger for war" (which is what the U.S. demanded of them from the beginning). In fact this war would be illegitimate even if Hans Blix puts on a powder-blue helmet and personally helped launch the American cruise missiles.
This war would be wrong if the U.S. finds powerful domestic Iraqi forces to welcome the conquerors--and even if the TV cameras can find Iraqi crowds confused, frightened or hungry enough to wave U.S. flags in public.
This war would be just wrong, period, because its goals are unjust, and because the stabilization of a new pro-U.S. Iraqi regime will help tighten an oppressive grip on billions of people all over the world. And the vast majority of people in the U.S. have no interest in supporting this war.
We are at a moment of ends and beginnings.
The White House clearly intends to end the buildup and start the war.
Millions of people around the world-- and in the U.S.--have launched a huge project of resistance and protest.
The U.S. ruling class is hard-core and determined--it thinks it is invincible and it thinks this is "the moment" to remake the world. But wars begun by oppressive governments can be ended by the people.
Two weeks ago, a young revolutionary communist wrote in theRW :
"As they line up their forces for invasion, we have to develop a dynamic resistance. Not just keeping on in the face of adversity, but seeing the potential in a changing line-up, in millions of allies emerging from unexpected corners of society. Not simply persevering, but stepping it up, finding daring new ways to inspire those still on the sidelines and send a message of love to the people of the world. Definitely not buying their arrogant bully's stance, meant to intimidate, but resisting and ridiculing these bloodstained `evil-doers' for daring to lay claim to our beautiful planet. Exposing them for the global power fiends they are. Now is a time for heroes. For self-sacrifice and determination to bring to bear all the fighting strength, accumulated understanding, love and passion of millions.
"Now is also a time for clarity. A time not to be thrown or lose sight of the glimmer of a different future, even as they bring down heavy destruction and try to break our fighting spirit. We will keep our heads up, because we can see a better world emerging within our struggles-- because we know who really represents the future, and who is just clawing madly to extend and tighten their brutal grip."
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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