. Supporters of the Communist Voice Organization participated in the October 26th anti-war
demo in Washington, D.C. and distributed 2,500 copies of the following leaflet, which appeared
under the Communist Voice masthead. The same article also appeared in Detroit Workers' Voice
#33 (October 16, 2002 revised version), published by the Detroit Marxist-Leninist Study Group,
and was reprinted in Communist Voice #30.
. The Bush administration is hell-bent on war with Iraq. Troops and equipment are being put in position and Congress, with the help of the Democratic leadership, has authorized Bush's war. The capitalist parties and the mainstream media portray this as a fight against terrorism, a fight against violating UN resolutions, a fight against weapons of mass destruction and a fight for democracy. But this is just a hypocritical cover story. The real issue behind the war is domination of the Middle East and its oil resources.
. On one side stands the U.S., the world's capitalist superpower. Its capitalist economy overall has an unquenchable thirst for oil. Also, the U.S. wants to increase its power over world oil markets. Thus it wants to safeguard its vast influence over the oil-rich Middle East as a whole. As a bonus, the U.S. oil monopolies would wind up with the huge Iraqi oil fields in their greedy hands should the U.S. oust Hussein. With this at stake, the Bush-Cheney gang doesn't give a damn how many bombs must be dropped, how many invasions have to be carried out, how many tyrannical regimes it has to back in the region, and how many lives of the workers must be sacrificed. The administration has spelled out their "might makes right" doctrine in their September "national security strategy" document in which they give the U.S. exclusive imperialist rights to "pre-emptively" invade any country it doesn't like and install a new regime.
.. On the other side is Saddam Hussein's regime. While the U.S. has been the one spoiling for a new bloodbath, this doesn't mean Hussein should be supported in the upcoming war. Hussein is a tyrant who wants to be the regional capitalist power-broker in the Middle East. He rules with an iron fist over the people in Iraq, including national oppression of the Kurds and discrimination against the Shia Muslims, the majority of the population. (Hussein is part of the Sunni Muslim minority. ) Just like Bush, Hussein cares not a whit about sacrificing the masses in savage wars of aggression. The U.S. victory in the first Gulf War and the ensuing 12 years of economic sanctions have devastated the Iraqi masses and left Hussein's military greatly weakened. But Hussein still dreams of being a regional predator.
. The conflict between the U.S. rulers and Hussein is between rival capitalist gangs, one already dominating the world and one seeking to impose itself in the Middle East. There are no noble U.S. aims in this war. It is a war to safeguard the profits of the U.S. corporations, to line the pockets of the same energy monopolies who plunder the masses here, to defend the world dominance of the U.S. business executives who have swindled the life savings of countless employees so they can have extra mansions and private jets. But it's the working masses, and mainly the Iraqi working masses, who will suffer and die in the war. The victims of capitalist oppression here will be sent to slaughter the victims of Hussein.
. To hell with the Bush-Cheney war crusade! It's time to take to the streets with militant protest.
In city after city across the U.S., demonstrations of thousands have already taken place, while
internationally actions have included massive protests of 250,000 people in London and 1. 5
million in Italy. Work to expose the imperialist nature and class interests behind the war
everywhere, but especially at workplaces and at working-class communities and schools.
Solidarity with the Iraq people against Hussein and Bush
. Instead of solidarity with our warmongers, we need solidarity with the Iraqi masses who have suffered both from U.S. imperialist policy and from Hussein. The U.S. wants to get rid of Hussein only to impose their own dictate, either through a military occupation regime or through rigging up a government of Iraqi exploiters that will be loyal to their U.S. overlords. Bush, the anti-worker friend of the oil magnates, says he's out to liberate the oppressed Iraqi people. But it's not the wishes of the downtrodden, but the needs of the U.S. empire that will hold sway should Bush topple Hussein. Already Bush has made clear he won't tolerate self-determination for the Kurds in Iraq who are part of an oppressed nation stretching into Turkey, Iran and other countries in the region. That's why Bush stated in his recent UN speech that Iraq must remain "united. " Among other things, Bush fears that if the Kurds in Iraq have the right to self-determination, this will upset the stability of Turkey, a long-time U.S. ally with a history of brutal repression against the struggle of the Kurds there. For Bush, it's the stability of imperialism in the region that counts, not the aspirations of 20 million Kurds.
. U.S. imperialism and Hussein offer only tragedies for the people. That's why liberation of the
Iraqi people can only come from their own revolutionary struggle. The only way out for the Iraqi
masses is to build their own independent opposition movement based on the needs of the toilers.
. Of course the Bush administration cannot rally mass support for the war if it admits what the real motivations are. So it has concocted a variety of phony pretenses. We are told that this is part of the "war on terrorism" and is justified by the horrors of 9/11. Bush has no evidence of any connection of the Iraqi regime and 9/11 however, nor any that Iraq is about to attack the United States. So his main argument is that we can't wait for real evidence since to do so would allow Iraq to prepare their attack! If there was evidence of an imminent Iraqi attack, however, there would be no more grounds to support the Bush-Cheney regime than there would be to support Hussein in the present situation where the war is being provoked by U.S. imperialism. It would still be a battle between rival bullies.
. Actually, the saber-rattling against Iraq is further evidence that the Bush administration has used the tragedy of 9/11 not to fight terrorism but to stomp on anyone it believes may interfere with its world empire. This includes unleashing war to settle accounts with rival oppressors like Hussein and backing terrorism against popular movements by countries it likes. The U.S. government seeks a monopoly on terrorism, not its end.
. The "war on terrorism" began in Afghanistan. There, two decades earlier the U.S. helped build up Islamic fundamentalists like bin Laden who then-president Reagan called "freedom fighters. " In the mid-90s, U.S. oil companies were flying representatives of the Taliban to Texas to try to make oil deals. The U.S. government didn't care about the horrors suffered by the Afghan people under them. Only when bin Laden turned on the U.S. did "our" capitalist rulers discover he and his Taliban hosts were bad terrorists. So the U.S. destroyed the Taliban regime and put in Karzai and the Northern Alliance. The new regime is dominated by fundamentalist oppressors and war criminals who assassinate each other. But that's OK for Bush-Cheney since they are friendly to the U.S.
. The "war on terrorism" is also the new excuse to back the terrorist attacks by Israel in the
occupied Palestinian territories. It's used for increasing military aid to help the Colombian
government and its paramilitary forces put down popular revolts and slaughter trade unionists.
As well, it's a pretense to send troops and military aid to the Philippines where the government
wants to wipe out movements opposing the abuses against the impoverished workers and
peasants and to put down an independence struggle among the discriminated-against Muslim
population. Rival reactionary regimes in North Korea and Iran are also in Bush's gunsights as
part of the "Axis of Evil" along with Iraq. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the war on terrorism is the
opportunity for the police-state long wished for by the conservatives around the Bush
administration. Thus, the war on Iraq is not about fighting terrorism, but is another chapter in
Weapons of mass destruction and UN resolutions
. Bush says he's fighting weapons of mass destruction. But just as with the question of terrorism, he's only against weapons of mass destruction when they might be used against U.S. interests. The U.S. itself has stockpiled a vast nuclear arsenal, and it has never renounced first-strike use of them. As well, it has been developing "little nukes" to increase the possibilities for using nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strikes plus eternal massive military superiority will likely spur other countries to begin revamping their own arsenals with ever more deadly weapons.
. U.S. imperialism has also helped Israel develop a major nuclear arsenal. Israeli officials are already pledging that they will retaliate against Iraq if Iraq should strike them in the upcoming hostilities, and there's a good deal of talk in the bourgeois press that this could involve nuclear weapons. Israeli prime minister Sharon, architect of the massacre of 1,200 Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatilla camps in 1982, has never been reluctant to use the most extreme measures.
. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the U.S. spurred on the massive bloodletting on each side so each country would be weakened and couldn't challenge U.S. domination in the region. This included warming up to Saddam Hussein, shipping him deadly biological and chemical agents, and looking the other way when Iraq used them against Iran and against the Kurds in Iraq.
. Today Bush raves against Iraq's arsenal. True, to create war fever, Bush often makes accusations for which he has no evidence or that are contradicted by his own intelligence agencies. Still, whatever the extent of the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in Iraq, Hussein has shown he is intent on pursuing them. This is terrible, but it's also terrible that many other capitalist regimes have or covet such weapons. Indeed, U.S. friends Pakistan and India periodically threaten to nuke each other. So the threat of using unconventional weapons comes not just from Iraq, but the U.S., Israel and many others. If Bush singles out Iraq, it's only because it is considered a thorn in the side of U.S. domination of Middle East oil and because it has survived a war with the U.S. It should also be noted that while Bush creates hysteria that Iraq will use such weapons in a first strike against the U.S., Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is one of first-strike with a crushing arsenal of modern and devastating weapons.
. Bush never tires of listing all the Iraqi violations of UN resolutions concerning weapons
inspections and other matters. Once again, hypocrisy reigns. Bush himself has declared that if the
UN happens to disagree with the whims of his stand on Iraq or any other U.S. policy, the U.S.
will ignore the UN. And this despite the fact that the U.S. and other big powers dominate the UN.
Nor does the Bush administration care about any other international treaties. It quit the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, it bullied other countries to win itself exemption from the
International Criminal Court, it abandoned the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, etc.
Meanwhile, Israel violates UN resolutions on Palestinian rights for decades and the U.S. doesn't
care. For Bush, international law is something only his enemies are obligated to obey, not his
administration and its allies. And this despite the fact that international law is written by the
imperialist diplomats. We can have no faith in international law while the world is dominated by
the capitalist powers.
Disagreements with other imperialists
. Bush's war drive has been cheered on by Britain's Tony Blair, but the governments in France,
Germany, and Russia are among the many voicing concerns with Bush's unilateral war drive.
They want any war to be multilateralist, and reflect their own interests as well, rather than simply
be a tool of U.S. influence. So they might reach a compromise with Bush in the UN. Even if they
don't, the UN won't stay Bush's hand if he acts alone. Neither the European powers nor the UN
are going to eliminate the threat of war. The friction with the European governments isn't
anywhere near the boiling point, but it isn't going away either. Should the war on Iraq turn into a
fiasco, or should the U.S. not share the spoils of conquest with the other imperialists, these
frictions could develop further. But it's not the European bourgeoisie, but the European working
masses marching in the streets, who really help bolster the fight against imperialist war.
The Democrats: another party of imperialism
. While Bush and Cheney clamor for war, the Congressional Democrats are jumping on the war chariot. The Democratic leadership in the House and Senate helped push through Bush's resolution allowing him to unilaterally attack Iraq without UN approval. As for the most of the rest of the Democrats, their opposition to the Bush proposal was that the U.S. should not yet give Bush authority for unilateral war because this will interfere in winning allies for the U.S. crusade against Iraq. As Al Gore recently stated, Bush needs to "build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion. " Indeed, Gore praised Bush I's oil war except for the fact that it failed to depose Hussein. Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who championed this position in the Congressional debate, was careful to promise that should the UN fail to disarm Hussein, Congress could then pass other legislation authorizing Bush's war.
. What about the most liberal Democrats? Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, California introduced House Concurrent Resolution 473 in Congress as an alternative to the other warmongering proposals. The resolution calls for UN weapons inspections and other "peaceful" means to disarm Hussein. It doesn't mention what to do if that fails, but it only denounces "unilateral military action", thus hinting that war with a coalition would be OK. As well, in writing about her resolution, Lee says she favors "containment and inspections [which] have worked and can work in the future. " (San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 27, 2002) What is this "containment" she refers to? Is it a nice wonderful peace policy? Actually, "containment" was the policy of the Clinton administration. It involved starving the Iraqi people with sanctions, maintaining the U.S. military's "no fly zones" over huge areas of Iraq and periodically bombing Iraq when Hussein didn't meet the demands of UN or U.S. arms inspectors. Indeed, Clinton's policy took the U.S. to the brink of out-and-out war with Iraq and always reserved the right to do so. This isn't a policy for lasting peace, only an alternative way of ruining the Iraqi people.
. The rotten stand of the Democrats is not only due to being afraid of being labeled traitors by
Bush. The more fundamental reason is that Bush's unilateralism and the loyal opposition's
multilateralism both proceed from common class goals. Both hold that the U.S. has every right to
dominate the Middle East, both agree that it's fine to use U.S. military might to safeguard this
domination, and both could care less about the consequences to the Iraqi people. In short, both
policies are imperialist to the core.
Anti-imperialism and the anti-war movement
. The Democrats and Republicans, the establishment hawks and doves, would like to confine the debate to the best way to maintain the U.S. empire. They both support a gigantic military machine and the right of the multinational corporations to exploit the world. But it's not Congress, but the mass movement that is the real force against Bush's war. It's the masses who suffer from the war to maintain the rights of the corporations to rape the world, and from the profiteering of these corporations inside the U.S. It's the working masses who must be rallied into action. This means not only calling protests, but developing an anti-imperialist and class consciousness among the masses. It means using the war crisis to show the class divide that separates the masses from the supporters of imperialism, whether unilateralists like Bush and Rumsfeld or multilateralists like many Democrats, many European politicians, and the UN leadership. Such a perspective doesn't fret about the U.S. empire becoming weaker, but sides with the oppressed classes around the world who rise up against U.S. imperialism, against local tyrants, and against neo-liberal exploitation. Every step forward in this recognition of the class gulf between the masses and the imperialists will strengthen the anti-war movement immensely. And it will move us a bit closer to the day when the working class here overcomes its present disarray and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
Last changed on December 15, 2002.