. The following article is from Detroit Workers' Voice #41, July 1, 2004.
(CV #34, August 25, 2004)
. On June 28, Bush announced that the U.S. occupation of Iraq had ended and the country was now sovereign. What a lie! The massive U.S. military occupation remains. The U.S. with UN help, not the Iraqi people, picked the new government. The new Iraqi leader, Iyad Allawi, has been a long-time CIA operative. And the Bush administration has set in place an army of U.S. advisors and U.S. -appointed Iraqi bureaucrats to run governmental affairs behind the scenes.
. But all this should come as no surprise. Bush has never told the truth about the war and occupation. He said it was about weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda that didn't exist. He claimed it was about liberating the Iraqi people. Only it turns out that instead of liberating the people, the U.S. occupation was turning Abu Ghraib prison into its own torture chambers and generally terrorizing the populace. What's true is this: Saddam Hussein's tyranny was replaced by a new tyranny. It was replaced by a new tyranny because the U.S. motive was not liberation but insuring that a class of billionaires who run the U.S. continue to exert their control over oil resources in the Middle East. Hussein, the former U.S. friend, had become a threat to U.S. domination in the region. For the U.S. capitalist rulers, the issue was U.S. power, not helping downtrodden Iraqis.
. The Iraqi workers and poor are boiling with rage at the U.S. occupation and the more the occupation has tried to crush their opposition, the stronger the revolt has grown. With anti-occupation sentiment so high, the U.S. military's attempts to wipe out the guerrilla movement has been a debacle, as evidenced in their abandoning attempts to control the city of Fallujah. But in their struggle for liberation and democracy, the Iraqi workers not only face the U.S. military occupation but their Iraqi class oppressors. Part of the Iraqi elite has thrown in their lot with the occupation and its "sovereignty" scheme. As well, there are those ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists trends who, unfortunately, dominate the leadership of the armed resistance. They fight the occupation to impose their own brutal rule. The bombings of civilians and similar atrocities are indefensible and a sign of the reactionary nature of such trends.
. In order to best support the Iraqi masses, workers and activists here need a class approach. We need to support the workers in Iraq getting organized in their own interests.
. And a class stand is needed in relation to U.S. politics. For the rich here, the debate is over the
best way to keep Iraq under imperialist control. Bush's "unilateral" policies have been a fiasco
while Kerry claims he can do better by beefing up the military presence and getting more
"multilateral" aid from international imperialism. We need a different framework. This
framework is based on opposing imperialist interests, no matter whether it is the Republican or
Democratic party version. We demand U.S. out of Iraq now! We need to target not only Bush,
but the system of imperialism built to insure vast riches for a class of business tycoons. Let's
encourage the mass disgust with Bush. But let's not allow this anger to be bogged down in the
capitalist debate over whether Bush or Kerry has the best imperialist policy. The working masses
need the truth about the imperialist politicians and their own independent class politics.
U.S. control assured under the banner of "sovereignty"
. While crowing about the new "sovereign" Iraq, the Bush administration has made sure that the U.S. will continue to call the shots behind the scenes. The Iraqi people had no say in choosing this government. It was rigged up by the U.S. and the UN. They not only appointed CIA agent Iyad Allawi to lead it, but decided which Iraqis would fill the government ministries. And an army of U.S. bureaucrats will be working in the ministries as overseers, just in case Iraqi officials attempt something imperialism doesn't like. Indeed, the new U.S. embassy will be a virtual shadow government, employing 1,300 Americans and 2,000 Iraqis, more than double the number of civilian officials employed by the U.S. -led Coalition Provisional Authority.
. All important aspects of governance will be subject to U.S. interference. For example, according to information in a Wall St. Journal article of May 13 and other establishment papers:
. * The U.S. military will remain dominant over Iraq. U.S. authorities promise to consult with their hand-picked puppets about military operations, but also promise they will have final say as to what U.S. forces do.
. * According to an edict issued by out-going Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) leader L. Paul Bremer in March, "operational control" of all Iraqi forces will be in the hands of senior U.S. commanders. So the U.S. will still decide where and when Iraqi forces are used.
. * Supposedly the Iraqi interim government can tell U.S. forces to leave, but Allawi has already said he won't and the U.S. has made clear it's not going to be bound by anything the Iraqi interim government says in military affairs. In fact, the U.S. insists that all decrees issued by the CPA regarding the military are still in effect, including one giving immunity to U.S. military and civilian personnel from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
. * The U.S. insists that CPA-issued laws on all other matters also continues in effect under the new "independent" government. Non-military laws supposedly could be altered, but this has been made very difficult.
. * The out-going CPA appointed cooperative Iraqis to powerful posts or commissions in each ministry. They serve 5-year terms which means they'll continue to exert influence for years after elections are supposed to take place. This includes the new Iraqi national security advisor and the head of Iraqi intelligence. It also includes commissioners who will oversee media and telecommunications and decide who gets licenses to operate and who gets censored.
. * While elections are promised in the future, the U.S. appointed a commission with the power to disqualify any parties or candidates that are associated with militias, that use "hate speech" or support terrorism. Since Bush considers anyone who seriously opposes his policies to be supporting terrorism, and since the different Iraqi political figures often are connected to militias and have bitter differences among themselves, this measure can be used to ban whomever the U.S. and its favored Iraqi leaders want.
. * While the Iraqi government will have a degree of control of its own national budget, the funds coming from the U.S. will be under control of the U.S. embassy. Thus, the U.S. monopolies and cronies of the administration can rest assured that the government-guaranteed gravy train of profits will continue.
. True, the interim government will have more control over the routine operations of government. But the U.S. military remains the power behind the scenes. And all important decisions will have strong U.S. influence. While Bush blabs about freedom and democracy blooming in Iraq, his anointed Iraqi leaders are on the verge of banning all protests by declaring martial law or "emergency measures" amounting to the same thing The occupation has a face-lift, but U.S. -backed repression over the masses remains. As former CPA leader L. Paul Bremer summed up, it's true that the CPA is gone
"but it's very important to stress that that's about all that changes. There will be the world's largest embassy here. We will have more than 100,000 troops here. The embassy will be responsible for overseeing the spending of $18. 6 billion [of U.S. funds in Iraq]. . .". (Quoted by Daniel Pipes in "The Detroit News", June 29, 2004, p. 9A)
Bush administration is guilty of torture
. While the Bush regime says this fake transfer of power shows its freedom-loving motives, the torture scandal shows the brutality of the imperialist occupation. The horrors of Abu Ghraib are not an aberration, but part of systemic terror carried out against the Iraqi masses, from indiscriminate shooting and bombing of civilians to mass round-ups in neighborhoods and lockdowns of whole cities. Such things occur in every imperialist occupation because there is no nice way to impose your will on an entire nation by force of arms. The horrible task of imposing the U.S. dictate in Iraq has led to some committing war crimes while others have become disgusted with the war.
. Soldiers who carried out atrocities bear responsibility for their actions. But while Bush blames a few low-ranking soldiers for torture, in fact torture was planned and tolerated by the military brass and the Bush administration. Documents have shown that Rumsfeld approved or rescinded various forms of torture according to whim. It's also been shown the U.S. generals were aware of and took measures to hide the torture. As well, Bush officials were busy redefining legal definitions of torture to give the administration a free hand to torture, including even deliberate killing of prisoners. Bush continues to deny he would actually approve torture. Yet nothing has happened to Rumsfeld. The author of the opinion permitting killing prisoners, then assistant attorney general Jay Bybee, was rewarded with a position on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court. Meanwhile, in a formerly-secret document of Feb. 7, 2002, Bush states
. "I accept the legal conclusion of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice that I have the legal authority to suspend Geneva [conventions on prisoners of war] as between the United States and Afghanistan. I reserve the right to exercise this authority in this or future conflicts. "
In the same document Bush also agrees that he can ignore U.S. laws and treaties at will. For
someone who abhors torture, Bush spends all his time finding ways to facilitate it.
Kerry and Democratic Party imperialism
. Bush's fiasco in Iraq has fueled widespread opposition among the masses. But there are different class forces in this opposition. There is the just anti-occupation sentiments of the masses. And there's the cynical stand of a section of the imperialist bourgeoisie who fear Bush's debacle in Iraq will set back the cause of U.S. world domination. This section of the bourgeoisie has to a large extent rallied around Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Kerry voted for Bush's war, but blames Bush for the Iraq mess. So what's his gripe? He would have been more friendly to other imperialist countries (France, Germany, Russia, etc. ) and the UN so they would contribute the troops to assist the U.S. military in occupying Iraq. This, he believes, would have provided a cover for U.S. intervention and the troop strength to secure Iraq under U.S. control. Kerry also attacks Bush for not having enough U.S. troops available for Iraq and other possible theaters for U.S. intervention. He is not against the occupation, but for a stronger one.
. Even the most liberal Democrats opponents of Bush confine themselves to measures acceptable
to imperialism. For example, Congressman John Conyers, who has spoken at anti-war rallies,
advocates bringing back the draft. He bills it as an anti-war measure, promoting the hoax that a
draft will make the wealthy hesitate to go to war since their children might get drafted. Actually,
this reflects a growing concern among the bourgeoisie in general that U.S. troop strength is
inadequate to defend their world empire. Meanwhile, Kerry promotes universal national service
measure that would pave the way for a draft.
Support the workers and poor in Iraq!
. Supporting the Iraqi people requires opposing this bipartisan militarism and war. It means not placing our hopes on the bickering between the bourgeois politicians, but on the working masses. The capitalist send the sons and daughters of workers off to die for their world empire while the same workers are driven down here at home for the sake of capitalist profit-grabbing. We should build up a trend based on a class stand against the capitalist war-makers, one that exposes not only Bush, but the imperialist Democrats.
. It is also vital to support efforts of the Iraqi workers and poor to build up their own class
organizations. This is the only real alternative to both the occupation as well as the threat of
clerical oppression in Iraq. The Iraqi workers are taking the first steps to reviving their own
unions, revolutionary political parties, unemployed organizations, women's rights groups, etc.
Let's promote the class struggle in Iraq as we fight Bush and imperialism here! <>
Last modified: September 12, 2004.