Leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, June 22, 2007
(CV #40, August 2007)
. With hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens and more than 3,500 U.S. troops already dead as the result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, Bush's five-month old escalation of the war (funded by the Democratic Party-controlled Congress), is only resulting in more death and human tragedy.
. According to the Pentagon's quarterly report, an average of 100 civilians were killed every day during the February to May period. The Pentagon also claims that since January U.S. forces have killed or captured more than 20,000 "insurgents"--which equals the total number of insurgents that it said existed in most of 2005-2006. Further, the U.S. has more than doubled the number of air strikes during the past few months. For sure, this is a coward's way of fighting, and increases the number of civilians "collaterally" murdered; but it's also a sign of desperation. Meanwhile, the number of attacks on U.S. forces and Iraqi government forces rose to an average of over 1,000 a week; and on the heels of more than 122 U.S. troops perishing in May -- the highest monthly number of U.S. casualties in 2 1/2 years -- the military brass is predicting even higher U.S. casualties in the months ahead. Moreover, in early June, the general responsible for Baghdad confirmed that barely one-third of the city's neighborhoods had been "secured", i.e., saturated with American forces. Now Administration officials and generals have begun replacing talk of the September military "progress" report (which implies that "victory" is around the corner) with talk of U.S. troops being in Iraq for a decade, or many decades, i.e., "the Korea model."
. But this isn't the only fighting. While one of the justifications for continued U.S. occupation has been that this would prevent civil war, a multi-sided Iraqi civil war has developed despite the foreign troop presence, with the elite of every side struggling for regional or national political power, and their "rightful" share of oil revenues. And now the U.S. is apparently financing and arming Sunni chieftains who were previously blowing up U.S. troops.
A war for oil and empire
. Since "mission accomplished", the U.S. has been caught in a downward spiral of failure and desperation in Iraq. And now, the escalation of war more than 4 ½ years after the aggression to overthrow the Saddam Hussein government proves beyond all doubt that the justifications for war spun by Bush and all of the politicians and press were big lies. The truth is that this has always been a war to control Iraqi and other Middle Eastern oil resources, a war to ensure the U.S. imperial sphere of domination of the Middle East and its oil against local and global rivals. Hence, two of the main objectives have consistently been to have an Iraqi government that would open the oilfields for exploitation by the U.S. oil giants, and to establish permanent military bases from which to dictate imperialist "order" in the entire oil-rich region. (Or, as former President Jimmy Carter put it in a speech last year: "the reason we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region.") Such an imperialist project has inevitably led to great crimes being committed against the Iraqi people: destruction of the major city of Falluja, mass killing of civilians, torture, the imprisonment of tens of thousands, looting of personal property. Not surprisingly, then, the vast majority of the Iraqi people long ago began demanding that the U.S. imperialists get out. Furthermore, the majority of the people in the U.S. have now also turned decidedly against this bloody endeavor, and this was reflected in the election of the anti-war-posturing Democratic Party to control both Houses of Congress in November. But the will of the people in this country is being defied, just as the will of the people of Iraq is defied. To change this situation requires building a profound movement that not only hates and organizes against Bush, but also against the equally culpable players in this bloodshed -- the Democrats.
A party of war under the banner of peace
. The Democratic Party has always given Bush everything that he needed to wage war in Iraq, from the 2002 War Authorization Act to unanimous Senate war-funding votes long after the mass exposure of Bush's lying justifications for war. During the 2004 election, Kerry even criticized Bush for not sending more troops to Iraq. But with Bush's Iraqi policy heading toward a total fiasco for U.S. imperialism, and growing mass opposition to the war, the Democrats have now stepped up their anti-war posturing in order to get themselves elected, while at the same time seeking to use the anti-war sentiments of the masses as a pressure-tool to get Bush to improve his imperialist strategy.
. Thus, in January, the Democrats passed a non-binding resolution opposing Bush's "surge" strategy and endorsing a partial withdrawal from Iraq. But their arguments against Bush's escalation centered on the fact that it wouldn't "work," and their Congressional leaders only called for a "change in direction," never withdrawal. This change was embodied in their bills to leave many tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq to guard the Green Zone inside Baghdad and air bases, to fight "terrorism," to train Iraqi army units, and to "secure Iraqi borders." Further, a huge U.S. military presence would be kept nearby Iraq, ready to re-intervene there if this "improved" war strategy went badly, or to intervene elsewhere in the region. And the army of nearly 100,000 U.S. mercenaries in Iraq would remain.
. That this was a revised strategy for continuation of imperialist war was blatantly indicated in one of the "benchmarks" the Democrats demanded of the Iraqi government: passage of an oil and gas law favorable to U.S. Big Oil and Wall Street investors. But Bush, who has veto power, refused to go along with the Democrats' ideas, so they then gave Bush exactly what he wanted: war funding, including funding for the escalation.
. This activity has given rise to mass disgust with the Democrats, and it confirms our view that this is an imperialist party no less than the Republicans. But the ability of this political machine to maintain an anti-war posture should not be underestimated, and how it does this is instructive. For example, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Christopher Dodd have repeatedly voted for Bush's war since 2002. But in May this year, after the Senate leadership was sure that it had the votes to pass $100 billion more emergency war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, Clinton, Obama and Dodd voted no, while John Edwards opposed it from outside the Senate. Thus, the Democrats were able to pass war legislation while at the same time fielding top presidential candidates who are allegedly anti-war. They're trying to take us for fools.
The special role of the "progressive" Democrats
. Represented by the House "Out of Iraq Caucus", which is composed of "anti-war" Democrats like Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, John Conyers and Jim McDermott, these "progressive" Democrats have often been invited to speak at anti-war rallies, where they worked to channel the anti-war motion of the masses present into the dead-end of voting for Democrats in the next election. But, like the mainstream Democrats, they only offer an alternative strategy for attaining the same bloody imperial aims in Iraq and the Gulf region as Bush. Thus, their own HR 508 proposed "carrying out consultations" with NATO and/or the U.N. in order to conduct an international occupation. But NATO is a US-led war alliance of big imperialist powers; and the U.N., which sanctioned the U.S. occupation, is dominated by the U.S. and other big powers. Moreover, while their bill pretended to oppose U.S. oil companies grabbing Iraqi oil by saying that U.S. companies couldn't "enter into a contract for the development, production, or marketing of petroleum resources in Iraq", it turned around to say that this provision "shall cease to be effective beginning on the date on which the President of the United States certifies to Congress that the Government of Iraq has established and is enforcing laws" regarding foreign oil contracts. This is the exact same aim of Bush and the mainstream Democrats.
. Moreover, although these "progressives" are small in numbers, they're unprincipled handmaidens that the Democrats heavily rely on to deceive the anti-war masses. Thus, in March, MSNBC, the Washington Post and other media reported of a closed-door meeting between Pelosi and Woolsey, Watson, Lee and Waters at which a deal was struck whereby these "progressives" would deliver enough votes from the "Out of Iraq Caucus" to ensure passage of Pelosi's bill for $100 billion worth of more slaughter, and then personally vote against it. In this way they could keep their "anti-war" credentials, and continue to serve the entire Democratic Party in side-tracking the anti-war movement. And, in fact, a few days later, the leaders of the ANSWER coalition obligingly invited them to speak at its March 17 -18 anti-war events!
. Lastly, we cannot fail to mention Dennis Kucinich's running for president as an "anti-war" candidate in 2004. Although he wanted to replace U.S. troops in Iraq with troops from other countries (renamed "peacekeepers"), and was therefore really not anti-war, he nonetheless succeed in diverting numerous anti-war people into campaigning for him anyway. But when his campaign failed -- as he knew it would -- at the Democratic Party National Convention he called on his supporters to work for the victory of war-hawk Kerry. Well, today Kucinich runs for president again, with essentially the same "anti-war" program. Opponents of the war should not be fooled a second time.
What is to be done?
. Like Bush, the Democrats defy the will of the people to get U.S. troops out of Iraq and the Gulf region because they represent the imperial interests of the same class of owners of oil companies, mega-corporations and banks. This class of big capitalists is driven to attempt to reverse its declining economic power relative to global rivals through war and threat of war. Thus, in 2006 the Republicans and Democrats united to budget $528. 7 billion for these purposes -- 46% of the world total. Meanwhile, these capitalist parties continue a reactionary crusade against the living standards and rights of the masses of people at home, with the spearhead being their stepped up attacks on immigrants.
. In this situation the more anti-war activists abandon hopes in Democratic Party electioneering, and turn instead to organizing among the working masses, the stronger the anti-war movement will be. This involves showing how the U.S. aims in Iraq and the Gulf region are purely imperialist. It involves continual work to tear the anti-war mask from the face of the Democrats, and exposure of how its "progressive" wing works to sabotage the building of an independent anti-war movement. It involves telling the truth that as long as capitalism exists it will be imperialistic, and launch wars to serve the interests of the rich. It involves writing and spreading leaflets such as this one. In short, it involves organizing an anti-war movement with the anti-imperialist heart necessary to truly express our will, in solidarity with that of the struggling Iraqi masses.
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
June 22, 2007
Last changed on September 10, 2007.