While Bush and the Democrats squabble
over war strategies, we say:

Down with the imperialist
occupation of Iraq!

Leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, October 4, 2007
(CV #41, February 2008)

. More than four years after Bush declared "victory" in Iraq, he now talks of continuing the brutal U.S. aggression for years to come. This is a cowards' war, in which U.S. snipers bait impoverished Iraqis by placing things like detonation cord on the ground, and then murder them from hiding when they reach to pick them up. Perhaps one million Iraqis have died in this war, and millions are refugees. But the Iraqi masses are not just victims; they've also stood up in angry resistance to this imperialist aggression. Meanwhile, large sections of the Iraqi elite also fight the U.S. (and each other) over who is going to exploit and oppress the people. This resistance from two directions has caused a mounting crisis for not just the Bush administration, but also the Democrats.

"Draw-down" means continuing war indefinitely

. Bush says that he wants U.S. troop levels to be down to 130,000 sometime next year, if things go according to the U.S. plan (which they rarely do). And leading Democrats want the draw-down to go as low as 100,000 troops if, perhaps, etc. Meanwhile, the tens of thousands of Blackwater and other mercenaries will remain.

' But this draw-down is not based on any "victories" that Bush and Gen. Petraeus claim, nor is it related to any Democratic Party plan to get out of Iraq. Rather, the military doesn't have enough new or rested replacements, and the generals and politicians of both parties know that repeated tours of duty for their aging and dissatisfied soldiers is causing increasing rebelliousness. Therefore, with a large troop rotation scheduled for March 2008 they almost have to reduce troop levels.

. Meanwhile, various generals and their advisors openly talk of being in Iraq for five, ten, or twenty more years. Bush proclaims that troops will be there past the end of his term (January 2009). The three Democrat front-runners suggest they would withdraw most combat troops by sometime in 2008, but in the next breath commit themselves to continued war disguised as combating "terrorism," securing installations, protecting "assets," training Iraqi forces, etc. And on September 26 Clinton, Edwards and Obama refused to pledge that they would withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by January 2013 if elected president.

. When the Democrats talk of withdrawal plans, re-deployment, benchmarks, etc., it is only a cover for a new military strategy with which to replace Bush's disastrous one. Like Bush, they want to achieve U.S. "strategic interests" in Iraq and the region with troops, warships, planes and missiles no matter how long it takes.

. Behind Bush's lies and the Democrats' double-talk is an imperialist drive to secure Mid-east oil resources against regional and global rivals, i.e., "strategic interests." To this end the U.S. government seeks to ally with and build up any Iraqi political force willing to be junior partners in this enterprise, no matter how fundamentalist and cut-throat. It plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq with which to oversee imperialist "order" in both Iraq and the region. And from the beginning of the occupation, it has demanded privatization of the Iraqi petroleum industry in order to throw it open to the U.S. oil companies.

Crisis of collaborators prepares conditions for intensified civil war

. The Iraqi government is comprised of competing Shi'a, Kurdish and Sunni factions, with Shi'a fundamentalist parties dominating. It depends on U.S. aid and military support to crush opponents, but it also struggles against the U.S. on behalf of the weakened Iraqi ruling class for it's "rightful share" of Iraqi oil wealth. Furthermore, Shi'a factions in particular want good relations with U.S. nemesis, Iran.

. Thus U.S. imperialism has an ally that it doesn't like, but it has no viable replacement. It therefore constantly threatens Prime Minister al-Maliki with dire consequences if he doesn't meet U.S.-dictated "benchmarks" and other demands. But al-Maliki and those he represents are also maneuvering. Thus, when the trigger-happy and racist Blackwater mercenaries gunned down a large number of ordinary Iraqis on September 16 al-Maliki seized the opportunity to gain popularity for himself and his weak government by denouncing the atrocity and drafting legislation that this above-the-law thug firm be brought under Iraqi legal authority.

. Meanwhile, the initial U.S. plan for a unified and peaceful Iraq under their domination has fallen apart. Various sections of the fractured Iraqi ruling class incite the people against each other as these leaders fight to grab what they can of Iraq's wealth for themselves. Desperate for allies, the U.S. is preparing conditions for even worse civil war by providing arms and money to forces like the formerly resisting Sunni tribal chieftains and Shi'a forces. And this year the U.S. is also selling $1.6 billion in arms to an Iraqi military which is deeply divided along religious and ethnic lines.

Build the anti-war movement!

. The sons and daughters of the U.S. working class, particularly national minorities, are being sent to kill the working and poor people of Iraq so that the same class of people who exploit and oppress them here at home can become even richer. Scores of millions of people elected the Democrats to a majority in Congress hoping they would end this atrocity, but the Democrats instead approved new war funding. Furthermore, on October 1, the Democrat-controlled Senate approved $150 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by a vote of 92-3, and half a trillion dollars for the Pentagon overall.

. All of this demonstrates that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats offer any solutions. The masses have to take matters into their own hands, and people have been in motion: the struggles to stop military shipments through the Ports of Olympia and Tacoma, and at Indian Island; the struggles to get recruiters out of high schools and colleges; G.I.s resisting the war and the movement to encourage and support them; student walkouts; demonstrations; and many other anti-war actions.

. Conscious political struggle is needed to advance the larger movement that these actions are a part of. For example, the dominant anti-war coalitions have worked to orient the movement toward pressuring or electing Democrats, and they've systematically excluded speakers who seriously oppose this political dead-end. Moreover, these coalitions have glorified "friends" like the House "Out of Iraq Caucus," which rounded up the votes necessary for continued war funding last March and then tried to keep their anti-war credentials by voting against it themselves [see "House Heads for War Vote", by Josephone Hearn, March 22, 2007 at www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3266.html, which details stand of California Democrats Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and Diane E. Watson] . Meanwhile, this caucus' "anti-war" bills would continue the war with NATO or U.N. troops.

. Advancing the anti-war movement requires going among the workers, oppressed nationalities, youth and ordinary soldiers with the following truths: This war is being fought solely in the interests of the imperialist ruling class. No solutions to the continued slaughter of the workers, poor people and youth of Iraq, and in the U.S. military, is going to come from within the existing political framework. Therefore it is necessary to get active to build an independent movement.

. Anti-imperialists must create organizations which write and spread anti-imperialist leaflets, provide speakers and link up present groups, etc. We must organize marches through neighborhoods where workers, national-minorities and immigrants live, and other independent actions designed to draw more people into political motion. We must participate militantly in events organized by the presently dominating coalitions in order to raise the level of the politics there and unite the masses around a different orientation for the movement.

. It is by taking up work in this direction that we can build up the kind of social movement capable of staying the hands of U.S. imperialism in Iraq and the world over.

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
October 4, 2007 <>

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