(Leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, December 5, 2009 -- 2nd edition)
The dispatch of 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and stepped up drone assassinations and Special Forces operations in Pakistan is an outrage. It means death and untold suffering for thousands more Afghan and Pakistani people, more deaths of U.S. soldiers, more atrocities and war crimes. And to justify it, on December 1 President Obama resorted to telling such a mountain of lies, with such crude fear mongering, absurdities, and imperialist arrogance that large numbers of people were rightly horrified. Protests have been taking place across the country, while the discussion of what Obama's speech means has continued for days. Just a few of its low points:
"I am convinced," said Obama, "that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. . . . It is from here (Afghanistan and Pakistan) that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak . . . we know that al Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them" (throw in Bush's favorite, the nuke scare!).
But in October, national security advisor James Jones had already stated on national T.V. that "the maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country (Afghanistan), no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies," and he estimated the total number of al Qaeda members in Pakistan as around 300. Moreover, Obama used the phrase "safe haven" six times in his war speech, when he knows that terrorists don't need safe havens half way round the world to launch attacks from.
Certainly, the U.S. government wants to destroy al Qaeda, but primarily because its terrorist crusade was launched to drive the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia and several other oil-rich Muslim countries, not because it fears al Qaeda getting nukes, or "safe havens." In fact, al Qaeda only represents the extreme wing of a more moderate pan-Islamic bourgeoisie that shares the aim of ejecting the U.S. Survival of al Qaeda, or the appearance of U.S. defeat by the Taliban, would embolden these local rivals for control of oil and gas, as well as other rivals. Thus, the logic of imperialism is that the war must be escalated.
Obama's fear-mongering went and on and on, and he even pined for the "good ol' days" of the post- 9/11 Bush era, when all were (supposedly) united -- in fear: "It is easy to forget that when this war began, we were united . . . I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again."
According to the Occupier-in-Chief: ". . . we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim World --one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict, and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity."
Well, conservative estimates are that the U.S. government has directly killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in Muslim countries just since 2001. The result is that according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, only 16 percent of Pakistanis held a favorable view of the United States in 2009, 15 percent of Palestinians, and 14 percent of Turks (the only Muslim countries it polled). Obama has now slated thousands more innocent Muslims for death -- thus the U.S. government will be further isolated, as it should be!
"So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand . . . We have no interest in occupying your country unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. . . . We do not seek to occupy other nations."
They really don't want to do it, you see, they just do it. And, of course, invading and occupying Iraq in order to control the Middle Eastern oil spigots had nothing to do with seeking world domination, nor does the indirect fight over oil that is taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan, nor do 780 U.S. military bases in other countries (many of which are being built up), nor does Obama's record war budget!
"Let me be clear: none of this will be easy. The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan . . . We will have to be nimble and precise in our use of military power. Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere -- they must be confronted . . ."
So, not only does Obama lay out a plan for invading or attacking several other countries, but he also gave absolutely no end date for the bloody occupation of Afghanistan.
Facing massive anti-war sentiment, Obama tossed the anti-war movement a bone: sending 30,000 additional U.S. troops will "allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011." But the caveat was that "we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground." And the very next day Secretary of Defense Gates explained to Congress that after a December, 2010 review (a year from now), "I think we will be in a position then to evaluate whether or not we can begin that transition in July", while Secretary of State Clinton explained "I do not believe we have locked ourselves into leaving."
"Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs . . . We have not always been thanked for these efforts . . ."
Oh, the burdens of building the global dollar empire . . . and the natives don't always grovel in appreciation! Moreover, after his system has left one million Iraqis dead in a war for oil, Obama even had the unmitigated gall to intone: "we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future!" And, with his constant usage of "we," Obama tried to instill in the American working people, national minorities and youth the idea that their interests are the same as those of the exploitive, imperialist, and warlike ruling class. For anti-war activists, the only fitting answer to this is to expose the class nature of the U.S. war policy in the process of stepping up the anti-war struggle.
During the past year millions of people in this country have learned the valuable lesson that the Democrats are another party of war-making abroad, and squeezing the masses at home. And, many are drawing the correct conclusion that real change will only come through mass struggle organized independent of and against both the Democrats and Republicans.
But for the masses to solidify this advance, they cannot allow themselves to be tricked by the "Progressive Democrats." These "progressives" are in fact part of the imperialist political machinery, with the special role of keeping the progressive masses vainly relying on the Democratic Party and electoral politics for change. Hence, last year they said "vote for Hope'!", and they're now offering "anti-war" bills in Congress, suggesting that this is the path to peace. And after eight years, what do the "progressives" anti-war bills look like? Barbara Lee's H.R. 3699 (the most "radical" of two present bills) -- co-sponsored by Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, John Conyers, Jim McDermott, and others -- isn't even anti-war! All it does is prohibit an increase in the number of troops fighting in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, it is highly touted by Tom Hayden, Danny Glover, Bobby Seale, The Nation, Code Pink, USLAW and many others.
Looking to Congress for solutions is a dead end for the anti-war movement. Instead, we need to rely on ourselves and work to develop the class struggle against imperialism. In conscious solidarity with the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we need to get more organized against the politics of the rich. We need to spread anti-imperialist agitation among the working people and youth -- including further exposures and denunciations of Obama's vile war speech. We need to take demonstrations to where working people live and work, in order to inspire discussion among them and encourage them to get active in the movement.
From this framework SAIC hails the past week's upsurge of demonstrations. Let the struggle intensify!
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
December 5, 2009 (second edition)
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