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Oppose U.S. adventure to provoke incident with Iraq
Moves are parallel to ‘preemptive’ bipartisan assault on rights 

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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 66/No.26July 1, 2002

lead article
Oppose U.S. adventure to
provoke incident with Iraq
Moves are parallel to ‘preemptive’
bipartisan assault on rights

The Militant urges all working people and youth to oppose U.S. imperialism’s new adventure aimed at creating a provocative incident against the government of Iraq. The object of the U.S. rulers is to manufacture a justification for broader military action against Baghdad in order to pursue their long-sought goal of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The course outlined in the presidential order directing the CIA to expand operations against Baghdad and raising the prospect of Special Forces operations in northern Iraq can never bring down the government there, a fact that is admitted by top U.S. government officials. Instead, it is another provocation, and an imperialist intervention into a sovereign country.

Workers in Germany stage first
construction strike in 50 years
Photo - see caption below
Workers leave a construction site at the French embassy in Berlin at the start of the strike June 17. The walkout spread throughout the week. See article .

There is an urgency in Washington’s campaign, as its European imperialist rivals are moving to expand economic ties with Iraq, as well as neighboring Iran. Both countries have been declared part of the "axis of evil" by the Bush administration.

One of the goals of the U.S. rulers in their brutal assault on Iraq in 1990–91 was to deal some blows to their imperialist competitors and firm up their hold on Mideast oil supplies. But unless Washington can make palpable progress in overthrowing the government in Iraq and replacing it with one to its liking, France, Germany, and other imperialist powers will make their own inroads in the region.

The U.S. rulers are deadly serious about their "right" to take "preemptive action" against any country around the world that they declare to be planning to build or deploy weapons of mass destruction. On June 12 president Bush told a meeting of the Homeland Security Advisory Council that Washington is "just going to have to enforce the doctrine, either you’re with us or you’re against us. You join the coalition of freedom, or you’re on the other side of the tracks." For those on the wrong side of the tracks, he said, Washington’s forces will "run them down, wherever they try to hide, and bring them to justice." He boasted that "our coalition has hauled in about 2,400 of these terrorists, these killers."

While the numbers of people jailed in hellholes in Afghanistan and concrete boxes at the illegally-occupied U.S. military base in Guantánamo, Cuba, have grown, the U.S. government has charged only one person apprehended outside the United States with a criminal offense, and that is only because John Walker Lindh is a U.S. citizen. The rest are "brought to justice" by being threatened with lifetime imprisonment or execution after being dragged before drumhead military tribunals.

The U.S. rulers do face a problem. There are a number of countries that have the capacity to build and deploy long-range missiles topped with warheads capable of reaching the United States or threatening U.S. military bases. Without a perfected missile defense shield, Washington is driven to find and attack any country where the government is not to its liking and there is an indication that such weapons are being built or readied. It must do so in order to protect its rule of the world. The preemptive strikes are likely to be targeted military assaults, like the 1985 Israeli bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq.

In a parallel move, bipartisan support has been declared for the Bush administration’s "preemptive" and "precrime" arrests, jailings of U.S. citizens without charges, secret hearings of immigrants detained by the government, and summary deportations. The violations of constitutional rights being carried out by the Justice Department against Abdullah al-Muhajir, also known by his former name of José Padilla, are numerous. They include jailing him without charges, refusing to allow him to see a lawyer, and stating that he may not be able to confront his accuser in court.

Despite a new federal court ruling declaring the INS’s secret hearings on cases of immigrants jailed in New Jersey illegal, la migra still refused to carry out the court order to open the proceedings.

As the U.S. rulers pursue this course abroad and at home, their attempts to carry out military strikes and erode workers’ rights will run into resistance from working people. The tough talk and brutal actions of the Democratic and Republican party politicians are not some passing phase. It is the real face of U.S. imperialism and an indication of the future it holds for humanity.

It is the kind of world where a wealthy oil man from Texas who happens to be the U.S. president will start talking about people being on the wrong side of the tracks. In the United States, being from "the wrong side of the tracks" has traditionally meant that you are a working person, often Black, and therefore can’t fit it in the world of the rich, who live on the "right" side of the tracks. Talk of running people down and bringing them to justice has a certain ring to it as well, one that does not sit well with large sections of the working class and oppressed nationalities in the United States.

Both at home and abroad it is working people who are ultimately the target of the imperialist assault. Organizing today to join the struggles of working people against the brutalities and attacks by the bosses and the bipartisan gang in Washington; expanding the distribution of the Militant, Perspectiva Mundial, and Pathfinder books among working people and youth; and building proletarian parties is the surest way to prepare for the social battles down the road that are being bred by imperialism’s world disorder.
Related article:
Washington directs CIA to seek removal of Iraqi government

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