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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 67/No. 8March 17, 2003


As we go to press: Calero INS hearing to move to New Jersey

lead article
Bring the troops home now!
UN ‘inspectors’ out;
stop imperialist assaults on Iraqi sovereignty
Protesters in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, oppose war on Iraq in March 1 action. That day the parliament rejected proposal to station 62,000 U.S. troops in southern Turkey. Washington has stepped up pressure on the government to push the deal through.

Working people everywhere need to oppose the imperialist assault on Iraq and demand that the U.S., British, German, Spanish, and all other foreign troops in the Mideast be withdrawn now. The imperialist "inspectors," who are trampling on the Iraqi people’s national sovereignty under the banner of the United Nations, should get out, too.

The relentless move toward war against the peoples of the Mideast is not simply a policy choice by the Bush administration, as asserted by its liberal critics and by apologists for the French or German governments. The rulers of those imperialist powers are let off the hook with the false claim that "the whole world opposes Bush’s war." Nor is the war a result of the fact that George Bush is a Republican, or that he is a wealthy oilman.

If these claims were true, it could be argued that this outcome would be avoided by replacing the current White House occupant with another. But the impending slaughter is not merely the latest step in a course followed by Democratic and Republican presidents of the last decade: it is the lawful result of a capitalist system in a long-term crisis. The billionaire rulers of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other imperialist powers are driven to conquer markets, territory, and resources in order to defend their class interests and reverse their historic decline.

The U.S. president, like all his predecessors, is simply doing his job: serving the interests of the U.S. billionaire class as a whole. That has been the case in every imperialist war, from World Wars I and II, to the assaults on Korea and Vietnam, to the 1990-91 Gulf war--U.S.-led interventions that in most cases were launched by Democratic administrations.

The 1990-91 assault on Iraq was--as explained in issue no. 7 of the Marxist magazine New International--"an announcement, a loud and clear one, of the conflicts that lie ahead as the imperialist rulers follow the historic logic of their declining world system of exploitation and oppression--a line of march that, willy-nilly, moves toward World War III." As accurate as those words are, however, today’s conflict does not simply take off where the war ended more than a decade ago. Much has unfolded in the world, including the onset of a worldwide economic depression. The impending war is above all fed by an increasingly sharp conflict between imperialist rivals. Washington and its competitors, seeking to control oil wealth and strategic positions, are driven to carve up the Mideast, and the world.

Far from seeking peace, as they proclaim, the French imperialist rulers have much at stake in their effort to protect their multi-billion-dollar investments in Iraq and grab as large a piece as possible of the war booty. Millions of working people around the world who have been subjected to Paris’s imperial boot, like the people of the Ivory Coast, have little sympathy for the hypocritical posturing of the Chirac government. The shrill anti-American rhetoric of Paris, and the sharp anti-French tone of Washington, are signs of the increased tensions between these predatory powers.

While Iraq is under the gun today, U.S. imperialism has its sights on broader targets--what the White House calls the "axis of evil." They include Iran, which remains an obstacle to imperialist domination of the region. The workers states in north Korea and Cuba are also targets of imperialist hostility. The current conflict is a milestone in a course leading to a series of wars--a course that will have unplanned and explosive consequences for imperialism.

One of the biggest lies peddled by ruling-class spokespeople holds that the United Nations is a vehicle for "peace." First of all, there is no such thing as the "United Nations"--only a collection of governments representing the disunited interests of their respective national ruling classes. Secondly, the UN has been a key instrument of imperialism since it was established after World War II. Communists have consistently opposed it, just as they opposed the League of Nations after World War I.

From its founding, the UN has been based on the brutal denial of sovereignty of peoples around the world--from the Korean people, who were invaded by imperialist forces wearing blue helmets, to the peoples of Kosova, Bosnia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Cyprus, and East Timor, who have all been subjected to UN "peacekeeping" troops in recent years.

For the past 12 years, Iraq has been strangled by economic sanctions that have killed hundreds of thousands of children, and dismembered by "no-fly zones" covering half its territory: all legitimized by UN Security Council resolutions.

The UN "inspectors" have nothing to do with avoiding war. Asserting the right to go anywhere they want and do virtually anything they demand, they represent a grotesque violation of the Iraqi people’s sovereignty. Their job has not been to "inspect" but to give cover to the imperialist assault on Iraq--justified as "a final resort." The bourgeois forces and their supporters in the United States who declare "let the inspections work" are aiding the imperialist warmongers in both Washington and Paris.

Working people in the United States have common interests with our fellow workers and farmers in Iraq. We have the same enemy--the wealthy rulers in Washington and on Wall Street. Workers and farmers in uniform have a stake in opposing the billionaires’ wars of plunder, in which they will be used as cannon fodder.

Washington’s war abroad is an extension of the bosses’ war on working people at home, which includes increased layoffs, speedup on the job, and cutbacks in health care. The assault on workers rights is another front in the same offensive, from increased police spying to the use of secret courts and detentions of both immigrants and U.S. citizens.

The continued resistance by working people to these attacks is leading many to seek out an alternative to the future of fascism and war that capitalism offers humanity. Likewise, among the millions of young people who are joining peace demonstrations around the world, tens of thousands are open to a revolutionary, communist explanation and perspective. Many can sense that imperialism’s brutality is increasingly making the United States a death trap for its inhabitants. Youth and working people will find in the Young Socialists and the Socialist Workers Party organizations where they can effectively become part of the worldwide fight for socialism and to transform the world.
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