Far from liberation, what the U.S. government and the billionaire families it represents are seeking in Iraq is to impose a U.S.-dominated protectorate that will run Iraq under military rule for years. American corporations such as Halliburton and Bechtel are to get all or most of the multibillion-dollar "reconstruction" contracts in war-devastated Iraq, icing out bosses from all other imperialist countries, even from Britain. "It’s impossible--impossible--to reconstruct without Europe," screamed one spokesperson for French imperialist interests in a revealing outburst. "You have to offer them a piece of cake."
The "cake" he was referring to is the Mideast--particularly control over its oil wealth. Bush’s words were dripping with hypocrisy when he exhorted Iraqis, "Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people." Quite a statement from a Texas oilman in a country where private property reigns over petroleum and all other major resources and means of production!
The aim of the U.S.-led takeover of Iraq is not to protect the oil for the Iraqi people but to take it away from them and put it in the hands of the U.S. billionaires while pushing French and other competing capitalists away.
Not freedom, democracy, or the welfare of working people. Rather, redividing the Mideast and its resources at the expense of imperialist competitors. That is what is driving Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and all the other imperialist powers in this conflict.
Paris has already been dealt a blow by the U.S. government’s unceremonious dumping of its effort to seek explicit United Nations approval for launching the war and its dismissal of the French proposal to extend UN "arms inspections" in order to "disarm" Iraq--a proposal aimed at salvaging French imperialist interests in the region.
The imperialist powers’ objectives go much beyond Iraq. Washington seeks to change the relationship of forces in the world in its favor. One of its main goals is to overthrow the government of Iran and recover strategic ground it lost when the Iranian people, in a popular revolution in 1979, toppled the U.S.-backed Shah, who had been a pillar of Washington’s domination in the Mideast.
While Washington may make initial gains through its war drive, these moves, far from achieving peace and stability, will only exacerbate the conflicts with its imperialist rivals. Such interimperialist clashes, the scope of which has not been seen since World War II, will continue to sharpen. Their logic ultimately leads toward a third world war--a prospect that is more visible to millions of people today.
The twin parties of the billionaires, the Democrats and Republicans, have closed ranks behind their commander-in-chief, as they have in every war--including politicians who had previously posed as "pro-peace." And when Bush says, "The United States of America [will] use force in assuring its own national security," he makes it clear he is not speaking in the name of the U.S. population but of the state--a state that defends the interests of the wealthy, at home and abroad.
Hundreds of thousands of youth who are taking to the streets in peace demonstrations today have illusions about the nature of American imperialism and the worldwide social system it protects, remaining hopeful it can be reformed or tamed. As they go through the brutal events that the wealthy rulers will subject us to over the coming years, however, many will see these illusions shattered. They will be open to the socialist perspective that, to put an end to these wars and exploitation, it is necessary--and possible--to organize a revolutionary movement of workers and farmers that can disarm the imperialist warmakers by taking political power.
We urge you to take these facts and perspectives to the ongoing antiwar protests, debates, and forums; to farm protests, union picket lines, factory gates, and working-class neighborhoods; to high school and college campuses; and to GIs. These ideas will receive a serious hearing and, for some, will open up the perspective that the most worthwhile and rewarding thing you can do with your life is to join the socialist movement and be part of transforming the world.
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Washington plans protectorate in Iraq