The big-business media portrays the image of a debate taking place among Democratic and Republican politicians over whether or not the U.S. government will launch a war on Iraq. But Washington’s war machine is already in motion today.
The September 5 air strikes on Iraq by up to 100 U.S. and British warplanes--reported abroad but covered up by the U.S. capitalist press--underscore the massive scope of the war moves under way. Another example is the continuing large-scale transfer of heavy armor to the Arab-Persian Gulf. The U.S. rulers are carrying out these moves toward war while they beat the propaganda drums for launching a full-scale assault on Iraq.
No fundamental divisions exist over this question within the U.S. ruling class or its political servants, the Democrats and Republicans. The "debate" is simply over tactics of how to most effectively conduct the war and convince working people to accept it. When the invasion starts, all capitalist politicians will fall in line behind "our commander-in-chief."
One of the liberal criticisms of the Bush administration is the argument that it is pushing for a preemptive war. But all imperialist wars have been "preemptive," not defensive. For the past century Washington and other major powers have gone to war because they were driven by the expansionist nature of imperialism and its need to conquer more markets and boost profit rates.
Washington’s goal is not simply to replace the Iraqi government. They are moving toward a bloody assault on the people of Iraq--a massive bombing and ground invasion followed by a military occupation of this nation of 23 million.
What’s more, the war preparations are not about Iraq, much less about September 11--the initial pretext the U.S. rulers used to accelerate their war drive. While the first targets have been Afghanistan and now Iraq, what is shaping up is a series of imperialist wars. The U.S. preparations to invade Iraq, a country with the world’s second-largest oil reserves, are one major step toward gaining greater control over the Mideast and its oil resources.
There is no reason to think the existing borders in the Mideast--imposed a century ago by the British and French colonial powers--will remain unchanged. The logic of Washington’s war drive is another redivision to bring a major portion of the world’s oil and gas resources under its direct control, including those of Saudi Arabia. Liberal politicians and commentators, in fact, have been among those pushing most aggressively for targeting Saudi Arabia.
As shown by the U.S. rulers’ failure to whip up a patriotic fervor around the September 11 ceremonies and their America First themes, Washington is only in the initial stage of its military preparations. The cranking up of war fever has not yet begun. Pacifist sentiments are still widespread among the U.S. population. The idea that this sentiment will "stop the war before it starts" is a pacifist illusion.
The imperialist rulers are being driven increasingly toward wars of conquest where the equilibrium of the world capitalist system, established after World War II, has come unstuck, as seen by the bursting of the giant speculative bubble and the onset of a world depression.
This weakening of their system is what pushes the billionaire rulers to war abroad and to an assault on working people at home--on our wages, working conditions, and social entitlements. In anticipation of wider working-class resistance to this offensive, they are seeking to constrict workers’ rights, using secret detentions and deportations, giving more leeway to FBI spying, and increasing the deployment of troops on U.S. soil.
One year ago, when the U.S. rulers used the September 11 attacks to escalate their war drive and assault on workers’ rights, socialist workers and young socialists took to the streets to oppose imperialism and its wars. They explained their views in a statement by the Socialist Workers mayoral candidate in New York, Martín Koppel, that holds up well today (see page 9). They held a public meeting in New York on "Communists and the fight against imperialism today."
On September 28, socialists will host another public meeting (see front-page ad) to celebrate the anniversary of this proud communist record and to discuss how to build a revolutionary movement of millions that can take power out of the hands of the warmakers and bring about a government of workers and farmers, joining in the worldwide fight for the liberation of humanity and socialism.
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home