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   Vol. 67/No. 13           April 21, 2003  
No to the imperialist
occupation of Iraq!
Get troops out now!
End the imperialist occupation of Iraq! Bring the troops home now! We urge you to use the Militant and join with others to campaign with these demands on the job, at factory gates, in the streets or door-to-door visits in working-class communities, on picket lines, at antiwar rallies like the one called for April 12 in Washington, D.C., and other social protest actions.

In the middle of this war of conquest, many working people--from France to the United States and beyond--have waged strikes or other defensive struggles to resist the bosses’ offensive to make the toilers pay for a deepening capitalist depression.

Join with those workers and farmers who refuse to subordinate their struggles to "national unity" and "homeland defense," and whose actions are the beginning of resistance to imperialist war by the working class -- the only class capable of stopping the war makers. Join us in campaigning to win new readers to the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial, and to the program of revolutionary socialism explained in the Marxist magazine New International and Pathfinder books. Join in collectively studying the lessons of the workers’ movement of the last 150 years and patiently discussing them with fellow working people and youth. This kind of proletarian political work is at the heart of a working-class campaign against imperialism and its wars.

Washington’s rapid military success in Iraq is a decisive victory for advocates of the so-called Rumsfeld Doctrine. A new U.S. military approach is being established, and everyone in the officer corps of the U.S. military will have to choose now--either go along or get out of the way. It features the use of smaller, more agile armies, relying heavily on weapons technology and Special Forces, to enable the U.S. rulers to wage more than one war at once, which is part of their strategic plans.

No empire, from Rome to today, has relied only on massive draft armies for policing its frontiers. They have used special operations units (and not the variety made up of volunteer thugs, of which the French Legion was the foremost example) to do the job effectively.

The U.S. armed forces have occupied most of Iraq with a relatively small number of casualties and are winning support among many Iraqis in the process. The White House is also scoring propaganda victories, even despite failing to substantiate its charges that Baghdad possessed "weapons of mass destruction." Washington is even gaining public acceptance for its latest threats to strike Syria, ruled by a repressive regime similar to the one now crumbling in Baghdad. It has so far been a cakewalk for the U.S. rulers.

The current assault is not a rectification of errors from the 1991 Arab-Persian Gulf War. That was a Kuwait war. Washington succeeded quickly in expelling the Iraqi army from its expansionist invasion of Kuwait but stopped short of marching into Baghdad because of strong objections from its imperialist coalition allies. The Gulf War exacerbated the conflicts between the imperialist powers and made it impossible for Washington to put together such a coalition ever again. Today’s war is an Iraq war, aimed at conquering the country and its resources. That is why it is not surprising that the imperial invaders did meet some opposition on the ground.

Resistance to the U.S.-British trampling of Iraq’s sovereignty, however, has been minimal and is not likely to change in coming months. That is not because the Iraqi toilers are incapable of fighting. They have long been disarmed politically, relegated to the sidelines, and forced to act out of fear by a regime that has run a police-party state for 40 years. For that reason, the unfolding imperialist occupation of Iraq is not a major defeat for the working class. That defeat came a long time ago. It was registered in the bloody counterrevolution that brought Saddam Hussein to power, and the consolidation of his dictatorial regime in the 1970s and subsequent decades--with the aid of Washington, Paris, and Moscow.

It’s also important to recognize that the imperialist assault on Iraq has little or no connection with the Palestinian struggle. It has had no palpable impact on recent events in the West Bank or Gaza. A U.S. occupation of Iraq will not dampen the Palestinian people’s tenacious fight for a homeland, either.

As Washington consolidates its hold on Baghdad, it will be able to convert sales of Iraqi oil to U.S. dollars rather than euros. The protectorate the U.S. rulers are putting together will also enable them to eventually turn the control over Iraq’s nationalized oil wealth to the "seven sisters," helping to monopolize domination of this natural resource for U.S. capitalists. All this will be a boost for U.S. imperialism, albeit temporary, vis-a-vis its rivals--especially in France, Germany and Belgium.

Not recognizing the above facts will set up for unnecessary disappointment those fighting against the warmongering course of the imperialist rulers--whether they have a U.S., British, or French accent. A proletarian perspective and a long-term view are necessary to confront the turbulent times ahead.

Washington’s military victory cannot reverse the downward slide of the curve of capitalist development. Rather, it can accelerate the capitalist depression that has set in around the world. Conflicts are already sharpening between the imperialist powers now vying for a piece of the spoils from Washington’s conquest of Iraq. It’s true that trade wars can lead to shooting wars, but military conflicts can accelerate trade conflicts as well, and that will be one consequence of the assault on Iraq.

As the U.S. rulers try to take on country after country along their "axis of evil"--with Syria apparently added to Iran, Iraq and north Korea--they will generate more conflict and resistance and make the world more unstable. Their glorying over their conquest of semicolonial Iraq temporarily hides the fact that they are not invincible, and that they are using their military might out of economic and political weakness, not strength.

Just compare what Washington has accomplished in Iraq to what it faces in Cuba. Despite an unrelenting economic embargo, provocations, and other attacks and threats against revolutionary Cuba, U.S. imperialism has for four decades refrained from invading the island, just 90 miles south of the Florida Keys. What stayed the hand of liberal President John F. Kennedy when he was preparing an invasion of Cuba during the October 1962 "missile crisis"--and what has held back all subsequent administrations--was the estimate of his generals that they expected 18,000 U.S. soldiers to die in the first 10 days of such an assault. The reason? The fact that Cuban workers and farmers, having made a socialist revolution, continue to hold power and have a communist leadership that cannot be cowed or bought off.

As Cuba shows, the need for proletarian leadership with a nose for power is the decisive question in every other country. Building revolutionary parties to organize and educate the working class and its allies to follow their line of march toward taking power out of the hands of the imperialist war makers will become more and more the question of the day for millions. That is humanity’s future. Working people will get our chance before the competing barons of finance capital can lead us to a third world war. Join the fight for this socialist future.
Related article:
U.S. forces take Baghdad, plan occupation regime
Invaders kill thousands of Iraqi soldiers in capital and Basra
Canadian government backs assault on Iraq, while ‘talking peace’
Canadian troops out of Mideast!  
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