Workers Vanguard No. 880
10 November 2006
U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan Now!
Break with the Democrats—For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
NOVEMBER 6—Blood has come to define U.S.-occupied Iraq, once one of the more advanced countries of the Near East. And now the Iraq occupation has come to define U.S. politics in the 2006 Congressional elections. With the imperialist butchers and their Iraqi puppet government unable to ensure a modicum of stability even in Baghdad, preponderant sections of the U.S. capitalist ruling class see the occupation as a losing venture and demand a change in course. The Democratic Party, which gave Bush a blank check to pursue the bloody war on terror in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks and then gave the go-ahead for the Iraq war, now aims to recapture Congress by running candidates as not Bush.
George W. Bush touted the death sentence meted out to former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein by a show-trial tribunal—conveniently handed down two days before American voters go the polls—as a milestone in Iraqi democracy. Would anyone expect anything different from a man who, as governor of Texas, oversaw the deadliest machinery of state executions in the U.S., and who more recently signed into law the use of torture in handling terror suspects?
Saddam Hussein was indeed a butcher—but he was the imperialists butcher and Washingtons bloody bastard as he arrested, tortured and executed thousands of Iraqi Communists, union leaders, Kurds and other ethnic minorities and religious opponents. In 1983, U.S. president Reagan sent an emissary—one Donald Rumsfeld—to meet with Saddam Hussein in the midst of the bloody eight-year war between Iraq and predominantly Shiite Iran. It was only after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 that he became Washingtons all-purpose bogeyman.
The main enemy of the worlds working people, the U.S. imperialist state—murderer of hundreds of thousands of Japanese in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, butcher of over three million Koreans and three million Vietnamese, enforcer of the UN sanctions that starved 1.5 million Iraqis to death and perpetrator of the Haditha slaughter and other war crimes in Iraq—hails the death sentence handed out by its puppet court. It is the lesser evil Democratic Party that has overseen the bulk of the atrocities perpetrated by U.S. imperialism. As we wrote in Imperialists Gloat over Capture of Former Henchman Saddam Hussein (WV No. 816, 26 December 2003): When workers tribunals of a victorious socialist revolution in the United States try Americas capitalist exploiters for their crimes against the oppressed masses of the world, black America, labor, immigrants and the poor, and when Iraqi Kurds, leftists and workers rip the oil wealth out of the hands of the military occupiers and judge them and their former henchmen, then we can start talking about justice.
The faith-based Bush gang is selling the death sentence as a major step toward stability in Iraq. But the predictable reaction in Iraq tells a different story: Sunnis protested in fury against the sentence, arms in hand, while Shiites and Kurds celebrated, arms in hand. U.S. Central Command planners last month produced an Index of Civil Conflict chart, which as reported by the New York Times (1 November), shows Iraq moving steadily toward the far right of the chart, i.e., toward chaos.
By any measure, Iraq under U.S. subjugation is a devastated country. A recently published study by Johns Hopkins University estimated that 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the occupation, including 600,000 in violent deaths. Every week, hundreds of Iraqis are slaughtered in the ethnic and communal warfare that the imperialist occupation has unleashed. Sunnis and Shiites have fled once-mixed neighborhoods to escape murderous militias and death squads, many of which work right out of army bases and police stations. The small Christian population is under siege. The United Nations estimates that at least 914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the occupation began. Thousands stream into Syria or Jordan each day. One hundred lecturers at Baghdad University have been murdered. In areas under the control of the clerics (Sunni or Shiite), women who step outside their homes dare not do so without draping themselves in the veil.
As revolutionary Marxists, the Spartacist League/U.S. stood for the military defense of Iraq against the imperialist invasion without giving any political support to Saddam Husseins bloody bourgeois regime. We called on the U.S. proletariat to wage class struggle at home against the U.S. capitalist rulers. Today we demand the unconditional, immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq! Against the trap of Democratic Party lesser-evilism, we fight to forge a workers party that will lead the exploited and oppressed in a socialist revolution that smashes the U.S. imperialist order.
Imperialist Thieves Fall Out
Pre-election polls show that over 70 percent of the U.S. population believes that Iraq is in a state of civil war. More than 2,800 U.S. troops have been killed since the March 2003 invasion and over 20,000 wounded. General William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, has called the Iraq war and occupation the greatest strategic disaster in American history. A preview of an upcoming Vanity Fair article posted on the Internet speaks of neocons Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman, among the ideological architects of the war, now blaming the Bush administrations incompetence for the Iraq quagmire. An Iraq Study Group approved by the White House and headed by James Baker, a leading policy-maker under Bush Sr., will likely come out following the elections with recommendations for disengagement from Iraq.
An editorial that appeared in the Army Times (4 November) and related publications of the military branches demands: Time for Rumsfeld to Go, bluntly expressing the growing opposition to the White House over Iraq among the officer corps as well as ranks. Last month, over 200 active-duty soldiers in Iraq signed a petition calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq.
While the Democrats are seizing on the chance to bash Bush over his lacking an exit strategy, the Democrats are in fact not calling for withdrawal from Iraq, where the U.S. now has military bases. What Hillary Clinton et al. demand is a redeployment of forces to surrounding areas, the better to prosecute the global war on terror. What worries the Democrats and all other bourgeois critics of the administration is that White House policies are harming U.S. imperialisms long-term strategic and military interests.
The New York Times (24 October), which in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion promoted the governments lie about WMDs in Iraq, editorialized that the best that can be hoped for is to try to contain the Iraq disaster. The Times declared that the U.S. cannot win in Iraq. The only question is whether the United States can extricate itself without leaving behind an unending civil war that will spread more chaos and suffering throughout the Middle East, while spawning terrorism across the globe.
For the Democratic Party of U.S. imperialism, Iraq was a mistake only because it was not successful. Meanwhile, the murderous U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan has led to the resurgence of the Taliban. In a New York Times (27 October) op-ed piece, liberal columnist Paul Krugman declared Iraq a lost cause. He continued:
The moral is clear—we need to get out of Iraq, not because we want to cut and run, but because our continuing presence is doing nothing but wasting American lives. And if we do free up our forces (and those of our British allies), we might still be able to save Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan war embraced by Krugman and other liberals as a just and noble response to the September 11 terror attacks means imperialist slaughter and reinforces the barbaric oppression of women. On October 24, air strikes carried out by NATO forces killed up to 85 villagers in Kandahar province. Soon after, Pakistan, with U.S. backing, bombed an Islamic school near the Afghan border, killing 80. Just as we called for the military defense of Afghanistan against the U.S. invasion in 2001 despite our proletarian opposition to the bloody Taliban reactionaries, today we demand: U.S./NATO out of Afghanistan now!
Imperialist Occupation Foments Bloody Chaos
As proletarian-internationalist opponents of U.S. imperialism, we recognize that when the insurgents in Iraq carry out strikes against the U.S. occupiers, such acts coincide with the interests of the international proletariat. However, we do not imbue these forces with anti-imperialist credentials and we stand in intransigent opposition to the murderous communal violence that is often carried out by the very same forces fighting the occupation armies. Should the Iraqi proletariat raise its head, it would face not only the savagery of the imperialists but also the brutality of the reactionary Islamic fundamentalists and bourgeois nationalists that dominate the resistance.
In August, as Iraq spiraled ever more quickly into chaos, Washington redeployed troops to Baghdad, aiming to at least control the capital. But the communal bloodshed only increased. Then, after the U.S. accused Moktada al-Sadrs Mahdi Army militia of kidnapping a U.S. Army translator, American and Iraqi troops threw a cordon around Baghdads Sadr City on October 25, sealing off the massive Shiite slum and stronghold of al-Sadrs forces. That same day, U.S. air strikes on the area killed five. As outrage mounted over the siege and checkpoints, Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the lifting of the siege, and the U.S. complied.
That Washingtons own puppet regime in Iraq is increasingly defying its imperialist paymasters only gives more impetus to Bushs bourgeois opponents to push cutting U.S. losses there. At the same time, the imperialists fear that a withdrawal would only strengthen the growing influence of Shiite Iran over the government in Iraq and the now-dominant Shiite population. In late October, the U.S. carried out naval exercises in the Persian Gulf as a further provocation against Iran, which is in the imperialists cross hairs over its development of nuclear technology. In response, Iran began ten days of military exercises. The latest brazen American provocations against Iran, which has not violated any nuclear proliferation agreements, further demonstrate that Iran needs nukes as a deterrent to imperialist attack.
Meanwhile, Israel, on the heels of its murderous assault on Lebanon, has again ratcheted up its terror against the Palestinian people, slaughtering more than 50 people in the Gaza Strip in the past week. Over 300 Palestinians have been killed in the four-month Zionist offensive. Both the Democrats and Republicans are fulsome supporters of the bloody Zionist regime, including backing its recent bombardment and invasion of Lebanon. Defend the Palestinian people! Zionist troops and settlers out of all the Occupied Territories!
The Democrats have long complained that Bushs Iraq policy has overstretched the military to the extent that the U.S. cannot pursue more important targets, such as capitalist Iran or the North Korean deformed workers state. In fact, since September 11, 2001, U.S. imperialisms military attentions have largely been diverted from its key strategic target of China, the most powerful of the remaining societies where capitalism was overthrown, as well as from North Korea. It is the duty of the international proletariat to defend the Chinese, North Korean, Cuban and Vietnamese deformed workers states against military attack and capitalist counterrevolution. As part of our defense of North Korea, we support Pyongyangs testing and development of nukes as a deterrent against imperialist blackmail. Down with UN sanctions against North Korea!
Defeat U.S. Imperialism Through Workers Revolution!
When Democratic Congressman and longtime hawk Jack Murtha came out last year with his call for a speedy redeployment out of the Iraq quagmire, we wrote in Iraq: U.S. Occupiers Out Now! (WV No. 860, 9 December 2005):
Ultimately, the solution to the suffering of U.S. imperialisms victims depends on the struggle of the American proletariat to overthrow the capitalist order through socialist revolution. From the onset of the Iraq antiwar protests in 2002, we have stressed the need for class struggle against the capitalist rulers at home. This perspective requires a political fight against the pro-capitalist labor misleaders who chain the proletariat to its capitalist class enemy, not least through supporting U.S. national interests.
True to form, with Bushs Republicans on the ropes, the labor misleaders in the AFL-CIO and Change to Win coalition have poured in tens of millions to support the Democratic Party lesser evil in the Congressional elections. Following suit, the U.S. reformist left has worked its own Anybody but Bush shell game. Thus, International Socialist Organization (ISO) spokesman Todd Chretien has run on the capitalist Green Party ticket for U.S. Senate in California, while elsewhere the ISO has campaigned for Greens like Senate candidate Howie Hawkins in New York. Workers World Party (WWP) member David Sole is also running for Senate on the Green Party ticket in Michigan. Far from an alternative to the major parties of U.S. imperialism, the Greens provide a way station for disgruntled liberals on the road back into the Democrats fold.
The ISO and WWP are plainly crossing the class line with these bourgeois electoral efforts. But these campaigns are in fact the continuation of their building of a liberal-pacifist Iraq antiwar movement that reinforced the illusion that the murderous, profit-driven capitalist system can be reformed to serve human needs. They promote such slogans as money for jobs and health care, not war—as if the task is to convince the capitalist rulers to reorder their priorities. The reformists act to retard the political consciousness of the working class and radical-minded youth, opposing the road of proletarian revolution as the way out of imperialist war, racist oppression and poverty.
The Spartacist League fights intransigently for the political independence of the proletariat from the capitalist class enemy. Break with the capitalist parties! For a workers party that fights for socialist revolution!