Revolution #82, March 18, 2007
Serious About Ending Four Years of Unjust War?
We Need A Massive Movement Determined to Drive Out the Bush Regime!
In four years the Bush administration has, in our names, waged an unimaginably destructive and cruel war on Iraq that has claimed more than half a million lives, is now driving more than 100,000 people out of Iraq each month, and is pushing the whole Middle East towards balkanization.
Now, as Iraq spins out of their control--with the strategic interests of an empire at stake--Bush’s logic is to double down, escape forward, and to fight this out in a larger (regional) theater.
Preparations are under way for a massive assault on Iran. Seymour Hersh recently revealed that plans have been drawn up to begin a bombing campaign within 24 hours of Bush’s say-so and Craig Unger wrote that “Bush can count on the military to carry out [a really punishing air-force and naval attack] even without congressional authorization.”
A war on Iran would not only mean vastly expanded bloodshed, but would escalate the situation where increasingly humanity is being confronted with two intolerable choices: Bush’s crusade for empire or a reactionary Islamic fundamentalist response. The Bush regime has committed crimes on a far greater scale and is by far the greater danger to humanity--it is, after all, the dominant imperialist power on the planet--but both are complete nightmares. Both reinforce and feed off each other and as they grow they suck up the air to breathe for secular and progressive forces in this country and around the world.
Anyone who whistles past the great and unprecedented dangers this poses for humanity does so at the peril of all of our futures!
People in their hundreds of millions--in this country and around the world--must be presented with a third option, an option that refuses to choose between crusading McWorld or reactionary Jihad, but instead manifests our determination to bring this to a halt!
The Democrats, including John Conyers, say that impeachment is a distraction from ending the war. But George Bush has made it abundantly and redundantly clear that this war will not end on his watch so ending the war is completely bound up with ending his watch.
The Democrats also argue that impeachment is unnecessary since Bush is only in office for two more years and that instead we should focus on getting a Democrat elected in '08. But the idea that Iran will be plunged into the same nightmare as Iraq and that innocent people around the world will continue to be rendered and tortured--chained to ceilings, beaten for days, water boarded and religiously and sexually persecuted--for two more years so that a Democrat can rise to the helm of a new Rome is unconscionable.
Besides, if the Bush regime is not driven from office before '08, then everything they have done--the doctrine of preemptive war, the legalization of torture, the stripping of habeas corpus, the abandonment of people of New Orleans, the stripping away of women's right to birth control and abortion, the construction of theocracy--is legitimated and codified no matter who becomes the next president.
If you doubt this, take a look at the Democratic front-runners: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards.
The Republicans have shamelessly thrown down over everything for six years: passing midnight laws to keep Terri Schiavo alive, threatening a “nuclear option” to force through Supreme Court Justices, even filibustering the symbolic, non-binding Senate resolution against Bush’s troop “surge.” Which of these Democratic candidates is raising a hue and cry against torture? Which of them filibustered the Military Commissions Act? Which of them shut down the Senate to prevent the troop surge? Instead of doing this, they--and their party as a whole--have spent their legislative power capitulating and conceding to fascist laws and war crimes. And all three, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton, have insisted that all options--including nuclear options--remain on the table in dealing with Iran!!
2004... 2006... 2008... it's the same shell game. By the time the elections arrive people will have to swallow all their principles and vote for the “lesser evil” that is legitimating what should be well beyond the pale. There is a lesson in this. As Bob Avakian has said, “If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.”
If people’s energies, resources, and time get funneled into supporting or trying to influence these Democrats--rather than breaking free of their calculations and acting independently of their limits to bring this to a halt now--they will find themselves learning or being forced to live with even greater horrors for the people of the world.
Look, here is what we really need: a massive movement that is determined to drive Bush and his regime out of office. This is not about "what will persuade Congress" to impeach; we need a massive movement from below and all over society, manifesting in the streets, determined to stop and reverse this whole terrible and disastrous program, and ready for all the upheaval that would entail. And then let the powers-that-be figure out whether the regime goes by impeachment or resignation.
On the other hand, there are those who, in the name of saying about the Democrats and the Republicans “they’re all the same,” whistle past the fascist way the Bush regime is remaking the world. There is more than one way to stay on the sidelines when history is calling. I’ve heard some who see Bush as part of a system of imperialism accuse World Can’t Wait of simply “Bush-bashing” for calling people to drive out the Bush regime.
I don’t speak for everyone represented in World Can’t Wait, but I believe Bush is part of an imperialist system. But does recognizing that mean we should ignore the unending war for empire, the remaking society in a fascist way, the dragging of women, gays, and sciences back to the stone age, and the dangerous encroachment of a hateful brand of Christianity into public and private life? Does it mean we should be indifferent to a regime that has overseen the destruction of Baghdad and Falluja and the decimation and racial cleansing of New Orleans?
Recognizing this country’s imperialism and crimes--from the enslavement of millions of Black people and genocide of the Native Americans to having sent troops, committed acts of war and carried out CIA interventions more than 150 times on foreign soil--ought to make one more capable of understanding that this system would have no restraint in transitioning to an even more devastating (and repressive) form of rule if it served their interests. Including, if it is allowed to be consolidated, closing off any space in society from which to mount any meaningful opposition--including revolutionary opposition.
On the other hand, if we succeed in reversing this program, this will open up much more room for people to go forward to create a better world--including space for those who want to get beyond imperialism by bringing into being a radically emancipated world through revolution.
There are reasons why the core around Bush, with its grand strategy for an unchallenged and unchallengeable global empire, has initiative within the ruling class right now. In a world undergoing rapid, dramatic, and destabilizing transformations driven by capitalist globalization and competition, the emergence of the U.S. as the sole superpower has provided it with tremendous opportunities but also with a great deal of necessity and a lot of risks. If they don't reconfigure the world, in particular starting with the strategic areas of the Middle East that hold 80% of the world's energy resources, then some other power will do so in ways that create big obstacles for them.
And there are reasons why--in the face of major strains on the internal cohesion of this country: the influx of immigrants, the loss of major industry, the breakdown of the traditional (read: patriarchal) family and other major shifts--the highly repressive theocratic and fascist cores around Bush have initiative domestically.
If you want to go after imperialism right now, you have to go after the program that is predominating, the program that has initiative, the program that is reshaping the whole world.
As for the fact that the Democrats are complicit in this program, that is one of the brilliant things about the Call for the World Can’t Wait. It calls out YOUR GOVERNMENT as a whole for its policies of torture, unjust wars, police-state measures, and theocracy and calls for a movement aimed at driving out the regime sledge-hammering this forward while repudiating this program as a whole.
This is something that everyone, from those who believe in the principles upon which this country was founded to those who see injustice and exploitation rooted in those very principles, can and must come together now to accomplish. In the process we should have many debates over where these problems came from and what kind of world we should bring into being; but if we don’t do so as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the struggle to drive out this regime and repudiate its program, then we are complicit in its crimes.
Right now, as the Bush administration--with the silence and complicity of Congress--readies a new and even more dangerous war, the world needs to see people in this country bursting forth in massive protests.
Right now, the world needs us united, not diminished or spread out in many small demonstrations that will not make the needed impact, in the nation's Capitol and at the Pentagon.
Right now, what we do is going to make a decisive difference one way or the other. Let's not settle for routine or puny. Lets mobilize with the intent and commitment to stop this war and prevent the next one.
Out of the huge reservoir of discontent and agonizing, let's bring forward a great wave to repudiate this President in a collective voice loud enough to be heard across this country and around the world. If we do, the possibility of turning things around and onto a much more favorable direction will take on a whole new dimension of reality. It will go from something only vaguely hoped for by millions of isolated individuals, and acted on by thousands so far, to something that has undeniable moral force and unprecedented political impact.
This is something we can achieve or it is a hope for humanity we could squander.
As my best friend’s favorite, if severely tattered, Clash T-shirt reads, “The future is unwritten.” What it will look like depends on what we do.
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