War Is Safety, Empire Is Liberation, Thinking Is Danger

A Reader's Guide to "War on Terrorism"

Revolutionary Worker #1251, August 29, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

Welcome to the twisted worldview of Official America.

.where unprovoked conquest is launched in the name of "self-defense."

.where Permanent War is declared in the name of "Homeland Safety."

.where naked prisoners get shackled together during a crusade to "spread democracy."

.and where official debates are narrowed relentlessly, so that NOTHING is supposed to challenge the crumbling assumptions of the holy "War on Terrorism."

We have got to work day and night to rupture this suffocating Orwellian Fox News mindfuck where truth is forbidden, and calling a president a liar is treated as irresponsible thought-crime.


Everyone is supposed to eagerly embrace a presidential campaign where the major candidates compete over who would make the toughest, most war-ready "commander in chief." We are all supposed to think that a permanent global state of war is necessary--and that its purpose is to "keep the American people safe." And we are supposed to give the U.S. government a blank check--to expand the U.S. military and spy machinery, to go anywhere and do anything, in open or in secret.

This is all based on a deliberate campaign of lies--designed to build popular support for aggressions internationally and police-state moves within the U.S.

An Unprecedented Global Offensive

Look at the breathtaking scope of the current U.S. government offensive:

 Since 9/11, the U.S. has invaded and occupied Afghanistan and then Iraq. This has opened the way for more direct U.S. domination of the highly strategic and oil-rich Central Asia and the even more strategic and oil-rich Persian Gulf.

 In the name of a "War on Terrorism," the U.S. government has demanded a license to attack anyone who opposes U.S. domination anywhere in the world. The White House has declared a doctrine of "pre-emptive war"-- claiming the "right" to threaten or launch wars of aggression based solely on so-called "intelligence estimates" of "potential threats" in the future.

 The U.S. has actively threatened war with many countries--including Syria, Iran, and North Korea (none of which had any connection with 9/11).

 Forces within the U.S. government declare that they intend to forcibly reshape the political life and governments of the whole Middle East--to conform to U.S. political principles and interests. Israel has been unleashed for an intense new campaign of assassination, repression and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

 The U.S. has established a string of new military bases in at least a dozen countries--from Djibouti in Africa, Uzbekistan in Central Asia, the Philippines in Southeast Asia, and the Republic of Georgia on the Black Sea.

 There is an unprecedented global campaign of covert operations--including assassinations, kidnappings, infiltrations, spying, and funding of networks of foreign agents--most details of which remain secret for now. By some counts, the U.S. now has covert and counterinsurgency operations underway in 80 countries. Some of these operations target Islamic fundamentalist forces. However, the U.S. government is also using the label of "terrorism" to target secular movements--including the revolutionary Maoist forces in Nepal, India, Peru and the Philippines.

 The U.S. has rejected a string of international treaties and negotiations--include the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and verification measures for the Biological Weapons Convention. The U.S. government has opposed the International Criminal Court and forced the UN Security Council to give U.S. military forces temporary immunity from war crimes prosecution.

The U.S. has refused to honor the Geneva convention on the treatment of POWs--and created an international network of interrogation camps, operating largely outside of restraint by law (including the notorious Abu Ghraib in Baghdad). An official paper trail has documented high-level U.S. government encouragement of torture and abuse.

 Within the United States, the banner of "homeland security" has been used to impose a series of fascistic policies and legal changes--including vast new police powers of surveillance, systematic tracking of people, and attempts to mobilize the population in a climate of fear and mutual suspicion. There has been deep erosion of fundamental constitutional rights--including the protection from imprisonment without charges and searches without probable cause.

This is the picture of a superpower launching a permanent state of war to enforce its own global domination. And this offensive had been "on the drawing boards" for years--long before 9/11.

A Long-planned Grab for the World

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed--and, for the first time in a century, the U.S. faced no major rival power or bloc. Shortly afterwards, the Pentagon team headed by Dick Cheney (then Secretary of Defense for the first Bush) wrote a briefing paper titled the "1992 Defense Planning Guidance." This document foreshadowed the offensive now being carried out by the current Bush administration--and it had NOTHING to do with any "War on Terrorism."

The U.S. was now the sole superpower, with an unprecedented level of military superiority. In the view of those like Cheney, this position needed to be exploited aggressively to impose a new international framework by force--one in which no one could or would dare to challenge the global domination of American capitalism for generations to come.

Shortly after the Cheney paper was written, a different crew (headed by Bill Clinton) came to power in the U.S.- -and pursued their own version of imperialist politics (intervening militarily in the Balkans, Somalia and Haiti, imposing brutal sanctions and air attacks on Iraq, and so on).

However, the political forces grouped around George W. Bush thought this was not aggressive enough--and that a historic opportunity was slipping away.

Bob Avakian characterizes the thinking of these forces this way: "Look, we had this great victory in the Cold War. Then we had this whole period when we had Clinton in there, and we didn't really take advantage of the victory in the Cold War. We didn't `roll up' the whole world the way we could have, and should have. We let things drift, and it's time to get in there and follow up the victory of the Cold War with this whole new world realignment that we're going to bludgeon into being.' "(from "The New Situation and the Great Challenges,"online at rwor.org)

In January 2001, the Bush team came to power and immediately went to work planning a global offensive-- including (as has been well documented) making specific plans for war on Iraq and Afghanistan. They forged a certain consensus within the U.S. ruling class around an aggressive course of global action.

Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said: "The international system has been in flux since the collapse of Soviet power. Now it is possible--indeed probable--that that transition is coming to an end. If that is right, then this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity."

9/11 as Opening and Excuse

"CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq--even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks."

(CBS, Sept. 4, 2002)

Maoist political economist Raymond Lotta wrote: "9/11 created a new mix of necessity and opportunity for U.S. imperialism. The attack may have been a case of `blowback.' The U.S. had organized, financed, and armed reactionary fundamentalist forces as part of its efforts to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan and weaken it elsewhere. But angered by the Persian Gulf war and the U.S. presence in the Middle East, these forces have turned on their U.S. sponsors. 9/11 presented U.S. imperialism with a certain necessity. As the world's dominant power, it had to hit back, and hit with a vengeance--to let the world know that the U.S. would not tolerate any such acts against it, especially on its home soil. At the same time, the events of 9/11 presented the ruling class with a political-ideological opening: they would cast their quest for global dominance as a `war on terrorism.'"

("Dissecting the Bush Doctrine, U.S. Imperialism's Crusade for One World Empire," online at rwor.org)

The main targets of the U.S. offensive that followed have not been confined to "likely suspects" of the 9/11 attack. Bush quickly declared an "axis of evil" (made up of governments with no ties to 9/11).

The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was called "Phase 2" of the so-called "war on terrorism." The excuse for this war was that Saddam Hussein might give powerful weapons to allied "terrorists" to use directly against the U.S. As we all now know: Iraq had no such weapons and had no such ties with "terrorist" forces.

This was not "an intelligence failure"--it was a deliberate deception. The White House portrayed its long-planned aggression as a way to "keep America safe."

This is not a sign that the war on Iraq was a "distraction from the War on Terrorism." On the contrary, attacking Iraq was integral to the plans of the Bush-Cheney group--which were all along not about "security and safety" but an unprecedented grab for global empire and domination.

The U.S. rulers have already run into major problems in this global offensive--including the determined resistance of the Iraqi people and the widespread resistance of people worldwide that denied them a mandate going into the invasion of Iraq. They have no easy solutions for their problems--but they are also united overall around their need to press forward with the juggernaut of war and repression.

Key Points to Understand

1) The objective of Bush's war on the world is to use U.S.'s military superiority to violently recast international relations and make the U.S. the unchallengeable ruler of the world--a "new Rome" on a global scale.

2) The central moves of this "War on Terrorism" so far were planned long before 9/11 and are intended to intensify U.S. control over key parts of the world.

3) The U.S. government is exploiting its superpower position to threaten anyone who may oppose their domination. This includes important movements for positive, revolutionary change that deserve the political support of progressive people everywhere.

4) The "War on Terrorism" cannot and will not keep the people of the U.S. "safe." The U.S. government's brutal and arrogant actions around the world will increase the determination by many different kinds of forces to strike back. It is the actions of imperialism that put people within the U.S. in harm's way.

5) This global offensive is unjust, illegitimate, and dangerous to the future of humanity. It is an aggressive grab for world domination and empire. It cannot be "refocused" to somehow make it in any way in the interests of the people.

Our brothers and sisters around the world and future generations will judge us all by what we say and do in these historic times--and by how well we actually succeed in opposing and defeating these monstrous global moves.

For more in-depth analysis on all these points, check out the RW Resistance page at http://rwor.org/resistance/