Revolutionary Worker #1186, February 9, 2003, posted at http://rwor.org
Soon, the president will speak.
He will have something to say about
bombs and freedom and our way of life.
I will turn the TV off. I always do.
Because I can't bear to look
at the monuments in his eyes.
Poet Sam Hamill
President Bush stepped in front of the cameras of the world on January 29 to claim his planned invasion will be "liberation" for the people of Iraq. "We exercise power without conquest," he said, "and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers."
What unbelievable words from a shameless posturing bully! This frontman for corporate theft dares to talk about liberty and liberation, while he prepares to sacrifice the lives of soldiers on both sides and many thousands more among the Iraqi people.
Plans have already been made to rain down huge stockpiles of guided missiles on Iraq. On the first day alone, the Pentagon plans the launch of 300 to 400 cruise missiles on the Iraqi landscape. The next day, hundreds more will follow. U.S. war-planners call this massive attack "Shock and Awe"-- comparing its effect on the people to the shock of a Hiroshima-type bomb at hundreds of sites across Iraq.
One of the war-planners told CBS News that "no one in Baghdad will be safe" and that the attacks on Baghdad will "take the city down--by that I mean you get rid of their power and water."
Millions of people will be cut off by the destruction of bridges and key highways, shaken by the thud of death flying from the skies day and night, trapped as the whole country becomes a ground zero for U.S. attack. The British medical association Medact estimates that at least 10,000 Iraqi people will die in the first wave of attacks, with another 260,000 dying of disease and hunger in the following month. The UN estimates that 900,000 people will be made homeless.
Meanwhile, the U.S. command is determined to decapitate the Iraqi command-- using massive bombings of government targets. It is openly discussed that if the latest non-nuclear "bunker busters" don't work, the Pentagon war-planners are considering the use of nuclear weapons to dig into the heart of the Iraqi capital. President Bush has signed an unprecedented order --in violation of international law-- authorizing the use of nuclear weapons in the case of any chemical or biological attacks on U.S. troops. And Pentagon planners are also considering the use of nuclear weapons "to pre- empt" such an attack. In other words, the basis is being laid for the U.S. military command to claim that Iraq's forces might be preparing chemical attacks, as a pretext for nuclear attacks on Iraq.
Meanwhile, in vast military zones in northern Kuwait, U.S. commandos are waiting for a quick takeover of the oil fields--to establish U.S. control there. Then, from forward bases in Jordan, Turkey and Kuwait, would come the U.S. ground forces--to roll into the bombed cities, occupy the country and establish some new political order that suits Washington.
Secretary of State Powell's UN appearance on February 5 is meant to provide the pretext for this terrible war on the Iraqi people.
The Lie of Imperialist Liberators
Millions of victims--remembered in sorrow and anger by people all over the world-- seem to cry out in protest, as an American president claims the mantle of "liberator."
The U.S. has used the last two centuries for a bloody climb toward world domination--starting with the stolen lives from Africa, the broken lives of Indian peoples and the broken borders of Mexico. This war path has been punctuated by infamous acts of mass murder--including the smoking ruins of Japan's Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the deaths of millions of Vietnamese.
Nelson Mandela recently said: "Because they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are they now to pretend they're the policeman of the world? lf there is a country which has committed unspeakable atrocities, it is the U.S."
The history of almost every "neighbor" in the Western Hemisphere is filled with vivid records of invasion, intervention and coup. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama have seen U.S. troops come in conquest and occupations that lasted decades.
The whole world has seen rich evidence of what U.S.-imposed "regime change" means. Look at the governments the U.S. has imposed in the past: The Shah of Iran; General Suharto in Indonesia; CIA-favorite General Pinochet in Chile; the "kleptocrat" Colonel Mobutu in the Congo. U.S. arms propped up murderous military juntas in Turkey, Greece, El Salvador, and Brazil.
These imposed governments have three things in common: they were established by bloodbath, they rule by torture and bribes, and they serve the U.S. imperialists loyally. FDR coined the real slogan for such U.S. policy when discussing Nicaraguan dictator Somoza: "He's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
No Right to Speak
With a record like that, what right does the U.S. government have to make itself the judge of other governments? By what right does it claim to remove them at will, and replace them with someone more to U.S. liking? And who in their right mind can imagine that U.S. invasion and "regime change" can somehow serve the people?
The record of history makes this clear: any vision of real liberation for Iraq (or anywhere else in the world) must start, first of all, with the expulsion of imperialists like the U.S. from any power over the people--over their lives, their work, their resources or their future.
Powell's attempt to make a long list of indictments against Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq--to somehow paint this poor besieged country, with its battered military and primitive weapons, as a threat to the world--is nothing but a pretext for a war of empire, in the tradition of the fabricated incident at Gulf of Tonkin that started the Vietnam War.
We are told to swallow ridiculous and self-serving double-think: The U.S. threatens Iraq with nuclear attack--but uses as its excuse that Iraq may be trying to develop some primitive nuclear device. The U.S. accuses Saddam Hussein of murdering opposition, of killing people in their own country, of using vicious weapons, of invading neighbors--while they have done all that, and more, on a scale Hussein can't dream of.
To borrow a well-known biblical passage: "Why do you see the speck [mote] in your neighbor's eye, but not the log in your own eye." (Matthew 7:3)
And further, it needs to be pointed out, the complete hypocrisy of the U.S. "suddenly" discovering the "tyranny" of Saddam Hussein--after they themselves helped consolidate his Ba'athist Party in power. After they themselves helped organize the $30 billion flow of arms and support to Iraq to unleash a bloody eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s. Now they accuse Saddam Hussein of "gassing his own people," even though--as a former CIA senior analyst wrote in the New York Times (January 31)--Defense Department documents at the time of the Iran/Iraq war concluded that the notorious gas attack on Kurdish civilians in Halabja most likely came from Iranian military forces. Over and over, the U.S. (including both the Nixon and Reagan administrations) dismissed Saddam Hussein's repression of the Kurdish people. Iraq's government was, after all, a potential partner in a highly strategic region--and when it served them, they supported it and praised Saddam Hussein; and when he crossed them, they portrayed his government as some mystical focus of "evil" in the world.
How can the U.S. government dare claim to "care" about Iraq's people? Look at its record: For 42 days in 1992, the U.S. and allied planes pounded Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs-- targeting electrical and water systems as well as military targets. Overall, 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis were killed during the war. For the people, that war never stopped: U.S. planes have flown over 280,000 sorties in Iraq over the past decade, bombing at will. The U.S. ally Turkey has repeatedly invaded northern Iraq. The UN has estimated that, because of U.S.-imposed sanctions, 4,500 Iraqi children a month died from disease and malnutrition--over half a million in all. Now the U.S. is about to launch yet another massive war of bombs--and follow up with invasion.
The U.S. thinks that Iraq's people have no national rights at all--no right to control their air space, no right to pursue self-defense against U.S. attacks, no right to pick (or overthrow) their own government, no right to decide who gets control of their oil. Who can believe that these invading armies will bring "liberation" to the people?
George Bush opened his State of the Union speech with the sentence: "We will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people." In other words, all the brutal acts now about to be unleashed will be done in the name of "the American people."
We have a special responsibility , here within the U.S., within the very "homeland" of the empire, exactly because our safety and interests are used to justify this madness. We owe it to the people of the world to expose the truth and oppose, with all our strength and creativity, this shameful and bloody conquest.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497