The Militant (logo) 
   Vol.66/No.25            June 24, 2002 
Washington’s preemptive actions

Each week brings new and often sharper examples of what life under the last empire holds in store for working people. Such experiences highlight the real meaning for humanity of what the imperialists will attempt to impose on the world to salvage their outmoded and crisis-ridden system. Soberly facing the implications of the course of the imperialist rulers will help workers and farmers organize to resist the assaults by the employers and their government, and to fight to win the unions and other organization of the oppressed and exploited to take a stand against Washington’s anti-worker drive.

In his speech at the West Point military academy June 1, U.S. president George Bush intentionally blurred the distinction between carrying out "preemptive strikes" at home and abroad. Earlier in his administration the president said the U.S. rulers are carrying out a "two-front war" at home and in other countries.

With one person, agreed by everyone to be a U.S. citizen, locked up and shackled in a U.S. military prison, and another who by all rights should be a U.S. citizen also incarcerated by the Pentagon, the U.S. government is probing how far it can go in eroding basic constitutional rights. Neither man has been charged with a crime. The government is fighting to ensure that Yasser Esam Hamdi never receives legal representation and to keep Abdullah al-Muhajir from ever gaining a hearing in a court of law.

These moves are aimed at undercutting the right to be presumed innocent. In addition to those individuals thrown behind prison walls under the broad sweep of Wash-ington’s "anti-terror" campaign, five Cuban revolutionaries framed-up in the U.S. courts were also victims of lynchings in the media and public statements by government officials.

The proposal to bring under a Department of Homeland Security the cops, agents, and troops of the INS, Coast Guard, Customs Service, and Secret Service, and to give them domestic policing responsibilities, is another step in the federalization of policing. Hand in hand with the Homeland Security setup go moves to organize local and state cops to take on what have largely been INS functions of harassing and arresting people on immigration charges. Federal, state, and local databases on individuals are being beefed up, hooked up, and made more accessible to cops and secret police at every level of government.

In assessing the need for working people to chart our own independent political course as the only road possible to take on these assaults and the system that breeds them, it is imperative to recognize that the offense at home and abroad is a bipartisan one. Bush has been able to accelerate a course well prepared by his predecessor William Clinton.

Bush’s insistence that the U.S. rulers will launch strikes against countries he deems to be part of the "axis of evil" also needs to be taken seriously. These countries are "evil" both because they are often at odds with the imperialist master and because they have the capability now, or the potential down the road, to build and deploy weapons that can threaten U.S. territory. This is something Washington cannot allow. The U.S. rulers’ course is toward finding some kind of justification to launch preemptive strikes against Iraq and elsewhere, just as at home they are locking people up without filing charges against them in a court of law.
Related article:
U.S. gov’t begins jailing citizens without charges
First fruits of ‘preemptive action’ at home and abroad
U.S. govt to fingerprint ‘security risk’ visitors
Other cases of illegal detention by U.S. gov’t  
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