The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 68/No. 22           June 7, 2004  
War party on the prod in Iraq
With the suspension of Janis Karpinski, the top U.S. military cop in charge of prisons in Iraq run by the Anglo-American occupiers, and the recall of commanding general Ricardo Sanchez, Washington is taking steps to save face in Iraq as it confronts worldwide outrage at its systematic abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The U.S. rulers recognize that the revelations could become an obstacle to their objectives in Iraq. These wealthy families have run up against the growing view in public opinion worldwide that the torture and systematic humiliation of prisoners are unsupportable. So they are taking measures to make sure that the revulsion against the degradation of prisoners does not get much in their way.

What was the purpose of the invasion and occupation of Iraq? They were about which of the imperialist powers will control the strategic oil and mineral platform Iraq and Kuwait sit on. They were about redividing the world among the civilized hyenas—with Washington and London, on the one hand, and Paris and Berlin on the other, as the two main unstable poles of the rival blocs of finance capital.

Having dealt blows to their competitors in France and Germany with last year’s quick victory, the U.S. rulers are now pushing to stabilize the occupation and establish a major role in Iraq for NATO—the imperialist military alliance through which the U.S. government has remained the number one military power in Europe. This is one of their main goals leading up to the NATO summit in Istanbul in June. German imperialism’s “doubts” about this goal won’t prevent American imperialism from pushing ahead to advance its predatory interests. After all, Germany’s “socialist” chancellor has made it clear that Berlin is fully participating in the “global war on terrorism”—the rationalization all imperialist powers use to tell anyone who resists their domination: the Iraq treatment is around the corner.

Inside the United States, the liberal opposition to the Bush administration is an integral part of the war party. Democratic Party politicians are using the revelations around Abu Ghraib to score points against the president in order to “push Bush out” in November. What’s their alternative? John Kerry, who brags he would do better than Bush in fighting “terrorism” and pursuing the occupation of Iraq, with some UN blue helmets alongside the U.S. Army. Kerry and the Democrats are also helping to spearhead the bipartisan “homeland security” offensive: widening dragnets, intensified domestic spying, and rolling back of the rights of the accused and convicted.

As part of this course, the imperialist liberals are falsifying history and trying to fool working people into believing that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners is an aberration of the Bush administration. They hide the truth about the massacres and torture of prisoners by the U.S. military and its allies during the UN-sanctioned Korean War, the Vietnam War, and many other imperialist assaults when Democrats were in the Oval Office and liberal military chiefs were in charge of Washington’s armed forces. How many ranking military officers were charged, convicted, or even suspended from their posts for those crimes under the Democrats’ watch? Virtually none.

As the crocodile tears of Democratic politicians are trickling over the horror of Abu Ghraib, the middle-class left is affixing its lips more and more firmly onto the nether parts of the liberal imperialists. The Communist Party USA and other “peace and justice groups” shout, “Rumsfeld must go!” and are becoming more energized for pushing working people onto the Kerry bandwagon—that is, into supporting democratic imperialism under an “antiwar” banner.

Rumsfeld and Bush do need to be pushed out—but not in order to push in the ghastly alternative of Kerry and Co. With either imperialist conservatism or imperialist liberalism in office, workers and the oppressed go to the wall.

While the war party in Washington remains on the offensive, Washington does face one undefeatable enemy: world capitalism’s inevitably deepening depression conditions and—over time, but just as inevitable—resistance to its effects among the toilers that will bring reinforcements, make possible the stripping away of illusions, and increase class solidarity and political consciousness as the consequences of the mounting catastrophe unfold.

The vanguard of this working-class resistance in the United States can be seen taking shape today in union-organizing struggles like those in Huntington, Utah; Oakland Park, Florida; and meatpacking houses in the Midwest.

As working people struggle for livable wages and job conditions, the right to till the soil, and the liberties needed to organize for these goals and win, more will see the commonality of their fights with the struggles of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and the need to join with them in demanding the unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and other imperialist troops from their lands—the only way to end the abuse of prisoners by their imperial captors.
Related articles:
U.S. general running prisons in Iraq suspended, removed from command
Iraqi Kurds push for more autonomy
Demand is used by occupying authorities to push for federated Iraq
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