The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.62/No.42           November 23, 1998 
U.S. Hands Off Iraq!  
Protests are needed around the world against Washington's plans to launch a military assault on Iraq. Faced with a collapse of the UN snoop operation and growing frustration over their inability to impose their prerogatives in the region, the U.S. rulers have embarked on a course toward another bloody onslaught against the Iraqi people.

A year ago, U.S. war secretary William Cohen appeared on national television with a five-pound bag of sugar declaring that if the sugar were anthrax it could kill half the population of Washington, D.C. This was part of U.S. president William Clinton's war preparations, claiming that Baghdad was preparing a "biological arsenal" to complement its allegedly hidden stockpile of chemical weapons. Months later, the U.S. government built up an armada of some 44,000 U.S. troops, 440 warplanes, and 34 warships in the Arab-Persian Gulf. Faced with opposition from many of its imperialist allies, Washington blinked and drew back from unleashing this enormous firepower.

Now confronted again with all the unresolved conflicts in the region, the Clinton Administration is pressing one more time for military action. U.S. imperialism's war moves against Iraq have nothing to do with containing or destroying alleged "weapons of mass destruction." It is Washington that is preparing to use its weapons of mass destruction to maim masses of Iraqi workers and peasants. Its goals are multiple: To overthrow the Hussein regime and attempt to replace it with a U.S. protectorate, thus tightening its grip on oil reserves in the Middle East and gaining more leverage over its rivals in Bonn, Paris, and Tokyo in the competition for domination of raw materials, markets, and access to the superexploitation of low- paid labor; to humble its imperialist competitors, especially Paris, which has pursued a foreign policy at odds tactically with Washington; and to build up a zone of domination and influence on the southern flank of Russia as part of the U.S. empire's attempt to tighten the military encirclement of the Russian workers state.

The 1990-91 Gulf War was the first war since the end of World War II that grew primarily out of intensified competition and accelerating instability of the crisis-ridden imperialist world order. A new military attack against Iraq will exacerbate the conflicts between Washington and its imperialist rivals in Europe and Japan. Just days ago, the U.S. government escalated a looming conflict over the banana trade, announcing it would impose a 100 percent tax on a range of exports from the European Union, if these countries did not amend their banana import policies by January 1. Meanwhile, a deluge of reactionary protectionist propaganda is opening up in the United States, as Clinton chimes in with U.S. steel bosses about the "breathtaking imports of Japanese steel, which hurt a lot of our industry, people and workers."

Working-class fighters around the world need to campaign to tell the truth about Clinton's war moves, especially on picket lines, at the plant gates, in working-class neighborhoods, and on college campuses. Using political weapons - such as New International no. 7, featuring the article "Opening guns of World War III: Washington's assault on Iraq," and New International no. 11, with "U.S. Imperialism has lost the Cold War" - is essential in the struggle.

Let's organize protests to demand:

U.S. hands off Iraq!

Lift the embargo!

Inspectors out of Iraq!

End the no-fly zones that violate Iraqi sovereignty!

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