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A War for Domination

by Fred Goldstein
Workers World News Service, 12 October, 2001
Posted at globalresearch.ca 18 October 2001

After weeks of military build-up and three days of relentless bombing of Afghanistan, it is becoming clear that the Bush administration is using the horrific attacks of Sept. 11 as a pretext to assert and expand U.S. imperialist military domination in the entire region of the Middle East and Central Asia.

The enormous display of military striking power directed against an impoverished country that had already been mostly destroyed by two decades of war can only be understood by the world as a blatant act of intimidation directed against all governments and movements that Washington regards with hostility--and as preparation for a much wider war.

To carry out the massive bombing raids and to prepare for putting ground troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has sent four aircraft carrier-led battle groups into the region: the Enterprise, the Carl Vinson, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Kitty Hawk, which is on its way from Japan. Each battle group has a dozen or so warships, including submarines and destroyers. The Enterprise group alone carries 7,500 troops along with F-14 and F-18 fighter planes and E6-Bs for electronic warfare.

In addition, the Pentagon has shown its murderous global reach by mobilizing B-1 and B-2 bombers on non-stop 6,000- mile bombing runs from as far away as Missouri as well as B- 52s from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, almost 3,000 miles south of Afghanistan. The British junior partners of Washington have also participated in the bombings.

Together these two imperialist powers have close to 80,000 troops in the area. Such massive forces are clearly meant to attack existing states.

Under the banner of "fighting terrorism," the Pentagon has pushed its way into the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan and has gotten permission to use Tajikistan as a staging area. A crucial part of the plan to bring oil out of the region is to build a pipeline running through Afghanistan. This mobilization, among other things, has served to provide the U.S. military with inroads into the oil-rich area of Central Asia, which the oil companies would like to secure for their empire along with their domination of the oil-rich Arabian/Persian Gulf.

Washington wants no Restraints From Its Allies

The aggressive mood in Washington is such that it wants absolutely no restraint upon its military ambitions, even from its imperialist allies. According to the New York Times of Oct. 7, Robert Oakley, former head of the State Department's "counter-terrorism" office and former ambassador to Pakistan, said that "coalition is a bad word because it makes people think of alliances."

"A senior administration official put it more bluntly: 'The fewer people you have to rely on, the fewer permissions you have to get.'"

Not only did Washington immediately reject UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's suggestion that the Security Council approve military action. The Pentagon was at first, continued the Times, "even unwilling to have NATO invoke the alliance's mutual defense clause requiring members to defend one another against an armed attack, senior administration and European officials said. 'The allies were desperately trying to give us political cover and the Pentagon was resisting it... It was insane. Eventually Rumsfeld understood it was a plus, not a minus and was able to accept it.'"

No Country is Safe

The U.S. does not want to have to ask anyone's permission precisely because it has plans to use the current situation to expand its world domination. Washington is telling the world directly that it plans to widen the war. In Bush's speech of Oct. 7 announcing the beginning of the bombing attacks, he said, "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is much broader." He declared that no country could be neutral.

At the United Nations the next day, according to the New York Times of Oct. 9, "the American representative, John Negroponte, submitted a letter to the Security Council saying the United States may find it necessary to carry its military campaign into other nations, without specifying which ones."

"We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other states," said the letter. The Times interpretation was that this was laying the groundwork for attacks on Iraq, Lebanon, Syria "and other countries identified as harboring terrorists."

On the same day Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "warned the nation to prepare for not months, but years, of battle," according to the Times. And he "insisted that the attacks in Afghanistan should be viewed as 'part of a much larger effort against world-wide terrorism, one that will be sustained and which is wide-ranging.'"

To dub this attempt to terrorize the world with military power as a "war on terrorism" is cynical in the extreme.

The destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by the Pentagon will not put an end to terrorism. The U.S. government has just announced that the Taliban is an oppressive regime that persecutes women, among other crimes. But the U.S. knew this from day one because the Taliban was one of many reactionary forces that received part of the $8 billion the CIA spent on years of counter-revolutionary warfare to destroy the progressive socialist government of Afghanistan.

Washington knew that this government gave rights to women and to the long-suppressed progressive forces of Afghanistan society. The Soviet Union spent blood unsuccessfully trying to defend this regime from the counter-revolutionary terror campaign conducted under the aegis of the CIA.

Taliban, Northern Alliance and US

The U.S. is now trying to hold up the Northern Alliance as the liberators of Afghanistan from the reactionary Taliban. The Northern Alliance forces were also a significant part of the CIA's anti-communist army of counter-revolutionary terrorists.

Even the pro-imperialist Human Rights Watch issued a report, covering the period of the 1990s after the defeat of the USSR and the socialist forces in Afghanistan, which declared that all the victorious contra forces, including the Northern Alliance, "engaged in rape, summary executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and 'disappearances.'" (New York Times, Oct. 7) In 1997 in Mazari-I-Sharif the Northern Alliance executed 3,000 Taliban soldiers and in 1998 the Alliance sent rockets into the market place in Kabul, killing 76 civilians.

So the difference between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban is that the former, having been defeated by the Taliban, is willing to reenter the service of Washington in this new phase of the war against Afghanistan.

To be sure, the Taliban is internally an extremely reactionary formation. It deserves to be destroyed--but only by the masses of people, and only in order to put in its place a progressive government that will fight imperialism and serve the interests of the people. It will be of no help to replace it with a regime imposed on Kabul simply to further the war aims and economic interests of the U.S. military and corporations that are trying to get a stranglehold on the region.

If the U.S. government is able to accomplish this goal, it will only set the stage for a wider war in which untold thousands of people in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as soldiers from the U.S., will die.

As for the war against Osama bin Laden, the people in the U.S. must see beyond the Sept. 11 catastrophe. They must understand that this U.S. mobilization and the bombing of Afghanistan are another chapter in a long and bloody history of Western colonialist and imperialist intervention in the region.

The mobilization is seen by hundreds of millions in the area as continuing the colonial wars the French and British began in Afghanistan early in the 19th century. The people of the Middle East remember the more recent killing of 20,000 innocent civilians in Lebanon in 1982 by a U.S.-equipped Israeli invasion that destroyed Beirut. They still have nightmares over the U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1991 that killed 200,000 people, and the deaths of a million more over the next decade from U.S.-imposed sanctions.

This attack on Afghanistan must also be seen along with the expulsion of the Palestinian people and the bloody 53-year occupation of their homeland by the Israeli settler regime.

The people of Central Asia and the Middle East have suffered so much at the hands of Western colonialism and military intervention that they inevitably regard this latest incursion by U.S. and British forces as another move to hold them down. They will resist and have a right to resist.

The workers in this country must not be drawn into a war in which they have to kill or be killed to defend U.S. military and corporate expansionism.

It is ludicrous to think that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush administration in Washington are making all these military moves in order to protect the people in the U.S. They are using the horrible destruction of thousands of innocent people on Sept. 11 as an excuse to carry out long-held expansionist designs.

Bush Hasn't Changed

No one should forget that this is the same George Bush who came to power through a racist miscount of the votes in Florida and presided over more executions than any other governor. This is the Bush who appointed the racist, sexist John Ashcroft to be attorney general. He's the one who gave the rich a trillion-dollar tax break at the expense of the workers, the poor and the lower middle class. It is the same George Bush who is raiding Social Security and endangering the retirement funds of millions of workers.

George Bush has not changed in his undying loyalty to the oil companies and big business. That's what caused him to push through a plan for oil drilling in the Arctic wilderness and to pull out of the Kyoto Agreement, threatening the entire planet with pollution and global warming so his corporate buddies can be saved the cost of anti-pollution measures. When this administration sends military forces abroad, it is only to fight for profit in the same greedy way that they fought for it at home before Sept. 11.

And who are the "terrorists," according to Washington? Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Sudan, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, Cuba, the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Colombian liberation fighters, among others, are all on the list.

What do these governments and movements all have in common? They are either trying to hold on to their national independence or are fighting for their liberation. Many in Washington are talking about the post-Sept. 11 era as comparable to the Cold War, in which world imperialism finally brought about the collapse of the USSR and the eastern-bloc countries that constituted the material stronghold of the socialist camp.

This is truly the context in which they see the present struggle. The 75-year war against socialism and the USSR was not just a Cold War but a class war, a war of big business to defend private property and profit. It was a war against the workers and oppressed who want to use the world's economic resources for people and not for profit.

Bush and the ruling class would like to continue this class war against the oppressed of the world by using the cover of fighting terrorism to overturn every government and movement that resists the will of the big multinational corporations, the banks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Pentagon.

This is a dangerous pipedream. It cannot succeed because the mass of the people will ultimately stop them. But the time to resist this new surge toward expanded domination is now. The first demand is to stop the war and get the U.S. forces out of the Middle East and Central Asia.

That is the only way to secure the peace and security of the people of that region and the people at home.

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