Centre for Research on GlobalisationCentre de recherche sur la mondialisation
A world crisis is rapidly developing. The form it takes right now is preparation for an all-out war against Iraq by the Bush administration and the Pentagon.
The Pentagon is reportedly shipping huge amounts of military equipment from its bases in Europe to the Middle East, and the number of U.S. troops in the area is ballooning.
The Herald of Scotland reported on Aug. 16 that "The Pentagon has moved 50,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines within striking distance of Iraq in the past 10 months under cover of deployments targeting global terrorism, according to senior UK military sources.
"The quiet buildup includes the presence of up to five nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, each with an attack force of between 70 and 80 jets."
There are also "several U.S. Marine expeditionary forces, infantry battalions backed by helicopter gunships, tanks and armored personnel carriers, embarked on special assault ships in and around the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf."
The Scottish newspaper adds that "it is clear that preparations are being made for an aerial campaign which could be waged even if neighboring states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan refuse to allow the use of their airfields for offensive action."
The storming of the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin on Aug. 20 by a small group calling themselves dissident Iraqis has been denounced by Baghdad as the work of U.S. and Israeli agents. While the White House denies this, as is to be expected, the brief hostage-taking episode is at the very least the product of the expectations that a coming U.S. war would arouse among opportunists wanting to be included in a puppet government.
That it took place in Berlin, however, raises suspicions of more direct U.S. involvement, since the Bush administration has been angered by the refusal of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to give support to its war against Iraq during his campaign speeches.
The capitalist media all over the world are full of speculation as to whether the attack will begin sooner or later; whether President George W. Bush will be able to round up support from any U.S. "allies"; whether the meeting with most of his top aides in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 21 was secretly meant to finalize plans for the war; and whether the subdued words of caution coming from a few old Republican hands will make any difference.
All the discussions within the organs and councils of the ruling class in the U.S. take for granted that the right- wing cabal running the government--this grouping so intimately tied to the scandal-ridden, criminal corporate world--has the right to kill tens of thousands of Iraqi people in the pursuit of its aims. Not said openly, but underlying all their analysis, is the old imperial maxim, "Might makes right."
Nor should anyone think that the veterans of Bush senior's 1991 war now speaking up have any scruples when it comes to putting U.S. troops in "harm's way," either. Their only concern is that too many body bags coming home could ignite a firestorm of opposition and spoil their plans for total domination of the oil-rich lands where Europe, Asia and North Africa meet.
As the GIs found out all too well during the Vietnam War, the officer class and their buddies in the military- industrial complex consider the young workers in uniform as nothing more than a category of their war machine.
They are valued for the large sums of money spent on their training--not because they are Joe or Jane or Rasheed or Juana, with personalities and dreams and hopes. On the contrary, military training is meant to obliterate as much as possible the quirky and charming individual traits of each unique person and turn sensitive human beings into automated killing machines.
Lest anyone think these criminals' tears for their fallen troops are anything but crocodilian, just look at the shabby treatment of veterans, whose medical and other benefits are being cut even as young recruits are being rushed overseas for a new war.
GANGSTERISM AGAINST A SMALL COUNTRY
Those in the capitalist establishment who worry about the outcome of the coming war never admit that U.S. policy toward Iraq for decades has been nothing but a heinous exercise of gangsterism against a small country that is virtually defenseless in comparison to the massive high-tech firepower of the Pentagon. All the scare talk about "weapons of mass destruction" and "axis of evil" is just a public- relations scam to obscure the obvious--the U.S., not Iraq, is the Darth Vader the world fears.
The commentators here never seem to get around to even mentioning that the open intention of Washington to effect "regime change"--meaning the overthrow of the Iraqi government--is a violation of numerous international laws, which forbid such acts of blatant aggression and interference in the affairs of other countries.
Those laws were enacted, by the way, only after tremendous anti-colonial upheavals throughout the Third World, when hundreds of millions of people rebelled and threatened the continuity of exploitation by Western and Japanese capital.
Nor do the commentators seem to remember that the U.S. Constitution itself--which the flag-waving imperial adventurers love to invoke as the source of their authority when they're not claiming divine inspiration--explicitly forbids what the president and his cabal are doing in its very first article. The Constitution specifies that only Congress can declare war.
From Korea more than half a century ago to the present, every U.S. war--now euphemistically called "interventions"-- has been illegal and unconstitutional. But an "undeclared" war can be every bit as bloody and destructive as a declared one.
The objections of the Republican foreign policy heavies who have weighed in recently--Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Henry Kissinger, Rep. Dick Armey--are based on their fears that the administration is not skillful and patient enough to drag the mass of the people along with it into this war. They are not opposing the imperialist foreign policy of the U.S. capitalist government, but the precipitous and clumsy way in which it is being carried out.
Like the German generals who got the jitters before carrying out some of Hitler's most ferocious offensives, these Republicans also fear the horror and outrage that are sure to follow a war, not only in the Arab countries but all over the world. Kissinger, it should be remembered, recently had to leave France in a hurry because of charges arising from his role in the Chile coup and the murder of President Salvador Allende.
CAPITALIST CRISIS DRIVES THEM TOWARD WAR
The determination of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to press ahead with the war, even risking criticism from members of their own party and condemnation from other imperialist powers, indicates that they see the stakes as very high.
But what is at stake here? Not U.S. "national security," which Bush claims to be defending. Iraq is no threat to the U.S., and all attempts by the administration to link it to the Sept. 11 attacks have been exposed as fraudulent.
The real problem is that the administration cannot tolerate the continued defiance by the Iraqi leadership of U.S. efforts to roll back their independence, won in 1958 by an anti-colonial revolution, and bring their country under the total domination of U.S. oil companies.
In the minds of the geopolitical strategists for big business, this should be a time when U.S. hegemony is unchallenged across the globe. They demolished the bloc of socialist countries that had tried to exist outside their sphere of influence and exploitation. They have brought down many of the anti-colonial regimes in the Third World through covert military action and overt economic sanctions. They have told their imperialist rivals not to even question U.S. hegemony.
Then, from a most unlikely place--right-wing fundamentalists who had worked for the CIA in the war against a pro- socialist Afghan government--came an attack on two symbols of U.S. power. The administration quickly utilized the shock and backlash here to ram through a major military buildup and another war on Afghanistan--this time against former U.S. allies. It also gave the green light to Israel to renew its assault on the Palestinian people in the name of fighting "terrorism."
Bush elaborated a new doctrine: No one, big or small, could sit on the sidelines in his spurious "war on terrorism" or they would be considered to be aiding the "enemy." Yet even these threats have failed to line up support for the coming war.
Now, at the moment of what should be their greatest triumph, these political wheelers and dealers on behalf of the billionaire ruling class find themselves confronting the greatest and most destructive weakness of capitalism: economic crisis is once again rearing its ugly head. A worldwide struggle is growing among the imperialist powers over control of the world's markets. Making it more ugly by the day is the general crisis of overproduction that is causing multi-billion-dollar corporations to fold and has sent the stock markets into a tailspin.
What will the mood of the workers be at this time next year if the crisis continues and millions of jobs are lost just when personal debt is at an historic high and the social "safety net" has been dismantled?
Under these circumstances, if the economic crisis deepens, another war in Iraq can be the prelude to a period of growing world tensions and the threat of yet another inter- imperialist war.
The capitalist class is pulling the masses of workers into a pit of military conflict that has no discernible bottom. Events are unfolding that will have the most profound effect on millions all over the globe. The motive for the carnage is the most crass possible: the super-profits of the lying, scheming capitalist corporations.
The only course away from disaster is an independent, anti- war fightback. It cannot rely on old warhawks of either capitalist party. But the current situation holds a real promise that the masses of workers--now being squeezed between a rock and a hard place--will fight to defend their own class interests and will resist the dictates of the exploiting crooks and criminals who have been running their lives.
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