Aug 12, 2002
The drumbeat of war in this country is getting louder. President Bush says that he has yet to give a final go-ahead to go to war against Iraq. But news reports tell us that the Pentagon has been planning a long time for this war. And both Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld say that war is almost inevitable.
What an outrage! The richest and most powerful military in the world is getting ready to unleash nothing less than a full-scale war against a small, impoverished country. The U.S. military already destroyed Iraq during the Persian Gulf War 11 years ago. It dropped more bombs on that country than all the bombs dropped by both sides during World War II. And – it has continued to bomb the country regularly, several times a week ever since. At the same time, for 12 years it has carried out an ugly and vindictive economic embargo that chokes off the supply of vital food, safe drinking water and medicine.
All this is supposed to be aimed at one man: Saddam Hussein. But it has been the Iraqi people who have paid the price. Over one million Iraqis have already been killed by U.S. bombs, disease and hunger. Thousands of their children are dying every month. The U.S. military has already turned Iraq into a mass extermination camp and graveyard.
Now the U.S. rulers say they have much bigger plans in store for the people of Iraq. And, Bush says, no matter what the price is, we are ready to pay it.
No, George W. Bush's spoiled children, his nephews, and their friends will not "pay the price." They will not be called on to fight and die in this future war. Neither will the rich and spoiled relatives and friends of Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld. They will give the orders, but they won't do the dying.
No, like in every war, that so-called "glorious right to pay the price" is reserved for the sons and daughters of the U.S. working class. It is the U.S. workers who will be given a gun and transported thousands of miles away in order to spill the blood of other poor people and workers. How many countless U.S. workers will also die, or have their health and minds destroyed, condemned to live what remains of their life in a living hell in some miserable hospital, or out on the street? How many will waste their youth acting as the executioners and prison guards of millions of poor Iraqis?
The working class will foot the bill for this war, certainly hundreds of billions of dollars. To pay for this, the government will look for all kinds of ways to cut social spending, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, education, and the little that is left in other programs. At the same time, the government will use the war as an excuse to widen legal police powers over the population.
And for what? So that George W. Bush and his cronies can impose the power of the big U.S. corporations over the workers and poor of the world. So that they can suck ever more resources and wealth out. So that Bush's oil companies and Cheney's construction companies can make even bigger stupendous profits off of the labor of the workers all over the world. So that the banks, the military contractors and all the other vultures can have more orders and make ever bigger profits.
Saddam Hussein may be a terrible dictator and mass murderer. But what he has done is small potatoes compared to the U.S. military machine and to the U.S. capitalists that it defends. Just as the Persian Gulf War was only a prelude to other wars, so this war will only make the Middle East more explosive and more dangerous, and increase the likelihood of more wars and more military occupations. The road they are taking us all down is a war without end, slippery with the blood of the working class and poor in this country and all over the world.
The bosses in this country are not just the enemies of the Iraqis, they are the enemies of the workers in this country. Instead of sacrificing for them, we should be fighting against them.