The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
U.S. workers' enemy is the bosses here at home

Sep 23, 2002

For several months, the Bush administration has been threatening to invade Iraq. Over the last several weeks, it has increased these threats considerably, making it seem like a U.S. war against Iraq were inevitable.

Bush may assure the U.S. population that any war would be short. But even a short war would not end there. Even the Bush administration admits that such a war would open up a long period of U.S. military occupation of the country.

Of course, before any war, no government mentions casualties, and the Bush administration is no different. But even a short ground war would mean many U.S. casualties, not to speak of heavy Iraqi casualties. Neither does the Bush administration mention the enormous risks of any large-scale U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iraq is at the center of the Middle East, a very explosive region in the world. A U.S. invasion would send off shock waves throughout the region. A war could spread to other countries, bogging U.S. ground troops in a long costly war.

Certainly, for the working class in this country, any U.S. war in Iraq would be a catastrophe. The younger generation of workers would suffer the casualties. A big chunk of its youth would be ground down in battle thousands of miles away.

A war would also cost hundreds of billions of dollars, which the U.S. working class would also pay. This money, which could have been used for such things as our own health care or education, would instead be used to blow up and destroy a country and murder countless people.

Of course, a U.S. war against Iraq is not yet a certainty. There is still resistance to war, including from the upper echelons of the U.S. military, which had leaked U.S. war plans to the news media in order to slow down and embarrass the Bush administration.

But even if the Bush administration never does take the U.S. to war, the months and months of threats and talk of war have already served the Bush administration and ruling class very well. Following on the heels of the U.S. war against Afghanistan the supposed U.S. war against terrorism, all the threats against Iraq have allowed the U.S. rulers to hide their own enormous problems.

If there were no talk of war, then front and center in the news would be the collapse of the stock market and the so-called new economy, as well as the worsening economic crisis that has already included not just one, but perhaps two recessions since the year 2000. Also, front and center would be the continuing and worsening corporate scandals that have cascaded not only through the business world and the heights of finance, but have also touched the very core of the Bush administration, starting with the association of the Bush family with Enron, not to speak of the involvement of vice president Cheney and secretary of the Army White in their own financial scandals.

Instead, talk of war in the Middle East has allowed the Bush administration to dominate the news on its own terms. Whenever talk of the worsening economy seems to grow, up pops Bush spouting war talk against Iraq, each time trying to sound bigger and tougher in lines that someone else has scripted for him.

The problem for the U.S. working class is not to get caught up in the Bush administration propaganda. As long as workers fall for all the patriotic clap trap of maintaining national unity against someone the bosses say is a foe abroad, then we aren't fighting against our enemy here at home. We can't defend all the jobs, wages and benefits that both the corporations and the government are taking away from us.

The workers' fight is not thousands of miles away in the Middle East. Our fight is here at home against the corporations and their politicians.