The Spark

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

Editorial:
The U.N. and Congress say yes to war; working people must say NO!

Nov 11, 2002

Three days after the U.S. election, the U.N. threw its support behind Bush's demands for war on Iraq.

In fact, despite the little games that France, Russia and a few others played for home consumption, it was always a foregone conclusion the U.S. would impose its will on this supposedly independent body.

From the day the U.N. was formed, the U.S. has almost always been able to impose its demands on the countries that gathered together in the U.N. When other countries voted something the U.S. didn't want, the U.S. used its permanent veto power to block their decision. And, if the old Soviet Union occasionally used its veto power to block the U.S., the U.S. simply did what it wanted, and no one in the U.N. dared to try to bring the U.S. up on the kind of charges it regularly imposed on other countries – neither for military nor economic reasons.

It could not have been otherwise. The U.S. dominates the world's economy via its banking system and through the massive investments U.S. corporations have around the world. And its military is the predominant one, holding more "weapons of mass destruction" and, what's more critical, ten times more means to deliver them than has any other country.

So, yes, the U.S. can call the tune, and other countries dance. "Might," as the cynical saying goes, "makes right." And if the mightiest bully decides that it's going to go to war against a smaller, but very oil-rich country, none of the other thieves want to be left out when it comes time to divide up that oil.

The Iraqi population has already suffered more than a million-and-a-half deaths, more than half of them children. For 11 years, the U.S. and Britain have never stopped bombing the country. Pretending to look for "military targets," they have regularly bombed the water purification system throughout the country. And the U.S.-imposed embargo has prevented Iraq from bringing in the supplies it needed to restart water purification. The majority of people who died succumbed to diseases caused by water-born germs – just an old-fashioned kind of germ warfare.

And today the Iraqi population is threatened with even worse devastation.

Working people in this country are also threatened – regardless of whether the war Bush orders will be a new invasion of Iraq or a massive increase of bombing.

Just look at how Bush responds to every request for funding social programs or public services: He says the money is needed to fight the supposed "war on terrorism" – by which he means war on Iraq and the widening war going on in Afghanistan.

These are NOT wars on terrorism, they are wars against other people. And we will pay a very big price for carrying them out.

The military has announced it will need a quarter of a million troops for a war on Iraq. This is enough, they say, to topple Saddam Hussein in less time than the Gulf War took. Maybe – and that's not sure. But even if it is, they forget to mention the hundreds of thousands of troops which will be required to police the area for years after – invaders whom the Iraqi population will have every reason to hate.

We will count not only the body bags that come back directly from another war, but also the body bags that accumulate as troops return, bringing back with them new diseases, like the "Gulf War syndrome" or "Agent Orange syndrome" – diseases which the Pentagon will refuse to admit exist for years, if not decades. Not to mention the body bags which will accumulate as the troops come back, some of them so devastated by the experience that they go off and kill themselves or members of their own families – as have some soldiers at Fort Bragg returning now from Afghanistan.

Some people, of course, benefit from wars carried out to defend the U.S. empire: first of all, the capitalists of this country, who increase their profits by producing for this country's military and increase their profits by robbing other countries of their wealth.

The capitalists are ready to trade blood for money. The working class should not be. We have every interest to oppose all these wars – the one currently going on against Afghanistan, the one currently going on against Iraq, the bigger one that Bush envisions against Iraq, and all the tiny little actions carried out in vast far-flung regions of the U.S. global empire.