Jun 20, 2005
After the Downing Street memos finally made their way into the American media, Michigan Representative John Conyers organized a forum to discuss their significance. And he delivered petitions to the White House signed by 105 members of Congress, as well as about half a million people – asking that Bush fully answer questions about the memos.
What's there to answer? The memos only said what was commonly known long before the war started – that the Bush administration searched for pretexts to justify a war it had decided more than a year earlier to carry out. And the Blair government did what it could to provide a genteel cover for Bush.
Given that the memos were for circulation only among the inner circle of the British government, they laid out in more stark fashion than usual how cynically the bourgeois state prepares its population to go to a new war.
The memos are special only because someone from among this small elite circle decided to leak them. It's a symptom of difficulties British politicians face at home, as the government they support carries out this war.
The fact that 105 members of Congress were ready to bring up the memos in the U.S. testifies to similar difficulties politicians are facing here – difficulties summed up in the most recent poll, showing that 60% of the population think that the troops should be withdrawn.
So it comes as no surprise that four Congressmen, two Republicans and two Democrats, just introduced a motion calling on Bush to announce a plan by the end of this year for withdrawing troops.
Don't get too excited now! They weren't calling on Bush to bring the troops home – not now, and not at the end of this year. They just were asking him, and very politely at that, to give them an idea of when he might start to bring them home. If he would, please.
And don't pin your hopes on this oh-so-polite, mealy-mouthed request.
But the politicians are feeling the heat from a population that is fed up with this war.
We should be. This war has cost the people of Iraq more than 100,000 dead – and that's only the beginning. The country's infrastructure is destroyed, its children are denied education, work is non-existent. If the U.S. were to leave today, Iraq would continue to suffer the results of this war for years. Every month the U.S. war continues only makes the situation worse, aggravating ethnic tensions into civil war.
This war has cost the working class of this country also. U.S. soldiers are going through the mill over there and won't be the same when they come back – even if they don't come back in a body bag or on a stretcher with their limbs gone. The war has also cost us, through the destruction of this country's infrastructure – not by bombing, but by draining money from roads, schools, sewers, sanitation, etc. in order to fund the war.
The U.S. went to war in Iraq because the rulers of this country wanted to have a stronger hold over the oil of the whole Middle East. This decision set in motion a human catastrophe, for which no end is yet in sight.
The leaking of memos, the holding of congressional forums, the presenting of petitions to the White House, as well as the motion asking for Bush to plan how to end this war – none of this will stop the war. But all of this testifies to the anger among the force that can stop the war: the U.S. troops themselves, their families, the young people who don't want to go; the working class that understands how much has been sacrificed on the filthy altar of this war. This anger needs to be expressed, forcefully, in every place we live, work, fight and even where we play.