The Spark

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

Politicians posing against the war in Iraq

Jul 18, 2005

The U.S. House of Representatives has now voted on a resolution calling on the Bush administration to devise a plan for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. While 300 Congressmen may have voted against such a request, 128 voted for it. And the very fact of the vote is itself significant. It was the first time Congress dared express even this timid question on the war.

It means Congress is feeling pinched by the growing opposition in the population to this war. That opposition has grown from month to month as the casualty figures among U.S. troops mount. Officially, the dead now number more than 1,700, and the seriously injured more than 13,000. Unofficially, of course, it's much more. As for the cost in money – which is really the cost in what is not done in this country – the bill for this war has now officially passed 300 billion dollars.

These figures are only a cold reflection of a reality felt in ever wider circles of the working class. It's our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and friends whose blood is being spilled. They are the ones who come back with memories of attacks on civilian populations, and whose lives are forever changed.

So yes, there is a revulsion for this war – and all the more so since many returning soldiers are disgusted by what they were forced to do to a civilian population.

The vote in Congress means the politicians have their antennae up. But it doesn't mean that Congress is about to do something to put a halt to this war. Most of the representatives who voted for the "withdrawal" resolution almost immediately voted more money for the war. The vote on additional money for the Pentagon was 398 to 19, with 16 not voting.

No, Congress is not about to put on the brakes. But the fact they try to quiet our opposition by offering such a vote should tell us something important. The working people today who express opposition to the war, the returning soldiers who speak out – we have more than enough forces, if mobilized, to bring this war to a halt.