The Spark

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

Don’t wait for politicians to end the war in Iraq!

Nov 21, 2005

Reacting to calls to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, George W. Bush said: “An immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq will only strengthen the terrorists’ hand in Iraq and the broader war on terror.”

As if terrorism had not been rising steadily since the U.S. invasion of Iraq two and a half years ago!

Not a single day goes by in Iraq without terrorist bombings killing civilians. And not just there. Look at the recent suicide attacks on three hotels in Amman, Jordan, which killed more than 50 people. Or the train and bus bombings in London and Madrid, Spain. The U.S. itself is certainly not immune from such attacks.

This rise in terrorism is a direct result of the wars the U.S. has been carrying out in Afghanistan and Iraq – with massive, indiscriminate bombing of cities, random arrests, torture in military prisons. Just recently, military brass admitted to using white phosphorus, a weapon which burns to the bone anybody within 500 feet!

These dirty wars turn more and more people against the U.S. And some people resort to terrorism themselves, attacking what they see as “American” targets: U.S. troops, American establishments, and Iraqis, both civilian and in uniform, who work for the U.S. or its ally, the Iraqi government.

More and more people in the U.S. oppose this war. Responding to this growing mood, some Democratic politicians have spoken for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq – like Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, who jumped on the bandwagon last week.

But these Democrats don’t mean what they say. All it took to pull off these liars’ masks was for Bush to call their bluff. Congressional Republicans introduced a vote in the House last Friday on the question of immediate withdrawal. The vote was 403 to 3, AGAINST! And Murtha was NOT one of the three Democrats who voted to bring U.S. troops out of Iraq.

No, Democratic politicians will not vote to end the war in Iraq. With this last vote, as well as every vote cast since 2003, the Democrats stood solidly behind Bush. Every time Bush asked for it, they gave him their support and the money he requested to conduct this bloody war.

But there IS a vote for withdrawal, from where it really counts. On the very day of the House vote, the New York Times reported that the military was unable to fully staff 41% of its specialty units this year. Combat specialties especially suffered a shortage of enlistments. The Army, National Guard and Marines have signed up only one third of the Special Forces troops, intelligence specialists and translators they were looking for.

Soldiers who have seen the reality of these dirty wars are not waiting for politicians. They are voting for immediate withdrawal, by refusing to re-enlist!

It’s not the first time this has happened. Soldiers of previous generations stood up against the military and politicians who wanted to continue wars – by refusing to be sent from Europe to China after World War II, for example, or in Viet Nam later. And soldiers were joined by their relatives, friends and others back home who opposed these wars. Mass movements, not politicians, brought those wars to an end.

That’s what will end this war too.