The Spark

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

A symbolic vote won’t stop a real war

Feb 19, 2007

After the pretense of a debate, the House of Representatives went on record opposing Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, 246 to 182. All but two Democrats and 18 Republicans voted to rebuke Bush’s proposal.

And so, now what? What is the House proposing to do? Exactly what?

Nothing – that’s exactly what – nothing! The Democrats who sponsored the resolution put no acting point in it. Several of them even said it: the resolution is only “symbolic.”

Well, in Iraq, people are dying – and not symbolically. As of last July, 655,000 Iraqis were found to have died as the direct or indirect result of the U.S. invasion.

And the killing fields have grown only more bloody since October.

U.S. planes have been dropping bombs, helicopters have been firing cannons and using incendiary devices on heavily populated civilian areas, including the capital, Baghdad.

The U.S. army and marines, with a few Iraqi soldiers for cover, are going house to house, breaking down doors, rampaging through each family’s living quarters, terrorizing the Iraqi people who must submit or be shot down.

Shiite death squads, including many with Iraqi soldiers armed with U.S. weapons, are driving Sunni people from their homes, carrying out what has become a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.” Sunni forces return the “favor.”

And U.S. troops – also human beings turned into cannon fodder – continue to die, to suffer injuries they will bear for the rest of their lives – not to mention the stress that will pursue them and the nightmares that will haunt them about people they killed or saw killed.

No, the war is hardly symbolic. It needs to be stopped, and stopped now. When the U.S. military commissioned a poll of Iraqi people about what they thought should be done to stop the ethnic violence, the single, most common response was: remove all U.S. troops immediately.

The Republicans have made it clear they have no intention of doing it – most of them say it. And the Democrats, while pretending they would like to bring all the troops home now, act as though there were nothing they could do to bring it about.

Yes, they can do something. They can vote no money to send additional troops. They can vote money, earmarking it only for bringing the troops home immediately. And if Bush used it to continue carrying out the war, they can impeach him.

This isn’t enough – but the fact that they don’t dare do even this shows they are only politicking with the lives of the Iraqi people and the U.S. troops.

No, to this filthy war!

No, to the two parties, which both authorized it in the beginning and still authorize it today by not doing what is in their power to stop it.

This war will stop when the general staff of the armed forces can no longer find enough cannon fodder to sacrifice. The fact that tens of thousands of U.S. troops have publicly made clear their opposition to the war shows the much larger number who are dragging their feet.

Every effort made by U.S. troops to oppose this war needs to be supported by the American working class. They are the sons and daughters of the working class, put into the army by an “economic draft” – the lack of job opportunities at home. Well, killing people is not a job. Bring them home now!