Reclaiming America
Toward a realistic antiwar strategy
By Tom Crumpacker
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Dec 9, 2005, 01:15

Sunday's New York Times reports that the use of the word "victory" 15 times in President Bush's brief address at Annapolis last week was due to the influence of his National Security Council special advisor "Dr. Weaver," a scientist whose research on public opinion about the Iraq war has established that Americans will support such a war with mounting casualties on condition they believe it will ultimately succeed.

As always, the administration is selling snake oil. In its history so far, the American people have never agreed on anything controversial, and any so-called science which purports to prove otherwise is not science. The oil now being sold assumes that justice and morality play no part in what Americans will support, only self-interest.

There are two different kinds of wars being fought in Iraq. One is for military dominance, in which the Americans have and will continue to have victory. The other is to obstruct it -- a resistance using suicide bombing, land mines, snipers, small surprise attacks to defeat a brutal exploitation by occupation. This war the resistance is winning and will continue to win, especially so long as their support in Iraq and US continues to increase. As Representative John Murtha recently observed, Iraq polls are showing that over 80 percent of Iraqis want the US to leave now. Polls here indicate that over 65 percent of Americans want the US to leave.

Neither side has any ability to end the other's continuing "victory." The real question is whether the majority of Americans, who realize this, have the ability to stop their government from continuing the nightmare as it gets worse.

Our rulers are saying that they will withdraw when the Iraqi army has enough "training" to make Iraq secure. This obviously will never happen. Basic training for soldiers who are willing to fight normally takes six to eight months at most. The reason the Iraqi army doesn't fight is that its soldiers don't want to kill and injure fellow Iraqi citizens, or be killed and injured by them.

Rather than rhetoric, the realist looks at what rulers do or fail to do in order to discern their true intent. At the time the puppet government was installed in Iraq, it was agreed between the puppets and the US�UK that Iraq's oil reserves would be developed by US and UK companies, that the proceeds would be used to pay for the cost of regime change and subsequent "security," and any constitution subsequently adopted could not change this. Since this agreement deprives the Iraqi people of the benefit of their primary resource, it's hard to see how its implementation would make the occupation more popular there. Moreover, the puppets are now signing 30 year contracts with US�UK companies, the US is building permanent bases and other facilities to exploit, remove and market the oil, and there are almost as many privately hired US people in Iraq as soldiers. Obviously our government is planning on staying permanently, whether the American people acquiesce or not, and whether the resistance increases or not. If Congress were serious about ending this war it would cut off the funding for it before the Iraqi people start paying. This is not being discussed, has never been discussed, and never will be.

Presently, a few Democratic Party politicians like the Black Caucus, Murtha and some others want to get the US out of Iraq soon. The majority of Democrats in and out of Congress want to continue the war but with some kind of timetable. Most of the Democratic leadership, including the frontrunners for president, want to continue the war to final "victory." It's clear that if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2008, the war will continue. Ditto for a Republican.

Realistic antiwar activists understand that, regarding this war, the American people (and to some extent the Iraqis) have been and are being subjected to the most pervasive, intrusive, and massive marketing-propaganda campaign in the history of the world. Nothing which appears in the mainstream media about the war is worthy of belief. Some things reported may be true, but intelligent belief in such must be conditioned on independent verification.

Whichever party has power, all important public decisions are made in secret and public acquiescence is obtained by manipulation through the mainstream media by our national so-called representatives and other public and private officials chosen to have media access. Of course some national politicians like the Black Caucus and a few others are actually representing their constituents, but the vast majority in both parties are moved primarily by self-interest (the "invisible hand" of late, unlimited, unregulated capitalism) and respond primarily to the needs of those who fund them. This war is good for big business, which says that what's good for big business is good for America.

Realistic antiwar activists understand that we are not living in a democracy as advertised. Our present political system can only be accurately described as a commercial or corporate oligarchy. It's no longer possible to elect more than a handful of antiwar candidates to Congress or work through the system to bring about progressive change. Because of funding and gerrymandering, in the last election over 97 percent of the seats in our House of so-called Representatives were either uncontested or not seriously contested. The system is so far gone it's beyond the point of no return. Trying to work within it implies a belief that it's functional. While conceivable a century ago, now, because of the winner-take-all elections, funding, media situations, and many other reasons, alternative parties, viewpoints and candidates are not viable on a national scale.

A mass social movement of progressives must be organized outside the political system, at least until it is big enough to wield substantial power. Its primary goal must be to reorganize the political institutions so as to allow people power to overcome or at least equalize the power of capital.

At this point the truth about the war must be brought forth in the alternative media and to the extent possible, the mainstream media. Now is the time for more risky but well thought out antiwar actions, such as boycotts, strikes, civil disobedience, direct action, military obstruction-sabotage, and pinpoint demonstrations with specific goals. Mass demonstrations with no specific purpose are of little use. Demonstrators are legally kept away from the area of protest by courts and crowd-control techniques, and new equipment and practices allow police to herd protesters at will and erode constitutional rights without responsibility. Media pay little attention, and the rule of law itself is disappearing.

In the Miami FTAA protests, for example, the police were allowed to control everything and even keep protesters out of the city. Their boast "You can beat the rap but not the trip" turned out to be true. Of 240 arrested only five were convicted, but the others lost a lot of time and money defending themselves.

Militarization must be attacked at its most vulnerable points. At present, the obvious one is military recruitment. Remembering how the draft aroused antiwar sentiment in the Vietnam era (because middle class youngsters had to serve), our government this time is shamefully restricting its recruitment to very poor people who are susceptible to its propaganda. Twenty-thousand dollar signing bonuses are being offered, which is more than many of these young people have ever seen. This is similar to but worse than leading children into prostitution, and should be so stigmatized. No school, organization, shopping center, business or public place should allow this shameful type of recruitment on its premises, and it should have to pay an increasing penalty if it does. The poor-youth pool of death-injury cannon fodder can be dried up. US private contractors can be penalized by boycott and direct action for hiring people to work in Iraq. Without manpower, our rulers can't continue the occupation.

Tom Crumpacker is a member of the Miami Coalition to End the US Embargo of Cuba.

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