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
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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