SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY STATEMENT
SAY NO TO THE WAR!
The whole world was shocked and horrified at the sickening attack on the World Trade Centre on 11th September with the loss of so many innocent lives. This barbaric act must be condemned unreservedly.
Television pictures, which showed the awful action from almost every conceivable angle and interviews with the relatives and friends of the victims, have brought home to us all the awful consequences of the attack. The whole world’s initial reaction was to express sorrow and sympathy for those who suffered loss and in the months ahead we will be continually reminded through the many funerals that for many this grief will never end.
These profoundly human reactions have been expressed right across the world, not just in America but also in the Middle East. One glaring exception, which has been ignored and buried by the media, was George W. Bush. Was his first reaction to reflect the shock and horror of the American people and to share in their grief? Did he rush to the scene of the devastation to address the trauma of those caught up in the disaster? No he did not!
His first response was to describe what had happened as the opportunity for a new war.
Now we have that war. War against one of the poorest countries in the world where the main problem appears to be targets to bomb. Many civilians have already been killed but there are no television pictures to show us the dead nor interviews with their distraught families and friends. Instead we are given propaganda that none of this ‘can be independently verified’ even when the UN confirms it. It is as if we are expected to believe that if there are no pictures it hasn’t really happened.
Instead we are given pictures of planes dropping food parcels that will inevitably fall on areas covered by mines and kill more people than they save. This must be one of the most cynical propaganda exercises ever carried out in war. There are no pictures of the planes dropping tons of death on a starved and desperate population.
We have been asked to support this war because it is a war for democracy. There is nothing democratic about this war. The American coalition includes the most barbaric and reactionary regime in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia – and Pakistan – another military dictatorship. Bush himself should not be President having stolen the election by suppressing votes, using his brother’s control of Florida State and right wing judges to overturn the popular vote. His administration has no democratic legitimacy.
We have been asked to support this war because it is a war for justice. But there is no justice in a war that kills the world’s poorest people. We have been told that the terrorists responsible are hiding in Afghanistan yet the ‘evidence’ provided by Bush and Blair is a series of assertions masquerading as proof. If its not enough to stand up in a court of law, which is admitted, it is certainly not enough to start a war. Only a genuinely independent international investigation can determine the guilt of those accused. Bush and Blair cannot be allowed to be judge, jury and executioner. The Wild West justice of Bush is today a much greater threat to world peace than Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism.
We have been asked to support this war because it is a war on terrorism and those that defend and support it. Yet it was the CIA and British Intelligence that armed and trained the Islamic reactionaries in Afghanistan. Are they going to bomb themselves? The Israeli State has killed over 700 Palestinians including young children but they continue to receive the support of the United States. This war will only worsen the political and economic conditions out of which terrorism grows. It will not defeat it but feed it.
Clearly this war is not for democracy, not for justice and not for peace.
Bin Laden and his terrorist organisation is not the real target of this war. We have been told that this will be a new type of war for a new century and that it could last for years if not decades. It is simply not credible to believe that all this is for one man and one organisation.
We have also been told that it will be a war against all terrorism but what does this mean? The first thing the US administration and the European Union have done is to attempt to draw up a new definition of what terrorism is. This should tell us everything we need to know about what this war is really about. Everything and everyone that these cynical politicians and states determine is terrorism will be subject to the fiercest repression. They will decide what is and what is not terrorism so that everything and everyone they don’t like will become a potential target.
Already the war is not just against Bin Laden but against the Taliban regime. The US ambassador to the UN has written a letter telling the world that other organisations and states are on the US hit list. If they get away with it in Afghanistan they will see no need to produce any evidence justifying future attacks. We are asked to believe that a world that is already under US mastery and has become much more unequal and violent under its command will be a more democratic and just place because of this war. The callous murder of innocent Afghani people is the first evidence to condemn this lie.
We know these things because it has all happened before. Every recent war has been an inevitable result of previous American interference internationally. Today the war is against the reactionary Islamic fighters the US used to support. The war in Yugoslavia was against Milosevic which the US used to support. The Gulf War was against Saddam Hussein which the US used to support. We could go on and on. Clearly the problem is US imperialism. What future evil terrorist is the US supporting now in its latest Crusade?
WAR AT HOME
It is a long acknowledged truth that war is only politics by other means. Everyone should therefore be clear that this war is reactionary, it has no progressive content and will not advance the interests of the vast majority of the world’s population. That is why it must be resisted. The bombing of such a poor country is reason enough to oppose it but there are many others much closer to home.
Bush and Blair have already used the tragedy of 11th September to push a political agenda that predates the attacks. New attacks on civil liberties that restrict democratic rights have been announced with a particular target being asylum seekers and refugees.
Job cuts and attacks on worker’s pay and conditions have been announced with the 11th September as an excuse. At Shorts 2,000 jobs are to be lost yet there has been no drop in orders. The remaining workers are expected to work harder. Aer Lingus threatens a third of its workforce with the sack while Bertie Ahern signs another blank cheque to George Bush and dumps Irish neutrality. Workers in these industries should realise that it is the existing economic system already heading into recession that is to blame. The war will make things worse but responsibility for the war belongs to Bush and Blair. These workers should therefore be to the forefront of those opposing this war as should those concerned about civil liberties and opposing racism.
This war is about much much more than bombs in Afghanistan. Above all it is about extending the reach and power of the most exploitative societies in the world both in Asia and at home. The international capitalist system is attempting to restore its profitability through globalisation involving blackmailing workers to accept lower pay and conditions or face investment going to poorer countries. This war is intended to ensure that these countries are safe for this investment. The anti-war movement has the task of rolling back these attacks by opposing every bit of this war, not just the bombs. This can be the first step in creating a global alternative based on a new society that consigns inequality, poverty and war to history. - Join the Campaign Against the War!