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STOP THE DRIVE TO WAR!
We have all been deeply shocked and horrified at the sickening attack on the World Trade Centre on 11th September and the loss of so many innocent lives. As socialists we utterly condemn this slaughter.
Television pictures that have shown the event from almost every conceivable angle have engrossed us all yet we still find it hard to take it in and come to terms with. Through these pictures we have all empathised with the awful grief and sorrow of the families and friends of the office workers and the emergency services who went to their aid. Many will have looked at the pictures of people jumping from the twin towers and tried to understand the sheer terror that compelled them to choose one sort of death over another. The whole world’s initial reaction was to express its own sorrow and sympathy with those who suffered loss.
The whole world except for George Bush. His initial reaction was not to reflect the shock and horror of the American people, to share in their grief and to address their heartbreaking trauma. No. His first words were to describe what had happened as an opportunity for a new war. His second act was to jump on a plane and fly to a nuclear bunker in the middle of Nebraska. Only after much criticism did he eventually visit the scene of the disaster in New York.
FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
Understandably thoughts have turned to concerns of justice for those killed. The actions of Bush has demonstrated that justice will not be forthcoming from him. George Bush’s record of judicial murder when Governor of Texas make him one of the least suitable people on the planet to dispense it.
He claims that the attack was one on freedom and democracy. Yet Bush is President only because of fraud and suppression of votes. He lost the election but gained office through his brother’s control of Florida State and right wing judges on the Supreme Court. He is in no position to lecture anyone on democracy. His own administration has no democratic legitimacy.
Nor does his response represent a defence of freedom. The ‘Washington Post’ has warned of the need ‘to sacrifice privacy, freedom of movement (and) other civil liberties..’ The wave of war-mongering that is now sweeping over the world has not been created to defend freedom but to silence alternative voices that see no principle of justice defended by another act of terrorism by the US State. While the US targets fundamentalist Afghanistan it has, as its ally, Saudi Arabia -the most barbaric and reactionary regime in the Middle East and Israel - which has killed 700 Palestinians, many children, over the last twelve months.
The world is waiting on tenterhooks as the might of the US military decides how and against whom it will seek revenge. It has made it clear that the Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden is not the only one on its hit list. We have also been promised a decades long war against terrorism. But what is terrorism? The attack in New York has been described by the media as the worst act of terrorism in history; but only if you leave out the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Iraq and Yugoslavia. We are also invited to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who have died over the last ten years through US and British supported sanctions.
Clearly then the new war coalition being created is not to defend democracy, not to defend freedom and justice, and not to destroy ‘terrorism.’ Bush and his supporters are cynically using the tragedy in New York to push their own political agenda, one that predates the attack on the World Trade Centre.
The results of this drive towards war can already be seen. Thousands of refugees are now streaming out of Afghanistan and aid agencies warn of a humanitarian disaster as food supplies run out. The only people left in the cities are those who have nowhere else to go and the country is already utterly devastated by twenty years of war. Nor are the effects confined to the third world. The European Union has already drawn up plans to restrict civil liberties. Job losses are being announced daily justified by the terrorist attack but many of which were planned beforehand. In the US massive amounts will be spent on the military while the social security fund will be raided to pay for it.
We can therefore already see what the agenda is of the pro-war coalition. Its purpose is to extend US military power across the globe without restriction or limits on what it wants to achieve. Its pursuit of power and oil in the Middle East will be concealed under the language of fighting terrorism. Bush wants to push forward with a new star wars plan that would do nothing to prevent such tragedies happening again but will put billions of dollars into the hands of the arms manufacturers that financed his campaign for President. He wants to push forward with his plans for huge tax cuts for the rich that will leave next to nothing for medical care of America’s poorest people.
He wants to revoke the ban on the CIA assassinating foreign leaders. In other words he wants murder to become a legitimate instrument of US foreign policy. And this is supposed to be all in the name of fighting terrorism!
The media have concentrated on how and who? They have not asked why.
The World Trade Centre was attacked because it was a symbol of American economic power, power used to exploit much of the world. The Pentagon was attacked because it represented the military power that defends this economic exploitation. The attack will do nothing to weaken this economic exploitation or the military power that enforces it. Instead it has led to the death of thousands of ordinary American workers along with other nationalities. For this reason it was not only tragic but also reactionary.
The war coalition promises to continue and intensify the same policies that has led to such an impoverished and war torn world out of which terrorist attacks arise. The George Bush’s and Tony Blair’s of this world will not pay the price, either for the devastation they reek on the poorest countries of the world or from the terrorist reactions that are promoted.
The US and its allies, primarily Tony Blair, will attempt to use widespread revulsion against the attack on the twin towers to impose its own policies on the rest of the world, including here in Ireland. We must continue to oppose their plans. We must oppose the rise of racism that has already led to the murder in America of those with brown skin. We must oppose the attacks on civil rights and liberties justified under the excuses of anti-terrorism. We must reject the cuts in employment and wages, which result from a capitalist economy already heading into recession.
We must reject the hysteria for war that Bush and Blair are trying to create. The ‘dead or alive’ speech from Bush shows that their war policy will not create global justice but a Wild West gun law over the whole planet. We do not accept the US as world policemen never mind world judge, jury and executioner. We do not accept the choice that Bush gives that you are either for terrorism or for US imperialism.
It is right that we should mourn the lives lost in the World Trade Centre. We should mourn them as we mourn the children killed in Iraq, the Palestinians killed daily by Israel using US weapons and all the past and future victims of US imperialism. But more than that we should resolve to stop the reactionary offensive currently underway and continue our opposition to the evils of the current capitalist system. The world will never be a safe and secure place while this system continues. Above all we should fight for a new humane social system in which terrorism and its cause are consigned to history.