As millions say no, NY Times demands UNSC vote war resolution

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sun Feb 16 07:28:29 MST 2003

The following editorial appeared on February 15, when the times already knew
that millions in the United States and around the world would be protesting
the ongoing war in Iraq and its approaching massive escalation.  The
editorial shows the bitter and desperate determination of the U.S. ruling
class (not just an extreme right wing around Bush but the ruling class as a
whole) to have this war.

In the news pages, the Times' analysts have been suggesting a further thirty
day delay, admitting that there is no reason to assume the United Nations
Security Council would be more amenable than it is now.  The French
imperialists have proposed a thirty day effort to complete the disarming of
Iraq.  (It is my impression that people -- not just radicalizing students
but "mainstrean" adults-- are beginning to catch on to the outrageous
character of these demands from the  countries with giant and varied
arsenals that their intended victims surrender their weapons.)

As usual, the official U.S. stance will have a purely military-technical
character.  More troops have to get out there.  They need more training.
They need to get accustomed to the mideast.  The full complement of weaponry
is still lacking.  These are all lies.  The driving forces are political --
including the depth and scope and power of the worldwide opposition the
rulers have run into. This is even changing the military requirements --
back in November the rulers were talking about a one or two month air war.
But a prolonged bombing campaign preceding an invasion has become a
potential political catastrophe.  So now they propose a massive
cruise-missile near-obliteration of Baghdad -- an attack on the scale of
Hiroshima and the Tokyo firestorm or even greater -- followed quickly by a
more massive and -- they hope -- overwhelming ground invasion.

A few months ago, they expected the people of Iraq to simply capitulate
without a fight.  Today they assume massive fisrepower must defeat their
resistance before it starts.  There are many indications that the worldwide
opposition has had an impact on the fighting capacity of the people of
Iraq -- at a time when the rulers can less and less afford a prolonged war
with high U.S. casualties.

If the war cannot be won quickly, it will be almost impossible to pursue it
in the face of deepgoing opposition without severe and very politically
costly and potentially explosive repression at home (even allowing for the
crisis the antiwar forces are likely to experience with the opening of
full-scale war).

What is driving the rulers toward this war in the face of problems that have
given it an increasingly adventurous and potentially disastrous character --
for them as well as for the people of the world?  I think the deepening
economic crisis in the United States and around the world is an important
factor.  They hope a decisive conquest of Iraq will produce new confidence
in U.S. big business, and set off a boom in Wall Street and a renewed
upturn. And the increasing international competition also makes them more
determined to deal blows to their European and Japanese competitors.

I want to take note of a useful quotation from Leon Trotsky's 1928 Criticism
of the Draft Program of the Comintern which I think is useful to have in

"In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more
completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom.
The United States will seek to overcome and extricate hjerself from her
difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of
whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia, or Europe
irself, or whether this takes place peacefully or through war."

Together with other struggles and conflicts in the world, the antiwar
protests have had an effect and we can have more.  We have slowed the
warmakers down.  Don't let any military-technical expert tell you different.
We are dealing with a deeply rooted war drive that is exploding now and will
explode on an even more savage scale in the future.  But all the power and
all the decision-making are not in the rulers' hands.

Victory in battle is decided in battle.

As this Times editorial indicates, the rulers have decided for war.  But we
have every right and ability to say to them what President Andrew Jackson
said when the Supreme Court made a decision he didn't like.  "John Marshall
has made his decision.  Now let him enforce it."
Fred Feldman

Disarming Iraq  (Feb. 15 New York Times)
As much as the feuding members of the United Nations Security Council might
like Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to settle the question of war or peace
with Iraq, these two mild-mannered civil servants can't make that fateful
judgment. All they can do, which they did again yesterday, is to tell the
Council how their inspection efforts are faring. So-so was the answer. It's
up to the Council members - especially the veto-wielding quintet of the
United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - to decide whether Iraq is
In our judgment, Iraq is not. The only way short of war to get Saddam
Hussein to reverse course at this late hour is to make clear that the
Security Council is united in its determination to disarm him and is now
ready to call in the cavalry to get the job done. America and Britain are
prepared to take that step. The time has come for the others to quit
pretending that inspections alone are the solution.
The Security Council, as we said the other day, needs to pass a new
resolution that sets a deadline for unconditional Iraqi compliance and
authorizes military action if Baghdad falls short. Without that, the French
proposal that Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei report again in mid-March is the
diplomatic equivalent of treading water. It practically invites President
Bush to take the undesirable step of going to war without the support of the
Security Council.
Just as they did last month, the inspectors offered a mixed picture that
allowed all sides to draw sustenance for their arguments. What should not be
missed is that the positive aspects of the reports dealt largely with
secondary matters like process and access. On the essential issue of active
Iraqi cooperation in the disclosure and destruction of prohibited
unconventional weapons, the inspectors could find little encouraging to say.
That leaves the fundamental picture about where it was last weekend, except
that another week has passed without Iraq doing what it urgently needs to
do. It's easy to see where France's wishful thinking leads. Baghdad could
continue dribbling out meaningless concessions such as yesterday's laughable
decree that the development of weapons of mass destruction is now prohibited
in Iraq.
Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei cannot be left to play games of hide-and-seek.
This is not like Washington's unproved assertions about an alliance between
Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. There is ample evidence that Iraq has
produced highly toxic VX nerve gas and anthrax and has the capacity to
produce a lot more. It has concealed these materials, lied about them, and
more recently failed to account for them to the current inspectors. The
Security Council doesn't need to sit through more months of inconclusive
reports. It needs full and immediate Iraqi disarmament. It needs to say so,
backed by the threat of military force.

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