[Marxism] TONC statement on immediate withdrawal
Dustin S. Langley
resistgwb at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 12 09:36:22 MST 2006
Troops Out Now Coalition Statement on Withdrawal from Iraq
On the 3rd Anniversary of the war, let's make our message clear:
A Call to Unite Around the Demand for an:
Withdrawal of All Occupying Forces from Iraq
The best way that the antiwar movement can mark the third anniversary of the criminal war and occupation of Iraq is to unite around the demand for an immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of all occupying troops from Iraq.
Immediate - not in 10 years or in six months--as soon as it takes to put soldiers on planes and bring them home. Not waiting for the "Iraqi" army to be trained or for the establishment of a government subject to U.S. control, or for any other reasons that really only amount to one thing: an excuse to justify and extend the occupation.
Complete - not in phases, not with bases left behind, not redeployment across the border, but a complete removal of all occupying forces from all Iraqi territory.
Unconditional - The Iraqi people have an absolute right to govern themselves today, without any conditions imposed on them by Bush and Halliburton.
The principal argument advanced against the immediate and complete withdrawal of all occupation troops is that the occupation must continue until Iraq is stabilized in order to establish democracy and prevent a civil war. The basic premise underlying this argument is the racist assumption that the people of Iraq are somehow inherently incapable of governing themselves, and require the paternal tutelage of the U.S. We believe that the Iraqi people have the ability and the absolute right to govern themselves, without the presence of any occupying forces.
However, stabilizing Iraq was never an objective of the invasion. Ted Koppel's op-ed in the Feb.24 New York Times made this clear. Koppel explained that oil has been the driving force of U.S. policy in the Middle East for "more than a half-century," and was the motive for the CIA overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh 53 years ago. He concluded, The reason for Americas rapt attention to the security of the Persian Gulf is what is has always been. Its about the oil.
U.S. troops are in Iraq to subjugate the people in order to ensure U.S. control of the Iraqi people's oil reserves. If the troops are there tomorrow, they will be there for the same reason. If they are there in six months or ten years, this will still be their goal. Stability and democracy has never been and will never be the goal of this brutal occupation.
If an armed gang invaded your home, destroyed much of the furnishings and tortured and killed members of your family--the idea of asking them to hang around with their guns to help fix up the place would be absurd. You would want them out immediately--not on a timetable, not when they decided that they had trained you in how to put your house in order, not when they had finished robbing you--but immediately.
We've all seen the photos of what the invasion and occupation have done -- the devastation wrought by U.S. bombers, the torture and abuse at U.S. prison camps. The U.S. announced on March 9 that it would soon be opening a new prison at Camp Cropper to take over the work of the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib. This new prison camp will join some 38 U.S. military-run detention centers where Iraqi people are routinely abused and held in conditions clearly violating international law. There is no justification for these crimes to continue one more day.
Moreover, the U.S.-led occupation is not preventing civil war, it is fomenting it. The violence plaguing Iraq today is the direct result of the occupation. There are some strategists in the Pentagon and the CIA that even look at civil war as an opportunity to carve up the country, based on a divide-and-rule strategy. As Gen. William E. Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, said, "We created the civil war when we invaded; we can't prevent a civil war by staying." Those concerned about the violence in Iraq should demand that the occupying forces, who are the cause of that violence, leave today.
The problem with phased withdrawal and relying on politicians for answers
It is critical that the antiwar movement steer clear of taking any position that condones the continuation of the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq for even another hour.
One reason why antiwar activism is not as consistent and militant as it should be, despite the overwhelming opposition to the war, is that it has not rallied around a clear and principled position independent of the politics of the two major parties. Instead, many are inclined towards a strategy of tying the antiwar movement to the small number of politicians who offer some mild criticism of the war, in the hopes that this will make the movement broader and more credible.
The problem with this strategy is that with a few rare exceptions, the antiwar positions of the most outspoken elected officials have at best been inconsistent and weak. Despite overwhelming public opposition to the war, no one in leadership of either the Democratic or Republican Parties questions the legitimacy of the war or offers any real opposition. Instead, they are trying to repackage their war plans as an antiwar position, under the cover of "phased withdrawal" or "redeployment." The antiwar movement gains nothing whatsoever, and has much to lose, by cooperating with this deception.
A phased withdrawal may sound like a realistic solution, but is dangerous because drawing down or redeploying 5,000 or 30,000 troops is calculated to take the steam out of the opposition to the war and the antiwar movement.
A phased withdrawal plan would give the Bush regime the opportunity to prolong the occupation, including plenty of time to finish implementation of permanent military outposts the Pentagon is planning to leave in place throughout the Middle East and surrounding regions.
Phased withdrawal is just the Bush plan dressed up in antiwar clothing--the Bush Administration always planned to withdraw some troops, as soon as the conquest of Iraq was complete, permanent U.S. bases were built, and the oil revenues were under U.S. control.
Many who oppose the war have gravitated to Rep. Murtha's criticism of President Bush's handing of the war. But Murtha, who fervently championed the invasion of Iraq from the beginning, is not calling for an end to the war. What he is calling for is "redeployment," which is another cover for continuing the war with different tactics.
His proposal doesnt call for the troops to come home. It calls for a partial, phased withdrawal, with troops being redeployed to Kuwait, ready to intervene in Iraq or elsewhere in the region. Marines and Special Forces would remain in Iraq, supported by U.S. bombers and gunships. Under his plan, U.S. bases would remain in Iraq, and U.S. corporations would continue to control the Iraqi economy under the guise of reconstruction. This is not a plan to end the war; it is an attempt to market the continuation of the occupation to an antiwar crowd.
The antiwar movement doesn't need to seek legitimacy anywhere, especially not from politicians who supported and helped plan the illegitimate and criminal war.
While theres nothing wrong with getting politicians to speak at the big antiwar rallies, we cannot look to them or depend on them for leadership. When we do, our movement is pulled in a direction that weakens us, sacrifices our independence, and demobilizes us.
Political positions have a direct bearing on how a movement struggles, or even if it engages in struggle at all. Adapting to a soft position, like phased withdrawal or redeployment, gives people the message that there's no need to struggle to bring the troops home now--just wait for the politicians to work out the details of the withdrawal. If the movement were united around the demand for an immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal, this would elevate, intensify, and clarify the struggle against the war.
In the early days of the occupation, some called for the Pentagon to hand authority over the occupation to the United Nations. Its likely that this position will be taken up again by some, as part of a phased withdrawal plan. We should be wary of the UN solution. As much as we wish that it were otherwise, more often than not the UN does not act in the interest of the people of the world, but in the interests of the U.S. government, the governments of the major European countries, and the corporate interests that those governments represent. In Haiti, as in so many other instances, the UN has merely provided a cover for what is in essence a U.S. occupation, and has engaged in gross human rights violations. It was the UN, on behalf of Wall Street and Washington, that sanctioned the first Gulf War and the genocidal sanctions against Iraq that killed between 1.5 and two million people.
The people of Iraq are not likely to accept another foreign occupation whose only distinction from the present one is superficial. Ultimately, its up to the people of Iraq to determine what role if any the UN or any other force should play in rebuilding their country.
As opposition to the war continues to grow, and the bipartisan lies about Iraq are exposed to the whole world, the antiwar movement has a tremendous opportunity. But to seize this opportunity, it needs a clear, independent message.
We need to unify around the demand for an immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq.
Troops Out Now!
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