[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 America’s rapt attention to the security of the Persian  Gulf is what is has always been.  It’s 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 doesn’t 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 there’s 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. It’s 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,  it’s 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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