Don’t rely on the politicians
The war on Iraq was one of the most opposed wars in history. Millions of people marched to stop it before it began, and now that it clear that it was a war based on lies, outrage against the main warmongers, particularly US President George Bush, has deepened.
For some Australians, the prospect of a change in US president offers hope for a reversal of Washington’s aggressive foreign policy. But how real is that hope? Certainly, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry supported the war.
Not that he wants to admit that now. On March 2, the day he won the Democratic Party nomination for the November presidential elections, Kerry described Bush’s foreign policy as, “inept, reckless, arrogant and ideological”.
But Kerry supported the key application of this foreign policy — the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. He shares the Bush administration's “arrogant” belief that it can invade any Third World country simply on the suspicion that it might possess certain weapons and delivery systems — systems that the US possesses in abundance.
In the October 2002 Senate discussion that authorised Bush to use force against Iraq, Kerry said: “Every nation has the right to act preemptively if it faces an imminent and grave threat.”
Kerry repeated all the Bush administration's lies about Iraq’s supposed WMD, despite being personally briefed by former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter prior to his vote, who told him Iraq did not have any dangerous WMD capability. Kerry even claimed that most elements of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs were “larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War”.
Kerry now claims that he voted to authorise force in order to pressure Saddam Hussein to let weapons inspectors back in without conditions — not to take over the country by military force. However, the October 11 vote was four weeks after Hussein had agreed to this.
Even Kerry’s claim that Bush’s invasion was not in accordance with international law is new. In 2002, Kerry co-sponsored a Senate resolution declaring that the invasion was “lawful and fully authorized by the Congress”.
Kerry’s attempts to distance himself from the war are in order to get elected, not because he has a different view of foreign policy. In his campaign book, A Call to Service, Kerry argues that the “time has come to renew that tradition and revive a bold vision of progressive internationalism", which he describes as the “tough-minded strategy of international engagement and leadership ... championed by Truman and Kennedy in the Cold War.”
The only noteworthy difference between Kerry and the incumbent regime in the White House is that the later is willing to pursue the imperial ambitions of the US capitalist rulers with or without the blessing of the “international community”, while Kerry and his backers would prefer pursuing the same imperial agenda behind a cloak of “multilateralism”.
Kerry certainly doesn’t support pulling the troops out of Iraq, although he calls for broader UN participation in the occupation, and the help of more allies.
To end US military aggression, we need to rely on the power of mass, grass-roots organisation, not saviours from corporate parties. The protests on March 20 against war and occupation will be an important part of building this, and Green Left Weekly urges all our readers to attend.
From Green Left Weekly, March 10, 2004.
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