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Green Left Weekly: Resist The Empire!

United States: Resist The Empire!

By Stuart Munckton
Green Left Weekly

At an extravagant celebration with his wealthy supporters on January 20, George Bush was officially crowned ruler of the United States empire for another four years. Meanwhile, outside, thousands of anti-war protesters lined Pennsylvania Avenue to jeer the cavalcade of limousines. Thousands of National Guard troops worked overtime to herd the larger than expected crowd into the officially designated protest area.

Across the country, thousands more took to the streets in cities across the US. In Seattle, more than 1000 students walked out of classes to protest the inauguration, with hundreds of students from the Seattle Central Community College taking to opportunity to drive US Army recruiters off their campus, according to the January 28 US Socialist Worker.

As Bush and his cronies partied at his inauguration, spending more than US$40 million provided largely by Bush's corporate mates, the violence continued unabated for the victims of Bush's imperialist policies. On the same day Bush was crowned, two car bombs left more than 20 people dead in attacks on a Shiite church in Iraq and a suicide bomb attack wounded 25 in an attempt to kill a pro-US warlord in Afghanistan, according to a January 20 report by Associated Press.

An October study by the British medical journal Lancet gave what it considered a conservative estimate of 100,000 Iraqis killed since the start of the US-led occupation. More than 1350 US soldiers have been wounded, with US casualties topping 10,000. A US soldier recently returned from Iraq, Jimmy Massey, quoted in an article posted at the Aljazeera webpage on January 13, accused the US of “committing genocide in Iraq”. Massey stated that in one 48-hour period, he witnessed the killing of some 30 civilians by US gunfire at highway checkpoints.

The BBC posted a report at its website on December 24 from Dr Saleh Hussein Isawi, the acting director of the Fallujah general hospital, who accompanied some of the refugees into the city. He stated that “about 60% to 70% of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged...Of the 30% still left standing, I don't think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage.”

Unsurprisingly, a different BBC article posted at its website the same day stated that just 900 of Fallujah’s 250,000 residents had returned. By January 12, the Sydney Morning Herald was reporting only 8500 had returned to stay.

The resistance in Iraq to US occupation has continued to grow. A January 13 Reuters newswire article reported a statement from an Iraqi resistance group calling itself the Islamic Jihad Army that taunted George Bush: “You have asked us to `Bring it on’, and so have we, like never expected. Have you another challenge?”

The situation in Afghanistan is not much better, the impoverished nation continues to be torn apart by warlords competing for power and a slice of the drug trade. In GLW #611, John Pilger wrote that just 3% of international aid was being spent on reconstruction with the overwhelming bulk going to the US-led military occupation.

But in a spectacular omission, Bush made no mention of the two countries his troops are occupying in his inauguration speech. Instead, Bush regurgitating the same rhetoric his speech writers have been relying on for the last four years, he declared “ is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world”.

He went on to state, “We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.”

A more simplistic case of doublespeak is hard to imagine. To understand Bush's speech, it is enough to reverse key words, changing “democracy” with “tyranny” and “freedom” with “oppression”.

Two recent articles give the game away. The New York Times reported on January 19 that, in his congressional interview to become attorney-general, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had argued that the CIA and other “non-military personnel” were not bound by Bush’s 2002 directives against using torture.

The following day, Aljazeera website posted an article by former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter about US plans to set up death squads in Iraq. The plan is chillingly known as the “Salvador option”, after the US-sponsored death squads that terrorised El Salvador in the 1980s.

The failure of the imperialist policy in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't stop Bush from continuing to threaten the world, insisting “we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary” — this is the excuse he used to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Bush administration has made no secret of the fact that next on its list of targets for US style “liberation” is Iran. In a January 19 New Yorker article, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that he was told by unnamed former high ranking intelligence office that plans for the invasion of Iran were already drawn up. The unnamed former official told Hersh: “...Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign.”

Despite the discrediting of the Bush’s pre-war claims that Iraq posed a threat because it possessed weapons of mass destruction, the same claim is now being made about Iran. However, an article in the British Guardian on January 17 reported that “[w]hile finding much that is suspect, the [International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors] have not found any proof of a clandestine nuclear bomb program”.

Iran is being trageted for the same reason as Iraq: it is a major oil producing nation not under Washington’s thumb. The desire to overthrow the Iranian government and replace it with a pro-US regime is not the fantasy of merely the extremist neo-conservative clique who make up the Bush administration, it has been the long standing policy of the US ruling class.

Of course, the invasion of Iran must be delayed until the US can find a way out of the mess in Iraq. But already a public opinion campaign in underway to justify such action.

Bush has made it clear that the next four years will involve a continuation of the drive to strengthen and extend the US empire on behalf of US corporate interests.

It is up to those who oppose this project, which is aimed at spreading not democracy but subjugation to US imperialist interests, to continue to work to build a mass campaign to stop him. A global weekend of protests for March 19-20 has been initiated, the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. This is a key date to work towards as part of resisting the empire.

From Green Left Weekly, February 2, 2005.
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