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Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., has no intention of withdrawing Anglo-American occupation forces from Iraq. U.S. policy in Iraq under John Kerry would possibly be even worse than under Bush #2. John Kerry's op-ed piece, "A Strategy for Iraq," which appeared in the Washington Post (April 13, 2004), clearly shows that despite his rhetoric, the Democratic nominee has neither the temperament nor any intention to end the violence and occupation.
Kerry begins with grandiose declarations, such as: "To be successful in Iraq, and in any war for that matter, our use of force must be tied to a political objective more complete than the ouster of a regime," and "Americans of all political persuasions are united in our determination to succeed." Indicative of his mentality Kerry solemnly avers that the Iraqi resistance will not succeed "in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops." He is very much committed to the neo-conservative lie that "Our country is committed to help the Iraqis build a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society." Facts and history do not matter to him and his ilk.
No doubt Kerry genuinely believes that the United States is in the business of "helping" Iraqis by killing them through decades of sanctions, the use of depleted uranium, bombing cities and villages, and inflicting collective punishment, just as he himself was part of the machinery in the business of constructing "a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society" in Asia by slaughtering peasants and killing millions in Vietnam. This has been the standard operating practice. He knows the trade and is unwilling to stop the massacres.
Kerry's policies in Iraq will not differ substantively but will have some variations in appearance and style. He assures his fellow citizens: "The military alone cannot win the peace in Iraq. We need a political strategy that will work." What is his political strategy? Firstly, using the United Nations and the office of Lakhdar Brahimi to legitimize Anglo-American domination of Iraq. Secondly, using the full brunt of NATO under the lead of a U.S. commander to establish complete hegemony over Iraq. Thirdly, installing a puppet regime in Iraq that serves the masters under a facade of Arab rule. These measures are inclusive of NATO allies but the essential objectives are the same as under Bush.
Mr. Kerry's policies do have a difference with Mr. Bush's. The principal difference is that they are definitively more polished and are sensitive to liberal sensibilities of Foreign Affairs magazine, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Harvard University, George Soros, Wall Street, European and Japanese fellow travelers and so forth. Kerry has mastered the art of speaking in a politically correct tone. He writes: "The United Nations, not the United States, should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and re-create a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people. We must level with our citizens. The president must rally the country around a clear and credible goal the stakes are too great to lose the support of the American people."
He reassures that his "is not a partisan proposal. It is a matter of national honor and trust." But beneath his genteel disquisition is a cold-hearted calculus of escalating the violence and military operations against the Iraqi resistance. He endorses the view that "if our military commanders request more troops, we should deploy them" and "more people who can train Iraqi troops and assist Iraqi police" in oppressing the Iraqi population and joining the Uncle Toms, Uncle Ahmed Chalabis and Uncle Adnan Pachachis in plundering the resources of their country for the sake of Anglo-American occupiers and transnational corporations.
John Kerry will escalate the conflict rather than end it. It is a safe bet that John Kerry is no Charles de Gaulle. There are some actual, substantive and meaningful differences between Kerry and Bush, particularly on domestic policies. It would be wrong to discount those. However, as far as the occupation of Iraq (and Afghanistan) and the overall aim of U.S. foreign policy is concerned, the same Bush #2 strategy of bombing and violence will continue under a more refined oratory and multilateral communion based on sharing the spoils and splitting the costs of war. For an Iraqi living under the boot of the occupiers the small differences between Kerry and Bush are absolutely inconsequential.
The anti-war activists should not harbor any illusions about John Kerry and the Democrats. The goal of anti-war activists should be the liberation of Iraq from the illegal Anglo-American occupation and its deadly consequences. It does not take a belief in determinism to figure out that the occupation can end under either Bush or Kerry if the economic and political costs become prohibitive for the financiers, the transnational corporations, the politicians and the military. These costs can rise if the Iraqi resistance grows strong, or if the anti-war movement in the West can put effective public pressure, or both.
Going forward, anti-war activists need to do much more to reach out to the citizens of Western democracies, build an international movement that is capable of not just massive and impressive demonstrations but also of providing popular education day in, day out. The anti-war movement should gradually aim to shift to the next stage of the struggle of peace and justice. Symbolic shut downs of universities may be possible. It is not wishful thinking that after massive education and institution-building nationwide work stoppages in solidarity with Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians, Haitians, Chechens, Colombians, and others can also be done.
Suffice to say that the populations of Western countries are far from being ready for these types of civil actions. But counting on John Kerry to bring peace to Iraq and the United States of America would be an incredible and foolish mistake with grave consequences for humanity.
Abu Spinoza is a columnist for Press Action
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