From Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice.
The lesson of Vietnam should not be lost on those who are putting their faith in the “pragmatists” or so-called doves in Congress. Anything less than an immediate, unconditional withdrawal is a disaster for the people of Iraq and for U.S. soldiers.
During the Vietnam war, the US pretended to disengage while actually increasing the fighting and bombing. Flash forward to today. The Baker Study Group wants to keep a permanent 70,000 troops in Iraq. Does this sound like they care even slightly about the lives of US soldiers or Iraqis? Not hardly. Instead, it’s all about maintaining power and dominance in the region – and a desperate and sickening ploy to “save face” no matter how many more die.
The problem with Congress is not simply that they are “spineless” in the face of the real power in the White House, Pentagon, FBI and CIA. The leaders and overwhelming majority of the Democratic as well as Republican representatives embrace the same imperial foreign policy objectives. They share the objective of U.S. domination of the world economy and over peoples and countries trying to chart an independent course.
This is a key point. Democrats are just as complicit as Republicans, even if they may be more amenable to pressure from outside their ruling class ranks. But that’s not because they’re more anti-war, it’s because one role of the Democratic Party has always been to co-opt genuine protest and render it harmless. But in wanting the US hegemony over the world, both parties move together.
Attempting to make the program of the anti-war movement acceptable to the mythological “anti-war” wing of Congress requires the exclusion of Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab people who are targeted by the U.S.-Israeli military alliance. It requires the abandonment of the fundamental struggle against U.S. imperial ambitions in the Middle East — the basis for the Iraq war to begin with.
Beware of those who wish to soften the message of the anti-war movement in the mistaken delusion that this will somehow make Democrats more likely to stop the war. Being sort of in favor of bringing the troops home now is like being a little bit pregnant. So is saying you are anti-war but refusing to mention Palestine.
This is a war for empire and the people of the United States must let the rest of the world know that it is not our war, not our empire. The United States contingent in the global movement must make clear that we stand with all those throughout the Middle East and the world who are resisting in a just struggle for liberation.
The Iraq invasion wasn’t some bizarre aberration, rather it was a continuation of, if extreme, of the same imperialist mindset that has charted US foreign policy for decades.
Lest you think that’s a extreme statement, check From Wounded Knee to Iraq, “A partial history of U.S.invasions” and use of troops at home. There are nearly 200 such instances listed.