Friday, December 08, 2006

Anti-war Statement From TONC: Baker Says "Stay the Course," The People Say "Stop the War!"

December 7, 2006
From the Troops Out Now Coalition:

Baker says "Stay the course" - the people say "Stop the War!"

The Baker Commission isn't calling for an end to the occupation
Only the people will stop the war

"Stay the course!" That's the message from Washington DC --from both sides of the aisle--despite overwhelming global opposition to the war, despite the fact that the U.S. campaign to subjugate the people of Iraq has clearly failed, and despite the failure of the U.S. puppet government to secure even a few square blocks of downtown Baghdad.

On November 17, President Bush was in Vietnam and he used the occasion to proclaim the "lesson" he had drawn from the U.S. war against the people of Vietnam: "We'll succeed unless we quit."

President Bush drew the wrong conclusion from his study of history, but there are lessons the antiwar movement can learn from the struggle to end the war in Vietnam.

From 1965, when the U.S. first sent large numbers of combat troops to Vietnam, to 1973, when the last troops left, there were two Presidential and two midterm elections. Control of the White House switched from one Party to the other. The war in Vietnam was the burning issue in all of these elections, and many looked to them to end the war. Yet none of these elections had any impact on the determination of Washington and Wall Street to continue the brutal assault on the people of Vietnam.

It wasn't elections that ended the war--it was resistance by the people of Vietnam, GIs refusing to fight, and a massive antiwar movement in the streets.

Democratic Party Double Cross

Many people went to the polls last month to vote against the war. The Democrats capitalized on the growing opposition to the war and the undeniable fact that the crusade to colonize Iraq and control its oil reserves was falling apart. During the campaign they largely remained silent about their own plans, opportunistically cashing in on what was seen as a Republican failure.

Even though the war itself was not on the ballot, many felt that a vote against the Republicans was a vote to end the occupation. Many hoped against hope that the Democrats would do something that they have not done in the past four years, and finally take bold action to end an illegal war.

Now that the Democrats have ridden antiwar sentiment into office, they have clearly signaled that they have no intention of bringing the troops home. Suddenly, the talk is about how to strengthen the Iraqi puppet regime created by the occupation, so that at some unspecified later date U.S. troop levels can be "drawn down."

The voters who turned out in massive numbers to vote against the war now find that what they got was another pro-war party in office. Democratic Party leaders like Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer now say the U.S. can’t just “cut and run.” They have also announced that they will continue to vote to fund the war, which is costing more than $2 billion a week. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wants to increase the number of troops in Iraq by 20,000 to 30,000. They are not opposed to the war; they don't oppose the idea that the U.S. has the right to invade a country and steal its resources; they just believe that Bush has mismanaged the occupation and that they can do a better job.

Baker Commission: The Iraqification of the Occupation?

The much heralded Baker-Hamilton Commission report was released yesterday. Those who hoped that the Commission would provide some road map to ending the war were sorely disappointed. But that was never the purpose of the commission.

The study group was set up to co-opt dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war and use it to justify the continued occupation. The release of the report is a tactic to attempt to re-sell the war to the public with a bipartisan facade. The authors of the report made it clear in their introduction that the report has more to do with managing public opinion than with any significant change in policy in Iraq: "Success depends on unity of the American people at a time of political polarization ... Foreign policy is doomed to failure -- as is any action in Iraq -- if not supported by broad, sustained consensus.

In his remarks, Baker said that "stay the course" is no longer an option, but what Baker and Hamilton propose is essentially a continuation of what Bush is already doing -- trying to reduce the number of U.S. casualties by moving troops off of the front line while continuing the occupation indefinitely. The proposed focus will switch to training the Iraqi puppet army, while continuing to provide air support, artillery, and other support. This strategy sounds remarkably like the "Vietnamization" strategy outlined by President Nixon in 1970, a policy that was similarly designed to dampen massive opposition to the war, while allowing it to continue for another three years and thousands of more casualties.

Buried within the report, and not discussed by the corporate media, is the recommendation that all of Iraq's oil reserves be completely privatized. Almost four years into the occupation, the goal remains the same. It was never about weapons of mass destruction or democracy. This war has always been about obtaining control of Iraqi oil.

The Baker report places all of the blame for the violence in Iraq on "sectarian conflict," ignoring the fact that it is the occupation itself that is the source of violence in Iraq. The first step in ending the violence in Iraq is the removal of the occupying forces.

The People Must Stop the War

Politicians will not end the occupation of Iraq. History shows us that only a massive movement in the streets will stop the war.

The Pentagon is spending $2 billion dollars a week on the war, money that should be going to jobs at a living wage, healthcare, education, and rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Nearly 3,000 U.S. soldiers have died -- 11 more yesterday. More than 600,000 Iraqi people have been killed.

We need to stop this war -- not another dollar, not another casualty, not one more day. No timetables, no more Commissions, no waiting for another election.

We must take to the streets in unprecedented numbers and force them to bring the troops home now.

March 17, 2007 will be the fourth anniversary of the illegal shock and awe invasion of Iraq. We need to deliver shock and awe to the war makers with a massive outpouring of outrage and opposition on the streets of Washington. This important demonstration is only 13 weeks away -- in that short time, we need to get out hundreds of thousands of fliers, stickers, and posters. We need to get the word out in schools, churches and mosques, union halls, community center, and on the street. We need your help to do this.

Contact the Troops Out Now Coalition to find information on buses, vans, carpools, and peace trains coming from your area. If there is not an organizing center in your area, contact us and we can help you get started.

Troops Out Now Coalition
55 W. 17th St. #5C
NY NY 10011

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