U.S. Continues War

June 26, 2014

As the Obama administration threatens to launch new U.S. airstrikes and makes plans to increase the number of U.S. military advisers stationed in Iraq, Obama is trying to justify the Iraq war by claiming that the U.S. is acting in defense of the rights of people and even civilization itself.

Precisely because there is so much opposition to U.S. war and colonialism in Iraq, U.S. imperialism is continually at work trying to disguise its exploiting aggressive aims.  U.S. imperialism has long relied on the counter-revolutionary tactics of imperialist pacifism – of talking about “peace” while waging war, of promising “negotiations and compromise” while imposing its dictate . . .

Below we reprint an article first published in “The Worker” on January 17, 2006.

What the Imperialists are Planning

The U.S. capitalist class, in its centuries-long struggle to subjugate other nations, has relied on the counter-revolutionary dual tactics of combining open military aggression with political deception. The use of such dual tactics takes many forms. For example, during the wars of conquest against the Native peoples, the capitalists repeatedly signed peace treaties while preparing yet new wars. In more recent times, U.S. imperialism has frequently alternated and combined direct military intervention with “indirect” domination through puppet armies and governments.

The U.S. government has employed such counter-revolutionary dual tactics from the very beginning of its war against Iraq. Even before the “official” start of the war in March 2003, the U.S. government combined open war threats with repeated calls for “negotiations,” “weapons inspections,” etc. The facts show that these tactics were used in tandem with the single objective of putting Iraq under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. The Pentagon has subsequently admitted that for months before the war, while the press was filled with talk of “negotiated solutions,” the repeated bombing campaigns against Iraq were the first salvoes of the war. As for the “weapons inspectors,” they have confessed to being spies reporting to the U.S. military. In the U.S., the “softer” tactic of “negotiations” helped to hold the opposition at bay, create the illusion that war could be avoided even while carrying the chauvinism and imperialist aims of the warmakers into the anti-war movement.

Today, as the resistance in Iraq continues to defeat the U.S. aggressors and the American people step up their anti-war struggles, the capitalists are further refining their counter-revolutionary dual tactics. In particular, the Democratic Party is increasingly advertised as the “alternative” to “Bush's war.” But the Democrats’ “exit strategy” is only an attempt to buy more time for the war and cover over the character of U.S. occupation.

To begin with, let us not forget that for all that the Democrats huff and puff, they remain adamantly opposed to the withdrawal of U.S. troops. This was proved again in mid-November when the House of Representatives voted 403 to 3 against the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Commenting on the vote, the Progressive Democrats of America (which advertises itself as the extreme “anti-war” wing of the party) contemptuously referred to the demand for immediate withdrawal as a “cut and run” position (PDA statement, November 18, 2005).

A good picture of the real program of the “left-wing”, “anti-war” Democrats can be seen by looking at the Congressional hearing, entitled “How to Bring the Troops Home”, organized last September by Lynn Woolsey and 18 other Congresspeople from the “Out of Iraq” caucus.

One of the star “anti-war” witnesses at the hearings was David Mack, Vice President of the Middle East Institute and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East.

Mack's preoccupation is that the U.S. “not leave Iraq in a way that would make matters worse: worse for Iraqis and laden with future threats to vital U.S. interests.” Echoing George Bush, Mack worries that “Iraq may become a failed state...offering safe havens to international terrorist groups and a vast pool of embittered and desperate recruits from among the Iraqi population...think of Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. But Iraq's strategic position, married to its far superior resources of potential wealth...would make it vastly more dangerous.”

Thus, Mack insists on “a responsible U.S. disengagement from Iraq [which] requires an international diplomatic context, and a lower U.S. profile...the U.S. and Iraqi governments should agree on benchmarks for the gradual disengagement for U.S. and other foreign military units from the policing of Iraqi cities and major lines of transportation, as well as the gradual reduction of overall forces levels...the U.S. and Iraqi governments should make arrangement for the period in which residual U.S. forces would be requested by the Iraqis to provide training, logistics, air cover and backup to Iraqi forces... we will not engage in precipitous withdrawal that would jeopardize Iraq's own efforts to assure its national security. To that end, we will not establish artificial deadlines...the U.S should encourage Iraq to seek the assistance of other governments, especially from the NATO alliance in providing military assistance and training.”

This, then is the neocolonial strategy of the Democrats and U.S. imperialism: talk about withdrawal but set no “artificial deadlines” and in fact continue the war; try to “lend legitimacy” to the occupation by training Iraqi forces and paying international troops even while maintaining enough U.S. forces for backup and “logistical, air support.” All in order to guarantee “vital U.S. interests” including access to Iraq's “superior resources of potential wealth.”

Another witness Professor Chayes, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, makes it clear that the Democrats' strategy is little more than using different words to describe the same military colonialism, little more than trying to perfume the smell of gunpowder.

“I think that the U.S., for the foreseeable future – which I hope will not be much longer than a year – must provide security and continue the training that it has started.

“We need to alter the doctrine – the military doctrine – by which we stay. We have got to withdraw from the role of war-fighters, and probably withdraw, as well, from an active anti-insurgency role, and move to what we would call a ‘stability force’.

“Now will that persuade anybody? Will anybody believe that we are doing anything but an inplace withdrawal. That's a hard question. But we did it well internationally. I mean, I wish we could internationalize the forces. We cannot. I wish we could blue-hat the Americans as we did in Korea – but I think that's totally unlikely.

“So, if we made a public announcement, at the same time that a mediator was in place, that the role of the U.S. forces is simply to train, to be replaced, and to be stability forces, then it might be that we could provide at least as good security as now is provided.”

In short the Democrats’ “exit strategy” is nothing but a change of face, a change of name, a “blue-hatting” of U.S. occupationist troops.

In fact, the Democrats’ “exit strategy” which remains contingent on Iraqi “stability and security” to protect “U.S. interests” is really no different than Bush, who keeps building up Iraqi puppet troops and a puppet government to give the appearance of legitimacy to the U.S. occupation.

This capitalist program of neo-colonialism is infiltrated directly into the anti-war movement by an unholy alliance of opportunist so-called “anti-war leaders” and sects.

For example, the “Win Without War” group expresses its so-called anti-war position like this:

“To serve both U.S. and Iraq's best interests the U.S. must transform its military occupation into an Iraqi-led, regionally backed, and internationally supported effort to achieve stability and a representative government.

“Only by ending the U.S. occupation can the Iraq army, police, border patrol, law enforcement officers emerge as necessary and trusted elements of a sovereign country, rather than reluctant accomplices of an unwelcome occupation. Assistance with training and equipment from NATO, other international bodies, along with the U.S. will be necessary.

“We do not suggest the U.S. walk away from the ongoing conflict and security problems. The U.S. will need to continue some military operations during a transition period. These might include patrolling no-flight zones, border surveillance, training for Iraqi security forces, intelligence collection and maintenance of a regional peace-keeping or quick-reaction forces. These functions could require a sizable contingent of U.S. forces and would be best if U.S. forces operated with other international forces, perhaps under an international command. In any case, they would no longer be part of an occupying army whose mission was to battle the insurgency, but part of a peacekeeping/stabilization force whose mission was to protect the population.” (Win Without War, September 21, 2005)

Thus opportunism not only advocates continuing the war, it embraces, heart and soul, the very aims of the capitalist warmakers. Opportunism, infected with imperialist arrogance and chauvinism, cannot for one second grasp the issue of Iraqi sovereignty and the inalienable right of nations to self-determination. Rather, it works to provide an “anti-war” cover for continued U.S. military occupation. Opportunism aims at keeping Iraq permanently under the thumb of U.S. imperialism, by advertising the “legitimacy” of a puppet, neo-colonial government which keeps U.S. and international “stabilization” forces in the background.


In the course of our struggles against the war, we unite with all the forces working for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the end to U.S. domination and occupation.

In this struggle we expose the attempts of the Democrats and opportunists to substitute pro-war, pro-imperialist slogans and aims for the genuine demands of the people – the immediate, unconditional and thorough withdrawal of all U.S. troops and an end to U.S. occupation and interference.

We must be clear about the aims of the Democrats and opportunism. Their interests are the “vital interests” of U.S. imperialism – the interests of colonial domination and exploitation in Iraq and other countries. They remain sworn opponents of the right of the peoples to self-determination and independence. Their strategy always rests on U.S. military power even while trying to cover over the war program with phoney “anti-war,” pacifist phrases.

Our aim, the aim of the people, can only be to oppose imperialism and colonialism in all its forms. Our aim is to create a world of genuine peace and friendship in which the sovereignty and equality of every nation is recognized and guaranteed. This requires the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad and an end to U.S. interference in all its forms.

Our aims can only be carried through by building an independent movement of the workers and people, a movement in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist class which is the source of war and colonialism.

Only such an independent movement is the reliable force in the immediate struggle to get the troops out and only this movement is capable of carrying our struggle through to the end.