BUSH AND BLAIR AGAINST THE WORLD
by Daphne Liddle
THE IMPERIALIST invasion of Iraq is underway and millions of people throughout Britain and the world are leaving their workplaces, homes, colleges and schools as town and city centres fill up with peace protesters.
Prime Minister Tony Blair is hoping for a swift end to the conflict, which is now so unpopular that his career is likely to be ended, whatever the outcome of the fighting. It can hardly be called a war; the two sides are so unequal. It is an unprovoked imperialist invasion.
In committing British government support to President Bush’s warmongering, Blair has isolated himself from his European allies, from the United Nations, from popular support at home and abroad, from his own party membership, from the trade unions and from a growing number of MPs. His term in office is unlikely to survive this.
The revolt by MPs against British government support for the United States attack on Iraq grew to an unprecedented level last Tuesday night - in spite of frantic efforts by the whips to sustain support for Tony Blair’s warmongering position.
One hundred and thirty nine Labour MPs voted against the Government
and in support of a motion, which said the case for war is “not yet proven”.
The motion was of course defeated, by 396 votes to 217, with Tory support. But even among the Tories, 16 MPs voted against the war. These included former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke and John Gummer.
The Liberal Democrats and the Welsh and Scottish nationalists consistently opposed the war.
Former minister Peter Kilfoyle led the attack on Blair’s position in the House of Commons debate.
He said that “once in a generation” there comes an issue that transcends party ties.
“We are having a 19th century gunboat war in the Gulf, when the real dangers of terrorism should be isolated and dealt with as the first priority.
“I believe this act would be illegal, it would be immoral and it would be illogical.”
Mr Kilfoyle countered the claim that the peace campaign is similar to the movement that sought to appease the Nazi threat in 1938.
“In 1938 I do not recall the League of Nations having inspectors in Germany dismantling the Panzers, as we have inspectors dismantling the weapons in Iraq today.”
He the accused the Government of fighting “the wrong war, in he wrong place at the wrong time”.
“I am satisfied that without a second [United Nations Security Council] resolution we are getting into extremely dangerous ground and setting extremely dangerous precedents.”
Mr Kilfoyle then referred to the US plan, “Shock and Awe”. “Think of what that name implies,” he said. “The US is aiming to put 10 times as many missiles and precision bombs in the first 48 hours as they committed in the whole of the last Gulf war. This is against a country that has been decimated.”
Meanwhile Blair has come out with the usual lies about “doing their best to minimise civilian casualties”. Yet much of the damage will be done by B52s carpet bombing the area.
Many of the weapons - such as the cluster bombs, daisy cutters and Moabs —are specifically designed to kill, maim and injure as many people as possible indiscriminately.
The aim is to terrify the Iraqi population into a quick surrender. And this is the spurious logic behind a few former peace protesters who now argue that a quick victory will produce fewest casualties.
In the long term this will leave the Iraqi people enslaved by US colonialism and facing a long drawn out guerrilla war to regain their independence.
Members of the Scottish parliament have also been voicing their opposition to war. At a Stop the War rally in Leith last weekend, Scotland’s Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm told peace protesters that he regretted his former support for Tony Blair. He said he should have put his confidence in what he knew to be right above his loyalty to his colleagues.
And he quoted the poet Shelley: “Rise like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number. We are many, they are few.”
London mayor Ken Livingstone has also openly opposed the war plans.
The scale of the protest, in Britain and around the world, is unprecedented. The imperialist powers have carried out other invasions and attacks but never been opposed like this before.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, many feared that the United Nations would simply become a rubber stamp for all US endeavours. At the time of the first Gulf War and throughout the Balkan wars this seemed to be the case.
But outrage at what the US is doing has grown. Even other imperialist powers are now calling for a halt to the US drive for global hegemony. The UN is no longer America’s puppet and nor is the parliamentary Labour Party Tony Blair’s puppet anymore.
When imperialists are divided, the working class becomes stronger.
An ultimatum to the world
THE UNITED STATES has issued an ultimatum to Iraq ordering President Saddam Hussein and his family to leave their country or face the wrath of Anglo-American imperialism. And in the unlikely event that Saddam did decide to quit Washington has added that its troops are going into Iraq anyway - to search for the weapons of mass destruction Baghdad and the UN weapons inspectors say no longer exist.
American imperialism, headed by George W Bush, has shown its true face in recent days. The objections of France, Germany, People’s China and the rest of the UN Security Council were rejected out of hand. The calls of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement were ignored. The pleas for peace from the Pope and other religious leaders went unheard.
The ultimatum to Iraq was an ultimatum to the world. It simply means doing the bidding of American imperialism or take the consequences. The consequence, if you are weak and powerless, is war.
Blair must go
Tony Blair and the group around him within the Labour leadership have played a shameful role in giving moral and military assistance to the American invasion of Iraq. His last disgusting act was to play out the charade of a “summit” in the Azores with Bush and the Spanish premier, Jose Maria Aznar who at least has more sense and has refused to send any Spanish troops to the Gulf.
At every stage Blair has been the willing tool of American imperialism and the most reactionary and venal elements of the British ruling class who believe that their overseas investments can only be preserved by the might of the armed forces of the United States.
These people believe that Bush’s “new world order” is attainable. They are prepared to destroy the United Nations and the institutions of the European Union they claim to cherish if those bodies stand in the way. They hope that when American imperialism establishes world domination they will get their share of the spoils. They think they can ignore the mounting anger of the people demanding peace in Britain and all over the world.
But the Labour Party is much bigger than a Tony Blair, a Jack Straw or a Gordon Brown. The anti-war vote in parliament was the biggest revolt in the Commons for a century. Robin Cook took the principled stand and resigned from the Cabinet along with some other junior ministers and government aides. The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists reflected the broad swathe of anti-war opinion across the country. The defiance of the small but prominent band of Tory backbenchers to their leader, Duncan Smith, and Blair reflects the deep divisions within the ruling class over the crisis.
The people demand peace
The struggle to defeat the war party has only just begun. It’s taking place in the schools and universities, in the factories and offices, on the streets and above all in the unions and the Labour Party itself. The peace movement can and must defeat Blair and those who back him.
Bush and Blair believe that they can do whatever they like these days and no-one can stop them. But wherever there is oppression there is always resistance. And ultimately it is people who decide the outcome of wars — not Stealth fighters, carpet-bombing and nuclear weapons. This was a lesson the imperialists learnt in Algeria, India, Kenya, Korea and Vietnam. The Americans will discover this for themselves when they attempt to occupy Iraq.
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