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Crawford Protests Strike Chord

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Crawford Protests Strike Chord

The encampment outside Bush’s ranch vacation unleashed a furor. Cindy Sheehan stood outside and demanded that Bush explain to her what "noble cause" had got her son killed in Iraq. It all got onto prime time news--and struck a nerve. People have been choosing sides. Support vigils have been held in over 1,400 places. And the response also showed cracks in the war morale of military families, and in the military itself. All this shows two things:

First, millions of people believe this war was launched on lies and that the U.S. should get out of Iraq. Millions think this is not a war worth dying or killing for. And many thousands are ready, right now, to act on that conviction. These many thousands need to be given an outlet that can actually satisfy that profound desire.

Second, the mounting problems for the U.S. in Iraq are intensifying divisions within the ruling class.

This war was a high-stakes gamble for the U.S. government from the beginning. And now, two years later, they have still not stabilized their control over Iraq and the larger region. They are stretched thin and isolated, facing a growing insurgency and seemingly unable to bring together Iraqi forces to run the country for them. There is a real danger that this could all turn into a major strategic setback for them.

The U.S. imperialists are not about to pull out of Iraq and abandon their grip on this highly strategic spot. The consensus within the ruling class remains that this war has to be won, in some form. But while Bush insists everything is going well--that is being challenged from right within the ruling class.

And this is shown by the very fact that some of the forces controlling the mainstream mass media obviously decided to bring Cindy Sheehan into every living room, night after night. What a change, from the same mass media that has so crudely censored antiwar sentiment from the national news.

But these ruling class critiques of Bush’s war leadership are coming from fundamentally different interests than the millions of people who want an end to this war.

Just look at what former Senator Max Cleland said, in the official Democratic Party reply to Bush’s radio address: "The Bush administration’s plan for victory is not working... Iraq is still not secure and we don’t have the forces to make it secure…It’s time for a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy to get out." And while Cleland may hold out the promise of withdrawal, his emphasis is clearly on a "strategy to win."

Is that what the people of the world need? A more effective U.S. counterinsurgency in Iraq? A Hillary Clinton approach of sending more U.S. troops in to conquer Iraq?! Some more skillful or persuasive American commander-in-chief?

No, the world needs an end to U.S. war, empire, threat and torture!

There is a danger that all this antiwar sentiment may, once again, be herded into those well-worn ruts of politics-as-usual. And you can see that danger sharply in the endless repetition of "Support the Troops."

First off: Isn’t the real injustice here the killing and torture of Iraq’s people? The only U.S. troops who should be supported are the ones who refuse to fight and resist their unjust orders.

Beyond that, if this moment is made all about supporting the troops, then all too quickly the slogan "Support the troops, end the war" gives way to "Support the troops, send reinforcements…and send more armor, find more allies, and don’t undermine their fighting morale!" This narrow poisonous logic around "the troops" too easily brings people back to supporting the war, the system, and all the misery that represents. And this simply can’t be allowed to go down!

All this bitter infighting within the ruling class creates cracks and crisis--it can shake many more people awake, and draw them into political life. And it helps create the possibility for many more people breaking away from a logic and class interests represented by all that official imperialist politics-as-usual. To do that requires a bold initiative -- dramatic mass action that refuses to settle for anything less than the repudiation of the whole course of action represented by the Bush regime, including this outrageous criminal war in Iraq. And such action is represented by the November 2 call on the facing page.

If we are really going to liberate people --a radically different and revolutionary political direction has to be fought for, to end the capitalism and empire that give rise to this whole endless offensive of war and torture.

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