November 27, 2005
In March 2003 the Bush administration gave the
U.S. military a mission impossible—to colonize Iraq. Almost three years
later, under the sustained campaign of Iraqi resistance and the growing
opposition at home, that mission has gone from quagmire to crisis.
steady stream of setbacks is forcing the high command to demand changes of
policy. But the commanders in charge of the war are unable to get a hearing from
the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal. And they have been forced to take their battles
to the halls of Congress.
In the latest episode of this battle, renowned
war hawk and friend of the military Jack Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania,
caused a storm in Congress when he introduced a resolution in the House for the
U.S. to leave Iraq "as soon as practicable," estimating six months.
He called for a "redeployment" of Marine forces to a place
"over the horizon" where they would be ready to intervene, and
basically demanded that the Iraqi puppet forces take over.
During a Nov.
17 media conference and in the floor debate surrounding his resolution the same
day, Murtha made some blunt points explaining his position. "It’s
time to bring them home," he asserted. "Our troops have become the
primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we
have become the catalyst for violence.
"The future of our military
is at risk," Murtha told the media conference. "Our military and
their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our
troops are on their third deployment."
During the floor debate he
explained that the commander in Iraq had told him that "every convoy is
attacked." Murtha added, "They say they don’t have enough
Murtha said that they cannot get more troops. "The
military isn’t meeting its quotas, even though they have lowered the
quotas." The only solution would be a draft. But this "is
Murtha holds the key position of ranking Democrat on
the defense appropriations subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
He has been a leader of that committee for decades. He worked with Dick Cheney
when Cheney was secretary of defense during the 1991 Gulf War.
conduit for the military
"Known as a friend and champion of
officers at the Pentagon and in the war zone," said a Nov. 17 Associated
Press report, "it is widely believed in Congress that Murtha often speaks
for those in uniform and could be echoing what the U.S. commanders in the field
and in the Pentagon are saying privately about the
"Several times a year, Murtha travels to Iraq to assess
the war on the ground and he often visits wounded troops in hospitals at home.
And he sometimes just calls up generals to get firsthand accounts."
While Murtha was quite emotional about U.S. casualties, he never shed a
tear or even made mention of the 100,000 Iraqis killed and thousands upon
thousands wounded or otherwise victimized by the U.S. occupation forces. His
overwhelming concern was the condition of the U.S. military.
As a friend
of the Pentagon he also reflects the world-dominating strategic thinking of the
militarists. He said that Iraq threatened to drain resources from
"procurement programs that ensure our military dominance." (Time
Magazine, Nov. 28)
On the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Murtha was
concerned that "down the road" the U.S. would have to deal with
China and that "we have only bought four or five ships this
Three days before Murtha’s resolution, the Senate
passed John Warner’s resolution telling the Bush administration to report
quarterly on progress in the war and to push to see that Iraqis take over much
of the military action in the year 2006. This was substantively a toothless
resolution. But it signifies the growing defeatism in the ruling class and the
frustration of the military.
Military breaking into
There are those among the brass who want to threaten to pull
back significant numbers of troops in order to pressure their puppets to stop
infighting, form a cohesive regime to oppose the anti-occupation resistance and
frighten the puppet troops into fighting harder. Warner, a senior militarist,
former secretary of the Navy and head of the Armed Services Com mittee, is
speaking for this grouping.
Some want more troops, as Time Maga zine
revealed in its issue dated Nov. 28. "If the Republican chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee wants to get a second opinion on how the war is
going, where does he turn? To the Pentagon, but not to the top brass this
time." In what the magazine called "an unusual closed-door meeting
on Capitol Hill last week," Warner, Carl Levin of Michigan and Mark Dayton
of Minnesota "sat across the table from 10 military officers chosen for
their experience on the battlefield rather than in the political arena."
They were battalion commanders.
The commanders "said that they not
only needed more manpower but that they had asked for it" as recently as
August 2005 "but got turned down flat."
This grouping is
represented by Sen. John McCain, who recently called for 10,000 more troops.
McCain voted against Warner’s resolution to make 2006 a year of
significant turnover to the puppet troops.
Joining Murtha in the rapid
withdrawal faction is Lt. Gen. William Odom (ret.), former head of the National
Security Agency under Ronald Reagan. Odom wants to leave immediately in order to
repair U.S. imperialism’s alliances with European and Japanese
imperialism. He wants to establish joint domination of the entire Middle
East—that is, to share some of it with Washington’s rivals.
is important to note that the key players driving the debates over the Iraq
strategy are tied to the military. The fact is that militarists like McCain,
Warner and Murtha have to move before Congress discovers its backbone and passes
even the most mealy-mouthed resolution on the war. Permission to do so from some
section of the military is required.
Under the pressure of the Iraqi
resistance, the military command is breaking up into various factions over what
to do about their crisis in Iraq. Most important about the present debate is
that it is all about how to get out of a crisis with the least damage. No one
has put forward any proposal about how to win. All but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld
have abandoned what Murtha called "an illusion."
present debate among the different factions, one side asserts that if the U.S.
military stays, it is only inflaming the resistance, acting like an occupier and
uniting the country against the U.S. forces. Leaving would extricate the
military from this impossible, self-perpetuating situation.
The other side
says that if the U.S. leaves, it would be a victory for the resistance, a
humiliation for the U.S.—meaning U.S. imperialism—and an
encouragement to resistance around the world.
The insoluble contradiction
that has been created for the U.S. ruling class and its military is that both
sides of the debate are right!
model for Iraq won’t work
That is what happens when
an imperialist power is irreversibly losing a colonial war. That is what comes
of trying to recolonize a people who suffered from British colonialism but rose
up and threw out their oppressors. When the Iraqi people threw out the British
colonialists in 1958, they proceeded to take their oil and their country back.
They embarked on a course of scientific, educational, economic and social
development as a country independent of imperialism.
They don’t want
the U.S. oil companies to take their oil. They don’t want the Penta gon to
set up military bases to threaten the region. They don’t want to privatize
their country and hand it over to transnational corporations. And they
don’t want a puppet government. They have lived under imperialist
oppression. They don’t want to go back.
All factions in the U.S.
military and the ruling class are banking on the so-called
"Iraqization" of the war. It is a page taken from the Vietnam War.
Nixon eventually had to end the draft and "Vietnamize" the
war—which meant to fund, supply and advise puppet troops in a hopeless
attempt to stop the Vietnamese, who had already defeated both French and
Japanese colonialists, from taking control of their country.
noteworthy that before John Warner introduced his resolution about making 2006
the year of "Iraqization" of the war—although he did not call
it that—he had several meetings with 83-year-old Melvin Laird,
Nixon’s secretary of defense, who had devised the so-called
"Vietnamization" strategy in 1973. Laird has recently written
lengthy articles attempting to persuade the Pentagon to adopt a strategy similar
But even though the Vietnamization was accompanied by merciless
U.S. bombing and thousands of U.S. commanders remained in the country, it still
It will fail in Iraq.
What is really at issue is a
fundamental development in the struggle for national liberation, which began in
the oppressed regions of the world, and especially in Asia, right after World
The historical fact is that U.S. imperialism has fought wars to
try to conquer territory in Asia. In northern Asia it tried to conquer all of
Korea and was defeated by socialist, anti-colonial forces. It fought in
southeastern Asia to conquer Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and was defeated again
by socialist, anti-colonial forces. It is fighting in Central Asia to conquer
Afghanistan, and is losing. It is fighting in Western Asia—the Middle
East—to conquer Iraq. And it has already been defeated.
imperialism, the center of world capitalism, world production and world
exploitation, has always regarded its fate as linked to its domination of the
populous, resource-rich Asian land mass. It has seen this vast territory as the
historical terrain for the expansion of exploitation and plunder necessary to
No military strategy in Iraq, or any other part of the
world, is going to change the fact that formerly oppressed peoples of the world
will resist being forced back into the shackles of imperialism. The workers and
the oppressed in the United States are already becoming disillusioned and
increasingly unwilling to kill and be killed in this futile and reactionary
attempt at world domination by those who oppress and exploit them, too.
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