undersecretary of state and promoter of
the "war on terror" and "Plan Colombia"
Wednesday, February 13
HUB Ballroom, 1:30 p.m.
Colombia—The U.S. government is preparing to escalate the war effort against the 37-year-old insurgency in Colombia. Billions of dollars in combat helicopters and other "anti-narcotics aid" have been used by the Colombian government and its paramilitary death squads to wage war against the Colombian people. Colombia is already notorious for the assassination of trade union members, human rights workers and religious activists as well as the brutal massacres of peasants. Bush is preparing to escalate this terror. The main rebel organizations, the FARC and ELN have their own problems. But their crimes are insignificant in comparison to the assassination and massacres committed by the Colombian government, its paramilitary allies and their U.S. backers. This war is advertised as a war against narcotics, or even a war against 'terror', but in reality the U.S. is intervening to prop up the Colombian regime against the danger of it being overthrown. At the same time it insists that the Colombian government takes positions favoring U.S. trade interests and U.S.-based multi-national corporations.
Slick mouthpieces like Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, claim that "No country supports the peace process more than the United States". Marc Grossman will speak at the U.W. on February 13. He will be repeating all the hypocritical and nauseating propaganda about the so-called "war on terror" and may speak about Colombia also.Students should confront him and make their voices heard.
Afghanistan—To wipe out its former "freedom fighter" bin Laden, the U.S. military has destroyed the little remaining infrastructure of one of the poorest countries on earth. It has turned hundreds of thousands of people into refugees, killed more than 4000 innocent civilians and disrupted winter transportation for emergency famine relief, probably resulting in the deaths of tens (or hundreds) of thousands more (we will never even have an estimate of how many died by starvation over the winter because according to the obedient mass media outlets in the U.S. this is not "news"). The result of all this death and destruction is a new regime of warlords in Afghanistan not all that much different (possibly a little better, possibly a little worse) than the previous despotic rule of the Taliban. These reactionary thugs all came to power as a result of the 1980's civil war the U.S. helped engineer to draw in and weaken the Soviet Union, its main imperialist rival.
Islamic Terrorism— The bombing of Afghanistan was supposedly justified by the need to fight terrorist organizations like al-Qaida. These organizations represent the material interests of a section of the ruling classes in the region which resent U.S. domination and want to cut themselves a better deal with the West. These reactionary organizations have a certain amount of mass support only because (a) progressive and democratic currents in the region (which would offer a genuine alternative to the masses) are ruthlessly suppressed (often with U.S. help) and (b) they are seen by the masses as fighting U.S. imperialism which, as part of its efforts to dominate the strategic petroleum-rich region, has committed immense crimes against the people in Iran, Iraq, Kurdish regions, Palestine and elsewhere.
The Philippines—Recently 660 American troops have been sent to the Philippines, supposedly to help fight the small Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization. The real reason is to build up the Philippine military as a force to suppress the Maoist-led New People's Army, the Bangsa Moro struggle in the Southern Philippines, and the class struggles of the workers and peasants in general. A secondary reason for the U.S. involvement may be related to the offer of Philippine president Macapagal-Arroyo to re-open the Clark air base and the naval base at Subic Bay. These former U.S. bases would be of great strategic value in the event of a future conflict with China.
Around the world—Other countries where Bush is considering sending troops or bombing include Somalia, Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Lists have been published of up to 60 countries where U.S. action may be "necessary".
At Home—Meanwhile, at home, the new war plans include stepped up repression (arrest without trial or charges for non-citizens, unlimited wiretapping and secret searches) and budget cuts (except for the biggest corporations—they are given billions in order to "stimulate the economy").
Why?—The recent military adventures are not simply a result of the Republicans being in power during a time of national crisis. The current war is one in an endless series of wars which U.S. imperialism must wage to achieve and defend world domination. Such wars are an inevitable product of the political and economic system of imperialism. Imperialism is not a "policy" but is the form assumed by modern capitalism and the rule of the bourgeoisie. The anti-war struggle must be fought along with other products of capitalism: impoverishment of the masses, police-statism, racist attacks and attacks on immigrants. Ultimately, however, a just, peaceful and abundant society requires the end of the rule of the bourgeoisie. In the left, there is considerable disagreement over what an alternative to bourgeois rule would look like. Some even feel that it is not possible. We don't have all the answers. But we do believe that such an alternative is both possible and necessary.
Build the Anti-war movement!—The servile mass media has saturated society with a steady drumbeat of war propaganda and kicked up an ugly, reactionary mood. The anti-war movement is young and small. Nevertheless the ruling class is afraid of it. This is why journalists are fired or harassed if they don’t toe the line. This is why the bourgeoisie is thinking long and hard before invading Iraq. They remember the movement against the war in Vietnam. And so do we.
http://antiwarproject.com· February 13, 2002