Americans against war and empire... more than ever


Americans Against the War (AAW-France) and its numerous sympathizers have taken to the streets several times since October 2002, when the Bush administration’s threats against Iraq were materializing and its total disdain for international law was becoming manifest. It was clear to us that the official reasons advanced to justify “regime change” in Iraq obscured other, more empire-oriented motives that the so-called “neo-conservatives” had been formulating for over a decade: the urge to “control” the Middle East and make it safe for U.S. economic and geopolitical interests (as they define them), even if that meant invading, occupying and “remodeling” entire countries and regions of the world.

This same neo-conservative group is also, as a matter of public record, organically linked to the most military-oriented wing of the Israeli right – those who are the most determined to frustrate Palestinian aspirations to material well-being and viable self-government.

In these ways and others still, the Bush administration is contributing to greater polarization in the world and generalized mistrust of U.S. motives, while exacerbating the same 9/11-style terrorism it claims to be combatting.

Although we harbored no sympathy whatsoever for the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, we saw that the argument of “democracy” – one of the neo-conservatives’ proclaimed objectives in Iraq – was pure hypocrisy. An illegitimate regime of military occupation can in no way cause democracy to flourish.

We were shocked but not surprised to learn, shortly after Bush proclaimed “victory” in Iraq, that the main reason alleged to justify the war – the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – was nothing but a pretext and a politically convenient means to unify the pro-war “coalition” and sway some potential doubters in the U.S.

The real reasons for the Iraqi adventure have to do with the projection of U.S. power throughout the Middle East, in a way that some friends of the Bush administration no longer hesitate to call “imperial”. The idea is not simply to control Iraq’s oil supplies but also to influence the overall political evolution of the Arab world – as if entire peoples could be dictated to from Washington.

The occupation as it has played out since April 2003 has confirmed our worst fears:

- Chronic insecurity continues to reign. The occupation began with widespread looting of homes, stores, hospitals and museums full of treasures of humanity, while U.S. troops were busy with more “important” matters – such as protecting the Ministry of Oil. Armed attacks have taken as victims not only dozens of U.S. and British troops, but also UN personnel and large numbers of Iraqis.

- Economic “reconstruction” has stagnated, leaving many Iraqis jobless and without electricity or clean water, while certain private corporations close to the Bush administration, such as Halliburton, are reaping huge profits.

- Above all, growing polarization between the Arab-Muslim world and the United States. We are horrified by the durable situation of “war without borders” that this administration has fomented.

This is NOT our idea of how the U.S. should conduct its relations with the rest of the world. Although it will take time to build a viable opposition to empire in the U.S., we are ready to do all we can, in the short term, to defeat the Bush administration in its bid for re-election in 2004.

We want to help prepare for the day when U.S. foreign policy will no longer be based on unconditional support to Israel, even as Israeli leaders intensify a dehumanizing occupation that provokes immense Palestinian suffering, unprecedented insecurity in Israel itself, and increased international tension.

We want to see the day when the kind of manipulation of public opinion witnessed during the drive to war in Iraq will be impossible. In the meantime, we join with those in the U.S. and Europe who are marching on September 27, 2003 to demonstrate our rejection of the occupation of Iraq and to call for a regime of transition based on international law and cooperation, under the aegis of the UN, leading to the rapid restoration of sovereignty for the Iraqi nation and a democratic future for the Iraqi people.