Preparing For War

“THE QUESTION isn’t how much longer do you need for inspections to work. Inspections will not work.”

These comments by US Secretary of State Colin Powell were uttered well before Hans Blix the UN chief weapons inspector delivered his report on Iraq to the UN Security Council on 27 January. And Powell is considered one of the least ‘hawkish’ members of the US administration.

The whole UN weapons inspection process is a facade to try and legitimise a war to bring about ‘regime change’ in Iraq and assert US economic, political and military hegemony in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It was only under pressure from public opinion that Bush went to the UN in the first place. But over the past few weeks the anti-war mood has intensified, including in the US itself.

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated on 18 January in the biggest protests since Vietnam. Only 26% of Americans back a U.S.-led war without ‘allied support’.

And worryingly for Bush, opposition to war is coinciding with falling support for his handling of domestic issues; his personal approval rating has fallen to 59% – the same as it was before September 11 2001.

In Europe, anti-war feeling has pushed both the French and German governments to speak out against the US agenda for war.

However France, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, along with Russia and China, will come under huge US pressure to back the US if it decides to seek a second UN resolution before going to war.

Bush and Blair will use the weeks leading up to the next weapons’ inspectors report on 14 February to escalate the propaganda for war, while at the same time stepping up the deployment of troops and military equipment in the Gulf.

The anti-war movement will be using those same weeks to build for a massive display of strength on the 15 February international day of protest, where millions are expected to demonstrate worldwide against war with Iraq.

There are limits to the might of US imperialism and its ability to dominate the globe. If the US keeps to its timetable and goes to war over the next few weeks, with or without UN backing, it will be taking an enormous risk.

Because of its overwhelming military supremacy it would win any war with Iraq, but at what cost in humanitarian terms, for the world economy and in instability and unrest worldwide?

Over the next few weeks we will be redoubling our efforts to build the anti-war movement into a powerful force in the workplaces, schools, colleges and communities.

At the same time we have the vital task of building a socialist alternative to capitalism and war.