George W. Bush’s plan for a preemptive attack on Iraq with as many as 250,000 American GIs is facing mounting opposition. There are warnings that it could be a long, bloody “war for oil,” in which thousands of Iraqis and American GIs will be killed or maimed.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, told the group’s 36th annual conference in Chicago, “The threatened misadventure into Iraq is being discouraged by the European Union, African Union, and the Arab states. Our unilateral isolationist and preemptive policies are not making us more secure. Instead they are increasing our vulnerability, making the region and the world less secure.”
Jackson called for a policy of engagement and negotiations with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Cuba and North Korea, rather than a policy of blockade and war. “Talking with your adversary is not a sign of weakness. It’s just the most effective way to reduce tensions.”
Peace Action spokesman Scott Lynch told the World that Bush is “cranked up on war,” partly to keep his poll-ratings from going the way of the stock market. “They will go too far,” he said. “The right-wing ideologues like Wolfowitz and Richard Pearl are calling the shots in this administration. We call it radical unilateralism. Worldwide, everyone is opposed to an invasion of Iraq. The world is asking: ‘Since when is it okay for the U.S. to decide who governs Iraq?’ This is unilateralism on the way to imperialism.”
Peace Action, he said, will challenge Bush’s war drive when it convenes in Chicago, July 26-28. The kickoff will be a mass picket line outside the corporate headquarters of Boeing to protest their role in producing “smart bombs,” such as those that have killed hundreds of innocent Afghans in the recent U.S. air war against Afghanistan.
Congress, too, is beginning to question Bush’s war drive, with some lawmakers demanding that the administration seek congressional authorization under the War Powers Act before commiting U.S. troops to combat overseas. The Senate is expected to convene hearings on the war plan before they adjourn for the August recess. The House, too, is expected to convene hearings in September. But the Bush administration may refuse to even testify. Bush claims he has authority to invade a country with a quarter million troops without congressional or United Nations approval.
Lynch said, “It’s good that the Senate and House are showing some signs of life. But they are not doing enough. Where is the leadership saying we should adhere to democratic principles? Where is the leadership standing up and saying no to a U.S. attack on another sovereign nation? The Bush administration has not produced any compelling evidence connecting Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. They have not produced any proof that Iraq is engaged in producing weapons of mass destruction.”
Senate Foreign Relations Chair, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Lynch said, is demanding that Bush discuss the war against Iraq with the Senate “and then he’ll go along. That really isn’t a balanced debate on the merits of going to war.”
Some even accuse Bush of whipping up new war threats to divert attention from his close ties to Wall Street thievery. In a July 20 op-ed in The New York Times, columnist Frank Rich wrote, “Wagging the dog no longer cuts it.” He was referring to a Hollywood movie in which a presidential candidate provokes a war as a diversionary election ploy. “If the Bush administration wants to distract Americans from watching their 401(k)s go down the toilet,” Rich wrote, “it will have to unleash the entire kennel.”
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