As Slingshot goes to press, all indications are that Bush is planning to invade Iraq in March or sooner — with or without international partners, with or without evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or has aided Al Qaeda and probably without giving UN inspectors the time they say is necessary to complete their work. If the war hasn’t started yet by the time you read this article, no matter how inevitable war looks, it’s still worth it to do what you can to stop the war. Bush is counting on all his tough talk to create a sense of inevitability and resignation in order to bring both people in this country and parts of the international community along for the ride.
It’s up to us to make it clear to folks in the US and the rest of the world that people in the US are not united behind Bush’s preemptive war of aggression. The more people here and in the rest of the world sense that this is Bush’s war, not America’s war, the more people and countries will feel comfortable publicly breaking ranks with Bush. If Bush is going to make Iraq the first example of his new doctrine of military preemption, it’s up to us to make sure it’s his last example of this horrendous policy. It’s up to us to make it clear for the whole world that Bush is isolated — isolated in his own country and isolated around the world!
The media has been pushing the idea that “war is now inevitable.” But just because Bush has the power to order a military attack doesn’t mean the war will necessarily be easy for Bush. It’s our job to make it as difficult and costly for him as possible. Maybe this can prevent the war, but even if it can’t — even if it’s too late to actually stop a war against Iraq — we can limit Bush’s victory in crucial ways.
Bush is going out on a limb on this one, straining international relations even with many US “allies” who are very uncomfortable at the idea of a nuclear armed America with a policy of preemptive strikes. By the time the bombing started during the Gulf war, Bush’s Dad had assembled a coalition that had agreed to pay all of the costs of the war. That is highly unlikely to happen this time. There is a real question as to whether other permanent members of the UN security council — France, Russia, China — might veto a US war resolution. Such a veto would be almost unprecedented.
This is to say nothing of the regular people in the rest of the world — people around the world now understand that the US is the greatest threat to world peace. Even if ultimately Bush has the power to make war, he’ll be doing it against the opinion of the rest of the world — regular people, ruling class elites and governments alike.
All of which indicates that — far from domestic attempts at protesting a war before it starts being futile and doomed — they are absolutely crucial . When the rest of the world looks at the US and sees it vocally split down the middle over the prospect of war, they can see Bush for the wannabe emperor he is — one with no clothes, and a small, shriveled dick Chenney running the show. Bush can talk like a Texas cowboy, but everyone knows he’s a cokehead fratboy born with a silver spoon in his mouth who ducked out of military service in Vietnam.
There are opportunities to protest the war all around us all the time — some organized by others, and some you can do yourself. The key is to do something at every opportunity before the war can begin.
If you’re reading this and a US war against Iraq is starting or is ongoing, it’s still crucial to express your protest and outrage against Bush’s preemptive war of aggression — and better yet, to stop business as usual in any way you can. Are we going to just lie back and let Bush do it — Hell No!
There are a wealth of actions already planned during the first few hours and days of a military invasion of Iraq. Check out the list at the end of this article. There will likely be protests in every big city and small town across the land. But disruption and protest shouldn’t stop after the first few days of a Bush war. It is crucial that we create increasing levels of chaos and disruption during the duration of the war.
Bush is counting on fighting the war on his terms, far away, using vastly superior high tech weapons against a population no one can see. He’s not counting on having to fight on two fronts at once — one of them right here at home. For a lot of us, it’s clear that we must stand with the people of the rest of the world against war and murder, not with Bush’s empire. Living here in the belly of the country making the war, we’re in the best position of all to fight this war.
All of Bush’s high tech weapons out in the desert depend on a vast industrial infrastructure functioning smoothly here at home. The home front is a soft target. A few hundred people can shut down transportation and disrupt the ability of workers to be productive. A few thousand people could play hide and seek at key military installations and prevent their normal functioning. A few tens of thousands of people could require Bush to reassigned troops from Iraq back to the home front. It’s up to us to increase the cost of war as much as possible. Act with bravery, take to the streets, stay away from your job, strike in secret under cover of darkness — but don’t let business as usual continue while the US carries out its war of aggression.
Actions planned once the war starts:
- Mass nonviolent direct action is planned in San Francisco at 7 am at Market and Main (Embarcadero BART) on the 1st business day after war starts. (Check out the cool flyer reproduced in this issue.) www.actagainstwar.org 415-820-9649
- Mass rally at 5 p.m. on the day the war starts (next day at 5 p.m. if the war begins at night) at Market and Powell Streets, followed by a march through city neighborhoods. www.internationalanswer.org. 415-821-6545. There will be an anarchist Black Bloc at the 5 pm demo.
- The Morning After the War Starts —Walk Out/Stay Away! Organize Walkouts From School, Work, etc. Spend the morning leafleting for people to join the anti-war movement. In San Francisco converge at noon at Civic Center Plaza to protest the war.
- Saturday after a war starts there will be a mass rally and marches at 7th and Market St at noon.
- East Bay demonstration the day war starts at 5 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland (12th St. BART).
- For information about protests outside the Bay Area, check United for Peace, www.unitedforpeace.org which is nationwide and lists events in large cities and small towns alike.
- The regular March 8th Global Women’s Strike may be at a crucial time. Check www.womenforpeace.org
- Other places to check for actions (of course highly incomplete): www.code-pink4peace.org, www.notinourname.net.