Is it possible to end the occupation of Iraq?
Daniel Rubin It is in the interests of the peace and democratic forces of the US that we join with the Iraqi people and the people of the world to compel the Bush administration to end all forms of occupation and control of Iraq now. On November 2, we must elect an administration that will respond to the pressure, end the occupation if Bush fails to do so, and not repeat such aggression elsewhere. Only then can we end the huge financial drain of the occupation that is contributing to starving funds for jobs and other social welfare needs at home. Only then can the lives of Iraqis and US troops be saved. Only then can we begin to restore the good name of our country in the world. Bush still hopes to fool the Iraqi and US people by appearing to turn over power to a handpicked compliant group in Iraq while reducing the number of US troops until just after the elections. While paying close attention to how the Iraqi progressive forces assess their situation, we have to judge how best to struggle here in the US [and in Australia] to end the occupation. US Out! UN In! Maximising pressure to turn over control of the country to the democratic forces of Iraq and to get the US out completely requires supporting not only the demand to "bring the troops home now!" We need also to support "UN peacekeepers in!" UN peacekeepers enter a country only with the agreement of the authorities of that country. Even among those who opposed the war originally and now want the US out, there is concern about how to prevent leaving Iraq in a state of civil war as a result of the US aggression. Given the present armed attacks by backward forces and the existence of a number of politically contending militias, including one acknowledged to have been created by the CIA, the concern is legitimate and is expressed by some Iraqi progressive forces. Such a danger can best be met by UN commanded and controlled peacekeeping forces. By including such a just demand, it will be much easier to build maximum pressure and ensure major support in Congress for withdrawing the US military. UN role Some on the US left complain that the UN is a tool of US imperialism or of imperialism in general. That case could have been made when the UN General Assembly endorsed the US aggression against North Korea [DPRK] in 1950. Now the UN is the scene of major struggles between the forces for peace and progress in the world and those for war and reaction, headed by the US. Not every battle is fully won, but the UN has been resisting US dictation on Iraq. There was evidence of the change in three recent votes of the General Assembly. These condemned the Sharon Government of Israel for threatening the life of President Arafat, for assassinating Palestinians and for building the separation wall. Only Micronesia and the Maldives joined Israel and the US in opposing those resolutions. In most cases, if the Bush administration is for something internationally, it is safe to assume the peace, democratic and progressive forces of the US and the world should be opposed. But in a complex situation there can be moments when, for its own basically reactionary reasons, the administration supports something democratic forces support [but] for opposite reasons. Elections That is the case with the US opposing Ayatollah Sistani's proposal for immediate, direct elections. While opposing a federal state, the Bush administration apparently recognises that if the Kurds are excluded by a majority Shi'ite Arab vote, the country may split apart in civil war, or, due to fundamentalist militias that control sections of Iraq, end up with a theocratic regime similar to Iran's. That result would only produce long-term instability for US imperial interests. The US wants instead to handpick caucuses, to assure its dominance after June 30. If that proves impossible, it would like elections postponed until after the US elections, under cover of a UN recommendation, but keeping control in the meantime. Whether the US will be compelled by the Iraqi people, world public opinion and a growing majority sentiment in the US to give up real power and get out in favour of democratic Iraqi political power and UN peacekeepers, remains to be seen. As the Bush administration sees its present policy become an ever-greater threat to its re-election, the possibilities of a compelled just solution grow.
* * *People's Weekly World (slightly abridged)