Terror: the students ape their masters
In a University Challenge for thugs, students confront their teachers, from the world’s top school for terrorism, run by the CIA – the masters of their craft.
American capitalists and their puppet regime in the White House, world satellite states, proxies and missionaries, toadies in the media – all those who go to fill up the ranks of the ‘coalition of the willing’ – conduct a war in Iraq to liberate the country for free expression and sound political activity, for the continuous spreading of the ‘American dream’ with lashings of apple-pie.
Well, that is what they’ve been telling us ever since the first tall story for the war, to clear out Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, blew up in their face. Now other lies are meeting the same fate, with the recent publishing of evidence of systematic programmes of torture meted out by the military and secret agents of the ‘liberating forces’ against their former detractors in Iraq. Not to mention the continuous bombing and murder of innocent Iraqis on a daily basis which could run as high to 35,000 deaths to date, and the kidnapping of thousands of foreign nationals (Arab, Asian and North African) to be held at Guantanamo Bay and numerous jails throughout the world. This exposes the sham claims that this war is to liberate the country for free political activity.
Socialists were never in any doubt that this war more than just being ‘in’ Iraq was ‘over’ Iraq. The business of the war is neither ethical, nor cultural, but based on commerce and the advancement of the American economy in its quest for worldwide dominion, as the conqueror takes the spoils. It is not just the oil that is at stake here. That is a major prize, but also there are the extremely lucrative contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq itself, both civilian ($100 billion says the Economist) and military, Iraqi and regional trade, cultural and social influences across the region, property and cheap labour for American corporations, as well as the theatre testing of weapons of small, medium and mass destruction. We are just as sure of this fact as we are of another: that the tune to which Bush and Blair and world leaders dance is nothing other than that of capital.
The bourgeois media, as they monitor the progress of the war, marked the first day of August with the milestone of one thousand US soldiers being killed since the invasion of Iraq eighteen months or so ago and the news that the situation there has deteriorated sharply in recent months. We are all familiar with the daily news headlines depicting another US campaign in trouble. We hear that there is an average of 87 attacks on coalition forces per day, up from 40 in August; there are 25 car bombs a month on average; we have seen 120 kidnappings of civilian workers; the rate of US personnel now being injured stands at 1000 per month and unofficially at 20,000 in all. Both Bush and Colin Powell now admit that they misjudged the post-war state of Iraq. Powell also admits there are no-go-areas in Iraq for coalition forces (termed: “areas we avoid”).
The situation developing in Iraq is similar to that in Afghanistan, where the US now controls less of the country than did the Soviet regime under its client Najibullah. The CIA reports that in Iraq the insurgency forces, which have come from all over the Muslim world could number as much as 50,000 at one time, and total of possible recruits could be unlimited. It is becoming clear that planned elections due for Iraq in January 2005 are being called into question. The funds for the reconstruction of Iraq presently standing at $18 billion dollars have hardly been spent. Indeed, a substantial amount of this money ($4 billion) has been diverted to security budgets as the situation deteriorates. Over in Afghanistan, Taliban forces are now regrouping and gaining in strength. Back in Iraq the US, which shunned the United Nations in its invasion is now, in an attempt to maximize the rewards for American big business, desperate to extricate itself from the worsening conditions there. Body bags of homecoming dead are kept off camera, and official injured lists for soldiers in both Afghanistan and Iraq have still not been published.
Now, all this talk of failure, particularly in Iraq, has led to the linking of this looming disaster to that dreaded word, that highly sensitive word, that word that hurts so bad in the US as it portrays one of the biggest foreign policy failures in US history to date – ‘Vietnam’. The word which sounded like a whisper before, is gradually becoming louder and louder as the winter draws in and Iraq spirals out of control.
The Vietcong, who saw off the US in the jungles of Asia, were trained and supplied by a highly respected enemy of the time, the Soviet Union. Now in the desert of Iraq, the US is up against Iraqi Sunnis, Al-Qaeda, and Moqtada al Sadar’s Shi’ite Mahdi Army forces. These disparate groups may appear like the colourful mix of the ragtag and bobtail militias of the region, and not the highly disciplined army of the Vietcong, but they have all been to school and have been taught well by the CIA, the masters of the craft of covert terrorism. The US taught and supplied these forces for foreign policy missions thought too dangerous for US professional forces in the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviets against the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan.
As we said after 9/11 in the article ‘Terrorism versus terrorism’ in the October 2001 Socialist Standard:
“The US is now reaping the bitter harvest of its foreign policy which used Islamic fundamentalism as a puppet in its perennial game of globo-political profit-making. For years it courted some of the most dangerous, conservative and fanatical followers of Islam, but the capitalist globalisation process, which the US has pursued obsessively, has served to make political Islam more reactionary in defence of its own culture and strategic interests.”
One is led into the impression that we are spectators in a University Challenge for thugs, where students confront their teachers from the world’s top American school for terrorism, run by the CIA in a bloody trial to the death with thousands on each side being killed. In addition, as is the way with all wars, innocents who have got in the line of fire are indiscriminately killed.
The American secret services and their students are using similar tactics in these wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Are the insurgent students’ actions just copycats or is it all in the training? The US has kidnapped Arab, Asian and North African nationals and held them at Guantanamo Bay and numerous jails throughout the world, dressed them in orange suits and abused them, shown them on camera and on occasions have killed them – so too have the students. The US has used a policy of indiscriminate bombing to take out their enemies where innocents are killed – so too have the students. The US hand out leaflets, use video and TV and the Internet to persuade their enemies and supporters to change their mind or to surrender – so too have the students. The Taliban have mass leafleted in the coming Afghanistan elections.
Most decent humans, socialists and not, will be sickened by all this death and destruction reported daily on our TVs and in our newspapers. However, as socialists have been reporting to you in the Socialist Standard for 100 years, war and terrorism are simply bloody extensions to the everyday activities in capitalist society, whether for outdated concepts of national and cultural determinations of peoples, or the covert civil war in society – the battle for profits among companies, individuals and states. This brings into play labour, technology, cunning and deceit in a “commercial war” with others in the same business both within and beyond national borders, and may lead on to open military conflict using all the resources of a state. Not on every occasion does commercial war lead to military war, only when a vital interest is at stake (such as oil for the USA). Military war may proceed from a “trade war” where government-activated subsidy (to help their own side compete) and tariffs (to encumber their foreign competition) have failed to impress.
The eventual winners of this tussle in Iraq will do nothing for the workers there, or anywhere else. No matter the nationality of both the exploiter and the exploited, the result is the same. Iraqi Sunnis, Al-Qaeda, and the Mahdi Army forces, are capitalists in their world outlook and will just as willingly and as easily, as the US, employ violence against their own “cultural peoples” when profits and the very economic system is threatened by workers erroneously using violence. Workers cannot hope to win anything from war, commercial and military, or terrorism, and should organise themselves to disengage from these injurious capitalist activities. We should answer this university challenge for thugs in Afghanistan and Iraq which is played out daily on our TV, with a democratic and universal challenge to the backers of terrorism and their armies with our demands and campaign for the abolition of the wages system!