The war is just two weeks old, yet the Bush Administration has accomplished the unprecedented isolation of the United States worldwide, even from several of its historic allies. This is not a matter of poor public relations but the result of widespread opposition to US foreign policy objectives. For the masses in the streets, this illegal and aggressive war defies credibility.
The right is now trying to twist patriotism into a hammer against the antiwar movement, and I think Cortright is too cautious in his response. We must continue the pressure to end the fighting, and insist that opposition to this war does not reflect a failure to support the US troops but the opposite: We support them by calling for their immediate return home.
By far the biggest challenge for the antiwar movement will be to expand our horizons to oppose the full measure of the Bush Administration’s new National Security Strategy. That Saddam Hussein’s regime is so unpopular in Iraq and around the world has made implementing the first stages of this pre-emptive war doctrine easier. While the Administration clearly hopes that a successful invasion and occupation of Iraq will allow it to reshape regimes elsewhere, the US antiwar movement must connect the madness and immorality of the current invasion with this Administration’s new doctrine of empire. With all this in mind, the US antiwar movement needs to advance the following program:
§ Immediate cessation of hostilities: Despite the fatalism being promoted by the media, the antiwar movement must insist that the Anglo-American invasion cease and that the UN be reintroduced as a peacemaking body.
§ Oppose empire-building and fight for a democratic foreign policy: US aggression did not begin, nor will it end, with the invasion of Iraq. The antiwar movement must take on, directly, the Bush Administration’s National Security Strategy. We must advance an alternative vision of the relationship of the United States to the rest of the world, not just because it will be safer and less costly, but because it is right.
§ Remove weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East: Cortright says correctly that “disarmament ultimately must be universal,” but neglects to explicitly mention Israel, which has undisclosed numbers and types of WMD. Steps need to be taken to make the Middle East a zone free of such weapons.
§ Support for Palestinian self-determination: Peace will never emerge in the Middle East without the Palestinian people gaining their national rights and security. As long as the Israeli government is permitted to continue the occupation of Palestinian land and to suppress the Palestinian movement, the seeds of future terrorism and destabilization will be fertilized.
§ Continue to broaden the antiwar movement: The Iraq war and the “war against terrorism” are being used to advance an extreme right-wing agenda. Domestic repression is on the increase, an antiworker economic strategy is being used to strangle the public sector and public services while strengthening the military, and the demonization of Arabs, Muslims and Central Asians has become commonplace. The antiwar movement must increase its reach in order to tackle these issues. At the same time we must expand the movement so that it is far more reflective of the diverse progressive social movements in the United States, particularly within communities of color.