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'U.S. propaganda is candy-coated poison'
Workers World Editor Deirdre Griswold was asked by Hossein Mirshaki of the Iranian daily Resalat to comment on U.S.-Iranian relations. She wrote the following remarks on June 13.
I have seen news reports here in the last day that indicate some people in Iran were incited by a satellite television program originating in Los Angeles, U.S.A., to demonstrate against the regime. The news we get, and I don't know if it is true, says that some young people who have grievances against the Iranian government look to the United States as an ally in their struggle.
I have no way of knowing if these people are merely naive or if there is a more sinister explanation for what has happened. But, as someone born in the United States and having lived here all my life, I welcome the opportunity to say a few words to the Iranian people about the role of the U.S. government in the world today.
First, it should be understood that while the U.S. holds regular elections, this political process does not produce a government representing the majority of the people. U.S. "democracy" is thoroughly corrupted by a relatively small class of super-wealthy people who literally buy political power. Their vast fortunes come from exploiting people and resources not just in the United States but around the world. This class of plutocrats spends hundreds of billions of dollars on the elections and also finances the many foundations, think tanks and other unofficial bodies that train political leaders to act in its interests.
George W. Bush became president through extraordinary manipulation of the voter rolls. His party made a systematic effort to eliminate African Americans, Haitian Americans and older voters in Florida. He lost the popular vote but was declared the victor by the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision.
Political, diplomatic and military leaders move back and forth between top corporate/banking positions and the government.
The present Bush administration is especially packed with representatives of the oil industry and the military-industrial complex. It came into office determined to promote a broad agenda of intensifying U.S. domination over the post-Cold War world, and especially in the oil-rich countries of the Middle East, including both Iraq and Iran.
Two important documents spell out this orientation: (1) the "Defense Planning Guide" written in March 1992 by Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who are today Vice President of the U.S. and Assistant Secretary of Defense, respectively, and (2) the "National Security Strategy" document issued on Sept. 20, 2002, by the present Bush administration. This second document also laid out a doctrine of "preemption," that is, that the U.S. has the right to attack other countries not because they have done anything but because they MIGHT commit hostile acts sometime in the future. This doctrine, which became the official policy of the United States, is a violation of all international law with respect to war and peace.
Now the U.S. government has carried out an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, killing thousands of civilians, destroying museums and libraries containing irreplaceable artifacts from thousands of years of history, and leaving much of the country without a functioning water supply, electricity, hospitals, schools or places of work. Before the war, the Bush administration said it would help the Iraqi people set up a "democratic" regime. This has not happened in even the smallest way. At present, U.S. troops are bogged down in a brutal, colonial-style occupation of Iraq. They are killing people every day, invading their homes, neighborhoods and mosques. And every day there is more proof that the Iraqi people, of all political persuasions and faiths, want the U.S. out and are determined to resist the occupation. This bloody war was not waged to liberate the Iraqi people, but to take their oil and impose a regime completely controlled from Washington.
The Bush administration is in the process of deporting thousands of Muslims and Arab people from the U.S., and has grossly violated the civil liberties of many more by rounding them up and detaining them for many months without charges and without access to families or attorneys.
It is holding nearly 700 people captured in Afghanistan and other countries, some as young as 13 years of age, in barbaric cages at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, where it denies them any legal rights and refuses to abide by the Geneva conventions regarding prisoners of war.
Yet it dares speak to the world in the name of "freedom" and "democracy"!
President Bush in his infamous "Axis of Evil" speech in Jan u ary 2002 singled out Iraq, Iran and the Demo cratic People's Republic of Korea as enemies of the U.S. Anyone who lives in any of these countries should take this threat very seriously. It was telling the world that the U.S. government reserved the right to attack them at any time.
Are there any restraints on the aggres sive plans of this administration? Yes, there are. Millions of people worldwide have demon strated their opposition to the war plans of the U.S. and Britain. That includes the largest anti-war demonstrations in the United States since the era of the Vietnam War.
The demonstrations did not stop the war from happening, but they helped change the political climate. Both the Bush and Blair administrations are now on the defensive over having lied to the people about Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction." The heroic resistance inside Iraq is tying down U.S. troops so that they cannot be sent elsewhere. There is even a struggle within the Pentagon over whether or not they have sufficient troops to be able to maintain the occupation of Iraq and project their military power in other parts of the world.
The U.S. rulers also have to worry about the economy and the war. This year the government deficit (the difference between income and expenditures) is expected to rise to over four hundred billion dollars ($400,000,000,000). [In the United States, unlike much of the rest of the world, the word "billion" equals a thousand million.] President Bush recently raised the legal limit on the accumulated government debt by one trillion dollars (that's a million times a million). The total U.S. government debt now (June 13, 2003) stands at $6,602,706,000,000 and is rising every second. [See www.publicdebt.treas.gov/ opd/opdpenny.htm] This averages out to a debt of nearly $100,000 for a family of four! This criminal debt has been imposed on the working people of the United States by the billionaires who control our corrupt government.
This extraordinary figure reflects the huge costs of military spending as well as a decline in revenues, because at the same time as this military buildup, the politicians have been cutting taxes on their wealthy backers. There can be only one result: further slashing of social services needed by the people. It also means that interest payments to the banks to service the national debt will skyrocket, requiring a painfully higher level of taxes on working people in the future. This is a recipe for a social explosion.
It boils down to this: A war cannot be won with weapons alone, no matter how powerful they are. It requires the surrender of the target population, and the support of the people inside the would-be conquering nation. The people of Iraq are not surrendering, they are fighting back. Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world who value national sovereignty and peaceful development are rejecting U.S. empire and neocolonialism, are rejecting "regime change" imposed from without by war, subversion or economic sanctions.
U.S. propaganda directed to the youth of the Third World is nothing but candy-coated poison. Young and old, all over the globe, need to come together to resist those in Washington who dream of dominating the Middle East and the world. Solidarity with the people of Iraq, Iran, North Korea and any other country threatened by the Pentagon must be at the top of our agenda.
Reprinted from the June 26, issue of Workers World newspaper
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