Socialist Worker

War Axis in White House

Issue No. 1786

'Our war against terror is only beginning.' That was US president George Bush's chilling message last week. Bush labelled Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an 'axis of evil', and threatened them with 'the justice of this nation'. After the bombing of Afghanistan there is little doubt what US 'justice' means.

Bush's threat of waging war across the world shocked even normally loyal US allies. The German deputy foreign minister attacked Bush, saying that 'we Europeans warn against' military action against Iraq and the other states named. Even New Labour's Jack Straw was rocked by Bush's comments, and tried to laugh them off as just being for domestic US consumption.

Straw, though, was slapped down by US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice. 'This is not about American politics,' she said, making clear Bush was deadly serious. Bush argued, 'These regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They better get their house in order. They better respect the rule of law. They better not try to terrorise the US and our allies, or the justice of this nation will be served on them.'

There is no evidence that any of the states named by Bush aided the attacks on the US on 11 September. The German government pointed out, 'There is no indication, no proof that Iraq is involved in terrorism. This terror argument cannot be used to legitimise old enemies.'

And no wonder Jack Straw was unhappy with Bush's list of war targets. He has been trying to rebuild Britain's relations with Iran, and recently paid an official visit to the country. The reality is that Bush wants to stamp out what the US elite sees as states which symbolise any opposition to its power. The warmongers surrounding Bush have smelled blood.

'The best, and in some cases the only, defence is a good offence,' said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. 'We are at war,' was the message from Paul Wolfowitz, deputy US Defence Secretary. Everyone who opposes the US threat to wage war across the globe needs to redouble their efforts to build up opposition to the warmongers. That means pulling out the stops to ensure the demonstration called by the Stop the War Coalition and backed by CND in London on 2 March is as big and angry as possible.

Afghan horror under US presence

Tony Blair and George Bush claim they have 'liberated' Afghanistan from the tyranny of the Taliban regime. It doesn't feel much like liberation in many Afghan towns and villages. Rival warlords clashed in the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan last week, killing some 61 people.

In the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif rival factions have been fighting for the past month, with dozens of people killed. US soldiers also killed 21 anti-Taliban troops in a battle at a high school in Uruzgan three weeks ago, claims Time magazine. Donald Rumsfeld said the US troops could have been tricked into believing they were fighting Taliban forces. The US now wants to bring this chaos to other poor countries.

Munich protest against NATO

The democracy the US claims to be fighting for was to be seen in Munich in Germany last weekend. The Bush gang were in town. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and foreign policy adviser Richard Perle were in Munich for a Nato international security conference.

The German and Austrian peace and anti-capitalist movements planned an anti-militarist demonstration for the city. The Bavarian state banned the march. Thousands of young people defied the ban. The German police arrested around 850 people in an attempt to stop the march. Buses and cars were stopped from entering Munich.

But around 10,000 people still managed to make it to the city, and despite vicious police repression marched peacefully against the Nato summit. Many taped up their mouths as a symbolic protest at the attack on free speech.

Spreading tentacles of power

THE US is already increasing its activities in parts of the world where it claims groups have links to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaida network. It has sent 'advisers' to the Philippines to help the Filipino army track down the Abu Sayaff Islamist guerrilla group, which is opposed to the government.

The US is giving 30,000 M-16 rifles, night vision equipment, eight helicopters, a coastal patrol boat, 650 personnel and $100 million to the Filipino army. All this is to hunt down a ragtag bunch of less than 100 guerrillas! In fact the real reason behind the intervention in the Philippines is to regain the US's position in the South East Asian region.

The US seized control of the Philippines in 1898 and killed one million people who resisted its rule between then and 1911. The Philippines gained formal independence after the Second World War, but the US continued to dominate the country.

It was only a decade ago that the US was finally pushed to give up the Subic Bay naval base and Clark Field airbase on the Philippines. Now the US sees a chance to re-establish its military presence in a region where it increasingly sees itself as competing with the growing economic and military power of China.

Stop The War Coalition


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