Socialist Worker

Armed, dangerous but not all-powerful

Issue No. 1821

GEORGE BUSH has the military power to smash Iraq easily. But for all his attempts to pose as an all-powerful president, he is a very nervous man. One week he talks about regime change, the next he is doing deals to get UN backing for war, and now he talks of building a coalition.

He is prepared to go it alone to attack Iraq but he is also desperate to win support from other regimes around the world if he can. Bush has good reason to be worried. He is terrified of the upheavals a war on Iraq could spark across the Middle East.

And he knows how quickly he can lose support at home. Revelations about more corporate scandals and the faltering economy can rapidly undermine domestic support for Bush. US companies have announced more than one million job cuts so far this year. The number of people losing their home because they can't pay the mortgage has reached record levels.

Nearly half of all Americans think they or someone in their family will be out of a job within a year, according to a New York Times/CBS poll. Most people polled say Bush spends too much time talking about Iraq while neglecting problems at home.

And some people are fighting back. Around 10,500 US dockers have been locked out of ports along the US West Coast for resisting the bosses' attacks. The Financial Times admitted, 'The ports strike turns conventional wisdom about globalisation on its head. Far from being an unstoppable chain reaction, globalisation turns out to be not stronger than its weakest link.'

Bush is being driven to move so quickly to war abroad because he fears rising unpopularity at home. But the speed of this drive creates its own risks, pushing him to ignore the wishes of his allies and go it alone.

Bush's loyal ally in his war drive is also under pressure at home. Tony Blair has not quelled the deep anger in his own party, the unions and in the general public against war or PFI privatisation. He faces strikes by firefighters and others over low pay. The anti-war movement gave a powerful show of strength two weeks ago when 400,000 marched through London.

If the anti-war movement links up with other issues, we will see more of the power to beat Bush and Blair.

Build this movement

THE GROWING anti-war movement in Britain has a decisive role to play in making Bush's problems ever deeper. Tony Blair is central to all Bush's calculations. If we can undermine Blair's ability to support Bush's war, we deal that war drive a serious blow.

A large proportion of people in Britain are consistently against the war. A poll in the Guardian this week shows that a solid 41 percent of people oppose war on Iraq. But others are pulled by the arguments put by papers like the Sun. As the war looms closer warmongering propagandists will step up their flag-waving jingoism and attacks on so called 'traitors'.

That is why is it so important to move now to expose Bush and Blair's war lies. Building anti-war groups in workplaces, colleges and communities, gives confidence to people who want to win over people around them. Thursday 31 October is the date set by the Stop the War Coalition for the next day of mass protest.

On that day we can bring the mass anti-war movement to every town and city across Britain. But that depends on everyone acting now to build those protests.

Where next for the anti-war movement? Click here.

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What We Think
Sat 12 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1821
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