The revelation by the leading US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that the cabal in the White House is considering a nuclear attack on Iran should ring alarm bells across the world.
The neo-cons in Washington (and their friends in Downing Street) dismiss the story as wild speculation. But we have already seen how far they are prepared to go to build their empire.
The same language that took us to war in Iraq is now being employed by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and British foreign secretary Jack Straw.
Iran, like Iraq before it, is said to be a “danger to world peace”. Iranians would welcome an attack with “flower petals and rice”.
That Bush and Blair have advanced plans for an attack on Iran is not a surprise. Now they are trying to calm fears by talking up a diplomatic solution. But a former senior US official admitted to Hersh, “Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign.”
Our best response to this madness is not to despair, but to redouble our efforts to build the anti-war movement in every school, office, factory and neighbourhood.
Blair’s troops desert
Labour candidates for the council elections in England have unveiled a clever new tactic—try to win votes by claiming you don’t agree with the government’s central polices.
Much of the election material, particularly in London, hardly mentions the party. One veteran activist told the Observer, “Some leaflets are basically saying ‘don’t punish us for the mistakes of the prime minister’.”
The disarray and desperation underlines Tony Blair’s crisis. He can hang on for the moment, but every hour he stays, he drives more people out of the party.
Journalist John Harris last week analysed a survey of 122 Labour members who had left the party. “Thirty seven people cited the war in Iraq, 23 namechecked ‘Tony Blair and his presidential leadership style’. ”
As Blair collapses it is crucial that the left harvests the gains. Resistance to the attacks on pensions can intensify his crisis, but we also need a political party to focus the feeling. That is why victories for Respect are so crucial.
Italy: a rocky road ahead
The Italian election results were unclear as Socialist Worker went to press. Based on the initial indications, Socialist Worker editor Chris Bambery wrote from Rome:
The right’s Silvio Berlusconi has not won. Tony Blair’s closest partner in Europe has been rebuffed by the voters. But the centre left’s Romano Prodi has not won convincingly.
Already there are voices in the ruling class calling for a grand coalition on the lines of the one Angela Merkel leads in Germany, implementing a hard neo-liberal agenda. This would involve Prodi breaking with Rifondazione Comunista on the left of his coalition.
If Prodi forms a government he will quickly face a test over withdrawing Italian troops from Iraq. And in his budget later this year he will be expected to deliver on promises over jobs and wages.