FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Barak O-Bomb-a?

John Kerry’s antiwar supporters have repeatedly warned that a military attack on Iran is imminent if George Bush is reelected. But Democrats are rattling their sabers at the same target.

On September 24, Barack Obama–the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois, and a shoo-in favorite–suggested “surgical missile strikes” on Iran may become necessary. “[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in” given the ongoing war in Iraq, Obama told the Chicago Tribune.

“On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse,” he said. Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled out if “violent Islamic extremists” were to “take over.”

A U.S. strike on Iran could well open up a new war front. When the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) conducted a recent series of war games involving an attack on Iran, an Air Force source told Newsweek, “The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating.”

Why would Obama, whose staunch opposition to the Iraq war made him a hero among Democratic Party liberals, consider attacking Iran? Obama–a keynote speaker at the Democratic Party Convention–has a bright future in the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party is a war party.

Obama opposes immediate withdrawal from Iraq. His positions are entirely consistent with the Democratic Party’s platform, which explicitly puts Iran on notice: “[A] nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to us and our allies…With John Kerry as commander-in-chief, we will never wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake.”

During the first presidential debate, Kerry appeared eager to stress his willingness to “go it alone” when asked his opinion about “pre-emptive war.” “The president always has the right and always has had the right for pre-emptive strike,” declared Kerry, adding, “That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War.”

This comment will have shocked those who recall the decades-long standoff between the U.S. and former USSR quite differently–as a period when a “first strike” by either side could easily have led to “mutual assured destruction.” “Pre-emptive war” is the centerpiece of the Bush Doctrine, announced to the world after September 11.

To be sure, Kerry made no fewer than 27 allusions to allies, the United Nations, summits and treaties during the debate–and continued to insist that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But when asked, “Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?” Kerry’s answer was “No.” Kerry proceeded to outline his strategy for winning, by “beginning to not back off of Falluja and other places and send the wrong message to terrorists…You’ve got to show you’re serious.”

This strategy, right-wing New York Times columnist William Safire eagerly pointed out, “requires us to inflict and accept higher casualties.” This also happens to be the strategy Bush is now pursuing in Iraq.

Kerry promises to begin replacing U.S. troops with Iraqi forces next summer, with a complete U.S. pullout by the end of his first term. This strategy, known as “Vietnamization” in 1968, was the campaign slogan of Richard Nixon–denounced by the antiwar movement, John Kerry among them, when it proved to be a colossal failure.

Kerry’s argument that the invasion of Iraq was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time” is a sleight of hand. This is not an antiwar statement. On the contrary, it is an argument that the Iraq war was a distraction from the “real” war on terrorism–in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere.

Kerry’s strategy is a recipe for more war–by crushing the resistance in Iraq and taking aim at other targets in the years ahead, a strategy not very different from Bush’s. As Safire gloated after the debate, “”His abandoned antiwar supporters…shut their eyes to Kerry’s hard-line, right-wing, unilateral, pre-election policy epiphany.” The debate is not between pro-war Republicans and antiwar Democrats, but over which war in which place at which time will better advance the global aims of U.S. imperialism.

SHARON SMITH writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

More articles by:
September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of Language in the Anthropocene
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster Rolls on Into Year Two
Rajan Menon
Yemen’s Descent Into Hell: a Saudi-American War of Terror
Russell Mokhiber
Nick Brana Says Dems Will Again Deny Sanders Presidential Nomination
Nicholas Levis
Three Lessons of Occupy Wall Street, With a Fair Dose of Memory
Steve Martinot
The Constitutionality of Homeless Encampments
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The Aftershocks of the Economic Collapse Are Still Being Felt
Jesse Jackson
By Enforcing Climate Change Denial, Trump Puts Us All in Peril
George Wuerthner
Coyote Killing is Counter Productive
Mel Gurtov
On Dealing with China
Dean Baker
How to Reduce Corruption in Medicine: Remove the Money
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail