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:

January 17, 2019
Stan Cox
That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant
David Schultz
Trump vs the Constitution: Why He Cannot Invoke the Emergencies Act to Build a Wall
Paul Cochrane
Europe’s Strategic Humanitarian Aid: Yemen vs. Syria
Tom Clifford
China: An Ancient Country, Getting Older
Greg Grandin
How Not to Build a “Great, Great Wall”
Ted Rall
Our Pointless, Very American Culture of Shame
John G. Russell
Just Another Brick in the Wall of Lies
Patrick Walker
Referendum 2020: A Green New Deal vs. Racist, Classist Climate Genocide
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Uniting for a Green New Deal
Matt Johnson
The Wall Already Exists — In Our Hearts and Minds
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Flailing will get More Desperate and More Dangerous
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Three
January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail