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July 7 bombings: Another reason to end war and occupation

Published Jul 7, 2005 9:56 PM

Will the July 7 bombings in London be followed by greater opposition to imperialist war and occupation--which has already cost so many lives and so much suffering in so many countries? Or will the political forces of corporate expansion and empire building in the United States and Britain be able to utilize them to further their aggressive agenda of war and plunder? That is the question now before the progressive movement.

The taking of innocent lives, most of them people on their way to work, is of course heart-rending and cannot be justified. All the more reason, then, to take a strong stand against not just violence and terror in the abstract, but against the daily bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan, where violence against innocent people is being carried out by Washington and London on a much, much larger scale every day.

For example, on July 1 a U.S. B-52 bomber, using guided missiles, struck a housing compound in Afghanistan's Kunar province, killing at least 17 people, including women and children. Even the pro-U.S. regime of Hamid Karzai had to condemn this bombing as totally unjustified. Where were the expressions of horror and outrage from Western leaders?

The indiscriminate bombings of cities, villages, even wedding parties, in which whole families are killed; soldiers dragging people out of their beds at night to be beaten, gagged, hooded, bound and taken to concentration camps, where they face torture, sexual humiliation, ridicule and desecration of what they hold sacred, and even murder; the rounding up and detention of tens of thousands of Arabs and Muslims by the Bush and Blair governments with no due process, often holding them in utter secrecy for indefinite periods--this is what has shattered the peace of much of the world. This is what has enraged the people of the Middle East.

No matter who is responsible for the London bombings--and we have every reason to be skeptical of information and conclusions provided by governments that have deliberately lied to the people at every stage of these wars--what happened in London is definitely related to the unjust, predatory wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We cannot allow the architects of these wars to use this terrible event as the excuse for even more aggression, killing and devastation. Already, the news media have focused solely on the bombings in London and virtually ignored the huge demonstrations in Scotland against the G-8, the war and the Blair government.

Nor can we allow them to use these bombings to strengthen repressive, anti-democratic laws and institutions at home that will inevitably be used against the just struggles of the workers and oppressed peoples, especially as living standards plummet to pay for the costly military adventures of the ruling class.

The driving force behind these wars is not the threat of weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism, or any other of the excuses given by the invading governments. Their lies have been thoroughly exposed. So what is it? It is purely and simply the lust for profit by the small grouping in these two imperialist countries who control the world's largest oil companies and banks and thereby wield inordinate political power on a global scale.

In the 21st century, wars of colonial and imperial domination can no longer be contained within the countries overrun and exploited by the would-be colonizers. That is a fact of modern life. Once war is unleashed, the battlefield is global.

It wasn't always this way. For several centuries, the imperialist powers were able to extend their domination and exploitation over vast regions of the world, using the most brutal methods. Literally tens of millions of people in the oppressed countries were killed in wars, interventions, "police actions" and covert operations.

It was only when the struggle over colonies took the form of inter-imperialist world wars that the carnage and suffering caused by this profit-driven capitalist system was brought home on a huge scale, especially to the workers of Europe and Japan.

If we inside the imperialist countries are to end war and suffering, if we are to save our young people from fighting and dying in wars of conquest, if we are to reestablish friendly relations with the peoples of the world, we must consider the lives of Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American peoples every bit as precious as our own. We must fight the terrible system of exploitation and racist oppression that extracts super-profits from the labor of billions around the world. We must organize and reach the masses in our countries with the truth about these wars and what class interests they serve.

Most of all, we must demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Middle East, Afghanistan and all the countries under neocolonial domination. It is the only way to keep this struggle from escalating into an even bigger catastrophe.