by Seth Sandronsky
March 8, 2003
From the streets to the suites. Even the super rich are being politicized by Washington hawks.
Take billionaire philanthropist George Soros. He criticized President Bush’s war drive against Iraq during a talk in late Feb. at Carnegie Mellon.
Soros slammed the president’s post-Sept. 11, 2001, foreign policy of might makes right. The Bush White House has a “visceral aversion to international cooperation,” he said (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 28).
In Soros’ view, the president is wrongly rejecting political solutions. They in part minimize uncertainty in the world system.
To grow, the global economy needs a stable political structure. Where unilateral U.S. military campaigns continue in Colombia, Iraq and the Philippines, such stability can weaken the system.
This trend is placing many ordinary people in harm’s way as a Gulf War 2003 looms large. Consider this.
The oil market is uneasy. Thus oil prices are climbing as the Bush administration moves forward with its plan to invade and occupy Iraq.
The official reason is to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But the long-term U.S. aim is to eventually flood the market with cheap Iraqi oil to break OPEC’s power to price this nonrenewable energy.
This U.S. threat to attack Iraq without U.N. Security Council approval is making ordinary Americans less secure. U.S. bombs and bullets can't create democracy in Iraq or security in America.
On that note, prices at the gas pump are now climbing to record levels even before the president gives the go-ahead to bomb Baghdad, home to five million human beings. The cost of energy with a petroleum base increased 6.6 percent in January for the American people, according to Department of Labor data.
Rising energy costs hit small businesses and households hard. Moreover, U.S. taxpayers will also fund the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Currently, the federal budget deficit is projected to be just over $300 billion. This doesn’t include the Iraq war or the president’s proposed tax-cutting.
Not that all anti-war protesters oppose a U.S. strike against Iraq solely on economic grounds. Far from it.
In fact, many ordinary people are participating in the anti-war movement out of sympathy for Iraqi civilians being targeted by U.S. war planners. Take Americans with the Iraq Peace Team in Baghdad www.iraqpeaceteam.org.
These heroic women and men of conscience are nonviolently resisting the Pentagon’s plan to launch “3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours of a short air campaign, to be followed quickly by ground operations” (New York Times, Mar. 5). Sadly, these Americans aren’t at the top of the TV news.
They should be. Each and every American should know about these peace keepers.
In the meantime, mass media reported what the president recently said about anti-war protesters. He basically dismissed them by shifting the focus to the danger the American people face from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
No matter that U.N. weapons inspectors are uncovering Iraqi weapons.
Echoing Soros, the New York Times editorialized that “Whatever comes of the conflict with Iraq, the world will have lost before any fighting begins if the Security Council is ruined as a mechanism for unified international action (Mar. 6).
Leaders in France, Germany and Russia want to continue U.N. weapons inspections. They oppose U.S. aggression.
And a prominent billionaire recently added his voice to the millions of ordinary anti-war protesters. Together, they are urging a quick change in U.S. foreign policy.
Well, one thing is becoming easier to see. With one of the planet’s richest men criticizing Washington’s belligerence in world affairs, the White House’s official explanation for a U.S. Iraq war (and other military interventions) loses some luster.
From America to Turkey and the Vatican, the growth of protest against U.S. Iraq policy shows that a civilizing trend is spreading as Bush’s war plans cast an ominous shadow on ordinary people. So goes the world anti-war movement in its historic formation as an emerging “superpower” to counter the American military threat to the Iraqi people (New York Times, Feb. 17).
Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento/Yolo Peace Action, and an editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive newspaper. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org