War Against All Peoples Is Also War Against US People
Saturday 14 April 2018
Stop the U.S. War Machine!
The U.S. war machine is in constant motion, from troops on the ground in Syria, to aircraft carriers on maneuvers in the South China Sea. The U.S. military maintains nuclear weapons poised and ready to unleash “fire and fury”, as Trump said in a threat to North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. At the back of all of our minds is the question – will the wars around the world, or the belligerent attitude of the Trump administration, lead to a bigger conflict that is guaranteed to end the world as we know it? We can’t wait to find out the answer to that question. We need to put a stop to the U.S. war machine.
The catastrophic cost in lives of the U.S. wars is all too clear. Since 2001 the U.S. has been at war against the people of Afghanistan. The war cost hundreds of thousands of lives of Afghan civilians caught in the violence. It didn’t end there. Water, power, roads, and access to life’s necessities are hard to come by. Since toppling the Taliban government, the U.S.-imposed regime has been unstable and faced with constant attacks from rival factions, and the population lives in fear of bombings and armed attacks as a daily occurrence.
The U.S. has been at war against the people of Iraq since 1991, and especially after 2003 when the U.S. military invaded and overthrew the Iraqi government. What happened to that society? The British medical journal, The Lancet, estimates that more than two million people have been killed as a result of violence, disease, and starvation. This invasion opened up a power vacuum out of which the Islamic State was constructed. Where did their weapons come from? From U.S. allied states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who fund and arm Islamist militias with weapons sold to them…by the U.S.!
In fact, the U.S. is the biggest arms dealer on the planet, on a scale that would even make the N.R.A. blush. U.S. weapons companies sold $79 billion dollars of weapons to over 70 countries around the world last year. The profits from these sales are actually much higher because the data only tracks the raw cost of producing the weapons, not what they were sold for. It isn’t surprising that around the world, people are killing and dying with American machine guns, mortars, and sniper rifles in their hands, on every side of the conflicts.
The danger of war is not only from the constant hell produced by the U.S. military in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. We can also see the lines of conflict developing between the major military powers in the world. Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, long ago decided to use Russia’s substantial military to increase the power and reach of Russia just as the U.S. does with its military. This puts Russia in conflict with the U.S., a conflict that has played out across Central Asia and Eastern Europe in the last years. And North Korea, under Kim Jong-Un, seeks a nuclear weapon for protection. The belligerent words traded with Russia and North Korea, conducted partly on Twitter by Trump, threaten to become a real conflict that could destroy the world if nuclear weapons are used.
We and the people of the world cannot afford to tolerate these warmongers, and the U.S. is the biggest one of all. We live in the heart of the empire, and it is our responsibility, on behalf of ourselves and life itself, to oppose the U.S. war machine. The wars are the logical consequence of this system of violence and exploitation. The poor and working class of the world have no interest in maintaining that system, and every reason to fight for a new one based on solidarity, peace, and above all the value of life.
The Trump administration’s budget for 2019 is a declaration of war on poor and working people all over the world and in the U.S. The $4.4 trillion budget proposes a combination of further increases in military spending, more tax cuts to the super rich, and cuts to working families and the poor – all in addition to the massive cuts and corporate handouts from the previous budget. The agenda of the administration couldn’t be any clearer – they are ready to defend their class of billionaire bankers and CEOs at all costs, even nuclear war.
Trump’s budget calls for $716 billion in military spending, an increase of $195 billion over the next two years, which includes adding 25,900 soldiers to the military, building ten new warships, increasing production of warplanes, and even planning to produce more nuclear weapons. Trump explained these goals as follows: “We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had by far. We’re increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon. We’re modernizing and creating brand new – a brand new nuclear force.”
A recent Pentagon strategy document (“2018 National Defense Strategy”) submitted by Defense Secretary James Mattis, argues for a massive military buildup to defend U.S. economic dominance throughout the world, and to prepare for possible war with China, Russia, and North Korea. In the document, Mattis warns of severe damage to U.S. companies and their profits if this military buildup is not enormous:
“Failure to meet our defense objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence…reduced access to markets…a decline in our prosperity and standard of living. Without sustained…investment to restore readiness and modernize our military…we will rapidly lose our military advantage.”
Trump, along with Mattis and others, have called for an increase in the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons, and are proposing to build smaller nuclear weapons to make them more usable in military conflict. But these so-called “small” nuclear weapons are at least as destructive as the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and later on Nagasaki during World War II, killing about 150,000 people shortly after each bomb was detonated. In other words, the Trump administration is ready to increase the risk of nuclear war, a possibility Mattis has defended by saying, “We must look reality in the eye and see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”
And in order to help pay for the military budget, over $1.8 trillion in cuts to social services for workers and the poor have been proposed. These include cuts to food stamps and housing assistance for the poor, cuts to education, environmental protections, and more. The budget also calls for $3.4 billion more in funding for the Department of Homeland Security in order to intensify attacks against immigrants. And the budget proposes $18 billion for expanding the border wall with Mexico and hiring 2,750 new ICE and Border Patrol Agents.
The Trump administration couldn’t be clearer which side they are on. The same is true for the Democrats. They may try to position themselves as an opposition to Trump, but it is an opposition in words only. For the most part, Democrats represent the same agenda – voting 89% in support of the $696.5 billion military budget passed in July of 2017. In order to maintain this system, they demand further attacks on our standard of living, increased destruction of the environment, an intensification of war, and the looming prospect of nuclear war. If they have it their way, the future they have in store for working people around the world couldn’t be worse.