Socialist ViewPoint and analysis for working people

January/February • Vol 6, No. 1 •

Dr. Weaver’s Snake Oil and the Iraq War

By Tom Crumpacker

The December 11, 2005 New York Times reports that the use of the word “victory” 15 times in President Bush’s brief address at Annapolis on December 7 was due to the influence of his NSC special advisor “Dr. Weaver,” a scientist whose research on public opinion about the Iraq war has established that Americans will support such a war with mounting casualties on condition they believe it will ultimately succeed.

The Administration is again selling snake oil. The counterinsurgency in Iraq cannot “succeed” from the standpoint of the American people. Weaver assumes that justice and morality play no part in what Americans will support, only self interest. In its history the American people have never agreed on any controversial issue. Any so-called science which purports to prove otherwise is not science.

There are two different kinds of wars being fought in Iraq. One is for physical dominance, in which the Americans have and will continue to have victory. The other is to obstruct it—an insurgency using suicide bombing, land mines, snipers, small surprise attacks to defeat a brutal occupation. This war the insurgents are winning and will continue to win, especially so long as their support in Iraq and the U.S. continues to increase. As Representative John Murtha recently observed, Iraq polls are now showing that over 80 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave now. Polls here indicate that over 65 percent of Americans want the U.S. to leave.

Neither side has the ability to end the other’s continuing “victory.” The real question is whether the majority of Americans, who realize this, have the ability to stop their government from continuing the nightmare as it gets worse.

The administration is saying it will withdraw when the Iraqi army has enough training to make Iraq secure. This obviously will never happen. Basic training for soldiers who are willing to fight normally takes 8 months at most. The reason the Iraqi army doesn’t fight has nothing to do with training. It’s that its soldiers don’t want to kill fellow Iraqis and be killed by them.

Rather than rhetoric, the realist looks at what rulers do or fail to do in order to discern their true intent. At the time the puppet government was installed in Iraq, it was agreed between the puppets and the U.S./UK that Iraq’s oil reserves would be developed by American and British companies, that the proceeds would be used to pay for the cost of regime change and security, and any constitution could not change this. Since this agreement deprives the Iraqi people of the benefit of their primary resource, it’s hard to see how its implementation would make the occupation more popular.

The puppets are now signing 30-year contracts with American and British companies and the U.S. is fortifying its secure enclaves, and building permanent military bases and facilities to protect, pump and remove the oil. There are almost as many privately hired Americans there as soldiers. Obviously our government is planning on staying permanently, whether the American people acquiesce, whether the insurgency increases, regardless of continuing, increasing casualties. If Congress were serious about ending this war it would cut off the funding. This is not being discussed, has never been discussed, and apparently never will be.

Presently a few Democratic Party politicians like the Black Caucus, Murtha and some others are saying they want to get the U.S. out of Iraq soon. The Democrats in Congress want to continue the war with some kind of timetable. The party leadership, including the front runners for president, want to continue the war to final “victory.” It’s clear that if Democrat or Republican wins the presidency in 2008 and/or Congress in 2006 or 2008, the war will be continued if it’s left to the bipartisan government.

Realistic antiwar activists understand that, regarding this war, the American people have been and are being subjected to the most pervasive, intrusive, and massive marketing-propaganda campaign the world has ever seen. Nothing in the mainstream media about the war is worthy of belief. Everything comes from the same commercial, short term, narrow, nationalistic perspective. Although some things reported may well be true, intelligent belief in such is conditional on independent verification.

Whichever party has power, the important public decisions are made in secret and public acquiescence is later obtained by public and private officials chosen to speak in mainstream media. Of course some politicians like the Black Caucus and a few others are actually representing their constituents, but the vast majority in both parties are moved primarily by self interest, the “invisible hand” of late, unlimited, unregulated capitalism. They respond primarily to the needs of those who fund them. This war is good for big business.

Realistic antiwar activists understand that in the U.S. we are not living in a democracy as advertised. Our present political system can only be accurately described as a commercial or corporate oligarchy. It’s no longer possible to elect genuinely progressive or antiwar candidates in Congress. Because of campaign funding, district gerrymandering and other reasons, in the last election over 95 percent of the seats in our House of Representatives were either uncontested or not seriously contested. Alternative parties and viewpoints are no longer viable on a national scale. Driven by capital rather than people power, the political system is beyond the point of no return. Trying to work within it is a waste of time and resources which implies a belief that it’s functional.

A mass social movement of progressives will come together, outside the system. Its primary intitial goal will be to reorganize U.S. political institutions so as to allow people power to overcome the power of capital.

Now is the time to organize such a movement. It’s also the time for more risky but well thought out antiwar actions, such as boycotts, strikes, and other forms of mass action. Militarization can be attacked successfully at its most vulnerable points.

At present, the obvious one is recruitment. Remembering how the draft aroused antiwar sentiment in the Vietnam days, our government this time is shamefully recruiting mostly very poor people who are susceptible to its propaganda. $20,000.00 signing bonuses are being offered, which is more than many of these young people have ever seen. This is similar to but worse than leading children into prostitution, and should be so stigmatized. No school, organization, shopping center, business or public place should allow this shameful type of recruitment on its premises, and it should have to pay an increasing penalty if it does. The poor-youth pool of cannon fodder can be dried up. U.S. companies with big Iraq contracts can be penalized by boycott, demonstrations and other forms of direct action. Without manpower, this government can’t continue its Iraq occupation.

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