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WHAT WE THINK
Bush White House declares a first-strike military strategy
Washington's war on the world

June 21, 2002 | Page 3

"CIA GETS LICENSE TO KILL." If Socialist Worker put this headline on our front page, it would be dismissed as hysterical by pro-war politicians and their media mouthpieces.

But that was the banner headline on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times June 17--the day after George W. Bush signed an order authorizing U.S. secret agents to murder Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in "self-defense."

And Saddam is far from the only foreign leader in Washington's sights. Bush will soon unveil a policy of "pre-emptive" attacks against any group or country that gets in Washington's way--on the grounds that they might commit hostile acts.

"President Bush has directed his top national security aides to make a doctrine of pre-emptive action against terrorist groups trying to develop weapons of mass destruction the foundation of a new national security strategy," the New York Times reported. But in reality, this is the latest attempt by the Bush White House to justify military intervention to achieve U.S. interests.

Just look at Central Asia, where Washington used its war on Afghanistan to establish military bases in five oil- and gas-rich countries that were once part of the ex-USSR.

And for all the White House hype about fighting terrorism, the big news last month was the announcement of a $2 billion gas pipeline across Afghanistan--to be built by Unocal, the same U.S. company that eagerly sought a similar deal with the Taliban.

Now, to deflect criticism over the government's mishandling of warnings of the September 11 attacks, Bush is whipping up war fever once again.

But the Republicans aren't the only hawks in Washington. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), who in 1990 voted against the Gulf War against Iraq, called Bush's new murderous policy against Saddam "the appropriate action to take."

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is also backing Saddam's ouster--and a U.S. occupation of Iraq for "two, four, five years to give the country a chance to be held together."

As Washington fed the unquestioning media its plan for a first-strike doctrine, the Pentagon was launching construction of the dangerous new missile defense system, just days after abandoning an arms control treaty with Russia that barred such weapons.

Meanwhile, Washington's first-strike doctrine will provide justification for other countries around the world to launch similar actions. Israel is bound to claim Bush's policy as a green light for another genocidal attack on Palestinians--funded and supported, as usual, by Washington.

And that's not all. "No place is the risk greater than in South Asia," said former U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith, and a supporter of the new policy. "If India adopted the American doctrine of pre-emption, it risks a nuclear war, with devastating consequences for the world. It's a tricky business."

All this exposes the "war on terror" for what it really is: a new, aggressive phase of U.S. imperialism to consolidate its economic and political power through terrible force.

We can't allow rhetoric about the "war on terror" to put us on the defensive. We need to oppose Washington's military madness now--before it brings new horrors to the world.

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