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Letters to the editor

November 1, 2002 | Page 4

Democrats won't stop Bush's war
Making a fascist into a saint

This war is about more than just oil

Dear Socialist Worker,

Elizabeth Schulte's very good article "The Politics of Oil" (SW, October 18) doesn't go far enough to explain the American ruling class's obsession with Middle East oil.

Of the oil that U.S. industry and consumers burn, only a minority (approximately 20 percent) comes from the Middle East. On the other hand, Europe and Asia are heavily dependant on Middle East oil, as they either have very limited domestic supplies, or it is much more expensive to extract.

Oil is the lifeblood of modern capitalism. Countries cannot develop their economies without it. Think about this in the context of the "Bush Doctrine," with its talk about not allowing any other countries to ever be able to touch the U.S., militarily or economically.

Schulte's article does a good job in showing the cynicism of our ruling class--sacrificing the lives of millions to make profits. But the real reason that they want control over Iraq's oil is so they can leverage the rest of the world into accepting their economic and military dominance.

For example, an essential component of the U.S. government's strategy to defeat Japan in the Second World War was to blockade oil imports. Without oil, Japan could not produce the military hardware to win the war.

If the U.S. gains control of Iraqi oil, not only will this mean dire consequences for people in the region, but America will be immensely more powerful worldwide. They think of allies like China, Europe, Russia, India or Japan as future adversaries, and they want to be sure to come out on top in future conflicts.

This war is not only a major threat to Iraqis, but to the whole world--which the U.S. is dragging into the hell of major wars.

Chuck Stemke, San Diego

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Democrats won't stop Bush's war

Dear Socialist Worker,

Recently, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) has become a lightning rod for war hawks. He went to Iraq with a delegation from the Interfaith Network of Concern about the People of Iraq and while there announced his opposition to Bush's war plans, saying that Bush would "lie to the American people" to get his way.

Trent Lott, John McCain and other lawmakers--both Democrat and Republican--have accused McDermott of "siding with Saddam." McDermott needs to be defended against these attacks. Would Bush lie? Of course!

Hardly anyone opposed to this war thinks Saddam Hussein is a good leader. Most would like to see the Iraqi people oust him. But when it comes to whether to side with Bush, who wants to slaughter the Iraqi people, whose side should we be on? We should support the people of Iraq against Bush.

Though he needs to be defended against the right wing, it should be pointed out that McDermott's opposition to war is very limited. He is for inspections. He agrees with Bush's goal of "disarming" Iraq.

The antiwar movement cannot rely on Democratic politicians, even someone like McDermott. Some--though very few--have tactical differences with Bush about the timing of this war. But the Democrats are a big business party. They support the right of U.S. corporations to exploit people around the world.

It was only independent, grassroots organizing against both Democrats and Republicans that finally ended the Vietnam War. The same will be true of the antiwar movement today.

Steve Leigh, Seattle

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Making a fascist into a saint

Dear Socialist Worker,

On October 6, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of the Catholic organization Opus Dei in Madrid in 1928, was made a saint by the Vatican. The Pope declared Escrivá the "saint of the ordinary." Even Lech Walesa, who once led one of the greatest unions ever--Poland's Solidarnosc--proclaimed Escrivá a "saint for the workers." But Escrivá was none of these things.

He began amassing a fortune from wealthy contributors who hoped to share in the Church's hold on power--and was forced to flee Spain in the revolutionary waves that rocked the old order in the late 1920s and early '30s.

The mass movements of Spain's workers and peasants created a democratic government in 1931, and some cities, such as Barcelona, came under the control of the industrial working class. In 1936, a group of generals loyal to the old regime and the King led an uprising against the Spanish Republic and attempted to crush the workers' movement. The generals--with a coalition of fascists, monarchists and backward peasants--defeated the Republic's forces after three years of brutal war.

Francisco Franco, became Spain's dictator and rolled back the advances of the workers' movement, slaughtering dissidents and activists throughout the 1940s. Escrivá returned to Spain, proclaiming his loyalty to Franco and fascism and expressing his support for the way the Nazis were "handling the Jewish problem." As a trusted friend of Franco, Escrivá and his organization grew in influence, its priests winning posts in the government and even in the Vatican.

Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was no friend of workers. He spent his life making sure that ordinary people had no say in their own destinies. Yet again, the Catholic Church has been exposed for what it is--a rotten institution bent on protecting the status quo.

Craig Johnson, Atlanta

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