Saturday, May 23, 2009
No New Viet Nam War in Afghanistan and Pakistan!
Oil Industry Tool Obama Fosters Mass Murder of Pashtuns
and Creates Nearly Two Million Refugees in Swat Valley!
Workers can stop him – and we must!
US imperialism is demanding that the Pakistani government take control of the Swat Valley using whatever military means are necessary, even if that means slaughtering the civilian population in the area. Bringing a halt to the progress of the anti-intervention front, which has advanced to some 60 miles from the capital of Pakistan, is critical to the interests of the US and its allies. They must maintain control over Pakistan in order to permit construction of a planned oil pipeline that will cross Pakistani territory on its way to a new port being built on the Indian Ocean. The crumbling governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are in desparate need of support from Washington, so they are complying with US demands. The resulting intensification of imperialist intervention in Pakistan also brings to the front long-unresolved issues of agrarian reform, national liberation for the Pashtun, and basic democratic demands of the masses. The resulting conflict has exploded over the Swat Valley.
The arbitrary border between Afghanistan and Pakistan means nothing to the Pashtun, whose tribal lands were long ago bisected by British mandate. In recent days, that border has collapsed, as the former Taliban has morphed from an exclusively Afghani reactionary movement, based on archaic theological concepts, into an anti-interventionist front. The emergent neo-Taliban is the only source the Pashtun people can look to to provide armed resistance to the American-backed governments that have long since abandoned their needs, concerns, and safety. The neo-Taliban has not shed its reactionary character, but in a land without justice or protection, it provides a pole of attraction for the oppressed Pashtun in their efforts to resist the seemingly unending deluge of military intervention from the West. The recent murderous bombardment by the Americans, via their proxy Pakistani army, has only resulted in strengthening the neo-Taliban’s influence among the civilian population.
Only the most cynical and reactionary western observers still believe NATO intervention in this area is truly a battle against “terrorism,” or a fight to bring democracy to those who have been living under the rule of the Taliban. Deeper geopolitical interests are in play. One driving force behind this conflict is the intention of Western oil interests – Unocal, Chevron, and Halliburton – to build a north-to-south Trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline across eastern Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. Another is Washington’s need to encircle the emerging capitalist giant China, which if left unchecked will challenge Washington’s dominance as the predominant world imperialist power over the next two decades.
Last week, the respective “Presidents” of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zardari and Karzai, took orders from Obama to suppress and/or eliminate opponents of the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. To suit Obama’s view of the “National Security Interests of the US,” those Afghanis and Pakistanis who do not want a Western-controlled pipeline running through their homelands must be pacified, removed, or offered a deal by imperialism. Construction of this pipeline is contractually stipulated to begin next year. Hence the sudden step-up of the slaughter.
Tens of thousands of new Pashtun homeless have been forced onto the roads of Waziristan this week. They are heading for bulging refugee camps that already “house” as many as a million and a half refugees. Meanwhile, police troops roam the roads and camps shooting suspected Islamists, because Zardari is anxious to please the imperialists so as to consolidate their tentative support for his regime.
The “spin” would have us believe that the slaughter is limited to the Swat Valley. Not so. While the Pakistani army wreaks havoc in the Swat Valley, the American army continues to slaughter the peasants of Afghanistan. The number of civilians killed by American airstrikes in Farah Province last week comes to 149, according to the peasants’ own handwritten list of relatives killed in the bombardments. All this shows without a doubt that the Obama regime’s intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan is escalating, accompanied by massive brutality. US imperialism can only maintain its domination through military force. Obama is thus exposed for what he is: just another imperialist politician, who is just as willing as Bush was to escalate the carnage inflicted upon the masses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, if that is what it takes for US imperialism to hold onto its power in the region.
Meanwhile all of Waziristan is subject to air attack by the Pakistani Air Force, which claims to have killed 800 militants as of May 13th. We don’t really know whom they’ve killed, but we do know these bombings are indiscriminate, are killing civilians, and are driving angered residents into the ranks of the neo-Taliban. The overall killing is the combined work of the Pakistani Army and the imperialist army. Here’s why: Predator drones, those robot airplanes with small video-guided missiles, have killed over 700 people this year in the course of eliminating a mere 14 (fourteen!) “Al Qaeda leaders” in Pakistan. The pundits and liberal supporters of the “good war” are stumped to explain the numbers. The casualties are already stressing the Pakistani medical system to the breaking point.
Socialists have no desire to see the reactionary Taliban take power and submit the population to a repressive theocracy. But the defeat of the imperialist forces and their Pakistani proxies will aid the struggles of the workers and the oppressed all over the world. It is our first duty to call for the defeat of our own mighty imperialist forces. We call for a revolutionary struggle to drive imperialism and its local capitalist allies out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and pave the road to self-determination, peace, and dignity for the Pashtun people. Ultimately, only the socialist revolution, and a socialist federation among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and the other countries and peoples in this region of the world who are fighting for self-determination, can really resolve the democratic aspirations of the people in the area. For this to happen, the Pakistani working class, in alliance with the peasantry in Pakistan and Afghanistan, must lead the struggle to oust imperialism from the area.
Meanwhile, within the imperialist countries and especially the US, labor must take the lead in the antiwar struggle. Defeat of imperialist warfare is too important to the working class to be entrusted to the traditional liberal/pacifist “peace” movement, which fell silent as soon as the prospect of a Democratic Party presidential victory appeared likely, and has not been heard from to any meaningful degree since Obama took office. Protests led by students and pacifists were not enough to stop the Viet Nam war. To stop this slaughter before many more lives are lost, we need LABOR ACTION NOW, in the streets, on the docks, and at the front lines! Those with the real power to end it through militant direct action include workers in transportation, and the rank and file in uniform.
• Transportation and logistics workers: Organize in your union to “hot cargo” (refuse to handle) munitions and other supplies destined for use in the slaughter of the Pashtun peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan!
• Soldiers in the U.S. and on overseas bases: Refuse deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan – and all other areas that US imperialism seeks to control!
• Soldiers already deployed: Hold mass meetings to discuss how to refuse criminal orders! Build a “let’s go home” movement that can lead strikes against a criminal war that is killing people who are fighting to defend their countries against imperialist intervention, as well as innocent civilians!
• Workers everywhere: Support these efforts by organizing and leading mass protests demanding immediate, unconditional and total military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan! Demand the withdrawal of mercenary trainers and covert special operations forces from both Afghanistan and Pakistan! Expose Obama’s “Big Green Lie” and demand abandonment of Big Oil’s pipeline project across Afghanistan and Pakistan! Demand massive aid for the refugees.
Reprinted from Humanists for Socialist Revolution