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The time is now: Not one more dollar for war on Iraq

By Fight Back! Editors

In the face of recent moves by Democrats in Congress, the anti-war movement needs to reject both fuzzy timelines and continued funding for the war in Iraq. We need to insist on the demand, “U.S. out now!” Nothing less will do.

There has been a lot of confusion as of late over war funding bills passed in the House and the Senate which include ‘timelines’ for U.S. troop withdrawal. Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats in Congress are trying to convince the majority of Americans that they are taking steps to end the war. This is a lie.

Pelosi’s House bill calls for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by September 2008. However this same bill allows troops to remain in Iraq for “diplomatic protection, counterterrorism operations and training of Iraqi Security Forces…”, leaving over 60,000 troops to continue the occupation indefinitely. The Senate passed a similar bill, with a March 2008 date for troop withdrawal. The Democrats are well aware that they were elected in November because the American people voted against the war. People voted for an end to the war on Iraq.

Over 655,000 Iraqis and 3200 Americans have been killed already in this war. And every day the war continues, more Iraqis and more American soldiers die. Not one more death is acceptable. These so-called timelines do not end the war. Instead, these congressional bills extend the war for at least 12 to 18 months, with full funding, into 2009.

Not only does Pelosi’s bill allow a large number of troops to stay in Iraq, it also gives $124 billion more to fund the occupation. Any vote to fund the war is not a vote to end the war. On top of that money, the 2008 budget contains another $145 billion for the war, including $50 billion to go towards the war in fiscal year 2009. How can Congress say they are planning to end the war in 2008 when they are already setting money aside to fund it in 2009? They can’t. Approving money for war is supporting the war. Everyone who is against the war should demand that Congress end all funding of the occupation. Not one more dollar is acceptable.

We must reject U.S. government lies that, “U.S. troops are necessary to control the violence.” The U.S. led occupation is the main cause of killing and destruction. In fact the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq gave rise to a national liberation movement that will not rest until Iraq is in the hands of Iraqis.

Funding the war for months or years longer is no solution. It is a recipe for more death and destruction. Both the House and Senate bills continue an unjust war and provide loopholes for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq long after September 2008. We must stand together in opposing the U.S. government’s aims of creating permanent military bases, with U.S. soldiers stationed in a country where they are not wanted.

It is not the place of the Bush administration or the U.S. Congress to decide the future of Iraq. The right to self-determination means that only the Iraqi people should decide the future of their government and their country. Progressives in the U.S. should stand in solidarity with the demands of the Iraqi people – the vast majority of whom want the U.S. out. Therefore timelines that promise away Iraqi land for U.S. bases or allow the troops to stay in Iraq for any longer must be rejected by the anti-war movement.

No one should be deceived by empty promises and twisted words. While it is ultimately the Iraqi resistance that will defeat the occupation, the anti-war movement can hasten this process along if we unite all who can be united around strong and clear demands. Every person against the war on Iraq should support the self-determination of the Iraqi people and demand, “No money for war! U.S. out now!”

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