The US empire is on the march again and the anti-war movement must respond in kind and without delay, demands Chris Nineham
Last night the Trump administration took us to the brink of war with Iran. According to the New York Times, the order to attack communications and military bases, including missile installations, was sent out and operations begun. Planes were had taken off and ships were in position to attack. Shortly before the attack was due to start, it was cancelled.
It is frankly terrifying that we have such an unstable and impulsive US President in the White House at a time like this. Donald Trump has a record of provocations and unexpected attacks including threatening a nuclear attack on North Korea and sudden strikes on Afghanistan and Syria.
But we should be clear, last night's frightening events weren't dreamt up by the US President. According to the unchallenged New York Times account, the decision to attack Iran was taken at a gathering of the President's national security officials and top congressional leaders. The Associated Press has reported that the programme of attacks was recommended by the Pentagon amongst a series of options presented to administration officials.
All this points to the extreme danger presented by the current crisis. The fact that the top US foreign policy decision makers - Trump, Pompeo and Bolton - are all committed to a policy of confrontation with Iran is not an accident. It reflects the balance of opinion across Washington that a hard line is necessary with the Islamic Republic. This policy - most obviously expressed in the scrapping of the nuclear deal with Iran last year - can only reinforce the position of hardliners in Tehran. It means too that there are powerful forces in Washington that are looking for the pretext for war and will seize any opportunity for an attack.
A war with Iran would have incalculable consequences, greater even than the disastrous war on Iraq in 2003. In these circumstances, the anti-war movement must mobilise now to pressure our government to publicly oppose Washington’s recklessness and demand that military action is ruled out.
We are asking groups and individuals across the country to organise public meetings, street protests and petitioning in the next days to stop the rush to war. We have launched a national petition too which you can sign below.
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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