The 2004 election season is here

The 2004 elections are 19 months away, but the Karl Rove political machine is already grinding ahead as if the election is a domestic form of preemptive war. Bush’s political operatives scheduled the Republican convention in New York for September 2004, during the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. They are treating this national tragedy as if it is the property of the ultra-right GOP to use as a backdrop for Bush’s reelection. That is an obscenity.

These machinations make clear that Bush plans to run as the president of endless war at home and abroad. Those who challenge the Bush war doctrine or the huge costs of his occupation of Iraq or his squandering of hundreds of billions on armaments, will be smeared and vilified.

Bush is sending his henchmen to strong-arm moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snow (Maine), John Chaffee (R.I.) and George Voinovich (Ohio) for joining Democratic Senators in voting against his $736 billion tax cut for the rich, and an ultra-right Republican outfit is already running scurrilous TV ads calling for replacement of these GOP Senators with rightwing extremists.

As for the Democrats, a big field of presidential candidates have already announced, with some challenging Bush’s war policy. The domestic side of the Bush war policy is now reemerging – something Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman calls Bush’s “budget war on children.” There is a deep wellspring of anger at Bush’s refusal to take action to create jobs, his cutbacks in healthcare and education – anger that needs to be transformed into action. Exposing Bush’s doctrine of preemptive war and his giveaways to the rich as the cause of the worsening crisis for working people at home is the key to defeating Bush and the ultra-right in 2004.

Like it or not, the 2004 election season is already upon us. The stakes are high. Working families everywhere have no choice but to join in the struggle to defeat Bush and his dangerous agenda.

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Next steps for peace

The swaggering Bush administration has sent retired General Jay Garner to enforce U.S. rule in Iraq. The corporate media has replaced retired general talking heads with ultra-right talking heads. The message: the war is over, and the Pentagon will impose democracy on Iraq at the point of a bayonet.

Though the bombs are no longer falling, Bush’s war on Iraq is not over. Deprived of clean water, food, and electricity by U.S. destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure, thousands more Iraqis may join the thousands already dead.

A U.S.-installed puppet government could thwart Iraqis’ aspirations for self-determination and hand over Iraq’s vast oil resources to U.S. oil magnates.

The peace movement must now call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, a U.N.-led reconstruction of Iraq, U.S. payment for that reconstruction, and Iraqi control of the nation’s vast oil reserves. Only on that basis can the democratic forces in Iraq come together to rebuild an Iraq free of U.S. interference and domination.

The millions who marched, prayed and spoke out against preemptive war are now trying to find their bearings. There is no reason to be discouraged. It was widely recognized that a “second superpower” stepped onto the world scene in the form of this huge world peace movement. But the dangers remain. Giddy with his “victory” Bush may be soon launch another “preemptive war.”

Now, we must – and can – build a movement demanding that Bush’s program of endless war be buried in Iraq. Polls show that a majority of Americans oppose preemptive wars on Syria, Iran or North Korea.

Bush says, “I have no specific operation in mind at this point in time.” This is the classic Bush rope-a-dope scheme: switching from regime change, to weapons of mass destruction, to regime change, to liberation to justify their war on Iraq.

The peace movement must take preemptive action, too. A broader, bigger movement can be built to oppose the ultraright’s war without end. No more Iraq’s!