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National Security and Economic Insecurity
Published on Thursday, October 17, 2002 by
National Security and Economic Insecurity
by Seth Sandronsky

President Bush just signed the Iraqi resolution plan for a preemptive and unilateral attack on that country, but that probably wonít improve the souring U.S. job market. Progressives, take note.

Currently, the administration is bringing its full weight to bear on the U.N. Security Council to legitimate U.S. military action against Iraq. Meanwhile, the number of people out of work in September was basically the same as it was in August, according to the Labor Department.

As the Bush administration backs an Iraqi war ever more, how do progressives connect national security and the economic insecurity of the U.S. public? This isnít an academic question.

We know the official vision of national security and economic security. What is ours?

How can we connect U.S. policies designed to conquer foreign resources such as Persian Gulf oil and the festering jobs crisis here? What are some ways to link war with Iraq to people in the U.S. facing economic insecurity?

For example, protecting the U.S. public against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein doesnít change the fact that the economic slowdown is forcing businesses to hold back on hiring. When the growth of profits slows, the hiring of workers slows.

This is the harsh reality of a harsh system. Itís cut from the cloth of militarism, racism and sexism.

On that note, standing up to Evil in Iraq doesnít change the fiscal crises of local and state governments increasingly strapped for cash to meet people's material needs. Likewise, the White Houseís resolve to bring its vision of democracy to Iraq doesnít bring back Enron and WorldCom workers' pensions invested in the stock market.

Even those in the corporate suites are fretting about the current business climate. This is an admission that a U.S. attack on Iraq doesnít automatically equate to a rising tide of national security that lifts all boats, or planes, in this case.

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, executives with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that the nationís big airlines are in bad financial shape. Some carriers are perhaps facing extinction, they added.

Thus many thousands of workers stand to lose their livelihoods. According to AMR Corp. CEO Donald Carty, federal aid is urgently needed to help U.S airlines cover rising security and insurance expenses, which could be hype or just a PR ploy for taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, as sectors of corporate America lobby Washington for a hand and the Bush administrationís war lobby presses the U.N. Security Council, people in the U.S. go to and look for work. This keeps them, the capitalist system and the military force that supports it abroad moving forward.

This is a contradiction. In my view, such contradictions should be addressed by progressives with the aim to expand our choir of committed activists.

I mean, we want peace, but what does that mean under a system of commodity production that regularly intervenes militarily to make the world safe for U.S. corporations? We have to think about new ways to speak with the U.S. public about this contradiction.

What is our vision of a civilized society based on social cooperation, not the private competition of all against all and each against all? How should peace activists encourage the U.S. public to consider capitalism and its wars, national security and economic insecurity?

In my view, this is a question that must be asked of and answered by ordinary people to create a future of peace and prosperity.

Seth Sandronsky is an editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive newspaper. Email:


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