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US Prepares Invasion Of Iraq
AS US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, tours the world drumming up support for military action against Iraq, the Los Angeles Times has revealed that the US administration is prepared to use nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity against non-nuclear countries.
A classified Pentagon document - Nuclear Posture Review - drawn up for George Bush, says that nuclear weapons must be ready for use against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria and also in an Israeli-Arab regional war. Cuba must be breathing easier!
An increasingly belligerent US imperialism is determined to impose its domination throughout the world against any 'rogue state' (ie any country that is deemed to threaten Washington's interests), as its military intervention into Afghanistan and its preparations to invade Iraq show.
George Bush has recently announced a massive $120 billion increase in defence spending (over five years) to satisfy the ambitions and profits of the 'military-industrial complex'. American workers will foot this bill with welfare provision being slashed to ribbons.
The US is also urging 'friendly nations' such as Britain to support its plan. Cheney is apparently asking for a 25,000-strong British force as part of a US-led 250,000 invasion armada. Blair, (who faces a mini-revolt by backbenchers over this issue) is reported as preferring air strikes and a further tightening of sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime.
UNITED NATIONS (UN) sanctions imposed on Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War have, according to the UN's own admission, led to 5,000 deaths of Iraqi children each month due to a lack of medicines; in total, four times the 140,000 people killed by the Hiroshima bomb. Yet Saddam's dictatorship remains in place.
Tony Blair contends that the Iraqi regime is free to buy all the medicines it needs under the oil-for-food programme. This is false. Oil for food amounts to just 40p per Iraqi, per day and everything - including food, education, health care, infrastructure etc - has to come out of that.
Sanctions are determined by the secretive UN Security Committee 661. Apart from imposing lengthy bureaucratic delays on what Iraq can or cannot import, often the committee bans the import of innocuous goods under the catch-all "dual use" criteria.
This is meant to stop Saddam acquiring sophisticated machine tools for weapons manufacture. In practice it means that life-saving medical equipment such as X-ray equipment, blood component separators and even needles for biopsies are deemed to have military use and are blocked. Committee 661's decisions have become farcical. It has blocked the import of pencils on the grounds that they contain graphite and graphite has military implications!
The US contends that Iraq is acquiring weapons of mass destruction as evidenced by the refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors into the country.
But the US administration has also made it clear that it considers the reintroduction of UN weapons inspectors after a three-year break as futile. In so doing, the US is narrowing the diplomatic options available so that military action to remove Saddam (the "unfinished business" of the Gulf War) is inevitable.
The US administration, a la Afghanistan, is currently arming and training elements of the exiled Iraqi National Congress. US special forces are said to be operating in the Kurdish controlled 'safe haven' area of northern Iraq.
As in Afghanistan, the forcible removal of one regime will undoubtedly be replaced by another but under US influence. And like the former Taliban in Afghanistan, the Iraqi regime was previously supported by Western imperialism. Another example of the US acting like Doctor Frankenstein who creates a monster which it then has to destroy.
However, while George Bush in the aftermath of the 11 September terror attacks on New York and Washington was able to muster a shaky coalition of Western, Arab and Muslim states to support his military actions in Afghanistan, there is little enthusiasm in Europe (outside of the obsequious Tony Blair) for invading Iraq.
And in the Middle East there is outright opposition even from Arab countries that have been threatened by Iraq, such as Saudi Arabia. The latter regime, that is supported by the US, feels particularly vulnerable as the regime's oppressed masses are incensed by Bush's support for Israeli attacks on Palestinian areas.
Socialists oppose the war preparations of the US imperialism and its allies. Their war aims are not to restore a democratic Iraq but to bring the country under its political control and ensure its strategic objectives of maintaining its oil supplies from the region.
Socialists support the overthrow of odious regimes like that of Iraq by the working class and poor who suffer repression and exploitation. Such a revolutionary movement can only be built through developing mass workers' parties based on fighting for democratic socialism.
In The Socialist 15 March 2002: