Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/385/4352
Troops out now
Build the socialist alternative
TWO YEARS on from the invasion of Iraq, what remains of Bush and Blair's justification of the war?
Of the investigation team sent into Iraq after the war Blair said: "I have absolutely no doubt at all that they will find the clearest possible evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." It is now plain for all to see that they lied about the evidence for these weapons.
They said that the war was necessary because of Saddam's links with "terrorism". Again they lied. Is the world now a safer place?
In the wake of the elections held in Iraq, the US and UK governments are talking about "democratic winds of change" in the Middle East. This from governments who are quite happy to deal in arms with dictatorships across the world! Yet an election that was boycotted by a substantial section of the population threatens to exacerbate the danger of civil war in Iraq. If this develops, the ramifications could engulf the whole of the Middle East.
The Iraq Body Count project says that February 2005 was the worst month for the numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties since Bush declared the war 'over' in May 2003.
International health experts, in an article published in the British Medical Journal, have condemned the US and UK governments for not even counting the Iraqi dead resulting from the war and occupation because "it would stir up further opposition to the war". Five months ago an article in The Lancet estimated Iraqi civilian deaths since the beginning of the war at 100,000
TWO YEARS on, what about the conditions faced by ordinary Iraqis? Unemployment is at around 50%. The UN says 25% of the population is totally dependent on food rations, 27% of children under five are malnourished. Before sanctions and war, in 1990, the Iraqi health budget was $450m, now it is $22m. A quarter of children die before reaching the age of five.
At the same time hundreds of state owned companies have been privatised and Iraqi firms have been opened up to foreign ownership. Contracts worth billions of dollars have been handed out to foreign owned companies, allowing them tax-free repatriation of profits. Taxes have been drastically cut for the rich and for big business. These, along with US imperialism, are the real beneficiaries of the war.
The tentative first steps towards establishing independent Iraqi trade unions show hope for the future: that it is possible to unite working class people in Iraq in opposition to the economic attacks on them but also in opposition to the occupation itself.
Over the last two years, millions around the world have demonstrated time and again against the war and in solidarity with the Iraqi people around slogans such as "no war for oil".
The link between war and capitalism is clearer to more people than ever. To solve the problems facing the people of Iraq, and for the vast majority of the people of the planet, a struggle for a socialist alternative is necessary.
Bring the troops home
Stop the War Coalition demo
Saturday 19 March, assemble 12 noon, Hyde Park, London.
In The Socialist 19 March 2005: