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Bush Sinks Deeper In Iraq Quagmire
A SIGNIFICANT milestone in the war in Iraq was reached last week when US army fatalities went over 1,000 - that's an average of 2.25 US soldiers killed each day. It served as a harsh reminder to George Bush, currently campaigning for a second term as US president, of the political quagmire that Iraq has become.
Despite the supposed handover to Iraqi civilian rule back in June, there has been no let-up in attacks on US forces by Iraqi insurgents. Likewise, Iraqi government officials and police, widely seen as collaborators with the US-led occupation forces, are regularly targetted by Shia and Sunni insurgents.
But although the US-led coalition forces in Iraq count their dead, no such official records exist for how many Iraqi civilians have been killed and injured since the invasion in March 2003. A minimum figure is 11,000 dead and 40,000 injured according to the Institute for Policy Studies.
However, the US military recently claimed 100 insurgents killed in an air strike on Fallujah and 33 in Sadr City, Baghdad on one day last week. Last month they said that 2,500 insurgents were killed. On top of these figures are many civilians killed and wounded, caught in the fighting.
Many civilians are also victims of violence in increasingly lawless towns and cities. A Financial Times report (9 September) described Fallujah, four months after US marines called off their attack on the city, as being "under the control of a number of different groups from Islamists to ultra-Islamists to Ba'ath party loyalists to bandits". The US-appointed Iraqi government of Iyad Allawi has no control in the rebel town.
US secretary of state Colin Powell admitted in a recent TV interview that it's not only Fallujah that's a no-go area for coalition forces but many other towns in the 'Sunni triangle'. US and Iraqi forces have now launched a military offensive in the northern town of Talafar.
Powell could have added to the 'no-go' list the populous and impoverished Shia district of Sadr City. In fact, coalition forces are as likely to be attacked by Shia insurgents as by Sunni insurgents.
US imperialism and its coalition allies are mired in an unwinnable war in Iraq. They have failed, militarily, to 'pacify' the population and they have failed at a political solution. Even one immediate objective of the invasion - securing Iraq's oil to guarantee cheap supplies for the world economy - has been, literally, blown apart by insurgent attacks.
In the short term, withdrawal isn't considered an option by Bush or his possible Democratic Party successor, John Kerry. That would mean ignominious defeat for US imperialism. But, equally, how long will the American public accept the rising number of US casualties before demanding the withdrawal of troops?
In The Socialist 18 September 2004:
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