Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/323/9625
Occupation of Iraq: A Disaster Happening Now
A POLL in the Times newspaper shows that most people now think that the "strong personal relationship" between George W Bush and Tony Blair is bad for Britain. In other words, people object to Blair acting like Bush's pet poodle.
According to the survey, only one person in four approves of Bush's handling of the war. 49% believe that the war was wrong - only 37% think it was right. In the articles below, DAVE CARR looks at the unravelling of support for Bush and Blair's war.
"PROTEST IF you will... but accept that the task is not to argue about what has been but to make what is happening now work, and work for the very Iraqis we all say we want to help." - Tony Blair, Lord Mayor's speech, 10 November.
IN A few words, the Prime Minister attempted to erase the government's justification for war - that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction with a 45-minute launch capability.
Six months after the announcement of the end of the war and having spent millions in fruitless searches, no WMDs have been unearthed.
No wonder Blair doesn't want to "argue about what has been"!
Now he wants people to believe that the current occupation of Iraq by coalition forces is benign, that the troops are there only for the good of the Iraqi people.
What rubbish! More Iraqis have died in the chaos of occupation then during the actual war. Indeed the security situation is so bad that the Red Cross and UN aid agencies, that kept offices open in Baghdad during the 1990-91 Gulf War then through a decade of sanctions and during the most recent war, have now pulled out of Baghdad!
As most Iraqis are dependent on food aid, given the collapse of the economy and mass unemployment, this departure isn't going to help their plight.
Moreover, the health service, regarded as "first world" in 1990, has disintegrated. According to the medical charity Medact, Iraqis may have poorer health for generations as a result of the war.
They go on to say that between 22,000 and 55,000 Iraqis died as a direct result of the war and mines and unexploded munitions will continue to kill and maim. Immunisation rates have collapsed, maternity mortality rates have increased and acute malnutrition has doubled to 8%. There are also increases in water-borne diseases.
This is the disaster "happening now" Tony, and it certainly isn't working "for the very Iraqis we all say we want to help".
How Saddam begged to stop the war
THE US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do with finding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) but was to secure the strategic aims of imperialism.
Readers of the socialist won't need any convincing of that but the recent revelations in the New York Times exposing the Bush administration's connivance at 'regime change', makes for interesting reading.
According to the newspaper Richard Perle, senior Pentagon advisor and architect of the White House's Iraq policy, was approached on the eve of war by an intermediary of Saddam Hussein.
He informed the US that they no longer had WMDs and offered unfettered access to US troops to conduct a search.
So desperate was the Iraqi regime to avoid a war that it even promised free elections, extradition to the US of suspected terrorists and support for US plans to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A dubious Perle sought authorisation to meet with Iraqi officials but the CIA gave him the thumbs down. Their message to the Iraqis was: "Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad."
With the death toll of US soldiers rising steadily and the increasing failure of the Bush administration's pacification policy, the spymasters may start to rue their words.
Bush's £4 million security operation
GEORGE BUSH is so unwelcome in Britain that the US president's bodyguards have got the permission of the Met police to shoot anyone they consider a threat to his life!
The entire security operation during his three-day stay will entail a virtual shutdown of central London, mobilising 3,800 police and costing the public purse over £4 million.
This will dwarf the measures employed to silence demonstrators when the Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin visited the capital in 1999. It will also massively add to the daily travel misery suffered by workers.
Like the recent summits of the world's leaders, the democratic rights of anti-war protesters in London will be impeded by an 'exclusion zone'.
With such heavy security around Bush, stewarding will be very important. The Socialist Party has enormous experience in this from previous protests. The anti-war movement must organise proper stewarding to defend school students and other protesters from police attacks.
In The Socialist 15 November 2003: