Socialist Party
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25 March 2008

Iraq: five year nightmare

* End the occupation!

* No to war for oil, profit and prestige

* For a socialist world without war and poverty

On the 15 March 2008 anti-war demonstration , photo Paul Mattsson

On the 15 March 2008 anti-war demonstration , photo Paul Mattsson

George Bush has said the invasion of Iraq "will forever be the right decision". A January survey by Opinion Research Business estimated that 1,033,000 Iraqi civilians have died since March 2003.

Bob Severn

The war and occupation have fomented ethnic division and acted as a recruiting sergeant for al-Qa'ida. The world oil barrel price, instead of becoming dirt cheap, has gone from $30 to $110. The Red Cross has said Iraq needs 80,000 public hospital beds, compared to the 30,000 currently available.

However, the IMF believes that the Iraq economy is booming, with 7% growth, and that's what matters to them. Fat cats who have between $225,000 and $585,000 to spare can join 100 other home buyers at the Khanzad American Village in Kurdish Iraq. These two-storey luxury dwellings are part of the $2 billion invested since the Kurdish regional government passed an investment law in 2007.

The ministers who passed the law aimed to give foreign companies 'incentives' to invest in the region, including full foreign ownership of assets. No need to keep any of the profits in Iraq, or help out Iraqis who have to cope with 25% inflation!

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

International Socialist Resistance on the 15 March 2008 anti-war demo, photo Paul Mattsson

Most Iraqi government law-making under imperialist occupation, even for the multinational oil companies, is a shambles. Licking their lips at Iraq's untapped oil reserves, Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and others are waiting for a hydrocarbon law to be passed in their favour.

They have been negotiating with Iraq's oil ministry through video link - they don't want to risk entering Iraq themselves. Now the Iraqi oil ministry is trying to get around the lack of law by inviting oil companies to 'pre-qualify' for oil field development. However, the companies want security to 'improve significantly' before they send their key workers to Iraq.

If only oil baron Dick Cheney and his fellow US neo-cons had thought about people's security before starting the war. As well as the massive Iraqi death toll, US soldier deaths have now gone over 4,000 and 175 UK troops have died.

The US congress Joint Economic Committee has estimated the war has so far cost $16,900 per US family of four. That cost could be $37,000 by 2017.

This money should have been spent on guaranteeing family health care and quality free education for their children, not financing death and destruction. Or it could have been used to stop families being evicted by subprime loan sharks and to fund publicly owned, affordable housing.

The US government, whether Republican or Democrat, will not think of such things. Their agenda, like New Labour in Britain, is the agenda of big business, of attacking jobs and public services to further their profits.

That is why the Socialist Party believes that new workers' parties need to be built that will fight for a socialist world.

We are part of the Committee for a Workers' International that campaigns worldwide, including in the US and in the Middle East, for the needs of the billions, instead of the warmongering billionaires.