Iraq – anger grows at brutal occupation

What we think

Iraq – anger grows at brutal occupation

SIXTY PERCENT of Americans now think that the ‘blood shed’ in Iraq is
not worth it. The brunt of the ‘bloodshed’ has of course been borne by
the peoples of Iraq, around 100,000 of whom have been killed since the

The true scale of the brutal destruction of Falluja, comparable with
the Russian troops’ flattening of Grozny in Chechnya, is only now being
revealed. The US military have been forced to admit that they used white
phosphorus against ‘military combatants’ in Falluja, but deny that it is
a chemical weapon or that it was used against civilians.

In fact the US military’s own ‘Battle Book’ states that is against
the law to use white phosphorus against personnel, whether military or
civilian, and the UN conventions clearly describe as a chemical weapon
if it used in this way.

This is only the latest layer of lies about what happened in Falluja
– the US military continues to insist that only around 500 civilians
remained in the city. By contrast The Guardian and other media sources
estimate that there were 30,000-50,000.

Before the attack took place all ‘men of fighting age’ were prevented
from leaving by the US military. There can be no doubt that the
thousands who died during the flattening of the city, using chemical and
other weapons, were mainly civilians.

These latest revelations can only increase anger at the daily
brutality of the occupation in Iraq and worldwide. Especially as one of
the main charges levelled against Saddam is his regime’s use of chemical
weapons (no matter that the British and US governments sold them to

In the countries of ‘the coalition’ the deaths of coalition soldiers
‘for no good cause’ is fuelling opposition to the occupation. This is
particularly true in the US. More than two thousand US troops have died
and over 30,000 have been injured over the last two years. There are
towns where everyone knows someone who has lost a family member to Iraq.
Like Columbus, Ohio, where the Lima Company is based. Almost half the
company have been killed or injured, their highest losses since the
Second World War.


THE PRESSURE is mounting on the Bush regime to withdraw the troops.
Two former US Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, in an
unprecedented breaking of unwritten diplomatic law, have publicly
attacked a sitting President for taking the US to war, while the war is
still taking place.

Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a Vietnam veteran who supported
the invasion and has close ties to the US military, summed up the
growing opposition to the occupation when he declared that troops should
withdraw in within six months as he was "absolutely convinced we are
making no progress at all."

The opposition to Bush at the top is a faint reflection of the mood
below. The anti-war movement in the US is experiencing a resurgence.

The occupation is fundamentally unviable. Despite his posturing, it
is possible that, in the face of growing opposition, Bush could be
forced to ‘declare victory’ and withdraw the troops more quickly than he
currently expects and hand over to ill-prepared Iraqi military forces.

However, whatever the US ‘timetable’ the legacy of Bush, Blair and
Co.’s adventure will be enormous instability in Iraq, including a likely
escalation in the civil war, and a massive increase of the
anti-imperialist mood in the Middle East and worldwide.

The Iraqi constitution has been cobbled together, not in the
interests of the Iraqi peoples, but the different ruling factions in
Iraq, and above all US imperialism. It is no surprise that the occupying
powers are continuing to try and make sure they "get their snouts in the
trough" as Jack Straw put it in a moment of blinding clarity.

The world’s oil giants have been kept out of Iraq since its oil was
nationalised in 1972 but the new Iraqi constitution guarantees a major
role for foreign companies in Iraqi’s oil. The problem they face, and it
is a major one, is security. As yet none of the major oil multinationals
will touch Iraq, because they consider it too dangerous.

The continuation of the occupation is the continuation of a nightmare
for the peoples of Iraq. However, the unelected leaders of the various
sectarian religious factions do not offer a way forward. The solution
lies with the working people and poor masses of Iraq.

The Socialist Party stands for a mass movement of the working class
and the oppressed masses for an end to the occupation of Iraq and for
the natural resources of Iraq to be owned and controlled by the peoples’
of Iraq.

Such a movement should establish multi-ethnic defence forces to guard
against ethnic and religious clashes and to protect the security of all,
under the democratic control of working people.

It should also call for the convening of an Iraq-wide national
assembly of democratically elected delegates to vote on the formation of
a workers and poor farmers’ government that would provide the basis to
deal with the crushing problems facing Iraq.