One of the anti-war protests during the USA Republican Party convention, organised by Youth Against War and Racism, a Socialist Alternative initiative, photo USA Youth Against Racism
AMERICAN SPECIAL Forces backed by jet bombers killed up to 90 civilians, including many children, on 22 August in Azizabad, Afghanistan. Initially, the US authorities claimed ‘only seven’ civilian fatalities in the raid aimed at destroying Taliban militants. It is the worst incident of ‘collateral damage’ by western forces since their invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In a world of increasing wars and terror, it is working-class and young people of all countries that are paying the highest price.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party
US President George ‘Dubya’ Bush will soon be gone but both presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are already committed to many of his foreign policies, on Iran, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Trailing along on the poodle-dog chain of the ‘special relationship’ are British prime minister Gordon Brown, New Labour and the Tories.
Bush and Blair/Brown’s occupation of Iraq has killed well over one million civilians, 176 British troops and 4,154 US soldiers. The estimated total economic cost to the US alone will be around $3 trillion. Yet living conditions for the majority of Iraqis are even worse than under Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule.
Washington hoped for cheap oil from Iraq and oil profits for western oil companies. Instead, the conflict helped push up world oil prices, and oil supplies and production in Iraq remain disrupted.
Despite Bush’s rhetoric, the situation in Iraq remains highly unstable and fragile. Horrific conflict continues, albeit at a lower level than in recent years. Nothing, fundamentally, has been resolved as the occupation continues and sectarian and ethnic tensions continually erupt.
Afghanistan remains an unwinnable war, at a cost of 117 British lives, 582 Americans, and over 500 Afghan civilians caught in crossfire this year alone. This is not a ‘war against terrorism’, but a war for the prestige and strategic interests of US imperialism.
The troops should come home now, from Iraq and Afghanistan. We can best help ordinary people in Iraq and Afghanistan by building solidarity with their organisations: like the Iraqi trade unions repressed by the pro-US government, or the women’s organisations in Afghanistan oppressed by the numerous warlords and the beleaguered US stooge regime of ‘president’ Hamid Karzai.
In the war over South Ossetia between Russia and the US-backed Georgian forces, the European Union and the United Nations proved powerless to stop the conflict. ‘Socialist Resistance’, our sister party in Russia, has described how only the unity of working people throughout the region can prevent a further rise of wars and racism. The alternative is more ethnic cleansing and conflicts, manipulated by US and Russian imperialism.
The world continues to become a less safe place. The war of words between the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments can escalate into a war of bullets and bombs. Tensions between Israel and Iran could spill over into airstrikes. The unresolved oppression of the Palestinians is a reminder of how national and social rights are, under this capitalist system, small change for the big powers in their profit-driven power plays.
Workers and youth can halt the war machine by taking decisive action. Young members of Socialist Alternative, in the US, campaigned successfully to restrict military recruiters on college campuses. Young people deserve the choice of a decent job or an affordable education, not being forced into the army because of a lack of alternatives.
On May Day this year, workers in American ports, supported by Iraqi dockers, went on strike against the Iraq war. South African workers’ strike action prevented weapons being shipped to the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe.
Youth and workers need an end to capitalism altogether. That’s why you should join the Manchester anti-war demonstration, and join the Socialist Party to fight for a socialist world without war, terror, racism and poverty.