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19 April 2003

Bush And Blair Put Profit Before People

"WHERE IS freedom in Iraq?" declared a doctor at a Baghdad hospital. Within 24 hours the 'liberation' of Baghdad had descended into total chaos. Scenes of Iraqis tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein were rapidly replaced by pictures of looting and devastation.

Hospitals in Baghdad were, in the words of Guardian journalist Suzanne Goldenberg, "transformed into visions of hell". Only two out of 35 were functioning. There was no anaesthetic, no medicines and no running water. Children wounded by US bombs and guns were left to die in agony.

As we go to press, much of Basra is still without water. Diarrhoea is rampant and there is a serious risk of an epidemic of diseases such as cholera. Aid agencies dare not enter the main Iraqi towns and cities.

Yet, while the US and British say they haven't enough troops to save people's lives, there are plenty of soldiers guarding Baghdad's oil headquarters and the oilfields in the rest of Iraq. The multinational oil companies will make sure that they get the lion's share of the looting of Iraq.

This sums up what this war is all about. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed and injured not so that they can be liberated from Saddam Hussein but to secure oil and the profits of capitalism internationally.

Bush and Blair put profits before people in Iraq and at home. Blair can find 3 billion to wage this brutal war, yet hundreds of teachers face losing their jobs, fire stations are threatened with closure and our council tax and national insurance go up.

And where will it all end? Who will be next on Bush's hit list of countries that stand in the way of US capitalism's plans to dominate the world economically and militarily? Syria, Iran, North Korea?

This capitalist system is run in the interests of the profits of the minority, not the needs of the majority. War and poverty will always be with us as long as this system remains in place. That's why tens of thousands marched in London last Saturday. And that's why the struggle for an alternative system - socialism - that puts people before profit is so important.

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