George W. Bush last night announced his “new strategy” for Iraq. His speech consisted of the usual rhetoric about “establishing democracy” and “defeating the terrorists” but particularly a lot of wishful thinking. Like an about to be defeated poker player, US imperialism faces the problem every gambler has when he is losing: if he leaves the table, he won’t be able to win back his losses. But a final bet can prove fatal too.

The execution of Saddam Hussein could not have been a more cynically calculated PR event if a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished" had been placed above the gallows. His hanging will not provide a day of relief from the misery, humiliation, and violence the Iraqi people are enduring under the occupation, or absolve imperialism of its role in Saddam's rise to power and decades of brutal rule.

What started off as a show of strength on the part of US imperialism is now turning into its opposite. The war in Iraq is bringing to the surface all the contradictions of present-day capitalism. Defeat is staring the imperialists in the face. This will have far-reaching consequences well beyond the borders of Iraq.

The war in Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. Far from “promoting democracy” what the imperialists have done is to plunge Iraq into the depths of barbarism. Even from a purely military point of view they are losing their grip on the country. Now the talk is about an “exit strategy”. We say the troops must leave now. Let the people of Iraq decide their own fate.

On the morning of November 19, 2005 US Marines killed 24 civilians, including women, children and even infants in Haditha, Iraq. The massacre was covered up until January, when evidence of the massacre could no longer be denied. The US government has announced that the Marines involved will stand trial for murder. The full impact of Haditha is yet to be revealed, but similar to the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam War, it could represent the beginning of the end for the US occupation of Iraq

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