Speaking at a White House ceremony on March 11, exactly six months after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington, George Bush addressed an audience of 1,300 dignitaries, including 100 ambassadors in Washington. He did not mention Iraq by name, but left no doubt he was determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Bush is said to have mapped out a "global strategy" against the enemies of America. It even goes by the name of "the Bush Doctrine." But in reality there is no such strategy. Bush's policy consists in lashing out blindly, making use of America's overwhelming military strength to intimidate and compel the rest of the world to do America's bidding.

"Inaction is not an option," declares George W. Bush, seeking to extend the "war on terror" to Iraq. But the recent heavy fighting between US and Afghan forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan gives the lie to those who say the war is over. It is dawning on the military strategists that victory cannot be won by air power alone, and combat troops will be required on the ground for some time to come. However, using Afghan forces has proved complicated, as the warlords - newly armed by the Americans - seek to reassert their influence.

With splits surfacing even within the Blair cabinet over war with Iraq, opposition to this military adventure is swiftly growing within the British Labour movement. Many unions are determined to raise the matter at the TUC and Labour Party conferences, which is now threatening to dominate the political agenda. From the Editorial Board of the British Marxist Journal Socialist Appeal.

The sound of war drums from Washington becomes louder and more insistent by the day. The recent declarations of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld leave no doubt as to the intentions of the ruling clique in the USA. They are impatient to launch a military operation against Iraq. When this perspective becomes reality there will be enormous potential for a massive anti-war movement around the world. The best activists in the workers' and students' movements will want to show their anger and to oppose the war, and we must be prepared.

Last night up to a hundred British and American planes have attacked Iraqi air defences 240 miles west of Baghdad, alleging that their planes came under attack by Iraq. It is self-evident that the latest military operation was an act of unprovoked aggression and a calculated provocation.

The report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is a most striking proof of this old saying that the first casualty of war is always the truth. It is being presented by the war party in Washington and Tony Blair as conclusive "proof" that Saddam Hussein is just "months away" from launching a nuclear bomb.

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