Both Bush and Blair have now declared Iraq is in "material breach" of UN resolution 1441. They have their excuse to unleash a terrible war on Iraq, which has been brought to its knees after more than a decade of brutal sanctions.
The imperialists claim this is a dispute over "weapons of mass destruction", but everyone knows it is about Iraq's oil. If Saddam has such weapons, then they were supplied long ago by the Americans and British, who, when it suited them backed the Iraqi regime to the hilt.
When Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, they were supplied by the west. Rumsfeld was responsible for handing over biological toxins to the regime to defend "American interests". It is now clear that America, Britain and other countries supplied Saddam with its nuclear, chemical, biological and missile technology, many through illegal transactions.
Blair has long been regarded as Bush's poodle, and this war will be no exception. Despite overwhelming public opposition, he acts as if Britain is the 51st State of the USA. Eager to please Uncle Sam, Blair has simply repeated the propaganda churned out by the State Department, while dispatching a quarter of the British army to the Gulf. They are planning to destroy the cities of Iraq and murder countless innocent men, women and children, all in the name of "democracy".
It is a sick hypocrisy to listen to these gentlemen talking about "freedom" and "liberty" when the imperialist powers were the most savage in their oppression of the third world. In Vietnam, the American imperialists used B-52 bombers to carpet bomb the population. More than a million people were killed in the US invasion during the 1960s. Vietnam was saturated with bombs and chemicals. Agent Orange was banned in the US as it contained Dioxin, the deadliest known poison. This Agent was systematically dumped on the whole of South Vietnam, with horrendous and lasting results. All this was done in the fight against "Communism" and in defence of "Democracy". But isn't every imperialist war justified in this way?
In the 1991 Gulf War, more than 300 tons of depleted uranium, another weapon of mass destruction, were expended by American planes and tanks. This has resulted in deformations and cancers, especially amongst children. Over half a million children have died as a result of imperialist sanctions, where vaccines for children are denied.
This new war will be infinitely more devastating. The Pentagon announced that it intended to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days. This is double the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 war. The American military strategist Harold Ullman stated "there will not be a safe place in Baghdad. The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before." He continued: "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes."
Lenin once said "capitalism is horror without end." This "Hiroshima effect" in Iraq, where half the population are under the age of fourteen, will be unimaginable. A "confidential" UN document, based upon World Health Organisation estimates, states that "as many as 500,000 people could require treatment as a result of direct and indirect injuries." A Bush/Blair attack will destroy "a functioning primary health care system" and deny clean water to 39 per cent of the population. There is "likely [to be] an outbreak of diseases in epidemic, if not pandemic proportions."
While the imperialists relentlessly prepare for war against Iraq, they have left other violators of UN resolutions alone, namely Israel. The reason is that Israel is an ally of the United States in the Middle East. The fact that they expelled millions from their lands and have oppressed the Palestinians for generations is of no consequence. This example alone reveals the sinking hypocrisy of the imperialists. Their talk of "democracy" and "the war against terrorism" is simply a smokescreen for their aggression across the globe.
The talk of a second UN resolution is of no consequence. The role of the United Nations can only act as a fig-leaf, if one is needed, for the actions of American imperialism. The UN is not a neutral arbiter, but only a forum of capitalist powers that can sometimes reach a deal over secondary matters, but on fundamental questions cannot alter anything. Where the UN has intervened, as in Korea and the Congo, it has played an openly counterrevolutionary role.
The Americans have been able to bully and bribe the other members of the Security Council to fall into line, despite all the hot air. The Texan bullhorn is calling all the shots, backed up by his poodle in Downing Street. The hands of the United States will not be tied on this vital question. As George W. Bush declared recently: "I'm the guy who makes the final decision." He is determined to lead a "coalition" into Iraq, come what may.
However, this will be no easy victory for the imperialists. For the Iraqi people, this will be a war against a foreign invader. It will be a defensive war as far as the bulk of the population are concerned. While the Allied troops will have far superior fire-power, there is no mass support for the war back home in America or Britain or in Europe. Although they will bomb hell out of Iraq, they will have to send in ground troops to occupy the country. The Iraqis will be forced to fight street by street, house by house, if need be. This will be the worst possible scenario for the Americans and British, and will lead to massive casualties. Unlike in 1991, this is no retreat from Kuwait.
War is the mother of revolution. And the Middle East will face an explosion of anti-imperialist anger. As the masses take to the streets, the unstable pro-American dictatorships can easily be overthrown. War in Iraq will ripple out across the globe, creating massive instability.
There will be major repercussion in the United States. If the US army begins to take serious casualties, what mood there is in favour of war will swiftly evaporate. Bush's electoral successes will then soon turn into their opposite. In Britain, there will be a massive backlash against the war and all those politicians who support it.
One thing, however, is absolutely certain: this war is not in the interests of anyone except the imperialists and the big oil interests that stand behind the White House. Every true socialist, every class conscious worker and trade unionist, every young person who wants to fight for a better world, must join in the most active and militant struggle against this unjust imperialist war.
"Capitalism means war", stated Daniel De Leon a hundred years ago. This has never been truer than today. The struggle against war must be linked to the struggle to change society in Britain and worldwide. Only the overthrow of the ‘market’ and the introduction of a socialist plan of production can resolve the problems faced by working people.
Youth for International Socialism is committed to fight for this new world.
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