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

After being labelled a “butcher” by the British press following last week's bad election results for the Labour Party and the subsequent Cabinet reshuffle, Tony Blair suffered another blow, this time not at home but abroad. In Basra the British army lost five soldiers, including the first female casualty, as their helicopter crashed and British soldiers came under attack.

Sectarian violence has plagued Iraq since the February 22 destruction of the sacred Shia al-Askariya shrine in As Samarra, pushing the country dangerously close to civil war. As the US army in Iraq faces the prospect of being dragged into such a war, opinion polls in the United States show that support for the Bush administration is at an all time low. The conditions are being laid for an all out explosion both in Iraq and in the United States.

The constant stream of news, combined with photographic and video evidence, about maltreatment of Iraqis at the hands of occupying troops is having a traumatic impact on the Iraqi people. It is also affecting the outlook of soldiers, both British and American, and on the population in Britain and in the US. This will serve to strengthen resistance to the occupation inside Iraq and to increase pressure in Britain and America for withdrawal of the troops.

Shocking images have confirmed that white phosphorous bombs were used during the US Army attack on Fallujah last year, aimed at people directly, burning many of them alive, including civilians, women and children. If anyone doubted the real nature of the occupation of Iraq, now they have no excuse.

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