Feb 19, 2001
On February 16, less than a month after he took office, President Bush gave the go-ahead for U.S. and British jets to bomb five targets, some of which were almost in the heart of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
Bush characterized the bombing as "a routine mission." Maybe to the U.S. military and politicians this massive and murderous bombing was routine. But it wasn't routine to the Iraqi people, including two teenagers who U.S. and British bombs murdered. Nor was it routine for dozens of other Iraqis whom U.S. bombs wounded, most of them severely.
No, there is nothing "routine" about the U.S. war against Iraq. This war began more than a decade ago when the U.S. carried out some of the most massive bombing in all history against Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed. Much of the country was destroyed. In the years that followed, U.S. and British bombs continued to pound the country. Starting in 1998, the U.S. began to bomb Iraq several times a month and even several times per week.
The slaughter might have become so "routine," most of the time it is not even being reported on in the news in the U.S. But Iraqis continue to "routinely" die from the bombs, or from the hardships caused by a destroyed infrastructure. And the economic embargo that the U.S. imposed means that Iraq has had no chance to recover from this destruction, and the people continue to suffer from a lack of food and purified water, a lack of medicine and medical supplies. Day by day, month by month, the toll continues to mount –"routinely." Over one million people, perhaps as many as two million, have already died.
No, the U.S. is not protecting the world from weapons of mass destruction. It is itself pounding Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. And under the guise of stopping one man, Saddam Hussein, the U.S. is punishing an entire people and an entire region.
Said George W. Bush last week, "Our intention is to make sure that the world is as peaceful as possible."
No, the real problem for the Bush administration is that many countries, which once had supported or gone along with the U.S. war against Iraq, have for a long time wanted to end the trade embargo. The U.S. bombing of Iraq is clearly intended as a signal to these countries that the U.S. does not intend on agreeing to let them break the embargo, and that it is still the U.S. that is calling the shots.
As for the kind of peace that Bush speaks of, the heaps of bodies in Iraq are testimony to what Bush is referring to: complete submission to U.S. domination, economic and military. U.S. corporations and banks are among the largest in the world. In places like the Middle East, they literally suck the oil and other natural resources out and leave the region impoverished, the people living in misery. And backing them up is the U.S. government and military, which, as Iraq shows, is ready to carry out a war without end, a revenge without limits.
U.S. workers pay for all this with our tax dollars and our lives. Just ask all the thousands of U.S. soldiers who after returning from the Persian Gulf, after all the parades and yellow ribbons, confronted dead end jobs and a life of unknown diseases, deformed children, etc., while the U.S. government denies any responsibility or aid for the "Gulf War syndrome."
And for what? American freedom, as they say? No –this war was carried out for the freedom of the same U.S. corporations which are laying us off and cutting our wages and benefits, to continue to exploit the workers of the rest of the world.
With this spectacular bombing of Iraq, George W. Bush has signalled to the rest of the world that he is continuing the terrorist campaign carried out by his predecessors, one Republican and one Democrat, with the full support of both parties in Congress.
It is the duty of U.S. workers to say, "No More!"