The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
A war paid in blood, fought for oil

Mar 31, 2003

A new generation of young men and women has been sent off to die – this time in Iraq.

But not everyone in this generation will be sent to Iraq, not everyone will have their lives put at risk, as well as their future well-being. Of the 28 service people killed in the first week of the war, only one came from a well-to-do family. The rest came from the working class. According to the Pentagon, this figure accurately reflects the make-up of the army.

The sons and daughters of the working class will be the ones to die in Iraq or be scarred by the battles they go through.

And for what?

Bush claimed he sent the troops off to war in order to get rid of weapons of mass destruction.

Instead, bombing by U.S. planes has already massively destroyed some civilian areas of Baghdad, including two of its marketplaces on days they were filled with civilians. By bombing the electrical substations that control the pumps in Basra's water system, the U.S. shut off the water supply to large parts of the population there. The U.S. bombing has now taken out the phone systems for most of the people living in Baghdad, preventing them even from finding out if their relatives are OK.

This is not a war to get rid of "weapons of mass destruction." It is a war being carried out against the Iraqi people by American weapons of mass destruction.

The price paid by the Iraqi people – who have already lost as many as a million and a half civilians to the first Gulf War and its aftermath – will be horrible. The victims will be not only the civilians hit by the bombs. Many more civilians – including first of all children – will die from water-borne diseases like dysentery because the bombs have shut down the water supply. They will die from malnutrition, as their source of food is cut off by the blockade the U.S. threatens to put up around Baghdad. They will die from minor wounds because no antibiotics and surgical supplies will be available.

Yet Bush dares to say he sent the troops to "liberate" the Iraqi people.

But the Iraqi people, by their actions, do not seem to regard the Americans and the British as liberators. And why should they? Even the Shiites, who have more grievances against Saddam Hussein than most, seemed to have decided that the U.S. is a worse enemy than Saddam Hussein.

No, the U.S. and British troops were not sent to "liberate" Iraq – they were sent to liberate Iraq's oil, and to pave the way for the profit that can be made from rebuilding the oil infrastructure. Vice-president Cheney's old company, Halliburton, has already received, through a subsidiary, an unlimited, cost-plus, no-bid contract for work on Iraqi oil fields.

U.S. troops do not belong in Iraq. They should not be left there to bring more suffering to the Iraqi people – just so Cheney and his ilk can increase their wealth. They should not be left there to die in the service of oil profits.

Most young men and women who joined the army went in to get a trade, to get training – and because they couldn't find a decent job here. They didn't join up to kill civilians. Bring them home and give them a job here.