The Spark

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

Anger is building against the U.S.'s dirty colonial war in Iraq

Jul 28, 2003

The U.S. military announced that on July 23 it had killed Saddam Hussein's two eldest sons, Uday and Qusay, extremely brutal henchmen of the old regime. The following day, the gruesome pictures of the two dead bodies were shown. No doubt, the U.S. officials figured that without showing the bodies, no one would believe them, given the fact that this whole war has been justified with a pack of lies.

Of course, the Bush administration then went on to tell another lie: that the killings brought U.S. forces closer to ending the resistance against its occupation of Iraq. On its front page, the New York Times, which, like the rest of the news media has strongly supported this war, hyped this with the headline, "With Hussein's Heirs Gone, Hopes Rise for End to Attacks." As if the resistance in Iraq to the U.S. occupation was just coming from a few remnants of the forces of Saddam Hussein!

Certainly, the Iraqis themselves say it isn't so.

As an Iraqi doctor explained: "It's not true that only pro-Saddam people are attacking U.S. troops. I don't think it's only that. When a man has lost everything, his job, electricity, fuel and water, he may develop feelings against them. Besides that, the U.S. response to any attack is very violent, even brutal." Mahamoud Unis Alawy, who lives near one of the places where a U.S. soldier was recently killed, explained to the New York Times that many Iraqis blame the U.S. for what is happening to their country, especially for the economy disintegrating after the war.

In interviews, officers in the U.S. military have confirmed the same thing. Said Colonel Eric Wesley, executive officer of the 3rd Infantry stationed near the Iraqi city of Fallujah, most of the attackers are not former henchmen for Saddam Hussein, but rather are motivated by current grievances. "They are disaffected people from various parts of society. They may be impoverished, or somehow afflicted by the war and the coalition, wanting revenge for the loss of a family member." And, he says, most of them are not professionals. "Our indications are that the majority are not well trained. Their tactics are relatively crude and elementary. Their marksmanship is poor. The incidence of rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s being on target are rare."

This means that U.S. forces are stuck in a foreign country, surrounded by a hostile population. Recent news reports have shown that U.S. soldiers are angry about being put in this position – and suffering the casualties. (Over 100 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since President Bush declared the war "over" on May 1.) "What are we doing here?" asked a sergeant with the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division. "The war is supposed to be over, but every day we hear of another soldier getting killed. Is it worth it? Saddam isn't in power anymore. The locals want us to leave. Why are we still here?"

This anger is often directed against the U.S. Bush administration. When speaking to ABC News, a sergeant referred to the deck of cards the U.S. government published featuring Saddam Hussein, his sons and other wanted members of the former Iraqi regime. "I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list. The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz."

It isn't just the soldiers who express this. That anger is also being expressed by the soldiers' families. Lynn Bradach, of Portland Oregon, whose son, a marine, was killed in Iraq on July 1 while clearing mines, told the New York Times that she always opposed the war, that even before the war started, she had signed petitions against it – although she always supported the troops. Now, she vowed that she will do whatever she can to get Bush out of office and get the war ended.

No, this war was never about Saddam Hussein, or his deadly sons. U.S. imperialism bombed, invaded and occupied Iraq in order to impose its domination over Iraq's oil, and extend its domination over the rest of the Middle East. This is all being done so a few big corporations, like the oil companies, or Bechtel and Haliburton, that are often directly tied to the important officials of the Bush administration, can gain much greater profits.

The U.S. government is trying to use the U.S. soldiers to impose this domination on the Iraqi people. But the U.S. population never wanted this war. And the sense of anger and outrage being expressed by many soldiers and their families is spreading. It should.