The Spark

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

Looking for an "exit strategy"

Dec 1, 2003

Plans for Iraq's future have been coming out of the White House fast and furious lately. There will be "self-rule" in Iraq with a constitution written by the U.S. and then some kind of elections – but not until the end of 2004. No, there will be "self-rule" by the end of June 2004, but there won't really be elections. Well, maybe there will be elections, but the candidates will have to be nominated by local councils the U.S. appointed. No, it doesn't seem like that one will fly either.

Behind all these calculations lurk two realities: one, the sinkhole which the U.S. created in Iraq when it invaded becomes wider and deeper by the day; two, U.S. elections are coming up next fall. Bush is trying to preserve his tattered presidency, and wants at least to give the appearance of getting out of Iraq while the U.S. ruling class is trying to find a way to impose its rule over Iraq so it can control Iraq's oil. But with the situation in Iraq spinning more out of control, neither Bush nor the American bourgeoisie find a ready answer to their problems. According to the New York Times, "American policy makers say that hostility to the American occupation is growing so fast that if Iraq does not become self-governing quickly, attacks on American forces could increase." In fact, those attacks already are on a very steep increase. The number of U.S. troops killed in November was nearly half the total number killed in the "official" war, the one that ended when Bush declared combat operations over on May 1.

This is what explains the U.S. rushing from one plan to another, almost in a kind of panic. The editor of a daily paper in Beirut Lebanon, referring to the most recent revision of the "plan," commented: "It was a document that looked like some treaty between the United States and the Indians in 1882. To think they put this thing together in a couple of White House meetings with everyone in panic mode, it's humiliating."

Humiliating it may be – but more to the point, it demonstrates what the U.S. media tries to obscure, when it talks about "exit strategy." The U.S., which has created an enormous disaster in Iraq, and more broadly the Middle East, is now beginning to feel a very tiny part of its consequences.