Mar 15, 2004
March 20 marks the first anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
This war is a complete atrocity. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, with countless more wounded or sick. This comes on top of the millions of Iraqis who have been killed since the first Gulf War in 1991.
Over all those years of war, economic embargo and then another war, the infrastructure of the country, what the Iraqi people had painstakingly built up over decades, has also been almost completely laid to waste. And all promises by the U.S. government to rebuild and reconstruct that infrastructure have been completely hollow. The Iraqis still don't even have the level of electricity or drinkable water that they had under Saddam Hussein. And that level was already abysmally low as the result of the first Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions.
Meanwhile, the economy remains in tatters, with unemployment running as high as 70%, meaning that a big part of the population is descending in an unending spiral of misery.
Certainly, the U.S. working class has also paid for this war. Over 560 soldiers have been killed, and over 11,000 have been wounded. At the same time, the U.S. government is using tax money to pay for this dirty war, while they continue to cut, slash and gut what is left of the social programs, from education to health care, that serve working people's most vital needs.
Every single reason and justification that the U.S. government used for going to war has been proven to be complete and bold-faced lies. There were no WMD. Saddam Hussein, as bad a dictator as he was, was never a big threat to the people of the Middle East, not to speak of the people in this country. No, the real threat has always been the government and ruling class of this country.
This war is not the creation of the Bush administration alone. Bush could never have carried out the war without the firm support and backing of the Democratic Party from the very beginning. Today, to gain favor from the electorate, the Democrats, starting with John Kerry himself, are trying to distance themselves from the war. They criticize Bush's handling of this or that aspect of the war. They pretend that they didn't realize that Bush was lying to justify the war – when somehow, millions of people in the streets protesting the war always knew.
Kerry and the rest of those very same Democrats may criticize today, but they also say that since the U.S. is in Iraq, the war will have to continue. What? Will it just be a "nicer" war?!! What B.S.! No matter whether Bush or Kerry wins office in November, the plans are for U.S. troops to be in Iraq for years and decades to come.
This war is being carried out in the interests of the U.S. ruling class, its voracious appetite to secure domination and control of Iraqi and the rest of the Middle East's oil and wealth. In order to increase corporate profits and wealth this government and military always search out new markets to control, new markets to snatch from its rivals and competitors. This is what pits U.S. imperialism against the peoples of not just the Middle East, but Central and South America, Asia and Africa. This is what feeds one war after another.
Working people have every reason to oppose the war in Iraq, to make it clear that we will not accept all the sacrifices that they demand of us. It is the only way to force the U.S. to end the war and occupation and get out of Iraq.
On March 20, demonstrations and protests have been scheduled in many cities in the U.S., as well as all over the world. We should come out massively.