The Spark

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

Editorial:
End the U.S. occupation of Iraq

Jan 10, 2005

The U.S.-sponsored Iraqi elections scheduled for January 30th are a complete travesty. The biggest Sunni party is boycotting the election, as will big parts of the population. On top of that, many won't be able to vote, even if they wanted to, either because the war is going on every day in the streets around them or because the U.S. has bombed their neighborhoods to smithereens, and they are refugees.

To fill in the vast gaps of the people who won't participate in the election, the U.S. State Department has already let it be known that it might decide to appoint a few Iraqis.

The elections are such an obvious disaster, even the Iraqi president, defense minister and ambassador to the U.N. in the U.S.'s own hand-picked government have publicly called for a postponement, as have 17 other parties and associations. And several former U.S. officials, including Brent Scowcroft and Zbignew Brzezinski, who had been the chief advisors in the National Security Councils of two former presidents, warned that the elections threaten to fuel a civil war.

Nonetheless, Bush claims that the elections will be another milestone in making Iraq "free." No, the only "milestone" that the elections will mark is another step down the worsening spiral of horrendous war and violence.

The Bush administration's own actions prove the depth of its lies.

The Pentagon is now acknowledging that the "extra" 30,000 U.S. troops in Iraq that were supposed to be there only until after the elections will remain in Iraq indefinitely. Obviously, more U.S. troops in Iraq means a bigger war, the war is escalating. And this isn't the end of it.

The U.S. has not "rebuilt" Iraq, but destroyed it even more. Living conditions are much worse than they were under Saddam Hussein during the U.S.-sponsored economic embargo that strangled the economy. Electricity production continues to be much lower than the already depressed pre-war, embargo levels. There are also terrible fuel shortages in the middle of winter. Oil, gasoline and kerosene are siphoned off by members of the U.S.-backed government, who then reap great profits selling them on the black market at prices that are 100 times higher than the official price, prices way out of reach of most ordinary Iraqis. There are also terrible shortages of basic food staples, such as wheat, sugar and rice. And the number of Iraqi children under five years old suffering from malnutrition has nearly doubled since the U.S. occupation began.

The U.S. is not creating new sovereign institutions, as they claim, but empty shells. The so-called Iraqi police forces or army have collapsed almost every time these forces were called upon. Even the State Department admits that it has trained only a fraction of the troops and police that it had planned to. And the U.S. military's own experts admit that even those numbers are overblown, that the Iraqi forces are not only beset by desertions, but are riddled with people working for the insurgency.

The U.S. is an occupying power and seen as such by the Iraqi people. The people who help the U.S. are seen as its puppets. Nothing the U.S. does can change that except to get out. The more destruction the U.S. has wreaked on the Iraqi people, the bigger the number of people who have joined the insurgency and taken up arms against the U.S. and all the forces tied to it. Over the last year, the number of attacks against U.S. forces has multiplied, going from 30 attacks per day to more than 120 per day. These are figures the U.S. military itself admits to.

Bush may try to stick his head in the sand, like an ostrich, and refuse to hear bad news about Iraq, as some of Bush's aides have told reporters. But no U.S. official is proposing anything different than Bush. None are proposing to pull out from Iraq immediately.

This change in policy will happen only if, first, the Iraqi people continue to oppose the U.S. occupation of their country; second, the U.S. generals fear they can no longer depend on their own army; third, the U.S. population more and more actively opposes this war.

The U.S. should pull its troops out of Iraq NOW!