The Spark

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

Iraq:
A population taken hostage

Jun 6, 2005

More than two years ago, Bush announced the official end of combat in Iraq. Yet the cost of this war never stops growing, in dollars but also in human lives. More than 1600 U.S. soldiers, not to mention many others in the coalition forces, have been listed officially as killed since the invasion began in March of 2003. The number of Iraqi civilian victims, very hard to assess, has to be way up in the tens of thousands.

After two years of chaos, the American contingent fighting in several regions of Iraq remains at 140,000. The U.S. has carried out spectacular military operations, like the offensive called "Matador" in the province of Al Anbar along the northwest border with Syria, using Marines, helicopters, fighter planes, artillery and armor. But the U.S. high command can still not claim victory against the Sunni guerillas. These military actions simply result in the destruction of all housing and widespread ruin for the population – and this only creates more "rebels."If more evidence is needed about the difficulties facing an army of occupation, look at the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have deserted since the war began. And the coalition of the "willing" has lost HALF its members, including the Spanish troops. There is now talk that the Bulgarian and Italian troops will be leaving.

The armed attacks on occupation troops and bombings of civilians continue with no sign of let-up. In the last four months of 2004, there were more than 1800 attacks against U.S. troops alone. In recent months, despite the formation of an elected Iraqi government, bombings, kidnappings and assassinations increased. These attacks are chiefly aimed at visible government figures, like the minister of Iraqi national security; but they are also aimed at the population. Recently, car booby traps and other bombs killed 49 people and wounded another 130 in a single day.

Recent attacks have been aimed at Shiites who lead the government and even some against Shiite religious leaders. One of the by-products of U.S. military intervention and two years of armed occupation is not "democracy" but rather the promotion of the religious parties, whose reactionary leaders have set up their own militias to fight each other for control of various cities and regions. It is the population that pays the price.

U.S. imperialism created a veritable powder keg with the invasion of Iraq. Its continuing occupation has imposed daily violence on the population. But the occupation has also allowed reactionary political currents to pass themselves off as resistance to the occupation.

Not only has the occupation opened the door to hostage-taking by terrorists and gangsters, it has put 24 million Iraqis at the mercy of this horrible and bloody war without end that Bush, Blair and company have imposed on Iraq.

The U.S. troops should get out of Iraq now!