The Spark

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

Iraq:
Military occupation sows chaos in the population

Aug 1, 2005

In the second half of July, there was a renewed outbreak of violence in Iraq. A new wave of suicide bombers struck the government and U.S. forces, as well as Shiite and Sunni neighborhoods.

The wave of attacks began on July 13, when a car bomb killed 32 Iraqi children while U.S. soldiers were giving them candy. Two days later, ten different car bombs exploded, targeting U.S. and Iraqi forces, killing 32 and wounding a hundred.

On July 16, in the Shiite town of Mussayib, a man with a bomb strapped to his waist walked up to a tanker truck and turned it into a massive fireball that consumed at least 70 people who were shopping and buying ice cream. The next day, 22 people were killed by four car bombs in the center of the country. One struck the offices of the Iraqi electoral commission.

On July 19, in Baquba, armed men opened fire on a minibus transporting workers employed on a U.S. air base. Thirteen people were killed and six others wounded.

On July 24, a suicide bomber killed 40 and wounded 25 near the al-Rashad police station in southwest Baghdad. The following day, a suicide car bomber killed 12 civilians in front of a downtown Baghdad hotel. The day after that, guerrillas shot a minibus transporting factory workers near Abu Ghraib to the west of Baghdad, killing eighteen and wounding nine.

On July 29, a suicide bomber went to an Iraqi army recruiting center in Rabia, an hour from Mosul, killing 25 people and wounding 35.

All these attacks and many more like them show how much Iraq has been plunged into chaos by the U.S. invasion and occupation. The fact that the U.S. pretends an Iraqi government is running the country changes nothing about this reality.

Pretending that progress is being made, the U.S. has been leaning heavily on Iraqi politicians in charge of drawing up a new constitution. But the population has to struggle in a country where daily life remains very difficult and certainly worse than it was before the war during the period of the embargo.

On July 17, oil exports were interrupted by a 24-hour strike of 15,000 workers who demanded wage increases and use of the oil revenue to help the population. In fact, basic services, such as water and electricity, which were in a poor state before the war, have been devastated by the war and occupation. Most of the money supposedly for reconstruction goes for military activity. Meanwhile, people going about their daily activities are in danger of being the victim of a shooting or bombing. Under these conditions, a scrap of constitutional paper seems rather pathetic.

Bush said a month ago in front of troops at Fort Bragg that no deadline was going to be put forth for leaving Iraq. Following the wave of suicide bombings, his military chief of staff said that nothing will prevent the drawing up of the new constitution and an advance toward democracy!

The U.S. government invaded Iraq in order to maintain political domination over this part of the world and its oil reserves. As a bonus, the war and occupation provided profits for giant weapons contractors.

The results of the invasion and occupation show the human cost. The number of U.S. soldiers officially listed as dead was 1,778 as of July 29. No one keeps an official list of the number of Iraqis killed, but estimates range from 11,000 to 39,000. Other estimates indicate that the total number lost in this period, including from starvation and lack of medical care caused by the war, could be 100,000!

Some democracy!