Mar 13, 2006
March 19 marks the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
This invasion has been a costly tragedy. So far the Bush administration, with the unwavering support of the Congress, has spent more than 250 billion tax dollars for the occupation of Iraq.
But the real price of the war is paid in human lives. More than 2,500 troops of the occupation force have been killed in this war, more than 2,300 of them Americans. The number of wounded soldiers is at least 20,000.
As high as these numbers are, they fade in comparison to the civilian casualties. Officially, between 34,000 and 38,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in this war so far. A much higher estimate, 100,000, was published by the medical journal Lancet about one and a half years ago.
Either way this is a very heavy toll, and it has been rising steadily. Everyone agrees that Iraq is in a state of civil war.
Today the majority of Americans think that George Bush lied about the reasons of invading Iraq three years ago. But there are still many working people in this country who believe Bush when he says that U.S. troops have to stay in Iraq to stop the bloodshed.
It’s every bit as big a lie! The U.S. invaded Iraq to better control its resources, especially oil, on behalf of U.S. corporations. And the U.S. is continuing the occupation for that same reason.
The ongoing civil war in Iraq is a direct result of the occupation. The U.S. set up militias based on ethnicity and religion and used them to attack the population, in order to suppress the Iraqi insurgency. These attacks have now escalated into a full-fledged ethnic and religious war.
No, the U.S. occupation doesn’t help the situation in Iraq. The civil war may not stop if the U.S. troops leave Iraq today. But every day they stay makes the situation worse, not better.
The troops say this themselves. So do their relatives and friends back home, and the majority of Americans in opinion polls.
How many more years will this bloody occupation continue? How many more thousands of Iraqis and American soldiers will die? How many more hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent for this dirty war?
The Republicans and Democrats – and the U.S. ruling class they represent – are not worried about the enormous cost of this war. Both parties continue to vote money for the war. Both parties make working people, both in Iraq and the U.S., pay for it.
We pay for the occupation of Iraq with our lives and limbs. We pay for it with the money that is cut from the services we need – education, health care, welfare programs, maintenance of the infrastructure, disaster aid.
But working people and the troops who come out of the working class are also the ones who can stop this war. And we have every reason to do it.