Oct 30, 2006
It is becoming clear that the U.S. ruling class is looking for an “exit strategy” to get out of the mess the U.S. has created in Iraq. A bipartisan commission led by former Secretary of State James Baker, set up to “assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course,” is to publish its report after ... (you guessed it!) the upcoming Congressional elections.
After November 7, the Bush administration and Congress, whether it has a Republican or Democratic majority, will probably tell us that, “Yes, the U.S. will pull out of Iraq,” BUT that first the U.S. must “fix” Iraq before getting out. Newspapers have already reported that the Baker commission’s recommendation for Bush, dubbed “Stability First,” calls for setting up a more stable Iraqi government before pulling the troops out.
But that’s what the U.S. has already been trying to do in Iraq! And what this has meant for the Iraqi people can be judged by the number of Iraqis who have lost their lives.
Based on a door-to-door survey of Iraqi households published recently in the British medical journal The Lancet, it is estimated that more than 650,000 Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation. A similar survey in September 2004 had produced a figure of 100,000. In other words, in the past two years alone, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has caused more than HALF A MILLION civilian deaths, whether as a result of U.S. military “operations,” malnutrition, untreated illness, or the crime and sectarian violence unleashed by the U.S. invasion and occupation.
In fact, the events of the past few weeks show that this new U.S. push at stabilizing Iraq’s government will bring only more fighting and more death.
The U.S. is trying to stop the ongoing infighting among Iraqi militias, by disarming some of them, and propping up the remaining ones to act as the Iraqi army. But none of the militias can afford to disarm if the politicians behind them want to stay alive. So the infighting has gotten even worse – as the recent battle between two Shiite militias over the control of the southern city of Amara shows.
Besides, a U.S. attempt at disarming militias requires more troops on the ground, which is exactly what the head of the U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, suggested in a press conference on October 24. In fact, the U.S. has already been quietly increasing the number of troops. And that, too, inevitably brings more violence on the population – as the October 25 bombing of Sadr City, the densely populated neighborhood of Baghdad inhabited by 2.5 million working-class and poor Shiites, shows. This point was certainly not lost on Sadr City residents who saw their houses, roads and an electric power generator being bombed by U.S. aircraft, and power transmission wires cut by U.S. troops.
And what will happen after the U.S. eventually pulls out of Iraq? One of the suggestions of the Baker commission is to “open dialogue” with Syria and Iran. The commission calls for using the influence of these two neighboring dictatorships to “stabilize Iraq,” that is, to impose a stronger dictatorship under some of the already existing militias – or possibly two dictatorships, one in the Kurdish area in the North, and one in the South.
So what awaits the Iraqi population is even more violence and another brutal dictatorship like Saddam Hussein’s regime – in fact an even worse one. And in the South, it will be a dictatorship run by religious fundamentalists who are against many aspects of a modern, secular society, starting with women’s rights.
The greed of the U.S. ruling class for Iraq’s oil and greater control of the Middle East led to this horrible war. The war, however, ended up destabilizing not only Iraq but the whole region, making it impossible to even pump the Iraqi oil. Now the U.S. ruling class wants to stabilize Iraq, using more violence and establishing another dictatorship, so that it can pump the Iraqi oil again.
Every day that the U.S. military stays in Iraq means not only a continuation but an escalation of this barbaric war, at the cost of countless lives and enormous human suffering – with the end goal of controlling the people of Iraq and stealing the country’s oil wealth.
U.S. troops out of Iraq NOW!