Apr 16, 2007
Four years ago, on April 9, 2003, the U.S. army entered Baghdad and overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. This operation, preceded by thousands of missiles and bombs, involved more than 200,000 U.S. soldiers, supported by those of the “Coalition,” particularly the British. The U.S. General Staff called it operation “Iraqi Freedom.”
On the fourth anniversary of its “victory,” the U.S. army was forced to prohibit car traffic in Baghdad due to the fear of assassination attempts. It was in vain. On that day, like every day, there were dozens of killings. In another city, young Iraqis waiting in line to sign up with the police were the victims of a suicide attack. The official figures say that 2,500 civilians are killed each month and 3,281 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the war.
This same April 9, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protested, demanding the withdrawal of the occupation troops. Commenting on this demonstration, a spokesman of President Bush asserted that, “Iraq, four years on, is a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions, and that was something they could not do under Saddam.” Today it is equally a place where the occupation army can intervene anywhere and shoot, where neighborhoods are separated by barbed wire and by the armed men of different religious factions, where the infrastructure is destroyed, schools and hospitals abandoned, traffic is impossible and the provision of supplies is difficult. It is a place where those, who can, push to get out and where those who remain – the immense majority, the poorest – live in fear.
Just three days after the fourth anniversary of the U.S. entry into Baghdad there was a massive suicide bombing inside the Green Zone in a restaurant right next to the Iraqi Parliament. Three legislators were killed along with five others. The bomber had smuggled the explosives through eight layers of security and at least three checks for explosives. Obviously he had help from men inside the government’s security apparatus. This explosion in one of most heavily guarded buildings in the world puts the lie to all the U.S. claims.
Behind the pretext about weapons of mass destruction (which didn’t exist) hid much more sordid interests. The war against Iraq was an opportunity to award contracts to the business friends of Bush: Halliburton, which Dick Cheney headed, Bechtel, Blackwater and vultures of lesser importance who supply the U.S. army or rent it mercenaries.
Bush and his circle of oil men especially wanted to put their hands on the oil wells. Iraq holds the second greatest oil reserves in the world. And alongside these possibilities of plunder, the lives and condition of 25 million Iraqis, and the lives of U.S. soldiers, count for nothing. The occupiers aren’t even concerned about assuring the population drinkable water and electricity. The important thing was that dollars flowed into the pockets of some big and small capitalists, all friends of the Bush government. This war in Iraq was and remains a war of the most brazen imperialist banditry.
The U.S. government, through leading a war of occupation, destroying the country and pitting religious factions against each other, has led Iraq into a catastrophic impasse. There is no doubt that when the U.S. pulls out, the civil war that the U.S. aroused and encouraged won’t stop. But the U.S., British and other troops must get out! This is what the Iraqi population demands and what a growing part of the U.S. population also demands.