The Spark

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

Editorial:
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan:
Obama and the Democrats’ Wars

Jun 22, 2009

Congress once again approved to increase spending on its bloody wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – this time by 106 billion dollars.

With the Democrats in full control of the White House and Congress, they were forced out of the closet to take full responsibility for pushing the bill through. In the House of Representatives, 221 out of 251 Democrats voted to increase war spending. In the Senate, the Democratic vote was practically unanimous, with all but one of the Democrats voting for stepped up war spending.

This vote saw the Democrats and Republicans shift positions. The Democrats no longer had Bush in office, on whom they could blame the wars. With a firm hold on both the White House and Congress, they were forced to jettison all their anti-war pretenses.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives made sure of that, since most of them, led by Minority Leader John Boehner, voted against the supplemental war spending based on a technicality.

Thus, the mantle was officially passed. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan were no longer only Bush’s wars. They were no longer only the Republican Party’s wars. In fact, they never really were. But now President Obama and the Democrats had openly taken over these wars lock, stock and barrel.

What does that change? Nothing – other than the fact the Democrats have stepped up funding – which spells more attacks on the population and an even greater disaster.

Sure, the Obama administration claims to be winding down the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. But the U.S. still has 138,000 troops along with an equal number of paid mercenaries there – a massive military presence. And the Obama administration only promises to reduce what they call “combat” troops. This means the so-called U.S. “advisers” and “technicians” – that is, occupation troops and paid mercenaries – will remain in Iraq far into the future. Tens of thousands of them will be there for years, not to speak of decades.

With this measure, the Obama administration openly confirmed that it has the same policy goals in Iraq as the Bush administration had: to continue to impose U.S. domination of the country and its vast oil wealth.

Meanwhile, despite U.S. propaganda about what a supposed success the U.S. war in Iraq was, the population continues to suffer high casualties from bombings and shootings, and continues to live in the most abject poverty and misery. Five million Iraqis, or 20% of the population, continue to be displaced from their homes – with no help from the U.S. or any international agency. Close to 90% of all Iraqis still do not have on-going access to electricity. Seventy% do not have access to clean water. Ethnic-based groupings and gangs continue to contend for power in the government and a piece of the fabulous oil revenues.

Whatever numbers Obama may withdraw from Iraq some day will simply be shifted to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Obama administration is expanding the wars, adding 21,000 U.S. troops to the 38,000 already there. In addition, the administration has expanded aerial bombing of the border areas of Pakistan and pushed the Pakistan military to carry out a murderous offensive – leading to three million refugees from Pakistan’s Swat Valley in just the last weeks of fighting alone.

Whether under Bush or Obama, Republicans or Democrats, the U.S. military continues to expand its wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. U.S. troops are continuing to kill and die. And the entire U.S. working class is paying the price in every way – in lives abroad and the suppression of funds for vital services here at home.

No matter what set of politicians is running Washington, the wars will continue until the working population stops them, until the soldiers themselves challenge them, forcing this awful war machine to grind to a halt.