Aug 16, 2010
Obama announced that U.S. combat operations in Iraq will end on August 31. Another lie, just like “WMD,” “Mission Accomplished,” and “The Surge Worked.”
Yes, some U.S. combat troops are being taken out of Iraq. But U.S. troops are not going home. The U.S. is shifting troops to Afghanistan, and the other wars U.S. officials don’t talk about.
Obama says there will be “only” 50,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq. Only! Fifty thousand still constitutes an enormous occupation army. And they are to be reinforced in every way possible. There are already more than twice as many mercenaries and private contractors as U.S. troops, and the State Department recently announced plans to hire thousands more over the next few months. U.S. aircraft, most of which are based outside Iraq, continue to bomb, strafe and carry out rocket attacks. U.S. Special Forces – also not counted in the 50,000 – continue to carry out assassinations and terrorist attacks, black box operations which are almost never reported on. And the U.S. has paid for and put together from scratch its own colonial army – the Iraqi army and police force, with U.S. officers as “trainers.”
The vast U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone is at the center of these operations. More than 80 football fields in size, it is already the largest embassy anywhere in the world. This monstrosity symbolizes U.S. imperialism’s real plans: to turn Iraq into its own colonial fiefdom, to control its people and resources, including all that untapped oil, as well as to tighten its grip over the entire Middle East region and all of its riches.
Like all big imperial powers, the U.S. continues – and will continue – to play on ethnic divisions, bribery and corruption, thus feeding the wars fought by Iraqi factions to get a share of the booty from the U.S. occupation. These wars are becoming increasingly violent. Despite Obama’s lies that violence in Iraq is down to levels that are “the lowest it’s been in years,” July was the bloodiest month in over a year. And August is already worse. On just one day, August 7, close to 100 people were killed in gun battles, bombings and assassinations in Baghdad, Basra, Fallujah, Mosul, as well as in Diyala Province.
For the Iraqi people, the U.S. war and occupation is a complete catastrophe. It has already cost the lives of well over a million people. And it remains so dangerous, millions more – who were forced to flee the violence and ethnic cleansing many years ago – are still too afraid to return home. They continue to live as refugees, either in other parts of Iraq or outside the country.
The U.S. war continues to destroy much of the country and infrastructure, with big parts of the cities turned to rubble. As for the lies about how the U.S. spent 60 billion dollars to rebuild the country – all of that went to enrich big U.S. contractors, as well as to buy the loyalty of Iraqi henchmen. There is still little or no electricity or drinkable water, streets are strewn with garbage and raw sewage, and basic services, such as health care and education are practically non-existent. All of this in a country which was once among the most advanced in the Middle East.
In many ways, Iraq is this generation’s Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, after more than a decade of war, the U.S. encountered so much resistance and opposition from the populations in Viet Nam and the U.S., by 1968 it was forced to announce that it was starting to “drawn down.” But the U.S. remained in Viet Nam for another seven long years of war, a period when the U.S. carried out some of its most terrible bombing and destruction. The U.S. finally left only because it was forced out by the Vietnamese and the rebellion of U.S. troops, with the last stragglers at the U.S. embassy shoving their way onto overcrowded helicopters. Otherwise, the U.S. would be in Viet Nam to this day, as it still is in Korea.
Working people of this country have also paid a steep price for this war. We cannot afford to wait for the U.S. to get out of Iraq, neither for ourselves, nor for U.S. soldiers, nor for the common human solidarity we hold for the Iraqi people.