The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

The U.S. War on Iraq Is NOT Over!

Jan 9, 2012

With TV cameras rolling, the last U.S. troops marched out of Iraq. The war is over, all U.S. forces withdrawn–supposedly.

No, the war is NOT over. First of all, there are still two large bases, with 4,000 U.S. troops–only now, they are called “employees” of the State Department. An “Office of Security Cooperation” has been set up, with civilian and military personnel attached as “trainers” and “advisers” to the Iraqi army. There are at least 40,000 private military contractors in Iraq–mercenaries, bought and paid for by the U.S. government. The massive U.S. embassy in the Green Zone is being expanded, with 16,000 people attached to it. Two new U.S. “outposts” were recently put in place in northern Iraq. U.S. troops are garrisoned in Kuwait. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed in the Persian Gulf, complete with aircraft carriers. The same U.S. air bases, from which combat missions were flown last year, continue to operate in U.S. client states around the region. And the sectarian militias–including the Shiite militias which were transformed into the Iraqi army–remain armed and an ever-present danger to the population. Their arms and money come from the U.S.

No, this war is NOT over. The U.S. has just shifted the military means it uses to control Iraq’s oil.

That was the essential reason for this war: oil. Not weapons of mass destruction. There weren’t any. Not Iraqi nuclear facilities preparing nuclear weapons. There weren’t any. Not Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There was no Iraqi involvement. Not bringing democracy to Iraq–the U.S. brought only civil war, which still continues.

Oil was behind this war. Just as it’s behind the continuing occupation of Iraq today by other means.

Before the war, Iraq controlled and ran its own oil fields. Today, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and ENI run the only important facilities producing oil. And two American companies, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, service those oil fields.

To hand over the profits from Iraq’s oil to big multinational companies–that was why the U.S. invaded Iraq. It’s why U.S. imperialism continues the occupation of Iraq by other means.

Bush lied. Obama lied.

This war, no matter how it continues, will live on in the scars and memories of people for generations, just as did the U.S. war on Viet Nam.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have already been killed. Hundreds of thousands more Iraqis wear the scars and permanent disabilities of injuries suffered. Millions of Iraqis, driven from their homes, still live in other countries or are displaced in their own country. Services required by the population, destroyed by U.S. bombing, still barely function. Electricity is sporadic; clean water, a fiction. The impact of this war will not soon be over for the Iraqi people.

Nor will it be over for the 7,000 American families who lost a loved one–killed in the war or lost to suicide afterwards. It won’t be over for the more than 600,000 U.S. soldiers returning with disabilities. The war is an ever present companion to the hundreds of thousands coming back with PTSD and other psychological wounds endured in a war fought mostly against civilians.

These are the costs of a U.S. war of aggression directed against other people.

The same multinational companies and financial interests, which exploit us here, engage us to carry out wars of exploitation against other people. And the same government helps them carry out both wars.

Today, many of us are outraged at the way these class forces and their government drive down our standard of living, destroy public services, eliminate social services and tear up the public school system.

We should be outraged. They are carrying out a war against us here. But the war here is only part of the war they carry out around the globe.

We should be outraged at both kinds of war–and decided to stand up against both.