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

Viet Nam 1954-1975:
Iraq 1990-20??

Jun 23, 2014

Currently, U.S. drones and military jets are blanketing Iraqi airspace in preparation for more U.S. bombing. President Obama is sending hundreds of U.S. troops back into Iraq. These heavily armed U.S. Special Forces aren’t “advisors,” as U.S. officials claim. They are part of the unending and murderous U.S. war on Iraq.

The U.S. occupation ended – in name only – two years ago when the last U.S. official military forces departed. By that time, the U.S. government had put in place its own puppets to head the Iraqi government, army, secret police and regular police forces. Calling the shots is the massive U.S. embassy inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, bristling with thousands of U.S. officials, along with thousands more mercenaries.

The U.S. continued to rely on the same ethnic divisions that it had used to control the population during the bloodiest stretches of the U.S. war. In the North, the U.S. rested on a Kurdish government with its own army, the Pesh Merga, to impose order. In the rest of the country, the U.S. made Shiite militias the basis of the Iraqi Army and police. This meant that in the northern and western parts of the country, where there is a large Sunni population, the Iraqi army was little more than an occupying force.

Surrounded by a hostile population, when the Iraqi Army was pushed, it collapsed like a house of cards. In Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and an important center of the oil industry, two full army divisions, made up of 30,000 Iraqi troops, simply turned and ran in the face of the assault of an insurgent force of just 800 fighters belonging to a group called ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). This opened the door to a few thousand poorly trained insurgents to march south on the road toward Baghdad, laying siege to Iraq’s largest oil refinery along the way.

During his news conference on June 19, President Obama demanded that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki unite the country and stop the deepening sectarian divisions. But who is Obama kidding? From the first day of the U.S. occupation, the U.S. has fomented and played on sectarian divisions. As for Maliki, he is merely a U.S. puppet, who has become so discredited by doing the U.S.’s dirty work, he is no longer useful.

Preparing to dump Maliki is just the latest move by the U.S. government desperately trying to maintain its grip over an Iraq swept by waves of chaos and war. The U.S. government and military are not about to walk away from all that oil. So, the Pentagon and State Department are cobbling together one more “independent” Iraqi government, sending in more U.S. troops, preparing to bomb.

From the start, the U.S. war in Iraq has been haunted by the Viet Nam War a half century ago.

In Viet Nam, the U.S. super power also tried to impose control by dividing the country, North and South. And the U.S. tried bombing both North and South Viet Nam into submission, what one U.S. general called, “bombing Viet Nam back into the Stone Age.” But that didn’t stop the U.S. military from sinking into the quagmire of the war. The U.S. replaced its dictators in Viet Nam on a regular basis, with the promise that the next regime would finally help to win “the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.” Of course, South Vietnam was nothing more than a U.S.-made machine to continue domination over an important region.

Little surprise that two years after U.S. troops were forced out of Viet Nam, the mammoth South Vietnamese army collapsed. Now, two years after U.S. troops snuck out of Iraq in the middle of the night, parts of the Iraqi military have also collapsed.

Who knows what the future may hold in Iraq. But one thing is clear: the U.S. has not left Iraq and the war is continuing at a staggering cost, first of all, to the people of Iraq and the Middle East, as well as to working people in this country in deaths and casualties from this latest imperialist adventure.

Ever widening wars and devastation are the inevitable consequences of a system based on profit, in this case of a few U.S. oil companies, banks and military contractors. It’s a system that in 1917 Leon Trotsky said was only fit to be swept “into the dust bin of history!”