May 25, 2015
As of this Memorial Day, the toll of U.S. troops who have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan totals around 7,000 soldiers.
These soldiers came mostly from working class families; most joined the armed services for reasons of economic need, to have a job.
The U.S. has carried out the most recent war in Iraq for the past nine years. In Afghanistan, U.S. troops have been engaged for 13 years.
In spite of all the official rhetoric about U.S. withdrawal, the U.S. involvement in these wars is far from ended. Years of invasions and bombardment in Iraq and Afghanistan have destabilized both regions.
In Iraq, after a U.S. war against the Saddam Hussein regime, today we are seeing the replacement of old regimes with new ones. New alignments of armed militias are built from the most reactionary elements and are every bit as brutal as the previous dictatorship.
ISIL, the Islamic State group, is fighting for dominance, and has captured territories in both Iraq and Syria, even territory once held by U.S. troops in Iraq like Ramadi. Today, the populations of Iraq and Syria find themselves trapped between fundamentalist militias and bombings carried out by the imperialist armies, including drone attacks that kill many civilians.
This spreading conflict is disrupting and rearranging old U.S. political alliances. Imperialism maneuvers among warlords for its own interests.
Washington politicians debate whether or not to engage more U.S. troops today. In fact, these debates are cleverly designed to persuade the U.S. population that these wars can be “won” without loss of American lives, through spending money and using drones.
What does this mean for us?
Not an end to war, but exactly the opposite – continuous wars. Wars to protect the profits of the world’s richest oil barons and capitalists. Exxon, Occidental Petroleum and Chevron and a host of Wall Street advisors are the real decision makers behind these wars. They are the ones who demand a continued military presence in these regions, to police and expand their investments. This is at any and all cost to the populations of these countries.
Afghan civilian deaths are at their highest levels ever. More have died in 2014 than in any other year since 2009. Primarily children, women and the elderly are dying. In Iraq, since 2003, U.S. war has claimed the lives of more than 140,000 civilians by official estimates, which are no doubt an undercount.
Cities and countryside in both countries are devastated; ruined infrastructures no longer support basic human needs like water, electricity, food and housing in many areas. We are witnessing the loss of human gains of decades if not centuries.
U.S. workers have no interest to continue to fight these bloody wars. These same capitalists have driven wages down in virtually every sector of the workforce. Millions of Americans are either living in poverty or on the edge of it. We are being kicked out of our homes, cheated out of our wages and pensions, deprived of health care and threatened by rotting infrastructures and environmental disasters.
Workers are in a war. We are being attacked on every front, with attacks on women’s rights, increasing police violence and racism. But, right now the capitalists are winning as the working class stands silent.
We have a huge fight to make, a war against this system that is robbing workers; a fight to create jobs here at home and to stop imperialism’s continuous wars abroad.
Stop these U.S. wars!
Our fight, as workers, is here at home.