Running out of support and soldiers, Bush and Blair have an ample supply of lies...
The illegal war continues
WORKERS, JULY 2006 ISSUE
In the face of increasing losses on the ground in Iraq and opposition to the war at home, the Bush and Blair governments are stepping up their campaign of misinformation.
Bush and Blair's war in Iraq is a war of choice, not necessity, and therefore illegal in international law. It is now abundantly clear that it is also a war against the Iraqi people, aimed to divide and destroy them as a nation, not a war against a regime and its army. Hence the need on the aggressors' part to confuse the issue.
The USA played up the role of the terrorist Abu Masad al-Zarqawi to divide and demonise the Iraqi resistance. US Brigadier General Kimmit said, "The Zarqawi psy-op program is the most successful information campaign to date."
It's all about lies. Colin Powell lied to the UN Security Council that Zarqawi's meeting with bin Laden proved that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were linked. US government sources lied that Zarqawi's Jordanian origins proved that foreigners not Iraqis led the resistance.
But even US commanders say that only 6% of the insurgents are foreign. Of the 10,000 detainees held by US and British forces, without trial or charge, only 350 are non-Iraqi, 3.5%.
Attacking the US
US government sources claimed that most insurgent attacks were against civilians. But the US Defense Intelligence Agency reported that from March 2003 to March 2005 the vast majority of insurgent attacks were against US military forces.
The insurgency is increasing in intensity. From April 2003 to April 2004, 601 US soldiers were killed, from April 2004 to April 2005, 847, from April 2005 to April 2006, 848.
US officials said that the growing number of attacks was a measure of progress. Vice President Dick Cheney said this June, as he had said last year, that the insurgency was "in its last throes".
As of 23 June, 2,510 US soldiers, and 113 British, had been killed. Reported Iraqi civilian deaths are between 38,475 and 42,889. And more occupation troops are being killed in Afghanistan: 58 in 2004, 129 in 2005 and 47 so far this year.
Before the attack on Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was ludicrous to think that it would take more troops to secure the peace than to win the war. He counted on Iraqi troops to help run the occupation. And he said that the occupation would last three months and would pay for itself. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost the USA $166 billion in 2003-04. The US Congress estimated that they would cost the USA another $285 billion in the next five years.
They need more soldiers
Baghdad: "extracting" soldiers from an abandoned housing site.
Generally, more troops are needed to control cities than countryside, and Iraq is 75% urbanised, compared with Bosnia and Kosovo's 50% and Afghanistan's 18%. The smaller the occupation force, the higher the civilian casualties, because smaller forces rely more on firepower (particularly on air strikes) to make up for their lack of manpower. The occupation forces have proved too small to seal Iraq's borders, guard its munitions, establish security, detain prisoners of war properly, rebuild Iraq or enforce "democracy".
This is not to argue for more troops – the USA has not got them anyway and has no allies to provide them, apart from ever-servile Labour – but to point out that the occupation has no chance of achieving its stated aims of "rebuilding Iraq" or of establishing "democracy".
In any case, the US governor overruled Iraqi proposals to elect the constitution-making body, local authorities and the transitional government. All the talk about planting democracy in Iraq and the Middle East was just to fool liberals into backing the war. The first democratic wish of the people of Iraq is that the occupiers leave.
The occupation has brought increased crime, 60% unemployment, doubled infant mortality, undrinkable water and intermittent electrical power. The United Nations Children's Fund says that since the invasion acute malnutrition among children has more than doubled. Some 1.3 million Iraqi children between eight and sixteen are working long hours for low or no pay.
A third of all primary schools have no water supplies and half have no sanitation. Since May 2003, bombing has damaged 700 more primary schools. A UN study last year revealed that 84% of Iraq's higher education establishments have been "destroyed, damaged and robbed".
Blair and Bush are lying about the extent of rebuilding. This pattern is repeated in Afghanistan, where there is also no economic progress; the government controls only a quarter of the budget and the country produces 87% of the world's heroin.
The occupation forces have worsened sectarian strife in Iraq. They discriminated against Sunni Muslims, but then, to stop Shia Muslim candidates winning the promised local elections, they aborted the elections, thus alienating the Shia too.
The US is guilty of war crimes in Iraq, including its assaults on the city of Fallujah, its refusal to do "body counts" (in breach of Article 16 of the First Geneva Convention), and its torture and killings of POWs. But the torture in Iraq and Afghanistan is nothing new. It has long been standard CIA practice in Vietnam and Latin America, not to forget the British army's record across the Empire from Ireland to Kenya. In Guatemala, the CIA trained the army's torturers, and told the White House about this army's torture and killing of all POWs. Now the CIA has set up Special Police Commandos, death squads, in Iraq. Some states, like the USA and Britain, allow their agents to torture and to assist torturers; some, like Cuba, do not.
The invasion and occupation have followed the advice that US General Charles Horner gave to the commander of US forces in Iraq: "In the end, if we are going to lead then we must be considered the madmen of the world, capable of any action, willing to risk anything to achieve our national interests... If we are to achieve noble purposes we must be prepared to act in the most ignoble manner."
UN Resolution 1483 explicitly recognised the USA and Britain as "occupying powers" in Iraq, and it set no exit date. The USA is building four huge military bases there, as well as the biggest embassy in the world. They intend to stay permanently, or at least until the oil runs out. Are we going to allow British troops to be consumed in this destructive, imperialist war?
Terrorism in Britain
Running out of soldiers...
The shortfall in recruitment to the British Army has risen by 300%, leaving over 2,000 vacancies for the 2005-2006 recruitment plans.
Iraq undoubtedly is the major factor in this situation. The Territorial Army has likewise seen over 16,000 resignations since the invasion of Iraq. Reservists who can be called up by law for the Regular Army are getting out as soon as they legally can.
TA membership has dropped from 81,000 in 1985 to 32,000 in 2005. Desertions from the Regular Army are apparently running at unprecedented levels. The number of Regular Army Officers resigning their commissions is apparently disproportionately high with over 1,280 resigning their commissions.
British troops are militarily active in over 25 countries of the world – Ireland, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, South America etc. The collapse of support for the Army is unprecedented and must be complemented by the increased demand to Bring the Troops Home – from wherever they are stationed.
What can we do in Britain? The government lies to us that war abroad is necessary to defeat terrorism. But the fight against terrorism is at home, not in Iraq or Afghanistan. We need to protect our citizens against terrorists here, and our priority must be to defend, or rather assert, democracy here, not abroad.
But we cannot defend democratic rights unless we assert them here in Britain, including habeas corpus and the right to a fair trial. The Labour government secretly incarcerates people without trial and connives at kidnapping and torture via the US state's "extraordinary renditions".
Nor can we uphold democracy without an educated, industrial working class, working in a range of modern industries and benefiting from an advanced education system. Labour destroys industries and opens our universities to anybody but the British working class.
We cannot defend democracy unless we defend secular thinking, women's rights and science. In the name of being nice to "faith groups", Labour encourages those who revile secularism, women's rights and scientific thinking.
We cannot fight terrorism unless we control our borders to prevent the import of terrorists. Labour sacks customs officers and leaves our shores wide open.
Madrassas in Britain, funded by the Saudi state, teach a fundamentalist version of Islam. We should not permit anyone to indoctrinate children here in Britain to believe, for example, that Darwin is the devil, or that murdering innocent people is justified. We need no madrassas in Britain.
This is not "Islamophobic": British workers are not scared of any religion, but we are at least suspicious of them all. We do not define ourselves with reference to imagined gods or archaic texts.
We cannot fight terrorism unless we support legitimate efforts to defeat terrorists here. After the Forest Gate raid, some accused the police of repressing all Muslims and persecuting them for their religious beliefs. But if the police do not act at all in response to a claim that another terrorist atrocity was being prepared, they will be failing in their primary duty of protecting the public.
Contrary to leftists and Islamists, to oppose terrorism is not to condone Bush and Blair. Contrary to Bush and Blair, to oppose the US and British governments is not to condone terrorism. We oppose state terrorism and Islamist terrorism, because they are the same thing: anti-people and anti-life.