The Bush Administration has launched an illegal, murderous attack on the people of Iraq. When U.S. military officials call it “shock and awe,” they’re saying that 750 fighter planes and 300,000 U.S. troops are trying to overwhelm Iraq with sheer force. Wednesday’s attacks will soon by followed by a campaign of carpet-bombing and a massive ground invasion that puts the lives of millions of civilians at risk. The firepower amassed in the Gulf now surpasses that used in the 1991 war, when more than 100,000 Iraqis were killed.
The people of the world oppose this war. Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of cities across the world, including here at home. In the US, a majority of people said no to this war, up to the last poll before the first bombs were dropped. Today, now that the Bush Administration has ignored our voices and launched the attack, our protests are even more important.
Imperialist War means Human Disaster
In 1991, the U.S. bombed every road, bridge, date plantation, power plant, water or sewage facility in Iraq. Homes, schools, mosques, churches, hospitals, even clearly-marked civilian bomb shelters were all targets for American bomber pilots. Twelve years of sanctions denied Iraqis food, medicine and the capacity to rebuild, and leave them even more vulnerable to this new attack.
UN officials predict the US bombing and invasion will result in 500,000 civilian deaths, 2 million people left homeless, 10 million people without enough to eat, 18 million without access to clean water, and more than 1 million children under age 5 at risk of death from malnutrition. The United States government is already responsible for the deaths of over one and a half million Iraqi people by sanctions. Every day of this war, that number rises.
Who Profits, Who Dies?
The U.S. government is stealing from us – throwing billions of dollars into this war, while cutting off our welfare, money for our schools and healthcare, and cutting our jobs. We’re also paying for this war with our civil rights. The racist demonization of Iraqi people gives rise to more racist attacks in the U.S. We already see more hate crimes, more racial profiling and more INS and FBI harassment of Arab, Muslim and immigrant communities. The “Orange Alert” and the call for patriotism is already being used to justify increased police harassment of activists.
Meanwhile, the military industry CEOs are making out like bandits and the oil barons expect to hit the jackpot. But the Bushes and Cheneys and Rockefellers aren’t anywhere near the front lines of the war. It’s the sons and daughters of working and oppressed peoples who are risking their lives. It’s our sons and daughters who will live with the trauma and illnesses and injuries that war brings.
No Occupation, No Puppet Government
Sanctions kept Iraq out of the oil market and political scene for twelve years, but the imperialists want more. The Bush Administration wants to expand U.S. political, military and economic control in the Middle East. Iraq is a barrier to those goals, and serves an example to Arab neighbors. Iraq has remained resolute since 1991–it has not become an American outpost or puppet. Iraq is an example that the U.S. can no longer afford.
At the same time, the Palestinian Intifada has caught the attention of the world, and serves as an example of resistance to U.S. objectives in the region. Israel has increased the attacks on Palestinians in recent months, and the war will bring endless weeks of curfew, and more Israeli Defense Forces attacks on the Palestinian people.
So now Bush wants to establish a puppet regime in Iraq. But United States has no right to dictate to Iraqi people who their leaders should be. We uphold the right of self-determination for Iraq. On a daily basis, the main attack on the freedom of every Iraqi woman and man comes from U.S. sanctions, bombings and war. It’s also important to recognize that installing a puppet government will require more brutal combat, greater risks to civilian lives, and years of military occupation by U.S. troops in Iraq.
No Racist War, No More, No More!
It’s time to up the militancy of our movement. It’s time to take our protests to the streets, to the government offices, to the media. We have to build a stronger movement that brings together all the communities who recognize the criminality of this war. Our movement must demand an end to the bombing, must call on the US troops to leave Iraq now, and must demand that the sanctions and threats against Iraq stop once and for all. It’s time to let the Iraqi people rebuild their lives, and it’s time for the US government to take care of our needs here at home.;
|Freedom Road Socialist Organization