By Paddy Meehan
Bush and Blair’s adventure in Iraq has been costly but they are not the ones who are paying the real price. The cost so far of the war is footed by the US and British taxpayer and has spiralled to $400 billion.
The death count continues to rise – to over 3,000 foreign troops and well over 665,000 Iraqis killed. 15% of the population of Iraq have been displaced. Sunni and Shia militias are responsible for escalating sectarian attacks. Every week it is estimated that 3,500 more Iraqis are killed.
Into this chaotic melee, Bush has decided to send 24,000 additional troops – 2,200 have already arrived. The presence of these troops will only add to the bloodshed and do nothing to stop Iraq from descending further into civil war. The war and occupation have created massive instability, not just in Iraq, but throughout the whole of the Middle East.
In just four years, the US war machine that first looked unstoppable is being brought to its knees and is now facing a Vietnam-like defeat. However this is even worse for them than Vietnam as the question of oil reserves means they cannot cut and run so easily.
The reasons for the invasion of Iraq were and still are to make massive profits for the corporations and multinational companies who really call the shots on US foreign policy. Halliburton has received $21 billion in war contracts in Iraq. These multinationals have endless ties to the Bush Administration – and just as many with the Democrats.
Bush’s election defeat last November in which he lost control of both Houses was mainly down to the issue of the war. The victory of the Democrats, despite the fact that most of their Senators voted for the war, was a vote for a lesser evil. They provide no alternative to the war but opposition in America is continually growing among many young people and workers.
We must take the power out of the hands of the war-mongers and profiteers and put it into the hands of youth, workers and poor peasants who are the ones being killed, lied to and exploited for this war. The only solution is a socialist Iraq as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East that is run in the interests of working people rather than the corrupt elites.
Socialist Youth are mobilising against the war. The Socialist Youth Day of Action on 24 March to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion is only the start of an ongoing campaign demanding an immediate end to the occupation.