Friday 11 April 2003

US barbarism in Iraq

Having watched in horror the slaughter of Iraqi soldiers and civilians alike, people around the world are demonstrating this weekend to express their revulsion over the US-British war of aggression. In Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles large numbers will march on April 12-13 to disassociate themselves from the murderous policies of the Bush administration and express their solidarity with the Iraqi people.

Those who march today are well aware that global antiwar protests by millions earlier this year—the largest in the history of the world—failed to halt the US invasion. All who are determined to fight against this and future acts of imperialist barbarism confront the need for a new political strategy to carry forward this fight.

An effective struggle against war must find firmer political foundations than moral outrage alone. It requires an understanding of the underlying causes of militarism and the development of a program capable of mobilizing the social forces that can put an end to war and the system that creates it.

The US-British conquest of Iraq is an atrocity of world-historic proportions. Confirmed civilian casualties already number in the thousands. Hospitals are admitting 100 patients an hour. They are awash in the blood of women and children hit by tank fire, cluster bombs and shrapnel from cruise missiles. Overworked surgeons are performing amputations without anesthesia and lack even water to clean wounds. Corpses are stacked like cords of wood.

The roads to Baghdad are littered with the burnt-out hulks of civilian vehicles, their passengers lying dead in the road beside them. These killings are calculated and premeditated. Once the US military encountered unexpected resistance from both Iraqi soldiers and civilians in the opening days of the invasion, the order was given to implement a policy of mass slaughter.

So-called “pockets of resistance”—snipers bullets and small arms fire—are being answered with air strikes and devastating artillery barrages. The infamous prescription of the Vietnam War era—“We had to destroy the village to save it”—is being applied in heavily populated urban areas.

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