Iraqis Reject U.S.-Installed Government — Bring the Troops Home Now!

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Iraq has become a disaster, and ordinary working people are paying the price. Over $125 billion has already been paid out, while nearly 1,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been slaughtered in a war based on lies.

The war was never about democracy. The new “sovereign” Iraqi interim government headed by former CIA informant Iyad Allawi was appointed by the U.S. and rests entirely on the 160,000 coalition forces. It is the presence of this occupation force alongside the social crisis created by 13 years of U.S.-imposed war and sanctions that is fueling the insurgency. Electricity and clean water are still in short supply; unemployment and preventable diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis are rampant.

Throughout July, the interim government struggled to gain a footing in Iraq. Then in early August, a widespread uprising of Iraqi Shi’as, led by the radical Shi’a cleric Muqtada al Sadr, triggered some of the deadliest fighting since the fall of Baghdad. In Najaf, hundreds of Iraqis – mostly civilians – were killed in just two days of battles.

This latest uprising marks the failure of “Iraqi-ization” – the handover of power Bush hoped would represent a first step in the transition towards a stable pro-U.S. regime. It is also the latest warning sign that the U.S. will not succeed in imposing a solution in Iraq that is favorable to imperialism.

The Writing on the Wall
“Indeed, watching any Western television station in Baghdad these days is like tuning in to Planet Mars. Doesn’t [British Prime Minister Tony Blair] realize that Iraq is about to implode? Doesn’t Bush realize this? The American-appointed ‘government’ controls only parts of Baghdad – and even there its ministers and civil servants are car-bombed and assassinated. Baquba, Samara, Kut, Mahmoudiya, Hilla, Fallujah, Ramadi, all are outside government authority. Iyad Allawi, the ‘Prime Minister,’ is little more than mayor of Baghdad” (The Independent, 8/3/04).

This is the picture of Iraq described by Arabic-speaking British journalist Robert Fisk in Baghdad just days before the Shi’a uprising. The situation Fisk describes is far different from the one Bush describes on the campaign stump.

Despite Bush’s insistence that the situation has improved since the transfer of power, attacks on coalition forces and Iraqi police have intensified. Firefights, rocket attacks, car bombings, roadside bombs, and mortar attacks remain a part of daily life in Iraq.

U.S. casualties continue to mount at one of the highest rates since the occupation began. There were 61 U.S. deaths in July, compared to 44 in June. The number of U.S. military deaths is almost 1,000. U.S. injuries have already hit 10,000. In July, over 700 Iraqis died from violence, the highest one-month total since the invasion ended.

There is now a lot of doubt that elections will go ahead as scheduled in January. The National Convention, a body assembled for the purpose of arranging the elections, has already been postponed twice. Continuously denying Iraqis the right to vote for a government will only intensify their hatred towards U.S. imperialism and give further impetus to the insurgency.

The U.S. Faces Defeat
At this stage, the U.S. has few appealing options to bring about a favorable conclusion for imperialism. The U.S. tried to answer the April uprisings with brute force, attempting to smash Fallujah. This experience only proved that U.S. military power alone is insufficient to crush the insurgent forces. In the end, the U.S. was forced to negotiate and ceded control of Fallujah, a tacit defeat for the U.S.

The Washington Post (July 7) reported “Iraqi sources” are worried about “a radicalization of young Iraqis caught up in the battle… One Iraqi source estimated that at least 28 different insurgent groups have formed in recent months, some – but not all – based in Fallujah.”

With a prolonged guerrilla war on the horizon, the U.S. ruling class is rallying to stay the course. Arguing that the U.S. cannot just “cut and run,” both mainstream parties and their candidates have endorsed the war in Iraq, with John Kerry calling for sending in tens of thousands more troops.

General Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has predicted the U.S. will be there for at least five years. Bush signed a bill in early August sending $25 billion more to the Pentagon, and is expected to ask for billions more when the new fiscal year begins in October.

But growing opposition in the U.S. and among troops and their families complicates this position, and an over-stretched military only makes it worse. Any effort to increase troop levels or lengthen deployments may only provoke a reaction of mass protests at home.

The U.S. faces defeat in Iraq. Either the U.S. abandons its aims of imposing a pliant stooge regime and withdraws, suffering a massive blow to its power and prestige in the process; or it can face the Vietnam scenario, where the it is forced out by a powerful combination of social forces, including millions of Iraqis fighting for national liberation, thousands of soldiers refusing to die for lies, and millions of working people in the U.S. and around the world refusing to cooperate with the aims of imperialism.

However, at this point the political forces that dominate the Iraqi resistance are reactionaries who would impose an Iranian-style theocracy if they came to power. This of course in no way justifies the American occupation, which has only strengthened these reactionaries at every turn. But the Iraqi working class urgently needs to develop its own organizations, independently fighting to end imperialist occupation and capitalist rule through mass struggle.

Every pretext for this war has been exposed as a malicious lie designed to manipulate support for a war about oil, power, and prestige – not about the safety of ordinary Americans. We need urgently to build anti-war committees in every city, town, campus, and workplace as a step towards building a movement powerful enough to bring about an immediate end to the occupation.

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