The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 68/No. 44           November 30, 2004  
Bring the troops home now!
End the imperialist occupation of Iraq! Bring the troops home now!

We urge you to join with others in using the Militant and its sister publication Perspectiva Mundial to campaign with these demands on the job, at factory gates, in the streets or door-to-door visits in working-class neighborhoods, on picket lines, at antiwar rallies, and other public actions.

This is needed in face of Washington’s new brutal offensive in Iraq, which began with the assault on Fallujah and has spread to Mosul and other Iraqi cities.

The U.S. forces are carrying out the war they didn’t fight during last year’s invasion. Their goal is to smash the organized units of the army of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein that dissolved last year in face of the imperialist invaders, hid much of their weaponry and ammunition, and have exacted a high price from the occupation troops in the last 18 months. There is no way for the U.S. military to win this war without definitively defeating the core of its enemy’s forces.

Washington prepared the Fallujah offensive for weeks. It launched it, however, five days after the November 2 U.S. elections. The purpose of this was to avoid giving liberal critics of the Bush administration additional ammunition for their partisan, and false, arguments about a U.S. “quagmire” in Iraq. The timing of Colin Powell’s resignation was not a mere coincidence. The outgoing secretary of state has had tactical disagreements with the Bush administration over the conduct of the war. In fact, the 2003 assault was Rumsfeld’s war, but was followed by Powell’s occupation. The course argued by Powell and former U.S. proconsul in Iraq Paul Bremer delayed the installation of a client regime in Baghdad, the launching of a domestic army the U.S. military could bloody and train, and the final onslaught against the Baathists. But it was merely a delay.

The Militant argued that Washington would pursue the war in Iraq regardless of who won the White House. We said from the beginning this was not Bush’s war but an imperialist assault that serves the interests of America’s ruling billionaire families. The remark by Democrat John Kerry in his November 3 concession speech about “American unity” and the need to “stand together and succeed in the war in Iraq and win the war on terror” is a case in point.

Before Washington launched the invasion in March 2003, the Militant explained that the assault on Iraq was not a war of liberation to bring “freedom” and “democracy” to the Iraqi people, as the U.S. rulers claimed. It was a war of imperialist conquest. At its heart was the goal of dealing blows to Washington’s rivals—especially Paris and Berlin, which had lucrative investments in the country. It was a war over who would control the strategic oil platform that Iraq sits on. It was a war about changing the relationship of forces in the Mideast in favor of U.S. imperialism, as capitalism has entered a worldwide economic depression.

The invading armies swept through Iraq quickly from the south. But they were prevented from launching a simultaneous invasion from the north because of Ankara’s refusal to let Turkish soil be used for the operation. The elite units of Baghdad’s Republican Guard dissolved in face of massive American firepower. Baathists from central Iraq largely staffed these units. That’s where the Hussein regime had its strongest base of support.

Baathist forces from the Sunni Triangle formed the core of the party-police state apparatus of the Hussein regime. Although they’ve lost their privileges since the U.S.-led invasion, they maintained much of their fighting cohesion and weaponry and have been using it in recent months. The Baathists ruled the country with brutality, earning the hatred of the majority of Iraqis—from the Kurds in the north to the Shiites, who are the majority of the population.

That’s why, just like during last year’s invasion, there isn’t much of a protest from Shiites or Kurds in Iraq as Washington flattens sections of Fallujah and moves beyond. No protests are coming from the government of Saudi Arabia, either—a majority Sunni Muslim country—or any of the other regimes in the region.

Washington’s main goal is not to ensure that elections are held in Fallujah and the rest of the Sunni-dominated areas. The U.S. rulers could care less if most Sunnis boycott a vote. They intend to teach Iraq’s former ruling group that the interim regime in Baghdad, its successor, and their U.S. sponsors are not to be messed with. The U.S. government’s aim is to defeat the Baathists in order to consolidate its victory, allowing Washington to establish a stable client regime that would serve U.S. imperialism’s strategic interests in the region.

Elections, whether they take place in January or later next year, will simply ratify the facts on the ground—such as the deals with Shiite and Kurdish groups that U.S. forces are making alongside their military offensive.

The use of Kurdish military units to help repel attacks by Baathists and others on police stations in Mosul is part of this process. It’s possible Washington is laying the groundwork for giving control of sections of the two largest cities in the north to Kurdish parties that have collaborated with U.S. imperialism for more than a decade, along with some form of autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan. This is part of the preparation for setting up a federated Iraq.

Not much stands in the way of this course by U.S. imperialism in Iraq, with all its ramifications for the broader Middle East.

There is no revolutionary resistance in Iraq today to U.S. imperialist domination. That is not because the Iraqi toilers are incapable of fighting. They were disarmed politically, relegated to the sidelines, and forced to act out of fear by the Baathist regime that run a party-police state for 40 years. The bourgeois, reactionary methods of “Islamist” groups that have been kidnapping and beheading hostages simply add to the equation.

U.S. imperialism, however, is not invincible. The use of brute military force in Iraq and the wars to come is a sign of economic and political weakness, not strength. Washington’s military victory in Iraq cannot reverse the downward slide of the curve of capitalist development. Rather, it can accelerate the capitalist depression that is setting in across larger parts of the globe. Conflicts will sharpen between the imperialist powers over the spoils of their wars in Iraq, Ivory Coast, or elsewhere. Yes, trade wars can lead to shooting wars. But military conflicts can accelerate trade conflicts as well.

The permanent instability created by capitalism and imperialism will create more and more openings for working people of Iraq and the region to develop their own revolutionary leadership. To accomplish that the Iraqi toilers need time and an end to the imperialist occupation.

The offensive by the employing classes worldwide to shore up their declining profit rates is also generating resistance. In the middle of the Iraq war, working people in Canada, the United States, and other imperialist countries have waged strikes and other defensive struggles to resist the bosses’ offensive to make us pay for the decline of their system. We need to join with those workers and farmers who refuse to subordinate their struggles to “national unity” and “homeland defense,” and whose actions are objectively the beginning of resistance to imperialist war by the working class—the only class capable of stopping the war makers.
Related articles:
U.S. troops wage war to destroy Baathists
After taking over Fallujah, occupation forces battle in Mosul, Ramadi, other Iraqi cities  
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