'EXECUTED AS planned.' That was how US president George W Bush described the bombing of Afghanistan this week.
He was speaking as news emerged that US bombs had killed four United Nations civilian staff in the country. The four were working to help clear mines in Afghanistan, a legacy of the years of war which have already devastated the country.
'This is a civilian area,' said a shocked UN official of the building where the four workers were killed. Another UN official described the scene of carnage after the US bombing: 'Pieces of their bodies are still to be recovered from the wreckage.' This murder exposes the bloody reality of the war which media coverage has worked so hard to disguise.
The tabloids have urged on the bombing in headlines like 'Blitz On Mad Mullah'. Beneath that very headline was a picture of 16 year old Assadullah, an Afghan street boy who sells ice cream for a living. His left leg and two fingers had been blown off in the US attack.
Assadullah was another of the early victims of the 'war on terrorism'. Thousands more will die from the bombing and starvation over the next few weeks, just as brutally as the people who died in the World Trade Centre. The US government is now openly talking about extending this war to other states that it sees as a threat.
'We may find that our self defence requires further actions with respect to other organisations and states,' a US letter to the United Nations stated this week. This is a war about US imperialism. Bush and his cronies boast that the 21st century is 'the American century'. Corporations that finance both the major US political parties see the whole world as their plaything, to be subjugated to their drive for profit. They are prepared to bomb into submission anyone who in any way stands up to them.
They have picked on Afghanistan as their first target precisely because it is so poor and defenceless against aerial attacks. They know that such attacks will kill civilians.
Their military campaign in Afghanistan is at one with their writing of the rules of the World Trade Organisation, or their use of the World Bank and IMF to act as debt collectors from Third World countries. It is an integral part of the strategy that supports despotic regimes throughout the Middle East and backs Israel in its oppression of the Palestinians-a strategy of ensuring that US multinationals can control the flow of oil in the region.
And so they are talking about turning their attention to Iraq, a country that has already been devastated by ten years of US bombs and sanctions. Bush and his gang want to strike out at Syria, Sudan and even Iran-countries they regard as 'rogue' states. Tony Blair is intent on being in the front line of the US's plans for global domination.
He has been the most hawkish world leader in calling for the bombing of Afghanistan, and travelling round the world shoring up support for US and British attacks. Blair's craven support for this war is putting Britain in the firing line for any retaliation attacks that may take place.
Unfortunately some people who had reservations about US revenge attacks a few weeks ago have now flipped over to backing the bombing. International development minister Clare Short, who expressed doubts about the war, is now in Blair's war cabinet.
Mirror political editor Paul Routledge and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee now declare this is a 'just war'. Despite this, and the celebration of destruction by the mainstream media, there is a big minority of people in Britain and around the world opposed to the war.
The large protest meetings and vigils in the lead-up to the bombing, and the emergency vigils after the bombing, showed people are willing to speak out. The demonstrations in London and Glasgow this Saturday will be an important step in building a huge anti-war movement in Britain. Everybody who wants to put an end to this mad war should join the marches this Saturday.
But we also need to get the anti-war message out to the millions of people who have reservations about this war and want to stand up against the half truths of the media. Over the coming weeks and months, as the onslaught on Afghanistan intensifies, anti-war activists have to be on the streets, in every workplace and in every college, building the widest possible opposition to Bush and Blair's war. We cannot allow the leaders of the US and Britain to do to the people of Kabul what they did to the people of Baghdad and Belgrade.