Socialist Worker

End the occupation and bury the Bush project

Issue No. 1867

SUPPORT FOR the occupation of Iraq is melting away.

A poll on Monday revealed 61 percent of people in Britain oppose the occupation. Half of them want British troops withdrawn immediately.

Every day brings fresh attacks on US and British forces in Iraq. George Bush and Tony Blair are finding themselves increasingly bogged down, while for ordinary Iraqis life is getting worse.

Bush has had to respond to calls to withdraw. He says he will not end the occupation because that would be a devastating blow to US power.

But the chaos in Iraq has already undermined the aggressive military strategy dreamt up by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The Rumsfeld doctrine was that relatively small numbers of US troops could be used to invade and occupy other countries. That would show the US was willing and able to fight on two fronts at once.

The quagmire in Iraq is now provoking rows among Rumsfeld's fellow neo-conservatives.

Robert Kagan is one of the most influential 'neo-cons'. He admits: 'There are not sufficient forces in Iraq today to create the secure environment within which essential political and economic development can proceed. The Bush administration knows this better than anyone. 'That's why it has suddenly launched an all-out drive to get a new United Nations resolution.'

The aim, he says, is to 'make up for the fact that we don't have enough troops'. In return for playing a secondary role in the occupation other powers may hope to reap some of the rewards from the corporate carve-up.

But such an occupation-perhaps endorsed by the UN-would not be a more peaceful, democratic alternative to the one imposed on Iraq now.

Afghanistan is already controlled by soldiers from 31 different countries. There is no democracy. Power lies with warlords who are quietly encouraged by the occupying forces.

Simply swapping US uniforms in Iraq for UN uniforms would mean freeing up Bush's forces to threaten more wars against Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria and other states.

The debates on the occupation in the US administration stink of colonial racism. They are over which combination of Western powers should rule the Iraqi people.

And the occupation forces are copying earlier British colonialists and Saddam Hussein's regime by playing ethnic and religious groups off against each other.

The UN-authorised occupation of Afghanistan is doing the same, stoking up the conditions for ethnic conflict.

The Stop the War Coalition has rightly called for the withdrawal of all troops so that Iraqis can determine their own future.

Forcing the troops out of Iraq would have wider implications.

When the US finally withdrew from Vietnam, the forces of self determination and liberation across the world were strengthened. For years afterwards the US state had to think twice before committing troops overseas.

From the hawks' own mouths

'The president's vision will, in the coming months, either be launched successfully in Iraq, or it will die in Iraq. The future course of American foreign policy, American world leadership, and American security is at stake. Failure in Iraq would be a devastating blow to everything the US hopes to accomplish, and must accomplish, in the decades ahead.'

WILLIAM KRISTOL AND ROBERT KAGAN - two architects of US imperialist strategy

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What We Think
Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
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