Socialist Worker

Free Iraq - troops out now!

Respect MP George Galloway writes on the brutal US assault against Fallujah and the heroic popular resistance to it.

Issue No. 1923c

THE MOST bloody assault yet on Fallujah has started.

The forces of the illegal occupation have not waited for the outcome of next month’s US presidential election.

The offensive has begun on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan—a barbaric insult that could not be more calculated to humiliate the Islamic world.

The British and European news channels will not show the pictures that Al Jazeera is beaming across the Arabic-speaking world as we march today.

Even before this latest assault, the reality behind the sanitised images we have been shown here is the horror of women decapitated by US bombs, children’s bodies burnt beyond recognition, and the corridors of what was once an advanced hospital awash with blood and filth.

Everything visited on the Palestinian people over the last four years is now being rained down in a matter of days on the people of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities, after the US military took the appropriate tactical advice from Israel’s generals.

What does it mean, this “operation” in Fallujah? It means a siege and Blitzkrieg against a city the size of Plymouth, Verona or Granada.

But the enforced redepolyment of US troops to commit this murder means something else.

It means that men armed only with hand-held weapons, defending their homes and families, are halting the advance of the biggest superpower in history, with its F-16s, tanks and artillery.

In Baghdad and other Iraqi cities people have taken to the streets in support of Fallujah.

The hordes of “foreign fighters” in Iraq are the ones wearing US and British uniforms.

The resistance is not the work of terrorists.

It is the work of freedom fighters who have done what Vietnamese villagers did when they too took up arms to free their country from foreign occupation.

Then, as now, the occupiers say they were invited to stay by the very quislings they installed.

But, as I and others predicted before this war, the Iraqi people in their immense majority will accept neither occupation nor a puppet government.

Everything those who took us to war said was a lie, and everything the anti-war movement said would happen has come to pass.

Now those who told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are spinning a new lie—that they are occupying Iraq to protect the Iraqis from themselves.

Yet it is the US and British forces who are responsible for twice as many Iraqi deaths as the resistance.

There can be no equivocation, no falling for another lie. The occupation must end now, and all who want peace must stand with the Iraqi people as they resist.

The immediate fate of the US’s drive for a new empire will be sealed in Iraq—perhaps over the coming weeks.

Last month there were an average of 87 armed attacks on US forces each day.

That was higher than August, which was in turn higher than July, which was in turn higher than June.

Imperialism is getting a bloody good hiding in Iraq between the hammer of the Iraqi resistance and the anvil of the global anti-war movement.

The people of Fallujah and the Iraqi resistance are in the front line.

Are we to stand idly by, or are we to resist at home?

We marched in our millions against the war, and our movement has come so far.

Now we must mobilise a movement of millions for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and in solidarity with the Iraqi resistance.

The anti-war movement has already shaped world opinion.

Last week a poll commissioned by internationally renowned papers found opposition to the occupation extends from Canada, through Europe, to South Korea and Australia.

And, from the Atlantic coast of north Africa to the archipelago of Indonesia, the Muslim world seethes.

In Britain 71 percent of people want the troops out.

Yet Tony Blair is considering sending more. He is deploying forces to Baghdad to free up US forces for the new assault.

He is ordering more of our young people—like Gordon Gentle, recruited from the dole queues—to kill and be killed for that imbecile in the White House.

This imperial escapade is failing. The only question is how many more lives Bush and Blair will sacrifice before they are forced out of Iraq.

Our success should give us all hope that if we mobilise now with the verve we showed on 15 February last year and with the tenacity of the people of Fallujah then we can end this nightmare sooner rather than later.

We will not “move on” or “find closure”, or whatever the latest psychobabble is.

For here in Britain we face another nightmare, a corpse looking for a decent burial—Tony Blair and his government.

We will not allow this blood-drenched serial liar to escape.

If the Labour Party conference and Labour MPs will not hold him to account, then we will—on the streets, in our schools, colleges and workplaces, and at the polls.

As we bring new energy to our anti-war movement, let us also forge a force to challenge the warmongering parties at the coming general election.

That is what we are doing in Respect. I invite you to join us.

George Galloway was about to address a 1,500-strong Respect meeting at the ESF as Socialist Worker went to press. To join Respect phone 020 7170 4030.


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Sun 17 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1923c
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