Socialist Worker

Don't pour fuel on the fire in Iraq and Syria

Issue No. 2422

Former US president George W Bush claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to justify his plan for war in 2002

Former US president George W Bush claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to justify his plan for war in 2002 (Pic: White House)


Western politicians are beating the drums of war. The US began bombing Syria on Tuesday. It is already bombing Iraq—and Britain could soon join the attacks. 

Western rulers claim they have to go to war to protect ordinary people from Islamic State, formerly known as Isis.

They use the brutal beheadings of Western hostages carried out by Islamic State militants to justify intervention.

But our rulers aren’t going to war because they care about ordinary people. Their real fear is that Islamic State could threaten their influence in the region.

Whenever they want to launch a war,  they focus on stories of atrocities.  Sometimes these are real, sometimes they are fake.

In the run-up to the Gulf War in 1990, newspapers carried reports of Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators.

The story was a lie. But those at the top know they have more chance of winning support for bloody wars if they claim they will help ordinary people.

They also exaggerate the threat posed by those they want to attack to try and panic people into backing wars.

That’s why we were told the lie that Iraq could unleash weapons of mass destruction “within 45 minutes” in the run-up to the last war.

Yet Western rulers are the biggest killers and pose the biggest threat to ordinary people. Britain’s empire used brutal force to colonise over a fifth of the world’s population (see pages 14&15).

It massacred those who rose up to resist imperial rule.

The US has bombed at least 26 countries since the Second World War. It is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons—wiping out hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Imperialist wars don’t make people safer. The last Western war on Iraq killed more than a million Iraqis.

Over a decade of war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan spawned more instability and violence. They encouraged more sectarian divisions.

Many politicians now condemn the division and violence that they helped create. But a new bombing campaign will only make the world a more dangerous place.

Those opposing war are often asked what the alternative is. It is to resist a strategy designed to boost Western imperialism and make life worse for ordinary people.

War, sectarian violence and imperialism flow from the system we live in. It is a system where a handful of rich killers at the top fight to keep their power by any means necessary.

Our alternative is to fight for a world where these people are swept away—and where ordinary people organise society in the interests of the majority.


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