Obama still fuels the fires that Bush’s wars started
According to US president Barack Obama the rise of Isis is an “unintended consequence” of the invasion and occupation of Iraq that was championed by his predecessor George W Bush.
He said Isis is “a direct outgrowth of Al Qaida in Iraq”. This is hardly new information. US intelligence agencies warned Bush prior to the war that it would lead to instability.
Senator John D Rockefeller revealed that intelligence had told them that an “American invasion would bring about instability in Iraq that would be exploited by Iran and Al Qaida terrorists”.
So the rise of Al Qaida and then Isis was not unexpected. The Bush invasion strategy failed.
US-led armed forces were defeated in both Iraq and in Afghanistan. Obama is signalling a shift in US policy.
But under Obama there has also been much continuity with the Bush regime. Prisoners are still locked up in Guantanamo Bay despite Obama’s election promise to shut it down. And the number of deadly drone attacks in Pakistan have increased.
Last summer Obama continued to arm Israel as it waged a brutal and devastating war on Gaza. His recent public disagreements with Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu are about a refusal to continue with the illusion of “peace talks” with the Palestinians.
But talking peace while waging war is a policy developed for Israel under the Bush regime. All of these are factors that led to the rise of Isis.
But importantly the grievances and injustices that sustain it remain in place under Obama’s current policies.
To win real peace in the Middle East requires a movement that can unite all of the people of the region against their rulers. And we need a movement that will get rid of ours.
Mark Krantz, Manchester
Facts at fingertips
I was really pleased to read the centre pages you had last week (Socialist Worker, 21 March) all about immigration and the lies that are told.
It is scary how much immigrants are being blamed for all the problems in Britain.
You have to have the facts. And the issues covered in your paper about migrants and housing and the health service are so useful to have at your fingertips.
I was also interested to find out about immigration controls only being quite a recent occurrence. Thanks for the useful article.
Laura, North London
No to bad science
Hugh Parsons (Letters, 21 March) writes in favour of homeopathy, pointing to some of the disasters caused by big pharma, such as thalidomide.
But homeopathy remains bad science. It rests on beliefs once thought to be scientific—like water having memory.
Babies’ lives are put at risk and sometimes lost when parents, frightened by big pharma, choose not to immunise their children against killer diseases such as measles.
Instead they choose ineffective remedies such as homeopathic vaccines.
Placebos sometimes have a place in good medicine—but it should be a very limited place.
Dr Kambiz Boomla, East London
We shouldn’t support a call to vote SNP
After last year’s referendum in Scotland many people have joined the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) looking for a progressive, left wing alternative to Labour.
The Labour-run council in Glasgow has pushed through massive cuts.
I was a community worker with the council until it cut that service. John Brown (Letters, 21 March) asks us to vote SNP. But the SNP is not an anti-austerity party. They share power in Edinburgh and Dundee and have made massive cuts too.
It would be to betray our principles of fighting the cuts if we were to back the SNP in the election in May.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing anti-austerity candidates.
It calls for investment in public services, jobs and opportunities for young people.
But far from being the “pariahs” John suggests, many people are happy to hear an alternative voice against cuts and the scapegoating of migrants.
I welcome friendly debates ahead of the vote. But its an opportunity to say enough of the cuts.
We can’t afford to water the message down.
Clare Lyall, Glasgow
Socialists back Polish miners in their fight
A protest took place outside the Polish consulate in Edinburgh in solidarity with Polish miners in the region of Silesia earlier this month.
They are fighting mine closures, job losses, extension of the working week and attacks on the union.
Ten miners were sacked after trade union activists organised a solidarity demonstration.
The state retaliated by firing tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets at unarmed protesters.
There is a growing and visible Polish community in Edinburgh. They face exploitative practices by bosses and anti-immigrant racism.
Socialists and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) back the miners and stand united against racism.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
Ayesha Saleem, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for Edinburgh East
Rodney Reed must be freed
The Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) in the US began reviewing Rodney Reed’s case this week.
Rodney is on death row in Texas for a murder he did not commit.
The CCA is set to rule by the end of April about whether he should receive DNA testing.
Let’s keep the pressure on to make sure the CCA knows what is obvious to us—Rodney is innocent and should be free!
We Demand Justice—Free Rodney Reed Campaign
Solidarity to fire strikers
Sending solidarity wishes to the Fire and Rescue control workers in Essex striking against shift changes and a new computer system.
They work so hard under a lot of pressure. It’s a disgrace that bosses blame them for the computer system’s failures.
Anne Doherty, East London
Greens are not so radical
Like Graham Manley (Letters, 21 March) many people on the left are now considering joining the Green Party.
The party’s left wing rhetoric provides a welcome alternative to all the major parties. But its record in office is less impressive. The Greens have put through cuts.
Capitalism cannot be reformed—it has to be smashed. This is why it’s important to be in a revolutionary party such as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
Bethan Turner, East London
Greek workers must organise
The troika, banks and big business want to crush Greek workers.
The crisis is reaching a decisive stage. Left party Syriza’s leaders have roared like lions but have come out like lambs.
The working class need to organise. Revolutionaries should give the lead to shift control to workers. It’s the only way to defend the Greek people from the bosses’ onslaught.
Ron Senchak, Manchester