GEORGE BUSH is still planning a massive military invasion of Iraq. A classified document, drawn up by top US military planners, has revealed that the US plans to send 250,000 US soldiers and marines to invade Iraq. When revulsion grew at the prospect of a war on Iraq, we were told that Tony Blair had restrained Bush and there would be no war.
But the latest revelations show that the US wants to push ahead with its plan. Bush and his gang in the White House want a three-pronged assault on Iraq by land, air and sea forces. They plan to launch the invasion from the countries of Jordan, whose leadership is officially opposed to an attack on Iraq, and Kuwait. The US will also use hundreds of aircraft based in up to ten countries to launch attacks across Iraq.
The details in the plan are so precise that experts say it has moved well beyond the preliminary stages. 'Right now, we're at the stage of conceptual thinking and brainstorming,' a senior US defence official told reporters.
The Observer says that eyewitnesses claim preparation for the invasion is already under way in the Musafaq Salti airbase in Jordan. The US airforce is reported to be stocking up on munitions and spare parts and is setting up munitions dumps in Gulf states.
These plans show the US is ready to attack Iraq, whether or not Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein lets in weapons inspectors. Bush has already given the go-ahead for US special forces to assassinate or capture Saddam Hussein, and to help prepare for an all-out military attack. Just two weeks ago US vice-president Dick Cheney stepped up the gung-ho war by threatening, 'Wars are not won on the defensive. 'We must take the battle to the enemy.'
Tony Blair is backing Bush's war plans, even though over half the British population is opposed to any military attack on Iraq. New Labour is increasing Britain's military budget by £1 billion, it was revealed last week. This is the first rise in military spending for over a decade.
US and British bombing and sanctions have already created a humanitarian disaster in Iraq. Half a million children, according to Unicef, have died as a direct result of sanctions. The invasion of Iraq would mean death and destruction on an even greater scale.
Chaos in Afghanistan
BUSH AND Blair already have blood on their hands from their war in Afghanistan. Far from bringing peace to Afghanistan, the US has created chaos and instability. Its war has bolstered the power of local warlords. Their rivalries again erupted with the assassination of the vice-president of Afghanistan, Haji Abdul Qadir, outside his office last week.
He was a warlord the US regarded as a key player in Afghanistan's future. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) warned this week about the impact of the chaos in Afghanistan. 'UNHCR is extremely concerned about the escalating violence and the worsening human rights situation in northern Afghanistan,' said the agency's spokesperson Yusuf Hassan.
'The renewed factional fighting is not only hampering the return of refugees but also sparking new displacement.' The US and Britain have not poured in funds to 'rebuild Afghanistan', as they promised.
The UN agency says thousands of refugees could be forced to leave the war-damaged villages and towns because of lack of shelter and drinking water.
Instead the US is bombing civilians. It finally admitted last week it had killed some 48 people when its planes bombed a village wedding party in the Uruzgan province. The slaughtered were mainly women and children. One hundred people were injured. Yet, without a shred of evidence, the US continued to insist that its aircraft came under 'hostile fire'.
Bush refused to apologise to the injured or families of the dead. The US warmongering in Afghanistan and Iraq has led the Stop the War Coalition to call a national demonstration on Saturday 28 September. Over the next two months anti-war campaigners should go all out to mobilise people from trade unions, workplaces, colleges, schools and community groups.
We should be following Tony Benn's call to get people to pledge to join protests and take part in civil disobedience the moment the US attacks Iraq. The Stop the War Coalition is also collecting thousands of signatures on a national petition to protest against the threat to Iraq.
There is wide anger at Bush and Blair's war drive. We need to build on that to create a vibrant mass anti-war movement.
PENSIONERS outside parliament last week on a protest against poverty. It would cost £1 billion to extend free personal care for the elderly to England and Wales. Yet New Labour has chosen to increase its millitary budget by £1 billion
STOP THE WAR COALITION
Demonstrate, Saturday 28 September
STOP BUSH AND BLAIR'S WAR DRIVE
1pm, Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square;
Supported by CND