Socialist Worker

Who pays the blood price for Blair’s war?

The Respect MP sends this message to everyone marching against the occupation of Iraq.

Issue No. 1943

This Saturday’s march is no nostalgia trip. The war is very much still with us — over 15,000 US and British soldiers have been wounded, over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, and the casualties are mounting daily.

Now Bush is threatening more countries with more wars.

With greater stupidity than normal, Bush declares Syria must withdraw its 14,000 troops from Lebanon because free and fair elections “cannot take place under foreign occupation”.

Did none of his advisers point out that he proclaimed a model election six weeks ago in Iraq, which is under the heel of 140,000 US and foreign troops?

Did he imagine that across the Middle East people would forget that Israel has occupied a part of Syria for four decades?

Did he think that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands would go unnoticed?

Bush is targeting Syria not for the bad things about its regime, but because it has refused to sign up to the Bush-Sharon plan for the Middle East, because it has refused to demonise the resistance movement in southern Lebanon that drove out the Israeli army.

Bush and Blair shroud their aggression in the rhetoric of democracy. But if the mass of people in Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia truly ran those states, the first thing they would do is demand the withdrawal of the US troops stationed there.

Cauldron

Those troops are there, and in Iraq, precisely because the US does not want popular radical governments to come to power. And now the neo-conservatives are debating not whether to attack Iran, but when—directly or though the surrogate Sharon.

What will Iran do if it is attacked? It will turn itself into a seething cauldron of nationalist and Islamic resistance.

Where will it retaliate? It won’t have to go far. Just over the border in southern Iraq US policy has ensured that the Shia clergy are perfectly placed to summon such resistance.

And who else in southern Iraq? Over 9,000 British soldiers, sent there by Tony Blair, conscripted from the dole queues and the lack of decent jobs in the poorest parts of Britain. Thousands of young men have been placed just one fatwa away from catastrophe.

It is they who will pay the “blood price” of Blair’s slavish alliance with Bush. That is why we call for the troops to be brought home now.

No more Bush wars. And no respite for the government that has defied the popular will at home and abroad by taking us in to this disaster.

For more on Respect's planned general election campaign see Respect is our best chance to hit back at Blair


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Sat 19 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1943
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