If anyone had any doubt about whether it was right to protest against George Bush’s visit to Britain, they should just look at the carnage taking place in Iraq this week.
US troops launched 38 attacks and used a 500-pound satellite guided bomb on Monday in what one US officer called an attempt to “absolutely crush resistance”.
Two more 500-pound bombs were dropped on the towns of Tikrit and Fallujah last week. “Operation Iron Hammer” followed this. Helicopters and armoured vehicles were used to attack targets in the capital, Baghdad, in a massive show of US firepower.
The press has focused on British and US casualties in Iraq. But the real horror is the unknown number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the war and the chaos of the occupation.
Iraqis face daily humiliation at the hands of British and US troops. They must go through US security checkpoints all over Iraq with armed guards and barbed wire, and undergo regular searches of houses by troops. These echo the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
George Bush is the chief architect of this war against the Iraqi people. The anger felt against him is completely justified. And it is having an effect.
As Bush arrived in Britain the US establishment were panicking about the possible impact of demonstrations. The visit was supposed to be a photo opportunity to launch Bush’s presidential campaign in the US next year.
David Frum, Bush’s former speechwriter, was quoted as saying, “President Bush’s imminent state visit to the United Kingdom is shaping up as one of the worst media debacles of his presidency.”
We should be just as angry at Blair as we are at Bush.
Blair has stood by Bush throughout the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. He invited Bush to Britain 18 months ago at the same meeting where the two of them agreed on the invasion of Iraq.
The continuing horror in Iraq shows that it is right to protest against Bush, and to continue organising opposition to the occupation of Iraq.
The leaders of Britain’s mainstream political parties have extended a warm welcome to the world’s worst warmonger. This shows how vital it is that we forge a left political alternative.