PRESIDENT Bush, on Wednesday, called for a major expansion of the US army, and yesterday, the British Defence Minister, Browne, slavishly echoed his master’s call, by saying that Britain would have to have a bigger army.
Mind you, his boss Blair had got in first, by declaring that he was already ‘at war with Iran’, during his visit to the feudal rulers of the Gulf States.
Browne complained that soldiers could not be trained ‘on the job in Iraq and in Afghanistan’, and that this approach had already cost the lives of soldiers in both spheres of operations.
Browne said he may need to review the ‘basic assumptions, underpinning the government’s armed forces strategy.
The Defence Secretary was not only responding to the latest US moves, he was also reacting to the annual Dimbleby Lecture, given by the ex-chief of staff, General Jackson.
Jackson had spelt it out, to remain an imperial power, Britain would have to have armed forces to fit the role. This means restoring full powers to the general staff, taking them back from the politicians, and redividing the national cake to see that the armed forces gets its proper share.
This is estimated to be the finances to have an army of some 140,000 troops as well as having the Trident missile, with nuclear warheads, and its replacement, along with a submarine fleet as a platform from which to deliver it to target.
This multi-billion pound expenditure is just for starters.
There also has to be a carrier based navy, and powerful air forces, based on the most modern helicopters plus the Euro-Fighter and the latest US strike fighter in its jump jet mode.
All this will mean a multi-billion increase in defence spending, and a huge attack on the health and education budgets, with a massive privatisation drive of state assets such as the NHS, to finance the defence budget.
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has just set the pace for the UK, by defending the war in Iraq, saying the ‘investment in US lives’, with thousands of troops already dead and over 30,000 seriously wounded, and with over $400 billion dollars spent as well ‘worth it’.
The numbers of dead Iraqis as a result of 13 years of UN sanctions and two Gulf Wars, some three million corpses in all, she did not find to be even worthy of a mention.
Rice is driven by the deepening capitalist crisis and knows that the US has to hold in its hands the major oil and gas producing areas, or US capitalism is finished. For her and the US ruling class, no sacrifice of lives is too much to achieve this objective.
As the representative of the US oil barons she has spelt it out. ‘There have been plenty of markers that show that Iraq is a country that is worth the investment, because once it emerges as a country that is a stabilising factor, you will have a very different kind of Middle East.’
There is not the slightest doubt that both the US and UK working classes will resist the rise of the militarists because their living standards and rights will be one of the main targets.
In fact, in this worldwide struggle they are the allies of the Iraqi, Iranian and Arab masses. This was proven by the shattering of Bush in the US mid term Congressional elections, and the complete discrediting of Blair in Britain.
Blair is hated in the UK because of his slaughter of the Iraqi people, and his attempt to slaughter the NHS. In the period immediately ahead there is no doubt that millions of people will take to the streets in the UK in a way that will pose in front of the working class bringing down the Blair-Brown government to go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.
What will be decisive at that moment, when the government and the ruling class will be at its most vulnerable, is whether the revolutionary party is able to mobilise the working class to smash capitalism and imperialism through taking power and establishing socialism.
Only the WRP is preparing for this situation. Make sure you join it today.