A NEW report from the Costs of War Project at Brown University has exposed the death toll of imperialist wars across the globe. It has exposed the total death and destruction, the financial cost of war, along with highlighting the immense profits enjoyed by the weapons manufacturers. According to the report the so-called ‘war on terror’ since 2001 has taken almost one million lives across the globe and has cost America $8 trillion over the past two decades.
Catherine Lutz, the co-director of the project, said: ‘The war has been long and complex and horrific and unsuccessful … and the war continues in over 80 countries.’ The report estimates that 897,000 to 929,000 people have lost their lives as a direct result of war, whether by bombs, bullets or fire.
And this is just the immediate death toll of imperialist war. In Iraq, US and UK forces used weapons made of depleted uranium. The radiation poisoned the entire country, got into the food chain and the water supply. As a result, the next generation in Iraq was born with horrific birth defects, the like of which had never been seen – children born with their organs on the outside of their bodies, born with no eyes and no mouths.
The Costs of War Project estimates that the 20-year war in Afghanistan alone cost US taxpayers $2.3 trillion, besides resulting in the deaths of 2,324 US military personnel, 4,007 US contractors and 46,319 Afghan civilians.
The US Congress gave $2.02 trillion to the top five American weapons companies – Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman – between 2001 and 2021. And between 2002 and 2020, federal funding for those five weapons companies grew by 188 per cent.
Whereas the US is the world’s biggest arms exporter, the UK remains the second biggest arms exporter. British manufacturers exported £11bn worth of arms during 2019 – the second highest figure on record. UK exports also exceeded those of Russia and France for the second year in a row, according to official figures released by the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian activists have been occupying the London headquarters of the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems and its factories around the country.
Palestine Action said Elbit’s drones had been used by Israeli forces to bombard and spy on Palestinian civilians before they entered the global market, where they were sold as ‘battle-tested’ and ‘field-proven’ to governments around the world.
According to Palestine Action, it has disrupted Elbit’s operations for 105 days out of 365, across the company’s 10 UK sites, including Kent, the Greater Manchester area, Runcorn and Leicester. Such action must be backed up by strike action by the trade unions and a full boycott of all Israeli goods and services. British imperialist forces were beaten in Afghanistan now they have to be beaten at home!
UK forces along with US and German forces have been humiliated and driven out in a struggle led by the Taliban. The country has finally been liberated from foreign occupiers.
Imperialism has suffered a catastrophic defeat in Afghanistan, but as the leader of the Russian revolution, Lenin, said: ‘There is no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation for imperialism.’ They are driven by capitalism’s desperate need to seek out new markets, to acquire raw materials for production, to steal other countries’ oil, precious metals and other natural resources.
Imperialism is driven to new wars. It is driven to war against Russia, war against China and war against Iran. Imperialism is also driven to class wars against the working class in the UK and the USA who will have to pay the bill for the massive crisis of capitalism.
Meanwhile, witnessing the most powerful armies of NATO being beaten by the Taliban has spurred the working class in capitalist nations to rise up against their rulers. In France, Greece, Germany, the US and the UK, workers are rising up, taking to the streets and organising strike after strike.
Losing the war in Afghanistan means the UK rulers are stepping up the war against workers at home, cutting jobs, pay, pensions and benefits. And for the workers of the US it means mass unemployment, homelessness and debt.
For the working class, the enemy is at home and it is the UK and US ruling classes. The time has come for the organisation of the UK and US socialist revolutions, to smash capitalism and lay the basis for completing the world socialist revolution – to put an end to imperialist war by putting an end to imperialism itself!