End the Iraq and Afghan wars! Let the Chagossians return home!

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ON the fifth anniversary of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the working class and the young people of the UK and the US, the aggressor states, are faced with taking decisive action to secure the withdrawal of all US and UK forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to prevent a new war being organised in the dying moments of the Bush presidency against Iran.

The British working class in its majority have opposed the war in Iraq from the time of the publication of the dodgy dossier, and now just as strongly opposes the military adventure in Afghanistan, where military action in Helmand province, miraculously does not interfere with the production of record breaking opium crops.

The workers and youth of America have shown by their massive support for Obama, who has opposed the Iraq war from before its launch date, and said that he is prepared if elected as president to talk to the Iranian leadership, that they want the imperialist policy of the US ruling class ditched.

Yet this ruling class does not flinch from its war mongering.

Earlier this week, Admiral William Fallon resigned as the commander of the US forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The resignation was interpreted as a sign that the US military chiefs, after the way that the US army has been savaged in Iraq, does not want to see it risk destruction with an attack on Iran, but that Bush and Cheney are still determined to take such military action before Bush is removed from office.

To emphasise the point the Republican candidate for the Presidency, John McCain is visiting Gordon Brown next week with a message.

This is, if the British army is withdrawn from southern Iraq, including a further reduction of the Basra garrison this spring, it will open up the way for the US being forced out of Iraq, and that such a development will end the ‘special relationship’.

British officers are already briefing newspapers that the projected spring drawdown of the Basra garrison must be halted, and the retreat from Iraq stopped.

There is not the slightest doubt that Brown will respond to any heavy US pressure with capitulation.

Therefore, the trade unions and the entire anti-war movement has to take action to ensure that British troops are withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, in place of the deeper involvement that is being plotted and planned.

It is a fact, that the attack on Iraq was not stopped by the million strong protest marches. Marches do not stop imperialist wars.

Blair simply called the bluff of the trade unions and the anti-war movement which refused to go beyond demonstrating.

The trade unions and the anti-war movement must spell out to Brown that all British troops must be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, or else they will organise a campaign of industrial and political action, leading to a general strike to bring the government down.

The only way to stop an imperialist war is with a socialist revolution.

There is also the question of the US nuclear base in Diego Garcia, that doubles as a torture centre by kind permission of the British government.

Action must be taken to dismantle this base and to stop the torturers.

This means the whole trade union movement must support the Chagossian people who were ethnically cleansed from the Chagos Islands by the Wilson and Heath governments so that the US base could be built.

They want their right to return. The British government is insisting that they will not have it and is appealing against a Court of Appeal decision that they be allowed to return to the outer islands of the group.

Brown is determined to defend the US base in order to prepare for war against Iran.

The Chagossians are determined to win their right to return to Diego Garcia and that the US base will be dismantled. The British trade unions must give them their full support and as many workers and youth as possible must attend their London meeting this afternoon at 5pm (see page 1).