US CASUALTIES are now mounting in both Afghanistan and Iraq, while at home the anti-war and anti-Bush movement is growing by leaps and bounds, after over 300,000 Americans demonstrated in Washington on September 24th against the war.
The US has lost over 1,941 troops in Iraq, plus 15,000 troops who have been seriously wounded, while in Afghanistan the US has lost 54 troops killed in action, this year alone.
The US military has now been forced to admit that despite all of the billions of dollars poured into Iraq there is only one batallion of Iraqi puppet forces capable of taking the field against the insurgents, unaided by US troops.
The US military was at a loss to explain to Senators how this figure fell from the last estimate that there were three batallions capable of taking on the insurgents.
Meanwhile, far from British troops being withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, they are about to be reinforced. Defence Minister John Reid has said that Nato troops should be sent to southern Afghanistan to boost security and counter the drugs trade. However, France, Germany and Spain believe Nato troops should keep to peacekeeping.
So Britain is to send 4,000 more troops to assist the 18,000 US troops who are already in southern Afghanistan.
Reid admitted a move to Helmand could bring British fatalities, but added: ‘It is not a matter of casualties, but a matter of trying to avoid innocent casualties of terrorism.’ He is a Defence Minister who is very generous with the lives of his troops.
Meanwhile, the EU has found that there were worrying levels of fraud in last September’s Afghan elections, no doubt carried out by the various warlord allies of the US-UK axis, who control opium production.
In its own election-day report on the $US159 million polls, the UN-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body noted that ‘a full spectrum of irregularities seen in post-conflict environments was certainly present’ during the vote. Truly a democracy in the making!
Meanwhile, the British armed forces have come unstuck in southern Iraq, and have had to surrender control of Basra, Iraq’s second city, to the control of various pro-Iranian militias. These militias were allowed back into southern Iraq in May 2003 from Iran, under condition that they ran the area for Britain.
Now that Iran and the UK have fallen out over Iran’s nuclear energy programme, British forces are finding themselves under heavy attack.
The whole scenario has had a devastating effect on the morale of the British army. Yesterday, the UK chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Michael Walker, admitted that ‘the country was not necessarily behind the decision to go to war.’ He added that troops felt, ‘We are, if you like, guilty by association with a decision to go to war that not the whole of this country enjoined.’
When asked if the war was winnable, Walker replied ‘Winnable is the wrong word.’ He warned that the UK and the US would have to be satisfied with a ‘less than perfect outcome’ – in other words a defeat.
More British troops are being sucked into southern Afghanistan while the British army from the top to the bottom has had enough of the imperialist war in Iraq.
There is no better time than this for the British trade unions to take action to bring down the Blair government to achieve a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq at once.