WITH 400 billion dollars already spent on digging US imperialism into a very deep hole in Iraq, the Baker committee of elder statesmen or ‘has beens’ – as referred to by the veteran Baker – has estimated that the total cost of the quagmire could run to even $1 trillion.
Baker’s joke about ‘has beens’ has a deadly serious side to it as far as the US ruling class is concerned.
It is not a joke for the imperialists that to try to rescue US imperialism from military and political disaster in the Middle East, a group of pensioners who served former presidents have had to be brought back from the shadow of the grave.
This current debacle is taking place some 30 years after the historic US defeat in Vietnam. It is however, if anything even more significant, since it is taking place in a country and in a region whose oil wealth US imperialism cannot do without.
The defeat in Iraq is therefore a strategic defeat for US imperialism.
Its arrogant rulers were obsessed by their own propaganda that the Stalinist bureaucracy under Gorbachev and then Yeltsin had destroyed the USSR and would be able to restore capitalism, and that this meant that without the Soviet Union’s political and military support, which the Vietnamese people received, no nation on earth could stand up to them.
It has more than a touch of contempt about it for the lack of capacity of the current incumbents of the White House.
It was to be the New World Order, with the end of the old order extending even to the UN.
When it was pointed out to these forces what had happened to the would-be British occupiers of Mesoptamia in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the information was treated as irrelevant. History really was bunk.
September 11 2001 was therefore seized upon as an opportunity to attack Iraq, advance at lightning speed to Baghdad, taking advantage of the impact of 13 years of cruel sanctions, and seize hold of the oil resources of the Middle East, beginning a golden age for US capitalism.
However, they did not reckon with the determination and the power of the Iraqi masses to defend their own country against the greatest military power in the world, and the determination of workers in the UK and the US to march, demonstrate and oppose the Bush-Blair axis.
Now, in front of the people of the whole world, the ex-head of the CIA and the current US Secretary of State for Defence, Donald Gates has had to admit, three and a half years after President Bush’s declaration from aboard a US aircraft carrier that the US had won the war in Iraq, that the US had in fact lost it, and that the entire region is in danger of being consumed by a violent conflagration.
Blair, a politically broken man, has had to limp to Washington to try to receive new orders from his US master, President Bush, at a time when the president himself does not know which way to turn, whether to withdraw troops or send more, whether to court Iran and Syria or to bomb them – the greatest imperialist power in the world has lost its rudder.
It is clear that all of the Iraqi anti-occupation forces, whether they be secular, Shia or Sunni must now unite to drive the occupiers out of Iraq and send them scurrying back to the US and the UK.
The US and UK workers who have received huge blows to their jobs, wages, pensions, health care and basic rights at the hands of the Bush and Blair regimes must now take action to support the Iraqi people and secure the withdrawal of all US and UK troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the US, the working class must force Bush to quit and advance to a Labour Party.
In Britain, the millions of trade unionists who marched against the 2003 attack on Iraq must now force their trade union leaders to take action to bring down the Blair government.
The trade unions must give the Blair-Brown government an ultimatum that it either withdraws all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan or the trade unions will call a general strike to bring the government down, to go forward to a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies at home and abroad.