THE chickens are coming home to roost for British imperialism, as the mounting casualty figures in both Afghanistan and Iraq show.
It is a long time since a British Chief of the General Staff admitted publicly, as General Sir Richard Dannatt did earlier this week, that the British army in Afghanistan was just about coping, i.e. was on the brink of going under to the Taleban.
High Tory newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph are full of stories of ‘our boys’ having to fight for 24 hours of every single day, about being permanently under fire and under siege from hordes of Taleban fighters who have not heard of the word fear.
The contradiction is that despite the fact that the situation is perilous and can only get worse, so weak is British imperialism and so great is its dependence on the United States, that there can be no question of a retreat. It cannot detach itself from Bush’s war chariot.
British forces will be in Afghanistan and Basra until the inevitable settlement of accounts takes place between the beleaguered imperialist forces and the masses of the local population, who have seen tens of thousands of their compatriots die at the hands of the imperialist forces.
Meanwhile, the Tories and the military are screaming for more and more resources to be put at the disposal of the army. They demand that masses of new equipment be bought in the US to assist the British forces in the field. Satisfying these demands means cutting the health and education budgets thus sharpening the class struggle at home.
Then there is the spectre of the expected announcement by President Bush that there is to be a ‘coalition of the willing’ to confront Iran.
The reason given will be a variation of the ‘reason’ for the Iraq invasion. Then it was the lie that Iraq had WMDs. As far as Iran is concerned, the reason for hostilities is to be that Bush suspects that Iran would like to have a WMD.
The moment that Bush makes the call to the willing, a distinctly unwilling Britain will be volunteered by its government, whether it is led by Tony Blair or Gordon Brown, to provide the vanguard for the operation.
This further development of the crisis will enormously sharpen the contradictions at home between the ruling class and its government and the working class and the middle class, and lead directly to a revolutionary situation and revolutionary confrontation.
Bush’s wars in the Middle East and the inability of British imperialism to shoulder the necessary burden are going to play a similar role in the development of the British socialist revolution as the defeat suffered by the Tsarist Russian army at the hands of Japan in 1904 played in the explosion of the 1905 revolution in Russia.
The shattering of the Russian forces, the sinking of the Russian fleet, the capture of Port Arthur, all led directly to Bloody Sunday and the 1905 revolution.
The way that Blair lied his way to war with Iraq, and the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqis, destroyed any confidence that the masses had in the Blair government.
Millions marched to ‘Stop the War’ and they were ignored by the government which became an open bourgeois dictatorship.
The prosecution of his privatisation programme at home led to a further growth of working class hostility, further undermining his government.
This culminated in the NHS ‘debt crisis’ and massive public opposition to the sacking of thousands of NHS workers and the closure of a large number of hospitals.
The war with Lebanon was the last straw. Hostility turned to hatred when Blair insisted ‘no immediate cease-fire’, and that Israel must be allowed to continue slaughtering the Lebanese people until it felt that it had achieved a situation where its demands would be accepted.
Now there is the Afghan debacle, with much more to come.
The alarm bell is sounding. The time has come for a massive building of the WRP and the YS to organise and prepare the victory of the British socialist revolution.