In Iraq, the year 2006 closed with the judicial murder of president Saddam Hussein, the death of the 3,000th US soldier, the slaughter of nearly 700,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children, and the wholesale destruction of Iraqi towns and villages. For all the carnage and devastation wreaked by it on Iraq and the murder of its president, US imperialism is staring in the face of a most ignominious defeat. In the words of Gideon Rachman “… this tale of two presidents [Saddam Hussein and Bush – LALKAR] looks likely to end with death for one protagonist and defeat for the other” (‘The president’s dilemma’, Financial Times, 2 January 2007).
While the occupation puts the number of imperialist casualties (dead and wounded) at 25,000, the Iraqi resistance says that while just over 3,200 imperialist soldiers have been killed, another 46,000 have been wounded since the start of the war on 20 March 2003. The resistance attacks on the occupation forces have become ever more lethal and frequent – running at 180 a day. Even the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad is no longer under the control of the occupation forces and its puppets.
Everyone, except perhaps a small clique of neo-conservative lunatics, is agreed on two things. One, that the Iraq war has been a total disaster for Anglo-American imperialism; second, that the imperialist occupiers have already lost the war, and lost it big time. From respectable bourgeois think-tanks to the political and ideological representatives of Anglo-American imperialism, as well as the serving soldiers in Iraq, they are with increasing frequency embracing these obvious truths.
Iraq war – a disaster for US and British imperialism
Chatham House, a respectable British bourgeois think-tank, in its report issued in mid-December 2006, described the Iraq war as a “terrible mistake”, launched a scathing attack on Britain’s so-called “special relationship” with the US and called for “rebalancing” of British foreign policy. Leading American politicians, Democrat and Republican, openly admit that the war in Iraq was lost quite some time ago. With every minute bringing news of fresh disasters from Iraq, in the run up to the November 2006 US Congressional elections, the campaign of the candidates from both parties was characterised by their failure to discuss the Iraq war and the way out of it. Their reasons for “ignoring the elephant in the room” to use the words of Mr Jacob Weisberg, were obvious enough. For the Republicans, to focus on the war would be to highlight the catastrophe brought on by the Bush administration and the latter’s lack of any viable strategy for fixing it. As for the Democrats, they have not had a clue as to what to do next either. Besides, they did not want to be portrayed as defeatists and unpatriotic. Mr Weisberg offered this non-partisan reason for the failure of the House and Senate candidates to engage on Iraq during the elections campaign: “… The best that America’s leading foreign policy thinkers have been able to come up with is a grim choice among forms of failure. In a country of optimists, no politician wants to deliver that message” (‘The war that dare not speak its name’, Financial Times, 28 September 2006).
Even that war criminal and inveterate liar, British prime minister Tony Blair, when asked, during his appearance on al-Jazeera television, whether the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”, replied: “It has”, followed by a convoluted rigmarole as to why it had been such a disaster.
Colin Powell, the former head of the US joint chiefs of staff and George W Bush’s first secretary of state conceded in mid-December 2006 that the US has lost the war in Iraq, that an increase in troop numbers would not reverse the situation, and called for a gradual withdrawal of troops by the middle of 2007. The situation, he said, is “grave and deteriorating and we’re not winning”. Making a wider point about the US army’s overstretch owing to its overseas commitments and involvement in several predatory wars, Powell said that the army in its current form is “about broken”. In other words, the military arm of US imperialism, one of the most important instruments of its domination, is coming apart at the seams.
Even US president Bush’s stubborn refusal to recognise reality has begun to crack. Whereas in October 2006, he was saying “absolutely we are winning in Iraq”, a mere two months later, in the run up to Christmas, he was obliged to backtrack with the words “we’re not winning, we’re not losing”. His new secretary of defence, Robert Gates, during the Congressional confirmation proceedings, on being asked whether the US was winning the war, replied “No, sir”.
Obviously, Bush was forced to shift somewhat first by the loss of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate following the November election, which turned out to be a referendum on the Iraq war as far as the American electorate was concerned. The election was shortly thereafter followed by the long-awaited report of the Iraq Study Group (ISG), headed by the former secretary of state, James Baker, and Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic Congressman. Released on 6 December 2006, the ISG report, recognising that the US had lost the Iraq war, recommended that:
• The US withdraw from combat to a supporting role with the Iraqi forces, enabling the start of US withdrawal; • •
• • The Iraqi government be held to measurable goals on security and “national reconciliation”; • •
• • The US engage with Iran and Syria to get Iraq’s neighbours to help establish security; • •
• • The US make a renewed commitment to a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal to settle a conflict at the heart of the instability in the middle east; • •
• • The US reduce its support for the Iraqi government if it does not make substantial progress. • •
• The tone of the ISG report is set by the opening sentence: “The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating”. While stating the obvious that the US has lost control in Iraq and that its influence in the middle east is fast dwindling by the day, it invites the Bush administration to admit that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be ignored no longer, nor for that matter can the influence and interests of Syria and Iran. “There must be renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace on all fronts”, says the report.
President Bush may still be in denial, but the stark reality is that the US is being resoundingly defeated by the Iraqi resistance. The ISG report implicitly drives home the message that the Iraq war has been a disaster; that the US must find a way to extricate itself from this war by handing over the mess of its own creation to its Iraqi puppets; and that in the end the US may have no option other than to withdraw its forces while blaming the puppet Iraqi government for its own complete failure. It sets out how, nearly four years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the US was spending $2 bn a week on an unpopular war which was claiming the lives of 100 US soldiers each month and its forces were stretched “nearly to breaking point”. The deaths of 10 US soldiers on the day of the release of the report (6 December) only served to underline its claim. Chiding the Iraqi puppet government for “not adequately advancing national reconciliation [something the puppet government could hardly achieve considering that the occupation forces have been doing their best to fan the flames of a sectarian war as the only option of the doomed – LALKAR]”, the report adds: “If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the US should reduce its political, military or economic support for the government”.
In other words, blame the puppets for the failure of this imperialist enterprise!
Writing on the eve of the publication of the ISG report, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, with great candour and vividness, describes the colossal damage done to the interests of US imperialism by the events and policies set into motion by the war in Iraq. He invites the Bush administration to “… recognise that the US role in the world is being gravely undermined by the policies launched more than three years ago. The destructive war in Iraq, the hypocritical indifference to the human dimensions of the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian relations, the lack of diplomatic initiative in dealing with Iran and the frequent use of Islamophobic rhetoric are setting in motion forces that threaten to push America out of the Middle East, with dire consequences for itself and its friends in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia” (‘There is much more at stake for America than Iraq’, Financial Times, 5 December 2006).
In other words, a war waged for domination has turned into an instrument for undermining US domination to such an extent that US imperialism faces expulsion for the middle east.
Instead of accepting the face-saving recommendations of the ISG report for an exit from Iraq, President Bush has announced as expected a “surge” in American forces by an addition of 21,500 troops. Even before this announcement, this “battle of the surge” was being compared even by bourgeois commentators to Hitler’s battle of the bulge. When facing total defeat, the Führer fell for the temptation, as has George W Bush now facing defeat in Iraq, to order one more push – one last heave. But it will not work. The idea that the raging inferno of resistance to the occupation can be policed into submission with an extra 21,500 troops is an absurd fantasy and a reflection of Bush’s deluded state of existence and his total disengagement from reality.
In fact the very attempt to increase US troop levels in Iraq is an admission that all past US efforts at pacifying Baghdad, let alone the whole of Iraq, have been a total failure, when all along Bush and his cronies were feeding the world the lie that America was winning the war and the “terrorists” were on the run. Further, the latest surge in US troop levels is an admission that the Iraqi puppet government faces an imminent collapse if it is not propped up by additional imperialist soldiers, when all along the world has been fed the lie that the Iraqi government, this tiny collection of despicable stooges, represented the democratic will of the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people. Now, it is clear that it represents the interests of US imperialism, and a handful of its venal stooges, brought from émigré existence abroad on US tanks and with no social base in Iraq.
Opposition to the ‘new’ strategy
Besides, this ‘new’ strategy, unofficially called A New Way Forward, is opposed by the US public as middle America has lost faith in this war; it is opposed by the US Congress, with even the Republican Senator Chuck Hagel calling it “Alice in Wonderland”; it is opposed by the commanders on the ground, who correctly believe that additional US troops would do no more than offer “yet more targets” to the resistance; and, it is opposed by Pentagon chiefs who are against further costs in men and money just to gain a temporary boost in control of Baghdad. Basically, this strategy amounts “to telling American soldiers to commit suicide”, as Mr Simon Jenkins correctly observed in the Sunday Times of 7 January 2007. In view of this opposition, Bush replaced General George Casey, who opposed the ‘new’ strategy, by General David Petraeus, who is one of the few to support it.
There is increasing resentment among ordinary people in the US, who rightly feel that while for the rich the war has meant tax cuts, SUVs and nice holidays, for the poor, overwhelmingly white, from the small towns in the interior states of mid-America, it has meant being sent to Iraq. Cindy Sheehan, a prominent anti-war campaigner, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, characterises this state of affairs as the “poverty draft”, which attracts poor youth into the armed forces for lack of alternative opportunities. Even then, the US military is failing to meet enlistment targets, such is the unpopularity of the war. Spending on recruitment has risen several times to more than $1 bn during the past year and standards have been lowered as well. The army is now taking in recruits aged 40, paying enlistment bonuses of $40,000 and has brought down the mental threshold to category three, which is “one level above imbecility” according to Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, Bush’s first secretary of state (see Financial Times, 6 January 2007).
Even serving soldiers no longer support the Iraq war. Nearly half the soldiers polled said the Iraq war had nothing to do with the “war on terrorism” – Bush’s justification for it continuation. And a mere 13 per cent thought the US was “very likely to succeed in Iraq” (see Financial Times, 6 January 2007).
On the economic front, the Iraq war is adding to the difficulties of the already unsustainable US imbalances. A former US naval officer by the name of Campbell has described the Iraq war as “funded by debt on a national credit card that is being financed by China”. US debt has risen by a third to more than $8,000 bn since Bush became president. Meanwhile China’s foreign currency reserves, mostly held in US treasury bonds, have reached the figure of $1,000 bn. Withdrawal of these huge sums by China could present the US economy with a shock of unprecedented proportions with fearful consequences not only for the US but also for the rest of the capitalist world.
Saddam’s judicial lynching
Unable to control, let alone defeat, the Iraqi resistance, and unable to provide the Iraqi people with the wherewithal of a decent existence and a sense of security, US imperialism, driven by desperation and cowardly vengeance, resorted to the judicial murder of the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, after the travesty of a trial which has been condemned by people all over the world. Even Human Rights Watch, a solidly bourgeois outfit, characterised the trial as “deeply flawed” in view of the tribunal, which convicted President Hussein, lacking all independence and the violation by it of all procedural and other norms. Not being content with having President Hussein hanged, the occupation regime saw to it that the hanging was turned into a public lynching and the gory images of it disseminated around the world. To the taunts and jeers of his murderers, President Hussein responded with dignified calm, courage and defiance, which earned him the grudging respect of even his sworn enemies.
While condemning the judicial murder by the imperialist occupation forces, LALKAR fully associates itself with the statement of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGB-ML) issued the day after this murder took place. In this statement, the CPGB-ML says that Saddam’s murder, like the murders of hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis, was the work of the occupying powers, who arrested, detained, tortured and subjected Saddam Hussein to a “farcical show trial” before a Kangaroo Court financed by them. This travesty of a tribunal passed a death sentence on Saddam Hussein on the orders of the occupation regime, which has no right to exist.
In the words of the CPGB-ML: “The real criminals are not Saddam and his co-defendants; the real criminals are the perpetrators of the vicious, brutal, inhuman war on Iraq. Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld, Rice et al are directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. It is they, not Saddam, who deserve the ultimate punishment for their horrendous crimes. They must be tried for war crimes in an international trial of the Nuremburg type” (www.cpgb-ml.org).
If the occupation regime and its Iraqi puppets are entertaining the hope that the physical elimination of Saddam Hussein will help to quell the resistance, they will soon discover that it is a forlorn hope.
Plans for world domination suffer shipwreck
As a matter of fact, the US lost the war in Iraq quite some time ago. And with it, the strategy pursued by US imperialism, particularly by the Bush administration, has gone up in smoke. This strategy, founded on the doctrines of the primacy of force, the preservation of a unipolar world order, with the US occupying the position of an unchallenged hegemon, the exercise of unrestrained US power, and the right to initiate preventive wars and effect regime changes, has suffered an ignominious collapse in the crucible of the struggle in Iraq. The Iraqi resistance has exposed the mad dreams of US imperialism to become a master of the universe for what they were – mad dreams. It has buried forever the idea of a unipolar world dominated by US imperialism. In the words of Martin Wolf, a decidedly thoughtful, if reactionary, commentator, the notion that the US “… had the ability and right to rearrange the world at will has met its doom in Iraq”. In answer to his own question as to why the unipolar moment is over, Mr Wolf replies thus: “The short answer is that the US overreached and so learnt, once again the difference between power and omnipotence, as it did in the jungles of Vietnam four decades ago”.
Thus it is clear, that the US is face to face in Iraq with a defeat as devastating, humiliating and ignominious as that which it suffered in Vietnam. By no amount of brutality, savagery, murder and mayhem can US imperialism avert this fate. The Iraqi resistance has killed and buried forever the Project for a New American Century dreamed up by the neo-cons for US imperialist domination of the world.
Victory to the Iraqi Resistance!