On the 9th anniversary of the brutal U.S.-led assault imperialist invasion of Iraq, we, the International League of Peoples’ Struggles through its Commission 1, call on all humanity to join us in condemning this monstrous crime against the Iraqi people. And we pay tribute to the heroism of the Iraqi people, whose resistance in the face of overwhelming odds has forced the U.S. to withdraw most combat troops and weakened the Pentagon’s ability to unilaterally wage new wars.
On March 20, 2003, at the orders of George W. Bush, the U.S. war machine led a massive land, air and sea assault against the people and government of Iraq. Like Adolph Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland, the U.S.-led invasion was unprovoked, unjustified and illegal under international law. Indeed, the launching of an unprovoked war is considered a crime against peace, the highest crime under international law. Nonetheless, this vicious attack was aided and abetted by the United Nations and all the so-called “democratic” imperialist states, eager to get in on the spoils of Washington’s war. Britain, U.S. imperialism’s closest ally, played an especially active role.
In the US, the invasion was supported by both the then-reigning Republican party and the then-“opposition” Democrats, both on the payroll of the giant oil monopolies, banks and arms contractors, who profited from the war. From rightwing Fox News to the ostensibly liberal New York Times, the entire corporate news media justified and apologized for the war while downplaying the mass protests and demonstrations that brought millions to the streets in the US and around the world.
Washington’s unprovoked attack was preceded by 13 years of genocidal sanctions and bombing from the air that claimed the lives of 1.6 million Iraqis, mostly children, and destroyed the country’s infrastructure. The invasion and the years of brutal occupation that followed has, by conservative estimates, taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people. Other estimates place the number at over 1 million. Millions more have lost arms and legs, been blinded or paralyzed, unjustly imprisoned, lost their livelihoods or been forced to leave their homes. The people of Iraq, a once-prosperous society, have been impoverished by the war; the cities and villages of Iraq have been devastated.
Cities and towns in the United States have also paid the price, in closed schools and hospitals, libraries and transit systems, as federal money has gone to pay for war. Thousands of working-class US soldiers have also lost their lives, been injured or traumatized.
It was all worth it, however, to the US monopoly capitalist class, especially the powerful oil monopolies to whom the massacre of the Iraqi people brought the biggest profits they have ever known. ExxonMobil, the largest U.S. corporation averaged $32 billion a year in profit the first four years of the war, as the US military dismantled Iraq’s nationalized oil industry. It had averaged $11 billion a year in the four years before the war. The war also brought Exxon and the other oil giants a huge increase in their exploitable reserves.
Banks and giant arms contractors also profited raked it in. The Morgan Stanley bank got its hands off Iraq’s financial reserves; extortionate military contracts probably saved the Halliburton company from bankruptcy.
Every time a colonialist or imperialist power launches a war, it has a different pretext. In Iraq, it was the unbelievable and ridiculous pretext of “weapons of mass destruction,” which the politicians and news media pretended to believe. But the real motive, as in every imperialist war, from the bloody invasion of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century to the war against Iraq at the start of the 21st, was the insatiable need of imperialist monopoly capital for greater and greater profit. They targeted Iraq for destruction because it has the world’s second-largest oil reserves and because its government, whatever its faults, had nationalized those reserves and used the income for its own development rather than turning it over to US banks and corporations as had the U.S. puppet Shah of Iran or do the US-backed tyrannical monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
It was a war for monopoly! It was a war for superprofits! And it was a desperate bid by monopoly capital to stave off a crisis of overproduction. When Karl Marx wrote Capital in way back in 1867, he quoted the British writer T.J. Dunning, “Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent, will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent, certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent, will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged.”
Since it invaded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam and Samoa in 1898, US imperialism has again and again proved the veracity of those lines : US imperialism is the No. 1 enemy of humanity.
The invasion of Iraq has proven that the basic nature of imperialist monopoly capital and the state apparatus that serves it remains unchanged, only that its crisis of overproduction has driven it to be more rapacious, belligerent and destructive.
War can no longer stave off the crisis of the monopoly capitalist system which grows ever more severe, propelling the peoples of the world into struggle and resistance.
On this anniversary, let us honor the memory of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis murdered at the hands of imperialism by working harder than ever to educate, and organize to remove this scourge from the face of this planet and build a world where all can live in peace, freedom, and equality.
Down with imperialism! Long live people’s resistance!
Workers and oppressed people of all countries, unite!
Office of the Chairperson
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