Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Iraq: A disaster created by capitalism

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Iraq war has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives, billions of dollars and untold amounts of personal freedom and liberty. The loss of US troops has reached over 3,000 dead and over 23,000 wounded. So far five Australians have died – at least three contactors and two soldiers.

In addition, over 250 coalition of the willing soldiers from other countries are dead. All these figures pail in comparison to the loss of Iraqi civilians’ lives (you know those that the coalition of the willing went to free for democracy). Lowest figures (known underestimates) suggest 56,468 whereas other estimates suggest over 600,000 dead.

The dollar cost of the war so far is US$1 trillion; twice the estimated $500 billion it was estimated to cost in 2002- and this is just the cost to the US.

The cost of Australia’s involvement is an estimated $1.6 billion, with a further cost of about $300 million for troop deployment this year. The cost of the war means this money not going to health, welfare and education. This means less schools, hospitals and childcare places.

The costs of the US spending could have meant an end to the social conditions that spawn terrorism in the first place.

The cost is not just measured in lives and money. Across the world, draconian laws have been drafted to supposedly deal with terrorists. In reality, these laws will be used to harass workers and their organisations and anyone else that a particular government does not like.

This is clear in Iraq itself with the making of only one trade union federation legally recognised and the more recent crackdown on security in Baghdad. The recent decree authorises Lieutenant-General Abboud Gambar, commander of the joint Iraqi forces in Baghdad to “impose necessary restrictions in all public places and centres and clubs and organisations and unions and businesses and institutions and offices to protect citizens and people who work.” Gambar also said, “All those who breach the terms of this decree will be judged under the law on terrorism.”

It is also an issue here in Australia with the imprisonment without trial of Australian born David Hicks in the US and the use of anti terror laws against people here in Australia.

Those who have benefited most from the war on Iraq are the terrorists who now have a rallying point to recruit more to their cause.

The war on Iraq is not the result of a few bad decisions by bad leaders like Bush and Howard, it is capitalism doing business as usual, a war fought for oil and regional domination for the benefit of capitalists.

These same leaders now say that the disaster that they have brought about in the service of their capitalist masters can unfortunately now not be undone and the withdrawal of US and other Coalition of the Willing forces would lead to a victory for the terrorists. They are not correct.

Yes, withdrawal of occupying forces will lead to an increase in violence in Iraq but you cannot impose freedom and democracy this is something the Iraqi people need to determine for themselves. Bad as a withdrawal may be the only thing that will be worse is the continued occupation and the continued bloodshed leading to the inevitable loss and withdrawal of Coalition of the Willing forces anyway.

This result will be a far more bloody loss of life and win for the terrorists than any voluntary withdrawal of troops now.

-End the Occupation!
-Withdraw all foreign troops!
-Support for Iraqi trade union and working people.
-Unions in Australia to support Iraqi trade unions

By Gary Duffy


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