Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Iraq invasion: A mistake the US will never recover from

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is said that certain Amazon Indian tribes have developed a wonderfully simple technique of capturing monkeys, high in protein and highly prized. The cage is constructed with a nut inside but designed so that when the monkey grabs the nut its clench fist will be too large to be pulled out of the cage.

The hunters simply pick the monkey up and the hunt could not be easier. The point is that despite imminent capture the monkeys cannot let go of the nut.

Such is the case with Bush, Blair and Howard. The longer they occupy Iraq the more they sink in the polls. May saw for the first time a majority in Australia and the US who thought the war in Iraq was wrong.

Whatever happens in Iraq the US will never be seen in the same light by the worlds working and poor masses. Not only is the invasion seen as wrong by the peoples of every country, but the recent brutal abuses and murders in Iraqi prisons by US military forces has stained the image the major imperialist power.

There is a strange parallel between the presidential campaign in the US and the Federal elections in Australia. Both Kerry in the US and Latham in Australia are ahead in the polls but they are saying nothing. They are leaving it up to Bush and Howard’s catastrophe in Iraq to win them the elections – a strategy that possibly could yet lead to disaster for them.

Bush and Howard are digging their political graves, the longer the unwinnable occupation continues and the abuses continue the more they sink in the polls the more people decide the invasion was wrong.

Even in the US only 37% thought the soldiers involved were acting on their own and 46% thought that they were following orders from superiors.

Brutal nature of capitalism

Many sections of the middle class and even sections of the working class believe that capitalism has progressed since the Dickensian factories or the brutal imperialist invasions of the third world. Now we are seeing the true nature of capitalism. The brutal torture, humiliation and murder of Iraqi prisoners was ordered from the very top. It will be revealed that Rumsfeld and Bush ordered this treatment and knew exactly what was going on in the jails from the beginning.

Even the most brutal Arab dictator would never admit to humiliating tactics involving sexual abuse, whilst they would happily admit to torture and murder of prisoners to frighten their peoples. Such humiliating sexual treatment is seen as Haram (forbidden in the eyes of God). For Arabs and Muslims what happened in these prisons will never be forgotten or forgiven.

The Red Cross reported abuses as early as October 2003. Reports of abuses were made as early as a few weeks after the invasion started as reported by the ABC’s Lateline. But what of Howard?

The two Australians Habeeb and Hicks both reported to the Red Cross that they were being mistreated and there is no doubt that Howard was informed about these abuses. The point is to the Bush, Blair and Howard governments these are not abuses, it is part and parcel of their approach. They are ‘terrorists’ it is argued and therefore they do not deserve to be treat with respect.

The capitalist leadership, military and business sections see third world peoples and especially Arabs and Muslims at the present as sub human. In their distorted Christian Fundamentalism they see the Arab/Muslim peoples as the devil incarnate.

Muslims have replaced the Soviet Union as the new evil people. This is a deliberate attempt to divide and rule the working classes of the world but it is also a deep seated belief in western white capitalist superiority.

Capitalists are wringing their hands

Capitalists, especially the US and UK, are wringing their hands over the prospect of the huge oil wealth in Iraq. There are said to be massive untapped reserves as well as Iraq already having the second biggest reserves after Saudi Arabia.

But increasing sections of capitalists are realising that the US military can not win in Iraq. They can not stabilise the county sufficiently to enable oil companies to move in and start large scale extraction and exploration.

The new Conservative right in the US has led this war, Howard is also a Neo Con. But the more gentle face of capitalism such as the American Democrats or the Australian ALP are fundamentally no different. Many imperialist wars of a brutal nature have been carried out by such so called “gentle” capitalists.

This invasion is the natural consequence of capitalist production and the never-ending pursuit of private profit. But if the US military can’t pull this off the capitalists will force the US leadership, Bush or Kerry to find an exit strategy. They will at some stage be forced to find that exit strategy.

Over 150 years ago Marx said that the capitalists will dig their own grave. As it was and as it will always be.

By John Gowland


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