FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bring the US Troops Out of Iraq, Now!

U.S. TROOPS should get out of Iraq–not next month or next year, but now. The urgency of this demand was brought home August 29 when a giant explosion killed 125 people outside a Shiite mosque in Najaf–including Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose brother sits on the U.S.-imposed Iraqi Governing Council.

Speculation was rampant about who was responsible, from supporters of Saddam Hussein, to anti-Shiite Wahabbists, to the al-Qaeda network–which several of the 19 men arrested in connection to the killings are supposedly tied to. But no matter who carried out the attack, Iraqis rightly blame the U.S. for creating the circumstances that led to the bloodshed. According to press reports, an estimated 300,000 Shiite mourners in Baghdad chanted, “We won’t be humiliated. We will humiliate Saddam, we will humiliate Bush.”

The mosque bombing–which followed by 10 days the massive explosion at the United Nations’ (UN) Baghdad compound–dramatically exposed the failure of the U.S. to “liberate” Iraq through conquest and occupation. Pro-war hardliners have an answer: Send more troops. “A forced U.S. retreat from Iraq would be the most serious American defeat since Vietnam,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote in a Washington Post opinion article titled “Why We Must Win.”

A very different view has taken shape among the military families and veterans who last month launched a campaign called “Bring Them Home Now.” “Many Americans do not want our troops there,” reads the group’s founding statement. “Many military families do not want our troops there. Many troops themselves do not want to be there. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis do not want U.S. troops there. Our troops are embroiled in a regional quagmire largely of our own government’s making. These military actions are not perceived as liberations, but as occupations, and our troops are now subject to daily attacks.”

This statement is a reminder of a basic truth that the world learned in the great anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements of the 20th century–that conquests of smaller and weaker nations by great powers have always been met with popular resistance. The opposition to the occupation of Iraq is every bit as inevitable–and justified–as the war of liberation waged by the Vietnamese against the U.S. in the 1960s. Then, the antiwar movement–and large numbers of U.S. soldiers–came to sympathize with the resistance.

Today, however, some in the antiwar movement–including veterans of the anti-Vietnam War struggle–hesitate to call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. They say that they fear chaos and a bloodbath in Iraq if the U.S. leaves. Our response to this objection is simple: It’s already happening, and the U.S. presence is the chief cause of the killing.

The other objection is that a U.S. withdrawal would lead to the rise of an Islamist government. But it’s the attempt by foreign powers to impose their will on Iraq and the Middle East that has boosted the appeal of Islam.

History shows that “democracy” can never be imposed through conquest–and that colonized and oppressed nations must have the right to determine their own fates. This is true whether the occupier flies the Stars and Stripes–or the blue flag of the UN.

But the point seems lost on Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation, who argues that the UN can help “reconstruct” Iraq. “If the United Nations is to be perceived by the Iraqi people as a legitimate and stabilizing force, it will need to play a genuinely independent role and disassociate itself from the U.S. occupation,” she wrote in a Web log. “And so as to avoid the trap of internationalization on the cheap, the UN will need real resources–and control–in the reconstruction process.”

By this logic, the movement that opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq should now assume the role of lobbyists for a bigger UN “fig leaf” for the American oil colony. Never mind that UN “resources” are controlled by the Security Council, which is dominated by the U.S. and the world’s most powerful states. Or that the UN endorsed the 1991 Gulf War and administered the murderous sanctions during the following decade. The truth is that U.S. forces will continue to call the shots in Iraq, just as they have in the UN occupations of Kosovo and Bosnia.

Those in the antiwar movement calling for a greater UN role in Iraq may soon get what they’re asking for. The UN may now be brought in to a greater role in the occupation, according to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Yet as long as the occupation continues, the greater the death and misery in Iraq–whether imposed by the U.S. directly or given a fresh UN cover. That’s why we call for an end to the occupation–the withdrawal of all U.S. and foreign troops from Iraq–now.

LEE SUSTAR writes for the Socialist Worker. He can be reached at: lsustar@ameritech.net

 

More articles by:

LEE SUSTAR is the labor editor of Socialist Worker

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail