The War on Iraq is Not Over – Don’t Believe the Lies!

Last week President Obama announced the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, after nine years of war and occupation of that country. Obama went on and on about the freedom and liberation which American military intervention brought to Iraq. During his speech, announcing the withdrawal of troops, Obama said, “Unlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it’s right.” But to anyone who really looks at the reality on the ground in Iraq, these words sound like a sick joke. Iraq has been torn to shreds by a decades-long policy of imperial domination by the US and Obama has every intention of continuing this domination.

US intervention in Iraq began over 40 years ago. In the 1960s and 70s, Iraq was a modern society with living standards approaching Europe or the US. The Ba’ath Party regime under Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictatorship, but the oil of Iraq was used to develop schools, hospitals, and sanitation.

Not only did the US oil companies want access to that oil wealth, the US imperial strategy in the world could not allow a country like Iraq to use its own resources to raise the living standards of its people. An example like that would threaten US imperial domination of other countries, not just in the Middle East but throughout the world.

So, by the 1990’s, every opportunity was used to bleed the people of Iraq. From sanctions, which cut off supplies, to military aid to Iraq’s enemies, and starting in 1991, invasion by the US military.

In 1991, the US invaded Iraq under Bush Sr. but stopped short of occupying the country. The war continued in another form under President Clinton. Under US pressure, the UN imposed sanctions on Iraq which denied food and medicine imports. Over a million people, including 500,000 children, died from the sanctions.

Even before the 2003 occupation of Iraq by the US military, Iraq was a shell of what it had been. The schools, hospitals, and infrastructure built in the 1960s and 1970s were ripped apart. Iraq was reduced to a barely-functioning wreck of a society.

With Iraq in ruins, the only thing left to do was to change the regime to one which would sell the oil-fields to US companies.
The invasion of 2003 was a devastating assault on the people of Iraq, which resulted in the death of millions. The invasion began with attacks on the civilian infrastructure to cripple Iraqi society. The US military bombed sewage treatment facilities, roads, electrical power stations. Thousands died in these attacks but the deadliest result was the destruction of the whole infrastructure. Since 2003, over a million Iraqis have been killed by disease and malnutrition in addition to direct violence.

And the weapons used by the US military are still killing people even after the invasion. The military used tons of depleted uranium rounds, shells manufactured from radioactive uranium. After being fired, they get into the water supply and the air, poisoning the population. Iraq has seen an epidemic of babies born deformed and missing body parts due to uranium poisoning of their parents. The depleted uranium in Iraq’s environment will remain radioactive for billions of years.

So what did the US get out of all this death and destruction? The regime of Saddam Hussein was replaced by a puppet government which now allows US companies to exploit Iraqi oil, and for the US to maintain a permanent military presence in Iraq. The cost? Millions of Iraqis dead, not to mention 4,500 US soldiers and over $1 trillion US tax dollars.

There can be no mistake. The war on the people of Iraq perpetrated by the US was an imperial war to strengthen US oil companies and US domination.

The Obama administration and the media pundits are lying about ending this war. The US is withdrawing troops but is also maintaining 130,000 private contractors including armed mercenaries. It will maintain a so-called embassy, actually an armed fortress the size of a large city. US diplomats will still dictate policy to the Iraqi government. Does that sound like withdrawal?

No one should believe these lies. This is a war for oil and domination, and it is far from over.