Twenty-five years since the first Gulf War

Desert Slaughter: The Imperialist War Against Iraq—an enduring contribution to waging war on war

By Eric London
21 January 2016

The World Socialist Web Site and Mehring Books are announcing a special offer for the sale of Desert Slaughter: The Imperialist War Against Iraq, which can be purchased here for $9.95.

On January 17, 1991, American bombers backed by one million ground troops began combat operations in Kuwait and Iraq. This was the beginning of an international US war campaign that has lasted 25 years, enveloping not only Iraq but also Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia. Years of sanctions, bombings, a second invasion in 2003, an occupation, and a third and continuing war have resulted in the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers in Iraq alone.

The Gulf War was launched by the George H. W. Bush administration on the pretense of defending “democracy” and Kuwaiti sovereignty from Saddam Hussein, who had invaded the sheikdom on August 2, 1990. With the help of the corporate media, the war was presented to the population as a fait accompli. The bombs that fell from January to February 1991 totaled over 88,500 tons.

Desert Slaughter

Desert Slaughter is the political record of the response of the International Committee of the Fourth International to this critical event. The documents of this volume are not only a valuable examination of the events of 1990-91. Twenty-five years after the Gulf War and in the midst of the ever-expanding war on terror, the book remains a seminal contribution to an understanding of American foreign policy and contemporary imperialism.

Desert Slaughter explains the objective causes of the war and roots it in the broader historical context. It includes a Resolution passed at a Special National Congress in September 1990, which reads:

“The indisputable fact is that the US government is preparing to wage a war for the profits of the banks and oil companies… The invasion of the Middle East by more than 100,000 US troops, backed by tanks, naval warships and hundreds of planes has historical implications that go far beyond the Persian Gulf. It is a watershed in world politics. It marks the beginning of a new imperialist redivision of the world, aimed at imposing a new form of direct colonial rule in those former colonial (and semi colonial) countries which won nominal independence after World War II.”

Based on this analysis, Desert Slaughter identified with striking accuracy the consequences of the Gulf War, which have now come to dominate world politics. The titles of many of the volume’s articles testify to the fact that Desert Slaughter has stood the test of time: “Media Lies—A Weapon of Imperialist War,” “The Gulf War and the Petty-Bourgeois ‘Left,’” “Prowar Union Bureaucracy Polices the Working Class,” and “The Persian Gulf War and the Attack on Democratic Rights.”

Twenty-five years have passed since images of US bombers flying sorties over Baghdad first appeared on television. Since then, four US presidents have spent trillions of dollars pillaging a once-modern nation and reducing it to rubble. It is fitting to commemorate the anniversary of this imperialist crime by building a movement to ensure that such crimes are halted forever. A study of Desert Slaughter: The Imperialist War Against Iraq is a necessary step.

To purchase Desert Slaughter: The Imperialist War Against Iraq from Mehring books, click here.

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