March 20, 2006, marks three years since the Bush administration, backed by the Blair government in Britain and the Howard government in Australia, invaded Iraq. The invasion was a war crime—carried out in defiance of international law and justified with lies that were propagated by the international media.
The consequences have been catastrophic. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or maimed, along with thousands of occupation troops, while the country’s economic and social infrastructure is devastated. Far from establishing democracy, the US invasion has stoked sectarian tensions that are plunging Iraq toward civil war and threaten to engulf the entire region in bloody conflict.
The anniversary of the invasion, however, is unlikely to see the political establishments in Washington, London or Canberra dwelling on the nightmare they have produced. The Iraq war is no aberration. It is part of a desperate attempt by the American ruling elite to use military power to maintain its global hegemony, in the face of economic and strategic challenges from Europe and Asia.
Further predatory wars for control of energy resources and geo-political dominance are being prepared against Iran and other countries in the Middle East. At the same time, throughout the world, hysteria over terrorism is being used to justify anti-democratic laws and increased police powers that will be used to suppress opposition to both war and the ongoing assault on wages, working conditions and social services.
What is required is a counter-offensive by the international working class. There is no lack of hostility to the eruption of US militarism. In February 2003, millions marched in the largest-ever global demonstrations, reflecting both the extent of opposition and the international solidarity that existed. That movement, however, was diverted into the dead-end of national protest politics and dissipated. Its political leaders have either fallen silent, or accept the US takeover of Iraq as an accomplished fact. Within the existing political setup, the antiwar sentiment of masses of people can find no outlet.
The Socialist Equality Party will hold public meetings in Sydney on April 4, and Melbourne on April 11, to discuss the lessons of the past three years and elaborate a socialist perspective as the basis for a new independent movement of the international working class. We warmly invite readers of the WSWS and supporters of the SEP to attend.
Tuesday, April 4, 7pm
University of Technology, Sydney
UTS Tower Building, Broadway
Building 1, Room 406
(Broadway Street Level)
Tickets: $4/$2 concession
Tuesday, April 11, 7pm
489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne
Level 1, Upstairs Room 3&4
(near Victoria Market)
Tickets: $4/$2 concession