By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
19 March 2008

The US war of aggression against the people of Iraq enters its fifth year and the US sinks deeper into the quagmire. The cost of this criminal and barbaric war for the Iraqi people according to the Oxford Research Bureau is 1.3 million dead, 2 million displaced inside Iraq and 2.5 million more who are refugees in Syria and Jordan. The Iraqi economy and social infrastructure are in ruins.

For the US, the war has cost more than 3,990 soldiers killed and more than 30,000 wounded. 2007 was the deadliest year for US soldiers with 899 deaths. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics have treated over 260,000 patients from the US wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Studies show that as many as half of the soldiers sent to fight in Iraq will return with post-traumatic stress disorder and a fifth are returning with traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage mainly caused by roadside bombs.

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates in a new study that by 2010 the war would cost the US 1 to 2 trillion dollars. According to the Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Congress has now approved nearly $700 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using inflation-adjusted figures, the total cost of those wars has now surpassed the total cost of the Vietnam war (which ran to $670 billion), more than seven times larger than the cost of the Persian Gulf War ($94 billion) and more than twice the cost of the Korean war ($295 billion).

The great majority of the American people oppose this criminal war waged in violation of the UN charter and international law. They voted for the Democratic Party in the 2006 mid-term elections, giving it a majority in Congress and the Senate based on the platform of putting an end to the war and bringing the troops home. But the Democratic Party has failed to carry out what it has been mandated by the electorate to carry out. In the final analysis, both the Republican and Democratic parties serve the interest of the US military industrial complex, the oil monopolies and war contractors.

They continue to subvert the will of the American people by indefinitely prolonging the occupation of Iraq and entrenching US military bases at all strategic points of Iraq. They carry the illusion that the US can dominate the Iraqi people and take over the oil resources of Iraq. They do not realize that even now the costs for the US in carrying out the invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq have become a major factor for the profound debilitation of the US due to overreaching and overspending without reaping the previously expected profits.

Bush and the big corporate media are now spreading the lie that the so-called surge or the addition of 30,000 troops last year is gradually succeeding in containing the violence and reducing American casualties. More US military troops, mercenaries and puppet troops are being deployed in Iraq. The US military forces are using aerial bombings in a futile attempt to reduce, cover up and avenge American losses. In 2007, there were at least 1,119 air strikes, according to the US Air Force, compared with 229 in 2006. These bombings have resulted in the further destruction of Iraqi lives, homes and infrastructure.

An example is the large-scale bombing of a populous Baghdad suburb on Jan. 10, 2008. A US military spokesman said that the operation “was one of the largest air strikes since the onset of the war.” Two B1-B bombers and four F-16 fighter jets dropped nearly 50,000 pounds of precision-guided explosives on a heavily populated neighborhood. Many civilians were killed and the great number of families fled in terror.

The US is now in the process of working out with the puppet Maliki government the terms for laying down the legal basis for the continued presence of US troops and permanent military bases in Iraq. This is to insure US imperialism’s objective of securing its control of the world’s second-biggest oil reserves and reinforcing its politico-military hegemony over the Middle East and the rest of the world.

But the Iraqi people are persevering in their revolutionary struggle and are intensifying their armed resistance to the imperialist occupation. They are fighting for their own national sovereignty, homeland and national salvation. They can only suffer further national oppression, exploitation, impoverishment and social devastation if the US imperialists and their puppets continue to have their way.

The Iraqi people have all the sacred right and obligation to themselves to fight for national liberation, democracy, development, social justice and peace against US imperialism and the reactionary puppets. We are confident that, as in the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation against US aggression, the Iraqi people will eventually force the US to withdraw in defeat. Right now, the resistance of the Iraqi people and the costs of aggression are making a paper tiger out of US imperialism.

The Iraqi people have a just revolutionary cause. They therefore enjoy abundant support from the peoples of the world. In this connection, we call on all the peoples of the world to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the US war of aggression against Iraq by condemning such war, renewing their active support for the Iraqi people and demanding the withdrawal of the US military forces and the end to this unjust war of aggression against the people of Iraq. ###