Only way forward for the Iraqi people: a complete withdrawal of all occupying forces

The bourgeois media and ruling-class politicians have been celebrating the culmination of the Iraq war, citing decreasing violence and a withdrawal of U.S. forces. This completely obscures the reality of the U.S. occupation.

General Ray Odierno characterized the so-called progress, saying, “[I]n 2006, when I flew over Baghdad, I remember looking down on a city cloaked by darkness and gripped in fear. Today, when I fly over Baghdad, I see hope, with bright lights and busy traffic. …” Odierno may see more lights today than he did in 2006, but not many. Electrical production still only meets 70 percent of the demand and Iraqi people suffer regular rolling shortages.

Odierno’s hope is that of the U.S. ruling class that it can continue to dominate Iraq while fashioning a withdrawal that appeases mass outrage at the war and allows U.S. imperialism to expand its military intervention elsewhere. Baghdad has indeed been cloaked in darkness. For the Iraqi people, the darkness—whether it be the lack of electricity or the viciousness of the occupation—continues to this day.

Recent articles in the bourgeois press have boasted of a decrease in the number of civilian casualties in Iraq for 2009. Articles released by BBC News and the Financial Times state that the civilian casualty count has been cut in half. The reports do not take into account factors other than bullets and bombs that cause civilians to die under occupation.

According to the Web site Iraq Body Count, the death count for 2009 is nearly 5,000 civilians. Only a media controlled by the capitalist ruling class could think that this is something to celebrate. The Iraqi people are not celebrating. They continue to mourn for the innocent victims of continued war and occupation being waged on them by the United States and its phony “coalition.” The 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation has impacted nearly every family in Iraq. Millions of Iraqis have been displaced and have no home. Iraqi children are still losing their parents, Iraqi parents are still seeing their children die.

Another frequent headline posted in mainstream media states that no U.S. troops died in combat during the month of December in Iraq. Gen. Odierno states, “December marks the first month of zero-battle casualties in Iraq.” As we know from previous reports, the official military count excludes those soldiers who die en route to a medical facility or while hospitalized as a result of injuries sustained in combat. It also excludes those military members who commit suicide after combat duty. Once again the sweet spin of a media owned by the ruling class tries to placate the American people, who want to believe the Iraq war has ended.

The Iraq war has moved into a new phase. Gone are the days of U.S. troops leading raids and missions against the people of Iraq. Though the United States continues to coordinate and execute its colonial attempt in Iraq, the face of the occupation has changed. The new face of the colonial interests of the United States is the puppet military and police forces of the illegitimate Iraqi government.

General Petraeus is quoted as having said, “… the U.S. mission here will be changed and the U.S. forces will be drawn down.” The truth is that 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq. This is their “drastic reduction”? The presence of foreign troops at any level is still an occupation.

Iraqi people still ‘cloaked in darkness’

The Iraq war is not “yesterday’s war” as Connecticut Senator Lieberman said while speaking as a representative of the U.S. ruling class on FOX News.

Families here are still saying tearful goodbyes to enlisted members who are continually being deployed and redeployed. Families here are still dealing with the aftermath of war, all while military coffins are still being lowered into the ground.

No war can be considered to be winding down when there are foreign troops still on the ground. No war can be considered “yesterday’s” when the country’s infrastructure has not been rebuilt. Hospitals, schools and homes remain without power. The people of Iraq are still cloaked in darkness as a result of violence created by the instability of a country under occupation. Iraqis are still dying from lack of basic necessities. They are still gripped by the fear that they may be kidnapped and tortured by the American occupiers. They—the occupied—are still heroically resisting occupation, no matters how much the occupiers try to frame it otherwise. The people of Iraq deserve a life free from fear and occupation.

We can fight back!

March Forward! demands an immediate end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as an end to the Israeli apartheid regime propped up by U.S. imperialism, and its occupation of Palestine. We demand reparations be made to the peoples of these countries. We also demand that those in power who continue to benefit from imperialist war be held accountable for their actions.

March Forward! calls for all soldiers, sailors, airmen/women and marines to refuse any and all orders to deploy and fight in these criminal wars of U.S. aggression.

The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are not our enemies!

This is not our war!


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