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11th September 2001
Two years after September 11, US Empire Looking Shaky
IT HAS not been a good week for George Bush. Five months after the war in Iraq was officially declared over, he has been forced to grovel to the United Nations for thousands more troops.
This is a humiliating climbdown for him and an embarrassing defeat for the neo-conservatives who consider the UN an irrelevance and believed that US imperialism could conquer the world alone.
As even Labour MP Michael Meacher felt compelled to point out (the Guardian 6 September), the neo-conservatives had prepared a blueprint for US global dominance - including control of the Gulf and its oil supplies - long before 11 September 2001.
The 9/11 attacks gave them the pretext and opportunity to put their plans into action with war in Afghanistan and, most importantly (for them), in Iraq.
Now those plans are in chaos. There is no peace and stability in the Middle East.
The road map to peace in Israel/Palestine is in tatters (see page 9). In Iraq itself, civilians are turning against an occupation that cannot guarantee even basic security, fuel or water.
Just days before the second anniversary of the 11 September attacks, Bush has asked Congress for another $87 billion to "destroy the terrorists". He has vowed once again to spend as much as is needed and to do all that it takes to achieve this aim - a statement which he may come to regret.
There are still 9,000 US troops in Afghanistan. Peacekeepers have no control outside the capital and recently the Taliban has been regrouping and stepping up attacks.
US officials have spoken about troops remaining in Iraq for at least two more years - at a cost of $9 billion a month. This, when the US is on course for a record budget deficit of almost $500 billion this year and two million jobs have been lost since Bush came to power.
On average one US soldier is killed every day in Iraq. Already almost half of Americans think that the US should pull out.
Bush's approval rating in opinion polls is down to around 52%, lower than his father's at this stage after the first Gulf War - and he went on to lose the next presidential election.
French and German imperialism, for their own interests, are reluctant to support a UN resolution that would commit more troops for Iraq while leaving them under US control.
Even if they managed to cobble together a compromise resolution, the UN cannot solve the problems of the Iraqi people.
It was UN sanctions which resulted in 5,000 Iraqi children dying every month from starvation and lack of medicines. The UN would be nothing more than a figleaf for the neo-colonial exploitation of Iraq by the big corporations and US capitalism in particular.
The "war on terrorism" has turned into its opposite. To justify war with Iraq, the Bush administration fabricated links between Saddam Hussein and international terrorism - especially al-Qa'ida.
As the bombing of the UN headquarters and Shia mosque have shown, war and occupation have unleashed the very forces that US imperialism was supposedly trying to crush.
The latest tape, reportedly from al-Qa'ida promising attacks both inside and outside Iraq that will put 9/11 in the shade, may not be genuine but the threat of terrorism remains a real one for a wide range of forces who want US and British troops out of Iraq.
The 27 September national demonstration (see page 1 for details) is an opportunity to voice our opposition to the occupation of Iraq and the profit driven policies of both Bush and Blair.
War, terror, inequality and poverty internationally are the consequences of these policies and the capitalist system which underpins them.
That's why working-class people in Iraq, Britain, the US and internationally need to fight for socialism as the only viable alternative to the horrors of capitalism.
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