Iraq And The Hood
It has been four years and four months since I wrote Iraq and the Hood, which included the sentence “A war in Iraq will be just another case of using the poor to fight the poor so the rich can become richer and government oppression through foreign and domestic policy can increase”. Interestingly, I just finished reading an article in the May 18, 2007, issue of Socialist Worker newspaper, which cites a notable statement made by economist Paul Krugman in a recent New York Times article concerning the shift in social consciousness of the masses:
“The main driving force of the shift to the left is probably rising income inequality. According to Pew there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who agree with the statement ‘The rich get richer while the poor get poorer’”. While Dear Leader George W. Bush and his oil-drunk neocon war-fanatic regime were busy destroying Iraq, the world saw the true racist nature of White House domestic policy when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The recent May 4th tornado that hit Kansas—the most powerful tornado to hit the US in 8 years—showed us all that, even in the good ole’ wholesome lily-white state of Kansas, the working class, regardless of ethnicity, suffers from failed US domestic policy as well.
The government’s response—or perhaps I should say lack of response—to both disasters should be considered nothing less than criminal. Corporate profits are at an all-time high while economic class-disparity has reached a level not seen since the 1920s. While Washington lawmakers have allowed the federal minimum wage to remain the same for a decade, the House of Representatives has had no problem voting for raises for all Congress members on a yearly basis over the last 8 years. Since the invasion of Iraq, the petrochemical industry has recorded record-breaking profit-earnings while the price of gas and heating oil has increased by astronomical proportions. Median income for the average working class household has fallen and the number of N. Americans without health insurance has risen. The brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq has indeed resulted in a blatant assault on the hood. And what has the US imperialist war on Iraq accomplished? Nothing less than a barrage of war crimes. Since the start of the war in March 2003, an estimated 650,000 Iraqis have died. As of June 6, 2007, almost 3,500 US soldiers have lost their lives fighting a war that never should have been launched to begin with. Have the Iraqi people experienced the “liberation” so profusely promised to them by Washington?
Has “stability been achieved in the Middle East” as those who deceived the public into initially supporting the war guaranteed it would be? Is the US “safer from terrorism” now that the country of Iraq has been devastated? The answer to these questions is an obvious and emphatic NO. The divide-and-conquer policies that the US military has employed during the occupation have resulted in provoking an outright civil war in Iraq. The country is socially and economically devastated. Sectarian violence from both Sunni and Shia has become horrendous, with militaries from both sides engaging in assassinations, abductions, and even outright massacres. To date, the war has cost over $432 billion in taxpayer money while war-profiteering companies like Halliburton, Bechtel, and others have been granted billions in no-bid war contracts. These billions could have been used to fund a countless number of social programs in the US, or perhaps, if I may be a bit fanatical, the Bush regime could have used this blood money to help repair the horrific damage done to Iraq by the previous Gulf War—which included the chemical warfare use of so-called “depleted” uranium—and a decade and a half of harsh economic sanctions. Working class people, those who live in the hoods of Iraq and the US, have definitely suffered terribly because of this unjust war. We have seen the devastating human cost of the war on the ground in both countries. Public sentiment against the occupation continues to grow as Bush’s approval rating hovers around an all-time low of 30%. Public outrage at the deplorable way the Bush Administration has handled the occupation was the decisive reason why voters put Democrats into control of the Senate last year.
Though both Democrats and Republicans essentially act as promoters of corporate interests first and foremost, when Hillary Clinton—who Cindy Sheehan has called a “war-mongering She-Bush”—begins voicing opposition to the war she originally vehemently supported, we know just how much the political landscape has changed. What has caused this miraculous change? Have the Democrats had a sudden awakening and decided to put people before profits? This sudden shift to the left is nothing but opportunism—a result of public pressure. Those who said NO to the war in Iraq before its onset have changed the political climate. People marching in the streets holding signs that read
“Make Levees Not War” have helped bring awareness to the harsh reality of US imperialism. Those of us who have fought against this war from its onset have been instrumental in forcing politicians to bow to the will of the citizens of this country. But the fight isn’t over yet. Iraq is still occupied and the hood continues to be assaulted by failed domestic policy. The Bush regime is making outlandish threats to invade Iran and the poor are still getting poorer while the rich are still becoming richer. We have made many advances in the Social Justice movement since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq but we must continue to fight. Support the troops by bringing them home.
Demand and end to US imperialism and say NO to state oppression in all forms!