20 MARCH 2005
The Second Year of the U.S. Invasion
and Occupation of Iraq
PEACE FOR LIFE BULLETIN
18 March 2005
REFORGING OUR SOLIDARITY WITH THE IRAQIS
AND THEIR STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE
March 20 marks the second year of the occupation of Iraq by the Unites States. It also, in a sense, marks the anniversary of the biggest anti-war protest rallies the world has ever seen. On this day, the United States?with its coalition of the willing?armed with some of the deadliest weaponry in its arsenal proceeded with the invasion of Iraq despite worldwide protests, despite absence of U.N. sanction, despite any justifiable reason, despite the cost in terms of lives and human suffering.
Costs and casualties
In the course of this period, some 100,000 Iraqi civilians and combatants have died as a result of the war, perhaps even more as no one could say for certain. Around 1,500 U.S. troops have been killed, with over 25,000 wounded. All these presumably because the world needed to be rid of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, which after a two-year search costing millions of dollars ended with the White House acknowledging that they couldn’t find any.
More than US$200 billion have been spent on the continued occupation, which supposed rationale was reconstruction of Iraqi infrastructure and establishment of democratic institutions, none of which has been delivered, as none could ever be in a context of any imperial occupation. Instead, vital civilian facilities and infrastructure remain in disarray and cities continue to be ravaged by the military campaigns, as Fallujah, has been rendered virtually uninhabitable.
Elections and continuing U.S. occupation
Just as Washington vaunted the handover of political power in June of last year as proof of its commitment to Iraq's independence, the recent election of a national assembly to write the country's constitution was similarly touted as a critical turning point in Iraq's transition to democracy. Both political exercises, carried out under the auspices of Washington, are premised under its idea of what a “democratic” Middle Eastern country is?primarily one that does not nationalise its most important industries, mainly oil, and is bereft of any aspiration for a strong Arab unity. Many in the governments of the multinational forces in Iraq hailed the election, despite boycotts and violence that accompanied it, as a clear manifestation of Iraq’s transition to democracy, as if the essence of democracy is being able to hold elections regardless of circumstances and the utter lack of clear choices for the majority.
Lacking in popular mandate and widely perceived as a puppet regime subservient to Washington's dictates, the central government, faced with an armed resistance hardly quelled, will continue to depend on occupation forces to deal with the worsening security situation in Iraq. The most likely result is a highly volatile condition that has the makings of a civil war, which from all indications is starting to happen.
Ravages of war
The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have ravaged not only the Iraqis, their land and historical heritage but also laid to waste the rules of civilized warfare that make clear distinctions between military and civilian personnel, that respected rights of prisoners and safeguarded the sanctity of civilian population. The war in Iraq reveals the Empire without its masks. The significance of the Iraqi resistance goes beyond the Iraqis, even beyond the people of Islam, for it is they who are in the frontline against the Empire’s militarized global expansion.
Solidarity with the Iraqis
Like past empires, today’s empire will not last. Like past empires, today’s empire will be consumed by its own greed. The devastation it creates will cause its own destruction. As we strive for a new world nurtured by peoples upholding human dignity and respecting human rights, we are called upon to stand in solidarity with them whose vision for Iraq is genuine peace and fullness of life for all.
On March 20, 2005 as we recall the rape of Iraq, we must think, as well, of the valiant people who resisted and continue to resist the occupation and celebrate the indomitable spirit of resistance. The occupation continues; so does the killing. Let us rekindle the passion that moved us to condemn the war then to make us even more determined to resist the injustice of imperial expansion now.
Peace for Life Secretariat
879 EDSA, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. (632) 925-2008; Telefax (632) 928-8638