Just as Blair was returning safely from a ten-day family holiday in Egypt, his officials were announcing that he would be signing the mobilisation orders of 20,000 British soldiers and an unknown number of reserve personnel, in preparation for war against Iraq. Having enjoyed the sun of the Middle-East, Blair now plans to return this favour in the form of troops and bombs for its population! Such is the arrogance of the rich countries' leaders that they behave as if the entire world was their property and consider that they have the right of life and death over its populations.
Put in a nutshell, these are the only real reasons behind the present war threats against Iraq.
By now, Bush's and Blair's propaganda about Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction", has proved to be what everyone suspected from the start - hypocritical lies. Despite the West's famous "intelligence" about Iraq, the UN inspectors have failed to find the slightest shred of evidence to support US and British accusations.
At the same time, Bush has now dropped the pretense that his decision to attack Iraq will ultimately depend on the inspectors' findings. Going through UN channels was merely a device for Bush to get the main rich countries to line up behind his policy of military aggression - as the US has done many times in the past, with Britain's support.
Regardless of the results of these inspections, Bush has authorised more and more US troops to be stationed on permanent alert in the micro oil-states surrounding Iraq. With a total of 120,000 US soldiers scheduled by the end of February, Bush will be able to launch an attack against Iraq at any time he sees fit, including a land invasion. In and of itself, this constitutes a major danger.
If and when Bush decides to launch his war against Iraq, its only purpose will be to reassert the rich countries' world order against the poor countries' populations: that is their right to impose the worst dictators on these populations, just like Saddam Hussein; to keep bloody repressive regimes in power by arming them to the teeth while Western arms dealers line their pockets with the proceeds; then, to dispose of these dictators when they become too big for their boots. Above all, of course, the purpose of this war will be to reassert, with the blood of the Iraqi people, the sacred right of US companies to plunder the poor countries at will, because this is what the rich countries' governments are really about.
Giving any support to such a war would be to condone a system of world domination which allows a small number of very large companies, together with their big shareholders, to live off the impoverishment, and often the blood, of the poor majority of the planet's population. It would be underwriting a system that can only produce more dictators and generate more wars against the populations it oppresses, because this is the only method it knows to prevent these populations from rising against their oppression and putting capitalist profit at risk.
The working class of this country has no interest in condoning such a system. It has no interest in endorsing such a war.
Unlike Bush, Blair has no domestic political reasons to push this warmongering to the bitter end. If this war breaks out and he chooses to follow US leaders, as he has always done so far, it will be exclusively to secure the best possible share of the loot for British companies and their City shareholders. In the war itself, Blair and the British army will be playing second fiddle to the US, if not third or fourth. But for the Iraqi population, British bombs will be no less lethal than US missiles. And the responsibility of Blair's government will be no less criminal than that of Bush.
If this war does take place, it will inevitably end in a bloodbath for the Iraqi population, possibly one which will last a long period of time as the Western leaders may well come up against fierce resistance to their aggression. But this war will also entail a heavy price for the population of the rich countries involved - in the US, of course, and in Britain.
In this respect, Blair's New Year message provides us with a clear warning. Contrary to the usual rosy picture of the government's achievements, we have been presented this time with the gloomy prospect of the combined impact of the world economic recession and the war against Iraq. Although he did not go into any detail, his unmistakable message was that we will have to foot the bill for both, or at least this is the plan of his government.
But there is another possible option - to fight both. The working class of this country has no more reason to pay the price of maintaining the profits of the capitalists against a crisis which is of their own making, than it has to endorse a war whose only purpose is to benefit the same capitalists. And this could well be workers' New Year message to Blair!
5 January 2003