Friday, 20 March 2009

"War Games"

Six years today since Washington launched its "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq, raining bombs and missiles on Baghdad. Despite the massive opposition of people across the world to this war and the change from the Bush to the Obama administration, the war in Iraq continues, with no end in sight.

Just within the past week the following incidents have been reported:

• On March 16, a 12-year-old Iraqi girl riding in a car with her father was killed when US troops fired on the vehicle as it approached them near the northern city of Mosul.

• On March 15, American forces shot a woman dead during a raid in the Hamdan district of western Mosul.

• On March 13, US troops killed two farmers in the Jallam district of Samarra in Saladin Province. Witnesses told the Iraqi press that the troops shot the men without provocation.

During the campaign, Obama postured as an opponent of the war and criticized his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, because of her vote to authorize the invasion. Once in office, he kept on all those who had directed this war—Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus, and Iraq occupation commander Gen. Raymond Odierno—while making Clinton his secretary of state.

Obama's so-called withdrawal plan envisions the continued occupation of Iraq by tens of thousands of US troops for years to come, and there are growing indications that even the limited withdrawals agreed to under the status of forces pact signed with the puppet Maliki government in Baghdad will not be fulfilled. Maliki himself this week declared that despite a June deadline for withdrawing US combat troops from Iraqi cities, none of them would be removed from any city in which there remained a potential for conflict.

To the extent that troops are withdrawn from Iraq, it is to send them to Afghanistan, where the Obama administration is launching a major escalation.

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