February 16, 2007, 42 Iraqis reported killed in insurgency-related violence, 67 people reported injured in four bombings - three in the northern town of Hawija and one in Baghdad, 3 US soldiers killed, 1 foreign hostage taken, 40 foreign hostages believed to be alive in detention, 20 suspected insurgents captured in Tal Afar, 8,000 Iraqi troops, 30,000 US troops operating in Baghdad, 1,800,000 barrels of oil produced, 25 percent of Iraqis completely dependent on government food hand-outs, 50 percent of Iraqis with no access to safe drinking water. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a day in the life of an Iraqi.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the world trade centers, there has been a feeling of a need to take vengeance on those responsible. This reprisal however has flowed into what we now know as the war in Iraq. Being an American, it is easy for us to be fooled by the media and media representations of these issues. We only know what we see and what we see is not always reality.
Former President George Bush had very serious problems. Before the first deployment of troops to Iraq, Bush made a number of clear statements about the reason the United States needed to pursue the most radical actions any nation can undertake - acts of war against another nation. Now it is clear that many of his statements were false. President Bush addressed the United Nations on September 22nd 2002 and said, "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." These words tell us that he strongly believed that a war on Iraq was essential. However it seems as if he may have been manipulating us into believing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Until this day, these words are a lie.
The UN had allowed itself to be used by the United States and Britain in an inspections-sanctions regime that was both fraudulent and genocidal. The fraudulence flowed from the fact that the inspections were used by the United States not just to remove Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction but to punish him and force him out in "regime change".
The media doesn't dwell on the fact that the US were wrong in invading Iraq, nor will they spend much time on the issue of Saddam's threatening weapons of mass destruction that supposedly justified the invasion. The Iraq invasions were characterized by an enormous imbalance of forces and massive firepower used by the US and highly civilian destructive weapons, including a number that are considered weapons of mass destruction, the exact same weapons we were trying to apparently find and destroy! The aim in the war was to keep US casualties low, for domestic and political reasons. But such aims tend to be at the expense of heavy civilian casualties in target areas
In recent wars, we used depleted uranium which is a radioactive weapon that poses a serious health threat to civilians in the target areas, as well as soldiers, and its use is almost surely a violation of international law. But the pentagon likes it, the United States use it, and therefore the media and international community ignore its use. It was used in Iraq, along with cluster bombs and big bombs, against an enemy without an air force. For what reason do we need to use such powerful weapons against such a small, depleted army? Just imagine, you were a student in Iraq, living life normally, just like you and I, suddenly losing all your family and friends in an act of war, seeing your parents die in front of you, or maybe being hit by a bomb and knocked out, only to find when you wake your legs gone and you face mutilation. How would you feel? Well that's what these civilians faced every day during the war. It's not just the Iraqis killed during the war, 4,282 us soldiers died and dozens of coalition troops were killed. That is nothing in comparison to the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed. Thousands of young Iraqis were mowed down trying to use small arms against enormous artillery and air firepower. The Iraqi imbalance even moved some us soldiers. Staff sergeant Ira Mack told US reporters, “at the Karbala Gap the Iraqis put up a good fight, but to no avail because we had the firepower. It was way too easy.” And an anonymous soldier privately said in the Christian Science Monitor on April 11, 2004 that “I feel almost guilty about the massacre. We wasted a lot of people. It makes you wonder how many were innocent. It takes away some of the pride. We won, but at what cost?”
I have seen images of the war that I couldn't bring myself to showing you all. I read about the story of a young boy whose brother was killed in an attack on Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. A journalist at the same scene was hiding during the bombings taking pictures whenever he could. The photographer watched 3 men die in front of him, he couldn't do anything, just try to save himself. One Iraqi man told the photographer to take as many pictures as he could, to show the world American Democracy. The journalist just kept telling himself, they aren't dead, they are just sleeping.
I must ask you this. How can we as a community not only fight this war but also the system which gives rise to these horrors? I believe we need to build a socialist movement that will fight for a society that puts working people before power and profit, one that ends horrors of war, poverty and exploitation, a socialist society. We all want to see peace and freedom and to achieve this we need equality. That word ladies and gentlemen that word equality is what we should be striving for.