War on the World

The United States Project for Global Hegemony

The Workers' Party of Ireland has produced an interesting, detailed yet succinct analysis of the origins and results of Bush and Blair's war on Iraq. Spectre is pleased to bring its readers the full text, which can also be downloaded as a pdf. file from the site where it originally appeared


The Workers' Party of Ireland joined with millions of people throughout the world in opposing US and British plans for a war of aggression against Iraq. This war took place at a time when the United States was simultaneously engaged in aggression in Latin America, actively seeking oil concessions in Asia and Africa and issuing threats against Cuba, the DPR of Korea, Iran, Syria and various other sovereign states throughout the world.

These provocations occur at a time when, through the process of globalisation, capitalism represents a renewed and continuing threat to the livelihood of millions and to the freedom of independent sovereign states to control their own political, social, economic and cultural affairs. Power has shifted to a US-centred unipolarity. The United States has a massive

military arsenal and proposes to develop further weapons of mass destruction. It is the undisguised ambition of Bush and his neo-conservative ideologues to establish unchallenged US global dominance.

These changed conditions may give rise to an understandable but nonetheless unjustifiable pessimism in the face of US economic and military might. But empires wax and wane. The war in Iraq has raised public consciousness of the pernicious role of the USA in world affairs.

There is hope for the future but that hope depends on a proper analysis of global conditions and the current trends in capitalism. It also relies on the expression of a clear political and ideological response that is capable of forming the basis of a programme of political action, not solely in opposition to US attempts at global hegemony, but also for the

transformation of society and the world.

G. Grainger

International Committee

The Workers’ Party of Ireland

Background to War: The Developing World and the Struggle for Progress

In 1964 at Geneva the developing countries formulated their demands for the international economic order. The concept of a new international economic order was officially launched at the IV Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Algiers in 1973 and was formulated in 1974 in the UN General Assembly Declaration on Establishing the New International Economic Order. At that time developing countries highlighted the wide gap between economically developed and under-developed countries.

They were acutely aware that national independence would remain incomplete unless economic independence was achieved. It was clear that developing countries had suffered myriad socio-economic difficulties arising from centuries of backwardness, colonial domination and exploitation by foreign monopolies. In short it was recognised that continuing under-development was a direct result of domination by the industrial capitalist world. While 70 per cent of the population of Asia, Africa and Latin America had only 30 per cent of the world income they were also the source of 80 per cent of the raw material and agricultural exports of the world. However, despite the richness of their resources, their share in the world industrial product was less than 7 per cent.

The assertion of economic independence by the developing countries took a number of forms, involving an insistence on national sovereignty over natural resources, raw materials and primary commodity exports. This battle was at its most acute when, in 1973, the Organisation of Petroleum Producing Countries [OPEC] took the decision to raise the price of crude oil. These countries also proclaimed the need to establish equity in international

economic and commercial relations between developing countries and the developed capitalist world. The task of socio-economic transformation in the developing countries required the democratisation and modernisation of education, the expansion and improvement of medical and health care facilities and the nationalisation of key industries and utilities to prevent the outflow of profit and to secure control over the economy. The creation of a viable state sector, the funding of education, health and social welfare facilities, the assertion of control over primary commodity exports, all effected a challenge to the existing world economic order and its political adherents.

The Rise of the New Right

The 1970s were also accompanied by political demands in the capitalist countries for fiscal restraint. There was a concerted attack on public spending and the trade union movement. Cutbacks in education, health and social spending were commonplace.  In 1976 the British Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey, approached the International Monetary Fund for a loan. Strict control over inflation and a marked reduction in public spending were among the conditions for assistance. In Ireland the 1973-77 coalition government of the Fine Gael and Labour parties presided over rising unemployment, cutbacks in public spending, sell-off of natural resources, and calls for wage restraint.

The providers of funds for loans to countries in crisis were not imbued with the spirit of international solidarity or humanity. They were strictly in the business of profit and increasingly loans were tied to ever more stringent conditions. This coincided with the growing influence of monetarism as a school of economic thought. Friedman and his acolytes argued that government intervention in the economy should be minimised and that a change in the money supply directly affected and determined production, employment and price levels. Friedman and Hayek were advocates of the unrestrained so-called "free market". Hayek, a long time enemy of socialism and state planning, believed in the erosion of trade union powers and the privatisation of the money supply. He considered that only "free markets" powered by self-interested individuals could produce a rational economy and intelligently organised social behaviour.

There was a strong distaste for equality and social justice implicit in this philosophy. Hayek declared:  " ... a spontaneously working market, where prices act as guides to action, cannot take account of what people in any sense need or deserve, because it creates a distribution which nobody has designed, and something which has not been designed, a mere state of affairs as such, cannot be just or unjust. And the idea that things ought to be designed in a ‘just’ manner means, in effect, that we must abandon the market and turn to a planned economy in which somebody decides how much each ought to have...."

The monetarist philosophy was closely associated with the military coup in Chile, which overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende with the backing of the United States and the CIA and with the subsequent violent repression, mass killing and military dictatorship. In 1979/1980 two important politicians of the new right came to power. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were both imbued with the philosophy of the monetarist economists and set about the task of putting the theory into practice. Although each adopted different monetarist approaches both rejected the concept of full employment and embarked on an attack on the concept of the welfare state. Both were in favour of privatisation, smashing the trade union movement, and massive cutbacks in public spending. The concepts of equality, social justice and the redistribution of wealth were


The coming to power of Thatcher and Reagan reinforced the enthusiasm of the neo-conservatives for their world-view. Neo-liberalism became the new economic orthodoxy supplemented by a conservative social policy. In reality the ultimate economic performance was poor. Industrial infrastructure declined and collapsed. Workers wages stagnated. The US national debt increased. In Britain there was a massive transfer of assets from the public

to the private sector and control of key industries & national utilities - communication, power and transport - was placed in private hands. Taxation was reduced; dividend and foreign exchange controls removed; the trade union movement was subjected to ideological and physical assault; civil and political liberties were threatened; and inequality and poverty increased.

The uncompromising philosophy of neo-liberalism was promoted globally. By the early 1990s developing countries that had previously believed that their under-development was due to colonial domination and exploitation by foreign monopolies were being told that their problems were due to the insufficient practice of capitalism and that IMF loans were conditional upon adoption of the capitalist model of development and the rigorous imposition of structural adjustment programmes regardless of the hardship imposed on their people or the sacrifice of national sovereignty.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and many of the Socialist countries greatly assisted the spread of the doctrines of free market capitalism. Laissez faire economics now became the dominant global ideology marketed by some of the most powerful states in the world. Developing countries which had been able to trade with the Soviet Union and Socialist countries found their options diminished. There were fewer powerful states able to project and promote a different world view and to challenge the pervasive influence of global capitalism. Developing countries which had embarked on a programme of national independence and socio-economic transformation based on a socialist model of development no longer had the protection of powerful and influential friends. The international balance of power was dramatically changed and there was a shift to a US centred unipolarity. Nowhere was this more acutely demonstrated than the diplomatic battle to wage war on Iraq. Reasoned argument, a balanced contemplation of the issues and the evidence, international legal norms, humanitarian considerations and the objections of the majority of the world's states and peoples counted for naught. Civilisation gave way to barbarity. This is the vision of America's unipolar world.

United States Policy towards Iraq

On 8th February 1963, in the course of a fascist coup, the Ba'ath party came to power in Iraq. This coup was characterised by its extreme brutality towards the progressive and revolutionary forces which had played a leading role in the struggle against colonialism and monarchical rule and which had fought to defend the gains of the July 1958 Revolution. Since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958 the Iraqi Communist Party had always sought to consolidate and advance the gains made at that time. Despite repression and execution of members carried out by the Ba'athist government, the Communist Party of Iraq, in order to defend the interests of workers and national sovereignty took part in a national government under the Ba'athists. When the crisis was overcome the Ba'athists reneged on their pledge to work with the communists and other progressives. They concocted accusations that the communists were organising cells in the armed forces. The Ba'ath Party used this accusation as a pretext to arrest, torture and murder many communists.

It is now clear and well documented that the CIA was directly involved in these activities and supplied to the Iraqi regime the names and addresses of Iraqi communists and progressives for execution. As the US created, nurtured and supported Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, so it was with Saddam Hussein.

By 1985 Iraq was the world's leading importer of arms. The British government and the US, both entirely cognisant of the nature of the Iraqi regime, were major suppliers of arms to Iraq. Neither government was bothered by the fact that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. Indeed both the US and Britain are long-standing supporters of murderous dictatorships across the globe. To this day both these governments support one of the most oppressive racist states in the Middle East, a state with a long record of invasion and occupation of neighbouring states, human rights violations and which possesses weapons of mass destruction, namely, Israel. Despite this and despite numerous UN resolutions the US has not demanded the disarmament of Israel. On the contrary, it has repeatedly used its veto to block any UN action against Israel even to the extent of blocking UN human rights


The author Dilip Hiro has asked the question: "As Iraq's use of poison gases in war and in peace was public knowledge, the question arises: what did the United States administration do about it then"? He supplies the answer: "Absolutely nothing. Indeed, so powerful was the grip of the pro-Baghdad lobby on the administration of Republican President Ronald Reagan that it got the White House to foil the Senate's attempt to penalise Iraq for its violation of the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons to which it was a signatory".  He points out that the Pentagon had first-hand knowledge of Iraq's use of chemical agents during the Iraq-Iran war and that a US Defence Intelligence Agency Officer actually toured the battlefield with Iraqi officers where he saw zones marked off for chemical contamination.

Although the US continually refers to the use of poison gas against the Kurds at Halabja, it does not mention that when this atrocity was revealed Washington refused to condemn it. Even after this the US still did not stop the sale of American military equipment and technology to Iraq.

The 2003 Anglo-American war against Iraq was an unjust and unnecessary war. It had nothing to do with the war against terrorism, nor the protection of human rights. It certainly had nothing to do with the liberation of Iraq. The US Survey Team Report, issued on 2nd October 2003, confirms this. Months later, no weapons of mass destruction - the pretext for this illegal war - have been found. The peoples of the world were always aware that the US and Britain would go to war. The UN was never more than a fig leaf for them. The idea that UN approval was an important factor in their consideration is mere cant. The U N was only worthy of consideration if it was prepared to do the bidding of Bush and his fellow Crusader, Blair.

The headline in the leading article in the London Independent on Sunday on 16th March 2003 put the position succinctly: "America wants war, all the rest is window dressing".

There has never been any doubt that the US intended to attack and invade Iraq, with or without the sanction of the United Nations. In his State of the Union Address on 28th January 2003 Bush made a declaration of aggression against Iraq. In a speech riddled with rhetoric, false sentiment, jingoism and lies, Bush left it clear that a war was inevitable. The spineless toadying of Blair and his thoroughly disingenuous approach to the United Nations demonstrates contempt for diplomacy and international law.

After 12 years of rigorous sanctions and persistent UN inspections, we were still expected to believe that Saddam Hussein continued to possess massive amounts of chemical and biological weapons, without a shred of proof being produced. Is it not reasonable to expect that if the Iraqi government had such weapons of mass destruction they might have used them in an attempt to survive? Is it not unusual that with Iraq being overrun by foreign troops they are still unable to find these weapons? Is it not the reality that this was a pretext deliberately contrived and utilised to justify this imperialist war of plunder?

In an article published in The Guardian newspaper on 29th November 2001 Hans von Sponeck, UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, from 1998 and Denis Halliday who held the same position from 1997 to 1998 wrote: "The UK and the US have deliberately pursued a policy of punishment since the Gulf War victory in 1991. The two governments have consistently opposed allowing the UN Security Council to carry out its mandated responsibilities to assess the impact of sanctions policies on civilians. We know about this first hand, because the governments repeatedly tried to prevent us from briefing the Security Council about it. The pitiful annual limits, of less than $170 per person, for humanitarian supplies, set by them during the first three years of the oil-for-food programme are unarguable evidence of such a policy ... Despite the severe inadequacies of the permitted oil revenues to meet the minimum needs of the Iraqi people, oil revenues earned from 1996 to 2000 were diverted by the UN Security Council, at the behest of the UK and US governments, to compensate outsiders for losses allegedly incurred because of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. If this money had been made available to Iraqis, it could have saved many lives".

These policies led to the death of 5,000 - 6,000 children every month in Iraq - imposed by the very people who are now trying to convince the world that this war was for the benefit and welfare of the Iraqi people.

Wars for Oil

In 1917 Britain invaded Mesopotamia and occupied Iraq. Following the break-up of the Ottoman Empire the League of Nations gave Britain a mandate over Mesopotamia in 1920. Resistance to British control was brutally suppressed. In 1921 the British Colonial Office created an artificial border across southern Iraq, carving out the nation of Kuwait.

From the outset, the US expressed close interest in Iraqi oil. In 1931 the Turkish Petroleum Company was reconstituted as the Iraq Petroleum Company in which British and US companies had a substantial interest. In 1941 Britain intervened militarily in Iraq to overthrow the government of Rashid Ali Gailani.  In 1951 Dr Mohammed Mossadegh came to power in neighbouring Iran. He soon made clear his intention that Iran would exercise control over its oil resources and nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Within two years Mossadegh was deposed and the infamous Shah of Iran was installed in his place with the active support and assistance of the CIA.  The US helped the Shah establish SAVAK, the notorious and brutal secret police.

The US is the largest importer of Iraqi oil and the seizure and control of Iraq's acknowledged 112 billion barrels of oil reserves and its 250 billion of potential reserves represents a significant coup. In doing so the US hopes to satisfy the requirements of its oil thirsty economy and to neutralise the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC].

An examination of the backgrounds and close links to the oil industry of the leading dramatis personae in the US administration is also enlightening. In 1995 Dick Cheney became CEO of Halliburton Company, a Dallas based oil giant. This company, in turn, owns Brown & Root Services, a company which specialises in providing logistics for the US military around the world.

George Bush, Senior, moved to Odessa, Texas in the late 1940s and he became involved in the oil industry. He recognised the implications of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. This move had the effect of increasing Iraq's oil reserves from 11% to 20% of the world total. It was this factor, rather than the Iraqi incursion per se, which motivated the 1st Gulf War.

George Bush Jnr., followed his father into the oil business. He started his own oil and gas company in the 1970s, setting up Arbusto Energy. This venture was not a success and in 1983 it was saved from failure when it was purchased by Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation. Spectrum was, in turn, acquired by Harken Energy Corporation in 1986. Bush and his partners received more than $2m of Harken stock and he became a director of, and a paid consultant to, Harken. In June 1990 Bush sold two-thirds of his Harken stock for a 200% profit. Just one week later Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly earnings.

The real motive for this war might therefore be gleaned by an examination of a report commissioned by James Baker, the former US Secretary of State under George Bush Snr and submitted to Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, in April 2001 - five months before the terrorist attack on September 11. This report makes interesting reading. It advocates a policy of using military force against an enemy such as Iraq to secure US access to, and control over, the oilfields of the Middle East.  It suggested: "Iraq remains a destabilising influence to ... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East". The document indicates that the US is facing the biggest energy crisis in its history and that the energy sector is in a critical condition. It notes that US allies in the Gulf have become less inclined to lower oil prices and that Iraqi oil reserves represent a major asset that can quickly add capacity to world oil markets and inject a more competitive tenor to oil trade. Finally, it recommends the use of military intervention as a means of resolving America’s energy crisis.

It is no coincidence that the United States is also implicated in the abortive attempts to overthrow the popular President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. The US buys approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from Venezuela. Chavez is a popular President who has sought to introduce progressive constitutional, political, economic and social reform in his country to the benefit of its poor. Venezuela has also lobbied OPEC to introduce production cuts in order to boost oil prices. Chavez also attempted to forge links with other progressive forces in Latin America, including socialist Cuba. All this proved too much for the US and, in measures reminiscent of its deep involvement in the overthrow of the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile and its repeated attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of Cuba, it has engaged with the rich and powerful in Venezuela in an attempt to overthrow the popular government of the marginalized and poor.

The Build-Up To War

Leading Characters of the US New Right

Richard Perle was Chair of the Defence Policy Board, appointed by Donald Rumsfeld. In March 2003 Perle was exposed in the New Yorker magazine for his involvement in a group which invests in companies involved in defence and "homeland security" defence contracts and the vast profits to be made in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the so-called Foundation for Defence of Democracy. This is a right-wing, pro-Israel group. He is a Board member of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs and has long-standing contacts with the Israeli government and Israeli business interests. He was previously a former assistant secretary of defence for international security policy in the Reagan administration and has been criticised for receiving substantial payments to represent the interests of an Israeli weapons company. He has been a paid lobbyist both for Turkey and Israel. Perle has served as a director of Autonomy, a company carrying out work for the US Defence Department producing intelligence software and which has openly stated that war sells more software.

Perle is one of the major neo-conservative figures behind Bush. He has actively advocated a perpetual global war in pursuit of US interests and a revised UN Charter which would effectively endorse a "new set of security arrangements". It is Perle who pushed the spurious allegations of the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. He has also conceded, in effect, that the weapons of mass destruction argument was no more than a pretext, stating: "For many

months our senior administration officials were persuaded that we had to talk narrowly of weapons of mass destruction because regime change was not authorised under the United Nations Charter ... there would have been lawyers who will say that regime change has not been contemplated under the United Nations Charter. And the answer to that is that we need to revise the United Nations Charter."

Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy Defence Secretary, is another of the hawkish figures in the Bush regime. He has been an open advocate of the war against Iraq. At the University of Chicago he was the prot�g� of Albert Wohstetter, the conservative nuclear strategist. In the 1970s Wolfowitz was an opponent of detente with the Soviet Union. He is an unrepentant  proponent of US unilateralism and war. These figures represent a dangerous threat to

international peace and security and international law.

In an article in the Sunday Business Post on 1st December 2002 the author and journalist Alexander Cockburn wrote: "The National Security Strategy delivered by President Bush to Congress on 21st September had a briefer formulation: 'a distinctively American internationalism'. The stage is set for pre-emptive interventions, far more blatant than the old CIA-organised coups of earlier decades.  ... The basic aims of American international strategy have changed barely at all since the end of the Second World War.The difference is in the degree of frankness with which the brute realities of world domination are disclosed".

The Workers' Party of Ireland joined the tens of millions of people worldwide in condemning and opposing this Anglo-American war of aggression against Iraq. The US unleashed this war in an attempt to re-colonise and establish direct US control over Iraq and its natural resources; to bolster and protect the repressive Zionist state of Israel; to consolidate its influence in the region and to further its quest for unchallenged global hegemony.

Manufacturing the Evidence

In January 2001, the outgoing Secretary of Defence, William Powell, told Bush: "Iraq no longer poses a military threat to its neighbours". Scott Ritter - a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq and a self-declared Republican and Bush voter in 2000, has clearly stated that Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities were destroyed in the years after the Gulf War and that since that time Iraq had been prevented from obtaining the ingredients needed to make new weapons.

The US and Britain have long insisted that they have solid evidence that Iraq has restocked its chemical and biological weapons. They say that this has been revealed by intelligence from spy satellites, spies and defectors. Where is it? Why have expert and experienced inspectors not found these weapons in 12 years of inspections? Why did the inspection teams under the control of Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei find no such evidence? Why have the US and Britain not produced the evidence they say they have?  Why did the British government need to rely on a 12 year old plagiarised and doctored post-graduate thesis and why did the US government need to rely on a satellite photograph, which has been effectively rubbished by Hans Blix, if there was genuine evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction? And why, most importantly, has no such evidence since been found? To suggest that there is a genuine basis for the belief that Iraq had a stockpile of chemical, biological weapons and a nuclear capacity flies in the face of powerful evidence to the contrary (evidence reinforced by the interim report of the US Survey Team) and must cast serious doubt on the motives of those forces which argued for a war against Iraq and their accomplices.

Equally spurious was the charge that Saddam Hussein supported al-Qaeda. Even the most cursory understanding of the Ba'ath ideology and the broadly secular nature of Iraqi society exposes the falsity of this proposition.

In his State of the Union Address Bush asserted that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who "with great potential wealth will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States". Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves and it was the deeply repugnant Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State from 1973 to 1976 and latterly appointed by Bush to head an inquiry into the events of September 11, who said: "Oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs".

The 2003 War in Perspective: The War on Iraq and Principles of International Law

The United States of America, armed with the planet's most numerous and devastating weapons of mass destruction, together with the compliant Tony Blair, contrived and initiated a war of aggression against Iraq, contrary to the wishes of the United Nations and the peoples of the world. The mightiest superpower on earth, having failed to bully, bribe and buy the votes of sovereign nations on the Security Council to secure their compliance, launched a war against some of the poorest people in the world - a people already devastated by international sanctions, the 1991 Gulf war, constant bombardment and the murderous tyranny of the Iraqi regime.  Having demonstrated contempt for the UN the US embarked on yet another war in pursuit of global hegemony.

There can be no equivocation about this war. It was illegal, unnecessary and entirely contrary to the norms and principles of international law. The warmongers failed to rally broad international support for their enterprise. The United Nations and the peoples of the world were against this war.

The development and growth of international law has been based primarily on the establishment and preservation of world peace. The fundamental objective of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security.

The idea of prohibiting wars of aggression was set out in a number of documents of the League of Nations, including the draft Treaty on Mutual Assistance adopted by the League's Assembly in 1923 and the Declaration on Aggressive Wars adopted by the Assembly in 1927 in which aggressive war was described as "an international crime".

The Treaty of Paris [the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 27th August 1928] was the first multilateral international treaty which contained the principle of prohibiting aggressive wars. This principle was further developed in the Charters of the Nuremberg and Tokyo International Military Tribunals. On 11th December 1946, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly confirmed that the principles contained in the UN Charter and the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal are principles of existing international law.

The U.N. Charter stipulates that the primary objective of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security. Article 2(4) of the Charter also provides that all members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. This provision is now regarded as a fundamental principle of customary international law and, as such, binding on the international community.

The 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States made clear that no state has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state.

The principle was further elaborated in the Declaration on Principles of International Law adopted in 1970, which states that a war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace. This Declaration prohibits, inter alia, any action constituting a threat to use force or the direct or indirect use of force against another state and further prohibits the military occupation of the territory of a state as a result of the use of force in violation of the UN Charter. The 1970 Declaration recalled the duty of States to refrain from military, political, economic or other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any state - an approach further endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly when it approved the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States in 1974.

The United Nations was, as set out in its Charter, explicitly created to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". By virtue of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations a state or states may use armed force against other states in two cases only:

1. When participating in measures taken in compliance with resolutions of the Security Council for preventing or avoiding the threat to peace and suppressing acts of aggression or other violations of peace - These are measures taken by the United Nations Organisation.

2. When executing the right of individual or collective self-defence in the event of an armed attack. It is only in these second circumstances that a state, whether acting alone or in an alliance with other states, can act against the aggressor without the express sanction of the UN.

When a state takes it upon itself to displace a regime of which it disapproves by force of arms this is clearly aggression prohibited by international law. Accordingly, any attack by the United States or its allies against Iraq which was not expressly sanctioned by the United Nations and which was not on foot of an armed attack by Iraq on the United States, and, which was, in any event, unnecessary and disproportionate, is in violation of the established norms and principles of international law and constitutes an international criminal act. By permitting and facilitating the US war machine the Irish government was complicit in that crime. It is not in doubt that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. The United States was well

placed to know.

The USA and the Violation of Human Rights

In late March 2003 the US State Department released its latest global report on human rights. With that special hypocrisy and shameless arrogance reserved for an imperial power the US condemned "stress and duress" interrogation techniques by others as a form of torture. It makes no reference to the al-Queda suspects killed in US custody in Afghanistan nor to those held indefinitely, without trial and without access to lawyers, at Guantanamo Bay.

The hypocrisy is further typified by the manner in which the US treated Iraqi prisoners of war. They complained and alleged a breach of the Geneva Convention when they suggested that the Iraqi authorities paraded US prisoners of war but did precisely the same thing themselves. They began to dream up devices to circumvent the Geneva Convention and to ship Iraqi prisoners to Guantanamo Bay where they would be deprived of human rights and access to any form of justice as have the al-Queda and Taliban prisoners before them. As George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian on 25.3.'03: "Suddenly, the government of the United States has discovered the virtues of international law. It may be waging an illegal war against a sovereign state; it may be seeking to destroy every treaty which impedes its attempts to run the world, but when five of its captured soldiers were paraded in front of the Iraqi television on Sunday, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, immediately complained that ‘it is against the Geneva Convention to show photographs of prisoners of war in a manner that is humiliating for them’...This being so, Rumsfeld had better watch his back. For this enthusiastic convert to the cause of legal warfare is, as head of the defence department, responsible for a series of crimes sufficient, were he ever to be tried, to put him away for the rest of his natural life".

At a time when the US professes to espouse democratic rights throughout the world, bearing in mind the dubious circumstances of the last US Presidential election, its blatant disregard for democratic rights and elections in Yugoslavia and its attempt to undermine the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the US characterisation of the Pakistani government which operates as a military dictatorship and which banned key parties from participation in the 2002 elections as "reasonably representative" would be remarkable were it not for the fact that the US has a long and disreputable history of supporting brutal, repressive regimes across the globe. This report also states, without the slightest hint of irony, that there were no political killings during the year by Israel.

The Media and the War

The Iraq war once again highlighted the role and power of the media, and the Murdoch-controlled media in particular, in pursuing the overtly right-wing, neo-liberal and expansionist policies of the US government and US big business. The central importance of the Murdoch media in preparing a population for war by parroting Bush/Blair speak on 'weapons of mass destruction'; by attacking the 'failure of the UN' to deal with Saddam Hussein; by undermining and belittling the UN weapons inspectors; by gratuitously attacking the French and German presidents and people; by demonising not only Saddam Hussein but the entire Iraqi people, cannot be forgotten. That many other media organisations, including the BBC, willingly and deliberately acted as conduits for government propaganda is to their eternal shame.

The cosy relationship of the media and the military is further demonstrated by the practice of 'embedding' journalists. This practice, where journalists get to live out some John Wayne fantasy by being in the front line with 'our boys' further erodes any public confidence in mainstream media. (Can we imagine the government and establishment outcry if journalists were to be 'embedded' in industrial strikes, factory sit-ins, or anti-globalisation demonstrations?) The other side of the media coin was the attempted news blackout both inside Iraq and from Iraq by the US/UK military and the physical and murderous US attacks on al-Jazeera.

The mainstream media also, for the most part, sought to sanitise the war. There were, however, notable journalistic exceptions. On 27 March 2003 the Irish Times recorded: "There were body parts and pools of blood on the pavements of ash-Shaab, a working class suburb of north-west Baghdad yesterday, after a US aircraft is believed to have fired two missiles into a busy shopping and residential area". Two nights earlier US aircraft had attacked the residential area of A'Adhamiya.

Robert Fisk, one of the most impartial and experienced journalists working in the Middle East, reported that even the walls in the Al Noor hospital were shaking as the survivors of the market slaughter struggled for survival. The US has targeted journalists for death as it did in the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.  It is noteworthy that of all the journalists/ camera crew/ photographers killed in Iraq by the US that none were 'embedded'.

The Post-War World

Post-War Iraq

And what of post-war Iraq? Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defence, proposed the establishment of a US protectorate in Iraq similar to the imperial mandate exercised by Britain after its invasion and occupation of Iraq in 1917. These proposals fail to take into account the religious, ethnic, social and political diversity of the Iraqi people. They fail to understand popular resentment of occupation and imperial control.

Iraq is devastated, not only by the current war, but by the effects of the Iraq-Iran war, the 1st Gulf war and 12 years of crippling sanctions. The civilian infrastructure, power stations, water treatment plants, hospitals, schools require vital and immediate investment. The US Agency for International Development has drawn up plans for reconstruction. The vast majority of the contracts will go to US firms. One of the main beneficiaries will be the Texan oil services company Halliburton, previously headed by Dick Cheney, US Vice President.

The US has ordered 17 banks in the US to hand over $1.7bn in frozen Iraqi government assets and has requested eight other countries to seize some $600 million and hand it to the US. The White House has threatened to prevent foreign banks doing business in the US if those banks refuse to turn over these funds to American control. Ultimately, the US will turn a tidy profit on this war.

On 9th April 2003 Cheney spoke from the White House. He spoke of his sorrow at the deaths of the Anglo-American troops "in defence of our country'. He expressed his condolences to the embedded journalists killed in the conflict, and he told the world that the oil fields had been protected. There was not one word of regret for the innocent men, women and children maimed and killed by the Anglo-American murder machine.

The military-industrial complex that has already profited from the destruction of this war, as it does from all wars, will profit further from re-stocking the arsenals of death. Their corporate friends will profit from the reconstruction. As usual the US will reap the benefits and the rest of the world, including the impoverished Iraqi people, will pay. Under these plans the United Nations will be reduced to a glorified aid agency while the US remains firmly in control. The Bush regime has made that clear. The National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, stated: "It would only be natural to expect that ... having given life and blood to liberate Iraq, the coalition would have the leading role".

The US proposes a period of direct US colonial administration while they put in place a US client, an Iraqi Hamid Karzai - a man synonymous with the US government’s ambition to install compliant subordinates throughout the globe. The world does not hear much of Afghanistan now after the US war against that impoverished state. We do not yet know the full extent of the Afghan casualties or the damage to its infrastructure. We do, however, know that there is no democracy in Afghanistan, that there is still a fundamentalist anti-woman clique in control instead of the secular society which existed before the US installed the Taliban regime. We know also that the Americans have their pipeline - the real reason for that war.

The US and the UN

There is another major cause for concern - the blatant attempt by the US not merely to sideline, but to destroy, the authority of the United Nations.

The Workers' Party of Ireland, in our document entitled "Internationalism in the 21st

Century" adopted by the Annual Delegate Conference dated 18th November 2000,

stated: "Fundamental to the objectives of the United Nations was a recognition of the sovereignty and independence of the member states...It also became clear that the concept of self-determination was not confined to political independence but also included the rights of peoples to determine their own political structures; to use, exploit and proclaim permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth, resources and economic activities and to govern the control of foreign investment within each national jurisdiction...The United Nations Organisation has played a major role in developing international law, fostering peace and co-operation among peoples and countries and establishing constructive mechanisms for the resolution and settlement of disputes... The voice of small nations and liberation movements expressed in the United Nations General Assembly eloquently proclaiming the goals and principles of self-determination, decolonisation, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, the non-use of force in international relations and respect for the UN Charter and principles of international law came into conflict with the plans and strategies of the neo-colonialist and imperialist powers...As far back as the Reagan administration the United States engaged in an attempt to sabotage and downgrade the role of the United Nations and international agencies...Simultaneously, the US was defaulting in its subscription

payments to the United Nations."

The agreement at Bretton Woods which established the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund created a global monetary system which tied national currencies to the US dollar and provided the basis for US domination and control. While technically the IMF and World Bank were regarded as specialised agencies of the UN, in practice the power was and is held by the world's richest nations, particularly the US. Every President of the World Bank has been from the US. Instead of assisting and promoting development the World Bank and the IMF became bailiffs for America's largest banks, chasing poor developing countries caught in a web of spiralling debt. Through the use of structural adjustment programmes, which imposed severe restrictions on countries seeking further loans, these institutions placed private corporate interests in control of whole national economies.

The Unipolar World

The economic global power realignment consolidated by the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation under the leadership of the US has been underpinned by the vast military power of America. Economic globalisation, the corporatisation of the world order, the subordination of national economies and natural resources to US interests, the continuing indebtedness of the developing world and inequitable trade relations, the increasing spread of US military bases worldwide daily reinforces the reality of US power.

Power over issues of education, health and welfare, over matters of life and death, is transferred from sovereign nations to multinational corporations and power elites in the unrepresentative and undemocratic Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group.

Charles Derber in his book People Before Profit writes:  "There are now more than 45,000 corporations worldwide, with 300,000 affiliates. But the top 200 global companies ... dominate the world economy and are the heart of global business.  ... Their profits exploded 224 per cent between 1983 and 1997, a far faster rate than the 144 per cent growth in the world economy as a whole during the same period. Their sales are bigger than the combined economies of 180 of the 190 countries of the world, and eighteen times the combined income of the world's 1.2 billion poorest people. The sales of the top 200 account for more than 25% of the entire output of the world economy."

In September 2000, President Fidel Castro, following his participation in the United Nations "Millennium Summit" addressed a crowd at New York"s Riverside Church. He told the crowd: "... humanity is about to begin the 21st century in extremely difficult and extremely troubling conditions ... in more than 100 countries, the per capita income is lower than it was 15 years ago. In the Third World there are 1.3 billion poor people. In other words, one out of every three inhabitants lives in poverty. More than 820 million people in the world suffer from hunger; and 790 million of them live in the Third World. ... More than 840 million adults are still illiterate and the vast majority live in the Third World. ... Life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is barely 48 years. That is 30 years less than in the developed countries. ... A full 99.5 per cent of all maternal deaths take place in the Third World ... More than 11 million boys and girls under five years of age die every year in the Third World from diseases that are largely preventable. That means more than 30,000 every day, 21 every minute ... And all of this is happening at a time when, throughout the world 800 billion dollars are put into military spending, 400 billion are spent on narcotic drugs, and a trillion dollars are invested in commercial advertising. By the end of 1998, the Third World's external debt amounted to 2.4 trillion dollars, that is, four times the total in 1982 ... Between 1982 and 1998, these countries paid over 3.4 trillion dollars for debt servicing, in other words, almost a trillion dollars more than the current debt. Far from decreasing, the debt grew by 45 per cent in those 16 years ... Despite the neo-liberal discourse on the opportunities created by the open-trading system the underdeveloped countries, with 85 per cent of the world's population, accounted for only 34.6 per cent of the world exports. That is less than in 1953, despite the fact that their population has more than doubled. ... Money is no longer used primarily in investments for the production of goods; it is used in currencies, stocks and financial derivatives in the desperate pursuit of more money, directly, through the most sophisticated computers and software and not through productive processes as was historically the case. This is what the much trumpeted and infamous process of neo-liberal globalization has brought about".

As Derber points out, between 1960 and 1980 average per capita growth globally grew 83 per cent, while in the period of neo-liberal globalisation it fell to 33 per cent and the gap in personal income between the developed and developing worlds tripled between 1960 and 1993.

In his book, The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History, Philip Bobbitt, who served as a senior advisor at the White House and held several senior posts at the National Security Council writes: "The United States can benefit ... because we are well placed to thrive in a globalised political economy. Indeed a globalised society of market states plays into and enhances American strength to such a degree that it worries some states that the United States will become so dominant that no other state will be able to catch up with it. In many quarters, globalisation is so deeply identified with the United States that it is anxiously perceived as an American cultural export".

The Socialist Response

The social democrats cannot address the issues raised by globalisation nor the US quest for global hegemony since they have effectively endorsed the neo-liberal project and refuse to challenge the existing political and social order by taking the means of production into public ownership. The leadership of the social democratic parties are content to work with and for the interests of capital.

We must recognise that the greater the move towards globalisation, the greater the need for an international socialist movement capable of articulating a comprehensive response. This will involve a detailed analysis and constant evaluation of the situation in each country and region; an assessment of the possibilities arising from the problems and contradictions inherent in global capitalism and an ability to make the necessary adjustments to deal with circumstances as these develop, taking into account the information acquired from the experience of the working class, new forms of social struggle and changing processes of capital accumulation.

The threat to the social and economic conditions of workers and small farmers and the escalation of imperialist war has sharpened the ideological struggle and provides new conditions for building class consciousness and preparing workers for political action.

The fight for democracy, the battle to establish control over the institutions and events which control the day-to-day lives of working people remains an inseparable part of the struggle for socialism. It is, as Lenin counselled, the task of Communist and Workers' parties to be ahead of all in raising, accentuating and solving every general democratic question.


What is to be Done?

It is ever more important to reassert the dynamic of socialism as a viable alternative world vision. It is time for a co-ordinated ideological counter-attack. It is the duty of the Communist and Workers' parties to proclaim again the vitality of Marxism as a critical theory; an unparalleled critique of capitalism and exploitation; an analytical device for the investigation and evaluation of current political, social and economic conditions and, above all, a programme for political action and the transformation of society and the world.

Ideological struggle is not conducted in the abstract. It is necessary to analyse and assess current developments in capitalism; to enunciate a reasoned response and to relate this critique to the actual conditions and struggles experienced by working people and the real possibilities for change. We must repeatedly make clear that neo-liberalism and laissez faire capitalism, far from encouraging growth and development as is suggested by its proponents, hinder progress and innovation and impoverish the peoples of the world.

Socialist internationalism remains a fundamental plank in the programmatic platform of Communist and Workers' parties. This principle involves active solidarity with the socialist countries, with genuine liberation and social movements, with fraternal parties and progressives throughout the world and is an enduring weapon in the struggle against imperialism and the battle for peace, democracy, national independence and socialism.

In a world that is increasingly globalised in terms of communication it becomes necessary to articulate a global socialist presence. This will entail the co-ordination of day-to-day struggles; the exchange of information; regular and productive conferences and meetings and theoretical seminars on issues of mutual concern and the practical organisation of research and organised political activity.

It is the task of the Communist and Workers' parties to develop a programme and strategy, taking into account the conditions in each region, which promotes and advances the interests and demands of the working class and which provides a basis for united mobilization around common campaigns. It was Lenin who made clear the responsibility of the revolutionary party: " ... the real task of a revolutionary socialist party: [is] not to draw up plans for refashioning society, not to preach to the capitalists and their hangers-on about improving the lot of the workers, not to hatch conspiracies, but to organise the class struggle of the proletariat and to lead this struggle, the ultimate aim of which is the conquest of political

power by the proletariat and the organisation of a socialist society."

Lenin: "Our Programme"; Collected Works, Vol. 4, pp 210-211].

The Workers’ Party of Ireland