Sat Feb 24, 2024
February 24, 2024

Why Is the U.S. Bombing Iraq Again?


This past week, the U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria, killing dozens, with civilians among the dead and wounded. The Biden administration has stated that these attacks were in response to attacks on U.S. forces in Jordan and Iraq, an explanation that demands the following question: What are U.S. forces doing on the ground in Jordan, Syria, and Iraq?

Despite the official end of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2011—which has left behind a dysfunctional Iraqi state divided along sectarian lines and mired in poverty, corruption and violence—the U.S. has nevertheless maintained military forces numbering in the thousands of troops in Iraq and across neighboring countries, whose mission is to protect U.S. interests in the region. These forces are the long arm of U.S. imperialism, and serve as both an obstacle to any genuine self-determination of the people of Iraq, Jordan, and Syria as well as a launching ground for threats against Iran.

While this is already cause enough to denounce the U.S. war machine and to demand that soldiers be brought home from all foreign deployments, it is worth noting the particular futility and senselessness of the current round of bombardments even from the perspective of U.S. imperialism itself. As in Yemen, where Biden has openly admitted that his government’s airstrikes will continue despite the understanding that they will not accomplish their stated tactical goal of ending Houthi militant attacks on international shipping, the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have no real plan behind them beyond causing destruction in the general vicinity of those who have dared to oppose the allies of U.S. imperialism.

When the U.S. government claims that it is upholding order in Yemen, Syria, or Iraq, it is important to remember the true motive behind its military maneuvers—to mitigate the fallout of Israel’s genocidal invasion of Gaza. Far from protecting peace, U.S. airstrikes are protecting a war; they are a retaliation to the retaliation against Israel’s unconscionable assault against Palestinians. The U.S. military is not fighting against instability in the Middle East, it is the cause of it. Its support for Israel is incompatible with any form of democracy across the Arab world, and Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians will continuously inspire justified armed resistance against it.

The battle plan of the U.S. government is quite clear: It hopes to drown out the Palestinian cry for freedom with senseless violence against anyone who dares echo it, all while veering closer and closer to direct military conflict with its main regional rival, Iran. With Russia also maintaining military assets in Syria and periodically conducting its own imperialist airstrikes there, U.S. military maneuvers in Syria further threaten the possibility of a direct inter-imperialist confrontation and its disastrous consequences.

From inside the United States, we must stridently oppose the U.S. government’s attempts to cover up a genocide with yet more violence, as well as any and all attempts to impose or maintain U.S. imperialist domination over other countries. It falls to us to build a broad, principled mass movement opposing U.S. militarism. To stop this aggression, we cannot rely on even the most left-leaning Democrats in Congress, who routinely endorse the military budget that allows the U.S. to carry out these attacks. It is our power to mobilize people in the streets that will force the government to bend, much as it did under Nixon’s pro-war government, which was nevertheless forced to leave Vietnam.

Working people and all people of conscience must recognize our own power, outside of the organs of our corrupt and unaccountable government, and demand an end to the attempts by the United States to maintain a violent hegemony over the Middle East. In doing so, we can plant the seeds of a working-class movement that can challenge capitalist rule from D.C. to Baghdad.

• Stop the bombing of Yemen, Iraq, and Syria!

• U.S. out of the Middle East!

• End U.S. support for Israel’s genocide against Palestinians!

First published on Workers’ Voice.

File Photo: On Dec. 8, 2016, the U.S. bombed the Al-Salaam Hospital in Mosul, Iraq. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal James J. Vooris / Wikipedia)

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