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Paddy's Normal Home page Morning Star, editorial, 25th June, 2003.

War no-one can win

THE attacks on British troops in Iraq and the resulting deaths and serious casualties should come as a surprise to no-one.

The only surprise that we should have is that it took so long for the resentment at this blatant Anglo-US imperialist adventure to build up to the point where British troops start bearing the brunt of Iraqi anger at what has been done their country.

Their US counterparts have already been sniped at, hand-grenade blasted and ambushed individually and the death-toil in Iraq is beginning to look as if it will be higher in the peace than it was during the war.

The US administration of Paul Bremer is clearly beginning to be aware of the dangers of the situation. Its U-turn on paying severance payments to dismissed Iraqi soldiers showed that clearly enough.

The thought of a discontented and unemployed army of poverty-stricken ex-soldiers is enough to turn the stomach of any colonial administrator and Mr Bremer is no exception.

The start of recruiting for an Iraqi puppet army also demonstrates that the US is clearly aware that, not only will foreign forces continue to generate hostility and resistance in their illegal occupation of Iraq, but, back in the US, things will not go smoothly for a president who has led his country into an unwinnable fight.

Casualties bring the reality of what the rank-and-file soldiers on both sides face in any war to those at home, and US citizens and Britons both are now becoming aware of what their respective governments have led them into.

Afghanistan should have been lesson enough. Thousands of US soldiers are still committed in that country to an endless war of attrition.

The continuing fruitless search for al-Qaida in that country does not reflect badly on the abilities of US troops - although there are certainly enough separate doubts about that.

What it does reflect is the nature of the struggle that the US imperialists are facing. No one power could face the US militarily on its own ground, if it dictated the terms of engagement. There is now only the one superpower.

But the US does not dictate the terms of engagement. Resistance forces always dictate the nature of guerilla struggles, be they right or wrong, and a people invaded and determined to resist cannot be dominated completely without gross acts of repression.

It is, quite literally, impossible to kill an enemy that won't lie down - no matter how poor and subjugated they are, they will find ways and means of resistance.

The fruitless brutality of the Israelis, reduced now to the base and evil policy of the assassination of Arab leaders, who declared an intifada in the face of overwhelming military might, should also have acted as a lesson for the US-British axis.

It is not enough to blame a smattering of forces still loyal to Saddam Hussein in Iraq, any more than it is enough to blame the fragments remaining of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Imperialism contains its own contradictions. It acts to consolidate resistance and breeds its own most dangerous enemy in sparking the struggle for national liberation.

Once those forces are loosed, the US and Britain will struggle to contain them and will, inevitably, lose the war, even though they could win every pitched battle.

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