Attila's View of the Iraq Crisis
UPDATE 12 April 2003
So there they are, in Baghdad, the brave saviours of the Iraqi people - or
the ones they haven't carpet bombed for weeks using unopposed air power
(soldiers) or indiscriminately bombed, shot, terrorised and brutalised
(civilians). The occupiers let the Baghdad looters ransack the museums, the ancient library was allowed to burn down - the only building they occupied and made absolutely secure was the Oil Ministry. Wonder why?
Liberation? My arse. A hideous imperialist crusade. What have the Iraqi
people gained from this? Their country has been destroyed - and having
wrecked the country a few of Bush's corporate mates will be given lucrative
contracts to rebuild it (golf courses and McDonalds top priority!) Of
course it's good that Saddam is gone - if it wasn't for the US and UK
governments' support he would have gone years ago. My heart goes out to the
people of Iraq.
I wrote this song on April 10 as I watched Saddam's statue fall. Pulled down
by an American armoured car.
Hooray Hooray for the USA!
Your soldiers took Saddam away
So we're all going out on the streets to play
And celebrate our liberation day
The hospitals overflow with dead
The looters have stolen all the bread
But I think my family are all OK
and you said this was the only way
You said this was the only way....
I saw an old friend the very next day
Armed to the teeth and up for the fray
He said 'I'll make those Yankees pay!'
- A B52 blew his wife away
I put my hand upon his head
I held him close and softly said
'I know it's an awful price to pay'.......
Then sadly I went on my way
Sadly I went on my way
This is Baghdad's scar
This is Baghdad ska
This is Baghdad's scar
This is Baghdad ska.......
Walked up to a Yankee yesterday
I asked how long they were going to stay
And how he'd reply to the folks who say
Our land was stolen by the USA
Then a shot rang out from across the road
I stood and watched his head explode
And all I could do was cringe and pray
As boots and fists took me away
Boots and fists took me away
They're gonna take me to Guantanamo Bay
As an enemy of the USA
They don't believe a word I say
They sneer that I'm in for a very long stay
I cry my own, my country's tears
How many dead, how many years?
And through my agony I say:
there could have been another way
there could have been another way
there could have been another way
there should have been another way
Attila's View of the Iraq Crisis
So where do I start?
Let's start here and now, and then go back.
The US New World Order, led by a 'president' who got fewer votes than his
opponent at the ballot box (despite being spectacularly bankrolled by the US
oil industry and military-industrial complex) and who stole power through
electoral skullduggery, is determined to invade Iraq and exercise control
over its oilfields - a message to the world that the US government can and
will do anything it wants where and when it likes. Rupert Murdoch's media
empire and all the predictably craven, brown-nosed toadies of the
international corporate communications industry are busily falling over
themselves trying to convince the world's population that there is more to
it than that. They tell us it's to do with 'democracy', 'rogue
states' and 'weapons of mass destruction'.
We all know that Saddam Hussein is a murderous tyrant who undoubtedly had,
and may well still have, lots of unspeakable weapons. Who sold them to him?
The US and British governments, plus private corporations from the US and
The US didn't complain when Saddam used gas during the Iran-Iraq war - they
were backing him! Or when his thugs gassed 5000 people in Halabja,
Kurdistan, in 1988. They were still backing him! They sold him the
technology to do it! Between January 1985 and August 1990 the US Government
approved 771 export licenses for sale of 'dual use' technology to Iraq,
in the full knowledge that Saddam was involved in clandestine nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes. These sales continued until March 1992.
The recent dossier released by Saddam's regime listed 150 companies, many
American, with which the regime did business: surprise, surpise, their names
were erased before the dossier was made public. Saddam was kept in power
after the Gulf War as 'the best available option' - while retreating
conscript Iraqi soldiers were buried alive in the desert by crack US troops.
It gets worse. According to the Iraqi opposition, the US 'liberators' intend
even now to keep the thugs of Saddam's Ba'ath Party in place, replacing a
few leaders with American generals - and giving the Turkish Army carte
blanche in Iraqi Kurdistan as part of the trade-off for using Turkey as a
military launch pad. A Turkish invasion will leave the Iraqi Kurds probably
even worse off than they are under Saddam, which is saying something!
And all the while the US has more 'weapons of mass destruction' than all the
rest of the world put together. On top of that, US Strategic Command is
apparently even now discussing the development of a new generation of
nuclear weapons which will run a coach and horses through all current arms
control treaties and nuclear test moratoria.
Sheer, nauseating, cynical hypocrisy on a scale which beggars belief. This
isn't about human rights, liberating Iraq or keeping the world safe. It's
all about the oil, and the message that is sent out with an invasion: the US
government, having redefined 'in the world interest' as 'in the interest of
the United States' will impose MacSociety as, and where, it wants in the
world and nobody can do a thing about it. Whatever the outcome of the
present crisis, IT'S UP TO US TO STOP THEM!
It is surprising, and very pleasurable, to see the governments of France and
Germany standing up to them, however timidly, however temporarily, unlike
Tony Blair and New Labour. Blair is often referred to as 'Bush's poodle',
but I think that is unfair on canines. He's Bush's amoeba. No heart, no
head, no brain, no guts, no bollocks and no spine!
AFGHANISTAN - WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
In addition to the Vietnam debacle, the United States Government has put in
power and/or underwritten
every single right wing dictatorship and just about every paramilitary thug
group which has existed in the
world since the end of the Second World War. Among others, the Shah of Iran
(whose downfall led them to back Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war!) Pinochet in
Chile, Marcos in the Philippines, Noriega in Panama, the Greek Colonels, the
Contras in Nicaragua, the death squad - backed regimes in Guatemala,
Colombia, Argentina and El Salvador, all kinds of unspeakable Middle Eastern
oil despots and the oppressive governments of Turkey and Pakistan have been
and/or are backed and their fascistic policies rewarded. Many of the
militant Islamic groups which are now so determined to fight the US grew out
of the popular anger at the misery and poverty generated by these policies.
The US and their European allies cynically encouraged the divisions which
led to the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation and ethnic cleansing in the
Balkans. And, most relevant of all in the light of the current crisis, on
the same principle 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' they cynically
bankrolled the fundamentalists fighting the government of the People's
Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) between 1979 and 1992.
They trained an army of terrorists who murdered intellectuals and teachers
trying to bring literacy to the people, who planted bombs in railway
stations, brutalised women and turned the PDPA's
vision of a modern Afghanistan - technological progress, education,
secularism, equality for women and social justice - into a medieval,
fundamentalist, rubble strewn nightmare of misogyny and death. And when that
vision (or 'carmewnism' to give it its US Government term) had finally been
ground into the dust, the US walked away. Leaving that highly trained and
massively funded band of terrorists firstly to fight among each other and
destroy their country in the process, then for the most extreme of them
to bite the unsuspecting hand that had fed them. Which, as we all know, led
us to where we are today.
The people behind the World Trade Centre bombing had been funded and trained in the latest terrorist techniques by the US government for over 10 years during their operations in Afghanistan. It's as simple as that.
One of the modern received wisdoms that makes me REALLY ANGRY - one that
seems common to Bush, Murdoch, Blair, Guardian columnists,
liberals,Trotskyists and anarchists alike - is the idea that any form of
government, no matter how prehistoric, brutal or unintelligent, was and is
preferable to pre 1989
'carmewnism'. The displaced Serbs, Croats and Bosnians (or those that are
left) who had previously lived together in peace under Tito would perhaps
disagree. Likewise the homeless people freezing to
death and the pensioners selling their shoes to buy food on the streets of
Moscow: the Central European gypsies, then protected, now persecuted by
gangs of fascist boneheads who tell them 'Auschwitz is waiting': and, on a
less spectacular level, the countless jobless, hopeless people living below
the poverty line in Eastern European towns far away from the fashionable
camera of the international media. (I think it's fair to say that the latter
do disagree, since millions of them currently vote for the successors of the
'carmewnist' parties they were supposed to have 'overthrown' in 1989......)
But if there is one place in this world where there must be a whole host of
people who preferred life under 'carmewnism' to that imposed by its
successors, that place must surely be Kabul. You'll hardly ever hear from
such people, of course: if they are still alive they have their heads
firmly down or they are in exile in a world where the aforementioned
received wisdom means that they will rarely voice their true feelings for
fear of ridicule or accusations of ingratitude from the ruling elites of
their adopted countries. But just occasionally they will make themselves
I remember recently reading an article about a proud, independent socialist
Afghan woman doctor who had been educated and was working in Kabul during
the time of the Najibullah/PDPA government. She spoke of her commitment to
the people, her dreams for her country and the unspeakable horror she saw
as Kabul, an intact, modern city under 'carmewnism', was destroyed when the
fundamentalists took over.
'Life was good under the Soviets. Every girl could go to high school and
university. We could go wherever we wanted and wear what we liked. It all
started to go wrong when the muhajeddin started winning. They used to kill
teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think
that these were the people the West were supporting....'
I'd like an American government official to explain to her why they believed
she was more 'free' as a burqa clad, invisible shadow, forbidden to work and
'living' in a bombed out ruin than as a practising doctor helping and
healing the people of her city, and why achieving that was worth giving
billions of dollars of military aid to a bunch of terrorists some of whom
ended up attacking New York and are currently
spreading panic throughout the world. Come to that, I'd like someone to
explain it to me.
Of course, I know what they'd say: they would talk of 'fighting Soviet
expansionism' and of the Afghan socialist revolution as a 'Soviet-backed
coup'. This is nonsense. The PDPA revolution had popular backing from the
working class and intellectuals, and especially from women. The Soviets
came in very reluctantly, and with great misgivings, to stabilise the
country after a murderous split had developed between the Khalq and Parcham
factions in the PDPA.
The gains won for women by the revolution remain fresh in the minds of
Afghan women today. These memories highlight the hypocrisy of the US and
British governments' manipulation of the world's disgust at the Taliban's
oppression of women in order to win support for their latest war on
Furthermore: if the PDPA government in Afghanistan was so totally unpopular,
how come after the Soviet withdrawal it survived on its own for years in the
face of the massively funded and murderous attacks of the fundamentalists?
The answer seems obvious to me: educated, progressive men and
women desperately fought or backed those fighting to defend their cities and
their ideals from reactionary fundamentalism, fought to the bitter end.
There is another Afghan story to be told, and it's for the progressive,
educated, secular Afghan socialists to tell it. But winners write history,
or rather Rupert Murdoch writes it for them,and so I doubt that it will be.
The people who could tell it are busy rebuilding their shattered lives. And
I'm sure they feel that the world will not listen.
They were 'Carmewnists', after all.....
SO WHERE DOES ALL THIS LEAVE US?
Well, in the UK, it leaves us as citizens of a country whose governmental
leaders, despite massive public opposition, appear determined to go to war,
slavishly serving the global imperialist ambitions of the United States and
delivering the United Kingdom into their hands on a plate. Funny how the
right-wingers who are quick to whine about 'loss of sovereignty' whenever
'Europe' is mentioned are quite happy to go along with this. Whatever the
outcome of the current crisis, the message to the rest of Europe from Amoeba
Blair is that he and his cronies see us as the 51st State of America. New
Model Army's song was never, ever more true...the same goes for my own
'Airstrip One', I guess.
Blair is quite simply a traitor. He betrays the firefighters, the teachers,
watches as the privatised railway network kills more and more people in the
interests of private profit. Far from being deterred by such obvious proof
that privatisation kills, he allows his fat cat cronies to carry on with
even more of the same and he gives them government grants and golden
handshakes to do so. And to cap the lot, he is prepared to side with an
unelected American 'president' run by the oil industry and go to war,
directly against the wishes of us, the people who elected him.
I remember the unbelievable happiness we all felt on that May night in 1997
as, one by one, the hated symbols of the old Tory dynasty lost their seats.
I remember the feelings of hope, the thought that, however bland or
spineless they appeared, things would be better under New Labour. How wrong
we were. Personally, now, I hate Blair as I hated Thatcher, and I cannot
understand how anyone of principle can vote for, canvass for, or remain a
member of, this travesty of a socialist party.
Where does this leave Europe? It leaves us in countries in fear of war and
terrorism, where lobotomised right wing journalists in scummy tabloid
'newspapers' turn 'asylum seekers' into figures of fear and hatred and
ignorant, gullible, selfish people believe them. I feel physically sick when
I see Western European men and women, most of whom have known peace and
security all their lives, demonstrating outside their comfortable suburban
homes about the possible presence in their midst of a few people who have
lost everything. Indeed, the main point of protest for these nasty,
heartless individuals seems to be a fear that their houses will decrease in
value. Shame on them.
I hope, against hope, that some kind of peaceful solution to the Iraq
crisis will be found. But whatever the outcome, the political decisions made
in the last few weeks will have ramifications for years to come. It is up to
us, the people, to determine the future and to take power away from the
bastards who would destroy our hopes, our communities, our world.
Peace, justice, socialism!
Attila the Stockbroker, 25th February 2003.
Taken from the sleeve notes to Attila's new CD 'Live in Belfast' which will
be released on Monday March 17.