Photos of an Unjust War

by Mary Lou Greenberg, Spokesperson NY Branch, Revolutionary Communist Party

Revolutionary Worker #1242, May 30, 2004, posted at

Abu Ghraib - prisoner on a leash

 Abu Ghraib - prisoner attacked by dog

 Abu Ghraib - Naked prisoners in a pyramid

 Abu Ghraib - Relatives lined up

The photos are a vivid indictment of U.S. "liberation."

Photos of torture and humiliations at Abu Ghraib Prison. Photos of homes reduced to rubble, possessions pulverized by missiles and bombs, whole neighborhoods destroyed. Photos of bloodied children. Photos of grieving men carrying lifeless bodies and women weeping over dead sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

And photos of women and men holding photos of disappeared and detained loved ones. Demanding to see them. Demanding answers. Demanding the U.S.get out of their country.

This is what U.S. occupation of Iraq has brought. Not by mistake, not because of lack of planning, not because of a few "bad apples." This is what the occupation of Iraq is all about, this is the nature of the occupation: the brutal subjugation of a country and its peoples by whatever means necessary in order to advance the U.S. government's global agenda.

What we are seeing is not a "failure" of Bush's Iraq policy. It IS Bush's Iraq policy.

According to John Kerry, the likely Democratic Presidential nominee and a senator who voted for the war, "Americans differ about whether and how we should have gone to war, but it would be unthinkable now for us to retreat in disarray and leave behind a society deep in strife and dominated by radicals."

Kerry claims to be worried about "disarray" and "strife." But when has the U.S. military not brought "disarray" and "strife"--and much more--as part of its interventions and occupations? Ask the Iraqis whose lives have been ruined by this bloody occupation. Ask those in the torture photos. Ask the relatives of those whose photos we will never see who are still in the torture cells or have been slaughtered-- close up and at a distance--by U.S. military and their for-hire killers. Ask the residents of Makr al-Deeb, a village that was destroyed by U.S. planes last week, and the survivors of the wedding party that was celebrating when the bombs hit, killing at least 15 children, 10 women and 20 men.

Every week, every day and every hour the U.S. remains in Iraq will continue to be disastrous for the Iraqi people.


Those who say that the U.S. can't get out of Iraq until "we've cleaned up the mess we've made" need to look hard at just how the U.S.-led occupation functions and for what purpose. The U.S. views the whole Middle East and especially oil-rich Iraq as pivotal to implementing its global agenda of exploitation and domination. The war- -under a pretext of lies, lies and more lies--was the first step, followed by occupation designed to create a pliant client state for U.S. imperialism. The war was brutal. But the occupation brought even more brutality to crush resistance and terrorize the people in an effort to "pacify" the whole country.

The "mess" in Iraq, the "strife" has been created by the U.S. in a poor country "softened up" (to use the torturers' terminology) by the first Gulf War followed by 10 years of UN sanctions. How can an imperialist power bent on empire, that has shown throughout its entire history that it cares nothing for the well-being of whole peoples and countries and doesn't think twice about destroying them to advance its interests of power and profit, how can anyone think that such a monster can do anything good by staying in Iraq?

Now the U.S. is getting ready to "transfer power" on June 30. But this does not mean an end to the occupation. The Wall Street Journal recently reported, "U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer and other officials are quietly building institutions that will give the U.S. powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make."

Replacing Bremer as top U.S. overlord in Iraq will be John Negroponte as the new U.S. ambassador who will oversee an embassy of 3,000. Negroponte is the notorious former U.S. ambassador to Honduras who, among other crimes, helped direct the mercenary Contra death squads who tortured and murdered countless peasants in Nicaragua in the early '80s.

The new "independent" Iraq will not have the power to even issue orders to the so-called Iraqi army- -but Negroponte and his Washington crew will have the backing of the U.S. military (along with its mercenary Contra/"contractors") that is scheduled to remain at the same troop strength after June 30. The U.S. military will make sure U.S. "advice" is taken by whoever is nominally "in power" in Iraq, and will continue to try to crush resistance and terrorize the people into submission.

But what they plan and what will happen are not the same.


One thing is certain: People in this country must resist this occupation. Our voices have not been loud enough, our actions not yet commensurate with these towering crimes the U.S. is committing. People around the world need to hear from us.

Looking at the present situation from the perspective of the need for proletarian revolution in the U.S. and around the world, RCP Chairman Bob Avakian wrote in December 2001:

"We must bring forward the vision of a movement against the war acts and repression of `our own' U.S. government that is so powerful that it cannot be hidden from the masses of people all over the world--including in the countries and areas that are targets of U.S. imperialist aggression and are, justifiably, `hotbeds' of hatred `against America.'

"Imagine, what it would (and will) mean to those millions and millions of people when they see hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions of people in America itself , taking on the aggression (and repression) of their own government and standing with the people of the world against all that this government stands for and is doing and enforcing in the world. Imagine the questions that will raise in those people's minds, the `dialogue' (even if indirect) it will give rise to, among people all over the world with people in the U.S. itself.

"Imagine the inspiration it will provide and the potential realignment it will contribute to--with ordinary people worldwide finding common cause against the oppressors and bullies of the world, first and above all the rulers of America--who, it will be more and more clear, do not speak and act in the interests, or in the name of large, and growing, numbers of American people themselves."

We must continue to do everything possible to realize this imagining.