Civilian deaths in U.S.-led war in the Middle East pile up

On March 21, at least 30 civilians were killed by an U.S. airstrike against a Syrian school (NY Times, March 22). On March 23, at least 200 people, most of whom were civilians, were killed in another airstrike in Mosul, Iraq (Rudaw).

On January 29, an U.S. raid in Yemen killed “at least 23” civilians (CNN, February 9), including an eight year old girl. U.S. President Donald Trump personally approved the raid while having dinner, well aware that civilians might die in the attack. On February 9, Trump tweeted that “Ryan died on a winning mission (according to General Mattis), not a ‘failure.’ Time for the US to get smart and start winning again!”, ‘Ryan’ referring to the US soldier who died in the raid.

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Nawar al-Awlaki died in the raid in Yemen.

These are just a few of the recent statistics of the U.S. military involvement in foreign countries, guaranteed to get worse with Trump’s ideology and his massive increase of the military budget of 8.8%. The U.S. already spends more in the military than the next 7 countries spending the most combined, and has by far been the country spending the most for decades. Trump has supported the murder of the family members of supposedly legitimate military targets, claiming that one has to “take out their families” (CNN, 3 December 2015), noting also that he supports the use of torture, falsely claiming that it “absolutely works” (CNN, 26 January), trying to bring back techniques which even the U.S. has admitted were wrong and ineffective, in the limited 2014 report. Additionally, Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons (NY Times, 22 December 2016).

All this – and more – is the situation which capitalism, which constantly causes imperialist bloodbaths in its endless drive for profits, has led to. The U.S. military, the main capitalist-imperialist army, has a history of murdering and torturing civilians, having bombed hospitals in Kunduz, Baghdad, Ramadi, Belgrade, Nis, and Mogadishu. Individuals responsible for murdering civilians get away with a slap on the wrist, or less, while those who exposed such murder, such as Chelsea Manning, rot in prison for years. The U.S. wages constant wars of aggression in foreign countries. As these wars occur, more groups of military opposition to the U.S. form in these countries. The U.S. uses the fact that these groups exist as an excuse for attacking again, thus ensuring a cycle of violence, well suited for capitalist rhetoric justifying mass murder.

The destruction caused by imperialist war ensures that more profit can be made, counter-acting capitalism’s tendency of the rate of profit to fall, and thus providing an incentive to create wars. For instance, U.S. multinational corporation Halliburton made $39.5 billion from federal contracts related to the Iraq war, which killed up to 600,000 people (Lancet survey). Recent wars have cost the U.S. trillions of dollars in total which could have been used for social spending. While homeless people in the U.S. die in the cold due to the vicious capitalist system (such as four in Portland in the first 10 days of 2017), resources are spent in murder missions. The history of United States intervention in the Middle East is based on two primary objectives: economic plunder, with an obsessive focus on oil, and “anti-communism”. In 1953, the U.S. and the U.K. staged a coup d’etat in Iran to overthrow its government after it limited British control over its oil reserves. In doing so, the coup also strengthened the Iranian monarchy. In Afghanistan, the U.S. supported “Mujahideen” Islamic fundamentalists against the Soviet Union.

It is evident that capitalism lacks any moral principle, and will expand murder programs and threaten the quality of life of the whole human race as long as such a thing makes any profit. Countless individuals’ lives will be put on the line in order to ensure a couple bucks are made.

In conclusion, the latest attacks of the U.S. causing hundreds of civilians’ deaths are just the latest in the capitalist spiral of violence which can be curtailed with sustained opposition but can only be eliminated through the establishment of an international planned economy where rational principles dictate how to assign resources to best serve human needs, eliminating capitalist profit and therefore removing the incentive for mass destruction.

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