Occupation of Iraq to continue, we must oppose it
_Interview with anti-war leader Meredith Aby _
Fight Back!: Many are saying that the occupation in Iraq is coming to an end. What is your view?
Meredith Aby: In a recent speech President Obama claimed, “Our commitment in Iraq is changing – from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats.” But 50,000 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of contractors is an occupation plain and simple. The Democratic Party is worried about the mid-term elections this November and their base has strong opposition to the war in Iraq. The president is decreasing the amount of U.S. troops there as a crumb to anti-war Democrats. However, it is not a significant change in U.S. policy. Obama’s foreign policy is the same now as it was a year ago; he has escalated the war in Afghanistan and is keeping enough troops in Iraq to keep the country under the thumb of U.S. imperialism, even though it isn’t the focus of current U.S. war efforts.
Fight Back!: Why is Iraq so important to the U.S.?
Meredith Aby: Iraq is critical to the U.S. for three main reasons. The number one reason is Iraq’s large oil reserves that are important to the U.S.’s economic agenda. The second reason is as a warning to other nationalist governments about the costs of standing up to the U.S. And finally, if the U.S. were to officially lose the war in Iraq that would be a huge blow to the U.S. in the region and around the globe. The U.S. went all in on this war and can’t leave without a victory or the U.S. will lose its status as a super power. In reality though, the U.S. is locked in a standstill with the resistance fighters in Iraq. The U.S. isn’t going to be able to come out of this war a stronger imperialist power because there is no way for the U.S. to win.
Fight Back!: What should the anti-war movement be doing about the occupation of Iraq?
Meredith Aby: Well it’s critical that the anti-war movement not drop the demand for a complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq. While Afghanistan is naturally going to remain the focus for the anti-war movement in this period, we can’t let Iraq fall off the radar. If we do that, it lends credibility to the White House’s claim that the occupation is ending and will help people think that U.S. occupations can just be wished away. We need to keep building this movement and take to the streets demanding an immediate end to both the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.