The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 29th October 2004
Coffin up blood on the Whitehouse lawn!
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US VETS AGAINST THE WAR
by Daphne Liddle
FORMER and serving United States soldiers have formed an
organisation opposing the continued illegal occupation of Iraq and are
calling for the withdrawal of all troops and opposition to the war is
growing throughout the US.
This follows news that members of a US army reserve platoon were
arrested in Iraq for refusing a “suicide mission” to transport fuel
through an area north of Baghdad where ambushes occur frequently.
Amber McClenny, who serves in that platoon, wrote to her mother: “We
had broken-down trucks, non-armoured vehicles and we were carrying
contaminated fuel. They are holding us against our will. We are now
This sparked a flood of similar stories from veterans, telling of
other troops being sent on missions without proper equipment and raised
the spectre of collapsing US morale.
As late as six months after the March 2003 illegal invasion, as
many as 51,000 US soldiers and civilian administrators in Iraq still
had not been properly equipped with body amour and other protective
The Washington Post reported that family members bought expensive flak
jackets and other security gear and used international couriers to send
it to their sons and daughters.
Speaking of low rates of combat readiness of his ground forces,
because of inadequate combat and protective equipment, Lieutenant
General Ricardo Sanchez, the senior US commander on the ground in Iraq
from mid 2003 to mid-2004, declared: “I cannot continue to support
sustained combat operations with rates this low.”
A number of soldiers have joined a group called Veterans Against
the Iraq War (VAIW). It was founded two years ago and has now grown to
include personnel serving in Iraq. It has a website: www.vaiw.org .
Meanwhile President George W Bush is on the defensive after
confirmation that a huge cache of powerful explosives has gone missing
in Iraq since the illegal US invasion and occupation of the country.
One Whitehouse spokesperson expressed a forlorn hope that they had not
“fallen into the wrong hands”.
But Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry has accused Bush
of “incredible incompetence” over the disappearance of the explosives.
It was the International Atomic energy Authority that first reported
that 380 metric tons of high explosive had vanished from an unguarded
military site shortly after the US-led invasion in March 2003.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog issued a report, saying the
material could be used in conventional bombs or to trigger an explosion
in a nuclear device.
Last month the UN nuclear inspectorate drew attention to nuclear
materials that had also gone missing.
In London on Monday former US President Jimmy Carter accused Bush
of exploiting the suffering of 11 September and turning back decades of
efforts to make the world a safer place, showing the deepening
divisions among the imperialists.
Carter called the invasion of Iraq “a completely unjust adventure
based on misleading statements”.
Bush’s stooges in Iraq are also dissatisfied. The puppet Iraqi
Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, last week accused the US forces of “great
negligence” when 49 recruits to the collaborationist army were killed
by the resistance.
The recruits were on their way home from an American-run training camp
during the holy month of Ramadan, when the minibuses they were
travelling in were ambushed.
The Bush administration described this as a heinous crime, while
his forces continue to bomb and blast the resistance town of Fallujah,
killing hundreds of Iraqi civilians.
Meanwhile hundreds of civilians took to the streets of Baghdad last
week to show their support for kidnapped aid worker Margaret Hassan,
the first public protest against hostage taking. Rebel militias have
denied taking her hostage, leading to speculation that she was taken to
make the resistance look bad.
The commander of one group of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah told
reporters: “This woman works for a humanitarian organisation. She
should not have been kidnapped.
“She has been living in Iraq for 30 years and she was a
humanitarian. The resistance did not kidnap her because this would have
left a bad impression of the resistance in the world.”
Commanders of five separate guerrilla groups in Fallujah have
said they were not holding Hassan.
Minding the children
THE YOUTH Justice Board
and the Ministry of Defence have been collaborating on designing
military training camps for disruptive children, where they will be
subjected to a gruelling regime to teach punctuality, respect and
physical fitness. And they are already working on a version tailored to
primary school children who are showing early signs of aggressive or
disruptive behaviour. Those who complete the course will win a
certificate and automatic referral to a cadet force.
These will work on the same principle as military training, which
uses bull and harsh discipline to break the will of rebels and
non-conformists and then reconstruct their personality to obey orders
instantly and automatically, to build fierce group loyalties that go
beyond reason but never to challenge authority or those who govern them.
To inflict this on adults is bad enough but to do it to children
is shocking. We do have a lot of disruptive children in Britain today.
This is because our capitalist culture does not value children and
neglects them. Parents are forced to work long, long hours to meet
rising bills, mortgages, debt repayments and so on, just to keep a roof
over the family head and food on the table. The pressure on single
parents is even greater. Patterns of working hours are now chaotic – to
suit the boss, not the worker or their family. Exhaustion leaves
parents unable to give their children the time and attention they need.
The great social spending cuts of the Thatcher years took away
unnumbered child support facilities from welfare clinics to youth
clubs. School budgets have been slashed leading to fewer teachers,
bigger classes and no extra support either for those with learning or
social problems or for those with talents to be developed in out of
school hours clubs.
Wonderful facilities like Marchants Hill, a nature study camp for
children in the Surrey woods run by the Inner London Education
Authority, that provided a real holiday in the countryside, a first
experience of staying a few days away from Mum as well as direct
practical study of nature, are now gone – sold off to millionaires.
Playing fields are sold. Out-of-hours school clubs are no more. Our
children are just left to get on with it by themselves in huddles on
street corners. No one praises them; no one stretches their talents; no
one notices when they are in distress. No wonder a few end up with
anti-social traits, it’s a wonder they all don’t.
What our children need most is more adult time, care and
attention, not just from parents but from their teachers, their wider
family, their neighbours – the whole of society. They need to be
introduced gradually to adult culture and society, appropriate
behaviour and responsibility by all those around them. They need to be
talked to and they need to be listened to. They need to be valued, to
have their achievements praised and their problems shared. But under
capitalism time is money and it can’t be spared.
The way that children are treated and catered for is perhaps the
strongest contrast between capitalism and socialism. Travelling to any
socialist country and seeing the enormous provision for children, for
their physical health, their mental health and their cultural
acceptance is remarkable. And it produces highly talented,
well-adjusted, and treasured young people. What really strikes you is
their confidence – their society values them and they know it.
We don’t want our children brutalised and brainwashed in army
camps into willing cannon fodder for capitalism, their minds closed to
questioning authority or the system they live under. These camps are an
outrage against all human decency.
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