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 Europe.

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!


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 known.

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 Afghanistan.

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.....


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.