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Voice From the Back

Next?
The media secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain writing in the Times (25 March) has a chilling view of the future. He may well prove right because capitalism is a rapacious, competitive system that is capable of any horrors. “British Muslims have begun asking themselves who will be next in the American firing line. Already, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, has gone on record – in this very newspaper as it happens (November 5, 2002) – with his own bid by staying that the day the United States finishes with Iraq, it should start with Iran. In the Rumsfield-Wolfowitz-Perle axis, Mr Sharon has some powerful friends who are only too ready to lend a willing ear.”

A monstrous society
“Andy Arkell, who was an Army platoon commander in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, says the unexpected resistance will have no effect on British troops . . . Many soldiers will actually be pleased that the Iraqis are putting up a fight. Arkell says: “When you're 22, as I was when I saw action, it's your wettest dream. Being bloodied is what you joined up for. My six months in Northern Ireland was the best time of my life, a wargasm” (Times 28 March). Capitalism is a monstrous society and of course it turns out social psychotics like Arkell all the time.

Tell it to the marines
“This has absolutely nothing to do with the war being about oil . . .” said Exxon spokesman Tom Cirigliano, responding to news that the 101st Airborne Division has named two of its outposts in the Iraq desert Forward Operating Base Exxon and Forwarding Operating Base Shell.” Sunday Herald (30 March). Even the squaddies know what is behind the so-called humanitarian war in the Middle East.

A strange democracy (1)
The US government's claim that the conflict in Iraq is justified on the grounds of introducing the wonderful freedoms of the USA to that enslaved country looks a little hollow when we read of two recent events in the land of the free. “Two Albuquerque teachers were placed on administrative leave earlier this week for refusing to remove Iraqi war-related artwork made by students from their classroom, school officials said on Wednesday . . . In a similar incident, two teachers at a nearby school were suspended without pay in March for refusing to take down their own anti-war signs in their classroom” Reuters (2 April).

A strange democracy (2)
“In another sign of increasing tensions on college campuses over the war in Iraq, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston was arrested yesterday and charged with assaulting a police officer after he exchanged heated words with a National Guard recruiter. Eyewitnesses said the recruiter told adjunct professor Tony Van Der Meer and a student that they should be shot in the head for their anti-war views” Boston Globe (4 April).

The Jessica Lynch story
According to a Reuters release of 10 April NBC are to make a TV movie about Jessica Lynch, the US soldier taken prisoner in Iraq and rescued by US marines. No doubt it will be the usual nauseous nonsense about patriotism that waves the stars and stripes in your face, but we wonder if it will also report why Jessica was over there in the first place. According to the report, “Lynch, an aspiring teacher who joined the army to get an education,
comes from a community that has an unemployment rate of 15 percent – one of the highest in West Virginia” Reuters (10 April). From the First World War to the present the greatest recruiter for capitalism's bloodbaths has always been the poverty of the working class.

A brave new world
“A US military contractor accused of human rights violation has won a multi-million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq, The Observer can reveal. DynCorp, which has donated more than £100,000 to the Republican Party, began recruiting for a private police force in Iraq last week on behalf of the US State Department . . . DynCorp personnel contracted to the United Nations police service in Bosnia were implicated in buying and selling prostitutes, including a girl as young as 12. Several DynCorp employees were also accused of videotaping the rape of one of the women” Observer (13 April). It is so typical of capitalism – you get rid of one group of thugs only to suffer another crowd of awful bastards.