HE'S COMING HOME!...
...cheered one of the bogroll free newspapers this evening in reference to the ruddy-haired, hay-chewing, village-idiot Prince. Personally, I couldn't be happier that Harry has returned home from the war. I just wish the same could happen to every British and American soldier serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with equal speed.
It seems likely that troops will leave the two countries eventually. The UK and US are failing disastrously in every aspect of their ventures, from reconstruction and democracy-building to reducing attacks and boosting prosperity. British troops have been forced out of Basra (and let's be clear - the rhetoric of "handing over power" was as blinkered as the boy's own stories of Harry's adventures on the front-line today), and the US electorate may be veering away from the neocons (McCain and Clinton) towards a front-runner whose campaign has been boosted by the anti-war movement. The populations of Afghanistan and Iraq have resisted invasion, and they will almost certainly win. "Iraqi oil," as Hassan Juma, President of the Iraqi Oil Workers Federation said at a meeting last night, "will be the poison that kills the American Empire."
But we should not be complacent. Allied troops will not leave without a fight. Every month that troops continue to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan will be a month of increasing bloodshed and death. On 18 January 2008, the Washington Post reported that merican warplanes had dropped as much explosive on Baghdad in a day as they usually do in a month; and whereas in June 2006, John Reid said "we hope we will leave Afghanistan without firing a single shot," two million rounds of ammunition have in fact been fired in a war that has seen the Taleban retain control of much of the south. The Red Cross have stated that the war is creating a humanitarian disaster, as aid fails to materialise or fails to arrive at its destination. To claim that the Afghan war has been successful compared to the Iraqi war is to damn with faint praise.
15 March 2008 will mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Across the world, people will take to the streets and protest against these wars, call for the end of the siege in Gaza, and warn the US not to attack Iran. It will not be a symbolic march, or a futile one - just because world leaders have failed to listen to their people and continued these hopeless occupations does not mean those people should give in. The anti-war movement has been correct in almost every prediction it has ever made. And if waning empires won't go without a fight, we'd better carry on fighting.
Join the global protest - demonstrate 15 March
Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan
Don’t attack Iran
End the siege of Gaza
Assemble 12 noon, Trafalgar Square, London