On this day in 1991 another round of mass slaughter started with Operation Desert Storm. The February Socialist Standard of that year carried the following editorial and its message is, if possible, even more vital today.
"So capitalism has again unleashed the horrors of war. The Socialist attitude is clear. Wars are never justified from a working class point of view. They are fought by capitalist states over sources of raw materials, trade routes, markets and investments. None of these are issues of concern to wage and salary workers, the majority in society.
The present war in is a particularly blatant example of the sort of issue wars are fought over under capitalism. What is at stake for both sides is quite clearly control over oil supplies and trade routes. Everybody knows this, and the propaganda machines of the Western powers are having great difficulty in portraying it as a war for "democracy" and "our way of life". With the official war aim being to restore the filthy-rich Al Sabah dynasty to rule over and exploit the the people in the puppet-state of Kuwait and with mediaeval and religious fundamentalist Saudi Arabia where women are not even allowed to drive cars as the main local ally, this is hardly surprising.
Iraq is being attacked, under the flag of convenience of the United Nations, because its emergence as a strong regional power with expansionist ambitions represents a threat to Western domination of the area and a challenge to the security and free flow of Western oil supplies "at market prices".
This gives the Iraqi ruling class a propaganda advantage. They can truthfully present the war as one waged by Western powers to protect and further their imperialist interests. But Iraqi workers should not be fooled. They are members of the international working class who have been conscripted by a particularly brutal local ruling class.to fight for its interest in having a secure trade outlet to the sea and in building itself up as the dominant regional power. Issues, once again, that are not ones of concern to them as wage and salary workers. Iraqi workers, like those of the Western countries and their local allies, will be dying for interests which are not theirs.
The outbreak of any war is an unmitigated disaster for the working class. It is the workers who are hired or conscripted to do the fighting, the destroying, the killing - and the dying. It is workers and their families who suffer from the bombings, the destruction, the restrictions, the famines and the epidemics that accompany all wars. War brings nothing but suffering and misery.
This is why, as Socialists representing the working class interest, we are opposed to all wars. always. We are not prepared to support under any circumstances the killing and maiming of our fellow workers in the pursuit of capitalist profits. Ideally, from the point of view of the working class within capitalism, it would have been better if the capitalists had settled this conflict peacefully and, now that the war has started, it should stop immediately. Unfortunately this can only be wishful thinking. Capitalism does not work that way. War will always be a policy option invoked by capitalist states from time to time.
We denounce the war as yet another example of the barbarous nature of the capitalist system and call upon our fellow workers in all countries to unite even more urgently to bring the war-causing capitalist system to a speedy end by establishing in its place a world socialist society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the Earth's resources by all the people of the Earth."