Peter Hadden Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Peter Hadden

Stop the Slaughter

(January 1991)

From Militant Irish Monthly supplement, January 1991.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

The long prepared for slaughter in the Gulf has begun. Cruise missiles and planes have begun to bombard Iraq and Kuwait in the most concentrated a bombardment in military history.

Despite the tissue of coming from the Pentagon and Downing Street and elsewhere about surgical strikes against military installations there can be no doubt that already have been thousands of civilian casualties. And much worse is to come!

The Western forces intend to blitz both Iraq and Kuwait hoping to pound the Iraqis into submission. Then the bombardment from the air will be followed a ground assault. The result will be tens, even hundreds of thousands killed, many more maimed, and destruction on a massive scale.

Chemical Weapons

Beyond this there is the risk of chemical weapons and even nuclear weapons being used. The US has 1,000 nuclear war heads trained on Iraq at present.

The catastrophic consequences of this war could spread far beyond the Middle East. Eminent scientists have warned that the burning of the Kuwait oil fields could light fires which would blaze for a year and which would poison the air, and cause climatic disaster and famine in Asia.

And all for what? Not as Bush claims to protect small nations. The US “protected” Panama by invading it and killing 7,000 people. Nor to free people from foreign oppressors. The US have done nothing to free the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Neither is it to preserve peace and stability – it was the Western imperialist powers who divided and destabilised the Middle East in order to suit their own ends. A US victory would not solve the problems of the Middle East but would complicate existing problems and create new ones, making further upheavals and future wars inevitable.

As for the White House lie that this war is to remove a dictator and establish democracy, this is pure hypocrisy. The US has a record of support for dictatorships around the world. The West supported Saddam Hussein when it suited them. If they overthrow him it would to impose a regime no less dictatorial, but one more pliant to US interests in the region.

Militant has always opposed the Iraqi dictatorship, just as we oppose similar dictators throughout the world including the rotten regimes in other Arab states. We will support the struggle of the Iraqi people to rid themselves of this dictatorship, as we supported the mass movements against Marcos in the Philippines and Pinochet in Chile, both of whom were stooges of US imperialism.

No this is not a war about protecting small nations or opposing dictatorships, it is a war about oil and profits. It is to protect capitalism’s supply of liquid gold. It is also meant to serve as a brutal warning to the peoples of the Third World not to dare to stand up against the vested interests of the major capitalist powers.

Militant stands for an immediate end to the aggression against Iraq and for the immediate withdrawal of all Western forces from the Gulf. Within Iraq we would advocate a revolutionary war – based on the full nationalisation of the economy, the arming of the entire people, a democratic army with elected officers and a democratic socialist state – to drive out the imperialist forces.

Even before the slaughter began there were huge anti-war demonstrations in the West. If this unprecedented anti-war movement before a war can now be built upon the war can be stopped and the lives of the tens of thousands of young working-class men and women on both sides can be spared.


Big meetings and demonstrations have already been held in Ireland, North and South. There is particular opposition to the refuelling of war-planes at Shannon. Any attempt to introduce conscription in the North must be opposed. This campaign must be stepped up – taken to every worker and every young person.

The labour movement is the most powerful movement in Irish society. It must play the key role, not just passively sponsoring anti-war activity, but organising and leading it, and mobilising the ranks of the trade union movement to take part. Such a movement here linked to similar movements in Europe and America can end this war for oil.

Militant Demands

Peter Hadden Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 6 June 2015