Lessons from the War in Lebanon

Reprinted from "The Worker," newspaper of the Workers Party, USA

By Bill Foster

I.

The recent U.S.-Israeli war against Lebanon again brought home both the savageness and the breadth of U.S. imperialism's so-called "war on terrorism."

Since 2001, U.S. imperialism has set the Middle East and Central Asia on fire. U.S. imperialism and its client state in Israel have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. The U.S. has been continually pressuring and threatening Syria and Iran.

U. S. imperialism has openly declared that its objective is to create a "new Middle East" - a Middle East based on "free enterprise" and the "free flow of international capital" (i.e., a Middle East owned and dominated by U.S. monopoly capital), a "democratic" Middle East (i.e., a Middle East in which every government is subservient to U.S. imperialism) and a "secure" Middle East (i.e., a Middle East filled with U.S. military bases and policed by U.S. armies).

To achieve its goal of recolonizing the region, imperialism's strategy is to wipe out "Arab extremism" and "Islamic fundamentalism," that is to suppress the resistance struggles and liberation movements of the Arab peoples and to "regime change" every government which asserts any independence from the U.S. From the beginning, the plan has been to conquer Iraq, suppress the Palestinian and Lebanese liberation struggles in order to secure imperialism's rear, and then proceed to attack Syria and Iran.

The war in Lebanon was prepared and launched precisely as part of this strategic plan. The declared objectives of this war were to seize southern Lebanon, impose a client regime on the rest of the country, liquidate the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, increase the pressure against Syria and Iran, and tighten a vise around Iraq.

Taking to heart the lessons of the war against Lebanon, anti-war activists must recognize that

1) We cannot separate the various fronts of war from each other, much less "pick and choose" which ones to oppose. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine are all fronts in, what U.S. imperialism itself, calls an "international war against terrorism."

2) The wars are going to continue. Today the general strategy of the U. S. monopoly capitalist class is to rely on its military superiority to save and expand its capitalist empire. In short, U.S. imperialism wants and needs war.

II.

The war against Lebanon also reminds us of the great truth that the people, not imperialism, are the decisive force.

Although the dangers facing Lebanon remain great (Israeli troops still occupy the country and the U.S.-Israeli aggressors have not given up their plans of conquest), the Lebanese people dealt a setback to the "invincible" aggressors. They have proven that a small nation can defeat the biggest military power if the people are united and determined to defend their sovereignty.

Not only in Lebanon, but throughout the world, the people are foiling the plans of imperialism. It is more than three years since George Bush declared victory in Iraq, but still the people have not been pacified or defeated. On the contrary, the resistance keeps advancing and is defeating the U.S. occupationist armies. In Palestine, the whole nation is rallying around the line of resistance and renewing its struggle for national salvation and liberation. So too in Afghanistan.

In Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and elsewhere the peoples and governments are resisting U.S. pressure and dictate. On every continent, the peoples are coming out against imperialism and its war program.

The American people, also, are extending and deepening the struggle against the government's war program. Our struggle is part of a world front against war and imperialism. An inseparable part of strengthening the unity of the world's peoples is supporting the resistance movements and liberation struggles in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and in every country where the peoples are fighting against imperialism. These struggles are a gigantic force defending the sovereignty and rights of peoples everywhere and blocking the war program of imperialism.

In sum, in the immediate future, U.S. imperialism is going to wage more aggressive wars. But the tide is starting to turn. The people can and are defeating the warmakers. The decisive thing is for the people to take things into their own hands and further develop their independent organizations and struggles against the warmakers.