I was still a teenager, but I still vividly remember Israeli television, Channel I, showing some Lebanese women throwing flowers at advancing Israeli tanks that thrust themselves into the heart of Beirut in 1982. Israel invaded Lebanon with a long list of pretexts; one was to liberate the Lebanese people from Syria and “terrorist Palestinian groups”. Following the “liberation”, Israel staged an election that was ‘won’ by its main Christian Philangists ally, Bashir Gemayel.
We have already learned of the Israeli role in the war on Iraq. But aside from policymaking, American and Israeli media have informed us, on several occasions, that Marines Corps were dispatched to Israel to learn of the ‘successful’ Israel army tactics used to ‘quell the Palestinian uprising in the Jenin refugee camp. (US News & World Report–Feb, 17, 2003)
But if America, the brave, humbled itself to the point that it accepted to draw its lessons from the tiny nation of Israel, then maybe its time to learn the Lebanon lesson from start to finish.
When millions of people around the world set to avoid the unjustifiable American army invasion of Iraq, they were moved by a straightforward point of reason: one, you don’t impose democracy, and two, you don’t free a nation with cluster bombs, let alone the lack of legitimacy and the unmistakable business interests tainting the Iraq “war adventure” from day one.
Others wished to see their resentment regarding the war as part of a greater, and more complex picture.
In the last few years, there was more than one self-indicting doctrine, composed by the George Bush administration’s top players that sought world dominance, even before the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. A quick flip through the 90-page document: “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century”, a blue print for future American foreign policy drawn by the same famous characters that have orchestrated and implemented the invasion of Iraq, would highlight the American quest for world dominance, for the sake of cheap energy and strategic control.
Marginalizing the United Nations, forging a British war alliance and invading Iraq was outlined in the document, and has been implemented, word for word. But “even should Saddam pass from the scene, bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently–despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops–as Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has”.
It’s the above scenario that many of us fear, as we witness American government’s eagerness in re-shaping the future of our world and the future of coming generations.
For those thoughtful individuals who refused to buy into the frenzy of the media and government war hawks’ claims of an immanent Iraqi threat, the war is technically over.
But those who are bold enough to admit that the end of the Iraq war is just the beginning of an illegal occupation that has already drawn lessons from the illegal and brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine and Lebanon, must realize that their responsibility in standing for peace and justice, has just grown tremendously.
Certain segments in the US government (which have ‘coincidently’ allied themselves with the ideologically misguided, and morally bankrupt Israeli right wing Likud party), have committed themselves to what neo-conservatives (aka neo-imperialists) term “total war”.
While such wars might in fact divert the attention away from the economic downfalls already sweeping this country, and prove rewarding to Armageddon prophecies campaigners and modern-world gold-hunters, it reaps disasters for most of us: people who are genuinely concerned about raising our children in a more peaceful world.
I know victory is sweet, but what is so sweet about declaring a fraudulent victory, if all we have done is set the stage for more uncertainties? Cluster bombing our way out of every hurdle, or every time ‘our leadership’ is challenged is unlikely to gain America the status or the respect its people desire.
CNN showed jubilant Iraqis whose hate for Saddam Hussein blinded them from seeing the fact that they had just fallen into the net of another head-hunter, who cared little while dropping bombs on civilians areas so that it might confidently declare: “we have liberated 600 oil fields”.
I was still a teenager, but still vividly remember Israeli television, Channel I showing some Lebanese women throwing flowers at advancing Israeli tanks that thrust themselves into the heart of Beirut in 1982.
Two decades after the Israeli “liberation” of Lebanon, and the “restoration” of democracy, the collective struggle by the Lebanese people has prevailed, driving Israeli soldiers back to the Israeli border in one of the most remarkable victories ever achieved by an Arab nation.
Aside from the fraudulent propaganda, Israel invaded Lebanon seeking dominance, expansion, strategic control and natural resources (water). Interestingly, its defeat came at the hands of a generation that was born after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978.
It’s humbling to see a ‘great democracy’ like America drawing lessons from a ‘tiny democracy’ like Israel. But the tiny democracy should have been truly honest in teaching the United States the other half of lesson. Sure, Israeli bulldozers destroyed most of Jenin, but the camp is still fighting. True, Israel occupied Lebanon to advance its strategic interests, but it experienced a bitter defeat twenty years later.
‘Total war’ is an electrifying concept that might raise the adrenaline of the flag-waving, “nuke the Arabs” segment of the American population. But “total war”, while it can never achieve ‘total victory’, can still generate ‘total defeat’, a lesson that took Israel twenty years to learn in Lebanon, and is destined to learn in Palestine.
Will America wait that long before realizing the disastrous path on which it is embarking?
RAMZY BAROUD is the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com and the editor of the anthology “Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion 2002.” 50 percent of the editor’s royalties will go directly to assist in the relief efforts in Jenin. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org