Learn the lessons of history: Oppose the threat of world war

Last Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama made a speech from the White House lawn announcing that the United States had bombed Syria. In August, the president began bombing Iraq.

Syria is the seventh country Obama has bombed in his presidency. American bombs had killed 36 civilians in the first days of the Syrian campaign.

The bombings in Syria and Iraq won’t be ending any time soon, either. When asked how long the war would last, Lt. Gen. William Mayville said, “I think it would be in terms of years.”

Also, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, said last week that “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out.”

The question that millions of Americans are asking themselves is: “Why is the government dragging the country into another war?”

According to the government, the political establishment and the corporate media, the war is a “humanitarian” one, aimed at protecting the world from the Islamic State.The U.S. is infamous for its brutal allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the CIA had been funneling weapons to Syrian rebel groups for months. Besides, the U.S. cannot claim it goes to war for “democracy” when democratic rights are under attack at home. The events in Ferguson, Mo., show how the ruling class handles social protest domestically.

The real cause of the wars lies in the economic foundations of the capitalist system. The world’s 85 richest people possess the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion, but the wealthy want more. Oil extraction, lucrative pipeline deals and the opportunity to knock Russia out of competition make Syria a perfect target.

For the same reasons, the U.S. government is supporting fascist forces in Ukraine, where the U.S. risks a war with Russia, another nuclear power.

This summer marked 100 years since the start of World War I and 75 since World War II. Although many believe another world war is simply not possible, quite the opposite is the case. With NATO deploying 4,000 troops to Eastern Europe, the last few months eerily resemble the pre-war months of 1914 and 1939.

This is the direction in which the ruling class is taking the world, but that doesn’t mean world war is inevitable.

Young people must grasp the urgency of the situation and undertake a serious study of the historical lessons of the wars of the 20th century. Only on this basis can a real anti-war movement be built — one which does not seek to beg the ruling elite for peace, but rather turns to the working class to build an international movement for socialist revolution.