JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE FALSE IDEA THAT VICTORY IN LIBYA MOVES US TOWARDS A MORE HUMANE WORLD   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I’ve always thought highly of Lloyd Axworthy, but this piece seems out of character for him, or so it seems to me.

“In Libya, we move toward a more humane world…”

I just can not accept that, and I think the words should choke in Mr. Axworthy’s throat: they are dangerous words, hiding many ugly assumptions.

First, NATO planes have likely killed as many civilians as Gaddafi has. The average reader has to imagine the scale of destruction because the mainline news sources have worked to minimize what has gone on, but the total air-assault by fighter-bombers, heavy bombers, and cruise missiles has been massive. Britain actually was running low for a while on its stock of cruise missiles, and the U.S. has employed everything from B-52s to stealth bombers.

Second, the bombardment has consistently been used for attempted assassination or assassination, either of Gaddafi or his sons, a la Israel’s brutal armed forces. We do not gain a more humane world that way. Quite the opposite, we open the doors of hell.

Third, In any case, you cannot bomb your way to democracy.

Fourth, the original United Nations resolution has been treated as a piece of toilet paper by NATO: creating a no-fly zone has nothing whatsoever to do the massive bombardment NATO has inflicted on Libya.

Contempt for international law and order is certainly not the way towards a more humane world.

The tactics used in Libya are almost exactly those the U.S. used in Afghanistan: American planes bombed the crap out of Taleban-held areas and left the ground fighting almost exclusively to the tribes of the Northern Alliance.

So they not only killed thousands and thousands of civilians in Afghanistan – bombing being everywhere and always inaccurate –  they ended by setting up a government of the cutthroats and warlords of the Northern Alliance in the provinces, people who in many ways are not one wit more desirable from a democratic-values point of view. The central government has almost no authority over them. Afghanistan having no history of meaningful central authority.

And we do see the results in Afghanistan of ten years of killing and destruction: little of real meaning to democratic values has changed, and the waste of life and treasure are totally unjustified.

Last, we know virtually nothing about the forces of the rebels. It was a dark joke for John Baird to make a brief stopover, shake a few pre-selected hands, and make pompous pronouncements.

In the last weeks we saw all kinds of shenanigans in the rebel camp, from the assassination of a military leader to the leaving of a bunch of ministers. We do not know what is going on, but we are readily killing for it. Why?

Libya has oil in significant amounts favorably located for Europe, and the U.S. and its major NATO partners have used the excuse of the rebels to place that oil in grateful hands while at the same time eliminating a leader they have always disliked for reasons having nothing to do with democracy or human rights.

Please remember, the U.S. is always glad to deal with brutal, unelected men – Mubarak in Egypt for 30 years, the leaders in Yemen and Bahrain, the kings of Saudi Arabia, the king of Kuwait, Hussein in Iraq, and on and on – so long as they do commit the crime of failing to toe the line of American policy.

Hardly the stuff of a more humane world.

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