Revisiting The Destruction Of Libya

…How the war was sold to the public needs to be revisited lest we treat war as merely a temporary spectacle of no consequence. We were told that Muammar Gaddafi threatened mass atrocities, even “genocide,” against Benghazi. We were told that he fueled his troops with Viagra, so they could go on a systematic spree of mass rape. We were told that he used the air force against unarmed, peaceful protesters. We were told that he imported African mercenaries to butcher his opposition. And we were told that our military intervention would save lives and was designed to protect civilians.

The problem is that none of that was true.

This was instead a series of “incubator baby” stories on steroids: exaggerate and repeat such fabrications often enough and some of it might seep into public “consciousness” as if it were fact.

We were also told that if we failed to act in “stopping” Gaddafi, that it would make us complicit and responsible for allowing his atrocities to happen. Failure to act, makes us responsible for the actions of others. Yet when we did act, we refused to be held accountable for our own actions. This “logic” is the kind of moral dualism that interventionists swear by. No one else is allowed to kill civilians: that’s our prerogative.

NATO member states, such as Canada, and their chief spokesmen never failed to label every armed action against Libyan forces as “protecting civilians.” What NATO’s “protection” actually involved should alarm and upset everyone.

On numerous occasions, NATO refused to protect innocent civilians and knowingly let them die. This was the case with over 1,500 African refugees who died at sea, fleeing Libya, while in close proximity to NATO vessels that monitored all traffic and blockaded Libya’s ports, with some vessels coming into direct contact. The European Council, the Italian government, Amnesty International, and a report by Goldsmiths all faulted NATO for violating international law in ignoring the pleas for help of refugees that were adrift and dying. This is a serious crime under international law. No one has been held accountable.

On other occasions, NATO jets and drones specifically and knowingly targeted civilians. These were the findings of both an Independent Civil Society Mission to Libya and even Amnesty International. In a case that occurred in Sirte on September 15, 2011, NATO missiles struck and killed 47 civilian rescuers. This is what is now referred to as “double tapping,” an established U.S. practice that was shockingly documented in the “Collateral Murder” video from Iraq and by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Civilian men coming to the aid of those who have been attacked have been redefined by the U.S. government as not being civilian, merely for being able-bodied men of combat age…


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