Libya – Why we must remove Gaddafi by any means possible.
A) If Britain succumbed to anarchy and a fascist gang seized control of Suffolk and then began shelling the town in neighbouring Norfolk where my old WHS mate lived with his lovely wife and three beautiful children then I, living in so far peaceful Esher, would feel compelled to come to my mate’s aid – IF it were at all feasible (it might not be).
This would be because:
- I have a general principle that we must fight evil and fascism (same thing) and
- I wouldn’t like to see my mate’s kids have their heads or legs blown off while I was sitting peacefully listening to the Archers.
The idea that I would say: “None of my business; let my old mate and his kids “fight it out” is surreally immoral. (always assuming that the line has been crossed – see below)
OK so far?
B) Now, if it weren’t a question of my old mate but of a stranger – equally innocent with equally lovely kids – then it wouldn’t actually make ANY difference. I would still think it right to “do something”, and if you’re going to do something it might as well be effective.
C) Now, if this fascist shelling of innocents happened in ANOTHER country it is of course “different”, since there are concepts of “sovereignty” and so on to deal with. HOWEVER, the victims involved are ALSO humans and “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND”. Moreover, there is a LINE IN THE SAND, and PLEASE don’t tell me there is NO line. For example, supposing WHOB X as a “let them fight it out” merchant learned that Gaddafi was building gas ovens and crematoria to final-solution his enemies then I suppose that THIS would be a line EVEN FOR THE RABID “It’s none of our business” brigade. Agreed?
So, there is ALWAYS A LINE. My line is clearly way to the left of certain people who vilified me for supporting intervention. Fine, we ALL have a different line in the sand. HOWEVER, in THIS case, the United Nations Security Council itself (to my surprise, given the quota of fascists kicking around the “international community”) ITSELF decided that Gaddafi had crossed the line.
The Arab League, Europe and the USA have ALL agreed that Gaddafi has crossed this line. The UN said that the International Community should take ALL EFFECTIVE MEASURES short of a ground invasion to protect civilians. More than this, the EU, NATO, the US and the Arab League have ALL said that there must be “regime change”, even though the UN couldn’t bring itself to say this – hardly surprising, when so many UN members are themselves despotic in one form or another.
However, all these august groups are being intellectually dishonest. The idea that you can “protect civilians” WITHOUT destroying Gaddafi’s regime is MORONIC. I’m sorry to use this word as I suspect it will get many people steamed up. However, I stand by it. Even massive air-power is not preventing Gaddafi’s “army” from INDISCRIMINATE SHELLING of Miseratu even while his spokespeople blather on about “democracy in six months”.
So, to be INTELLECTUALLY HONEST the intl community SHOULD have sanctioned “regime change” AND a UN-backed ground invasion, which would have toppled Gaddafi within hours. NO, the aftermath would not have been easy but just look at what is happening ALREADY. Apart from Miseratu, there are numerous villages and towns in the far west that we hear nothing about where Gaddafi is ALSO indiscriminately shelling civilians. And what chances do you give ANYONE fighting against him who is forced to surrender? This is why the Miseratu rebels say they will fight to the death. Defeat MEANS death for many of them. (BTW as I write the Libyan “government” is denying there is any shelling in Miseratu …..)
“Civilians”? Most of the “rebels” are civilians. You can see that just by watching Al Jazeera for 10 minutes. They have taken up arms in desperation, much as the peasants did in Russia, France and of course CUBA.The “army” in Libya is MINUTE – a few thousand men with forced conscripts and mercenaries led by members of Gaddafi’s odious family. So “protecting civilians” ALSO means protecting the rebels = SIDING with the rebels. To pretend anything else is intellectually dishonest.
The bottom line is:
- There can be NO PROTECTION for civilians while Gaddafi remains in power.
- While despots have to be tolerated up to a point, there is a LINE IN THE SAND. Gaddafi CROSSED THAT LINE. (more than once, but he got let off by Blair et al)
- We can’t do everything, but doing NOTHING is – for me – not an option. And WHAT IS THE POINT OF DOING SOMETHING INEFFECTIVE THAT DOESN’T SOLVE THE ROOT PROBLEM?
- In this case, we COULD do something effective at MINIMAL COST. We are not proposing to defend the Tibetans against the Chinese …..
- If something is not done soon, Miseratu will fall; thousands will disappear and/or die; Gaddafi will have shored up his position while hoping the intl community gets fed up and/or chickens out of tough decisions.