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Libya, what’s going on?

Lately I have been trying to make sense of the U.S.-led coalition with Britain, Italy, and France bombing of Libya. Many in the West believe this bombing is for humanitarian purposes, but I disagree. The right way to deal with problems on the ground is to authorize U.N. troops to get into Libya and ensure no civilians are targeted by either Gadhafi or the rebel faction soldiers. NATO (fine, short of Germany) is not a humanitarian organization nor a peace organization. It is a military alliance.

The question is then why did Germany abstain from the ‘no-fly zone’ vote? It is interesting to note that China, Russia, India, and Brazil (the BRIC countries) all abstained from the vote. The remaining 10 of the 15 Security Council members, Bosnia, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Britain and the U.S. voted in favor.

Russian President Medvedev was reported saying the U.N. “no-fly zone” resolution was a signal to Gadhafi to not attack civilians on the rebel factions side. However, he went on to say, Russia absolutely did not want a military strike as part of the “no-fly zone.”

Medvedev’s explanation doesn’t make complete sense. U.S. and coalition forces (CNN has reported other members to include: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Qatar and Spain) were already moving ships toward Libya and mobilizing for an attack prior to the vote in the U.N.. The attack came immediately following the resolution passing. I suspect it would be naive to think that the BRIC countries + Germany didn’t anticipate an attack forthcoming. Why didn’t Russia and China veto since they are permanent members of the Security Council?

Also note that Norway is supposedly a peace-loving country with the Nobel Peace Prize and what not. Given that they awarded the 2010 Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, I guess their behavior is at least consistent.

But I must point out the combined population of the BRIC’s + Germany vs. the U.S.-led coalition attacking Libya right now. This is a real divide in terms of world opinion.

Obama has publicly stated his goal to ousting Gadhafi. Also note that France is joining the fray. Remember, “Freedom Fries” in the U.S.? France was vehemently against the 2003 Iraqi invasion. What’s going on this time around? Could this be related to an old score? Remember the UTA Flight 772 bombing in 1989? The French blamed it on Libya. Apparently, majority of French approve the current operation.

Coalition military has bombed Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound. It is also interesting to note a reader comment at CNN:

Waiting for CNN to report that a British Tornado attack on Gaddafi’s compound was thwarted last night by CNN reporter Nic Robertson on scene at the compound.

Perhaps CNN was dispatched to report “success” and showed up a bit too early?

Russia Today had an interesting segment showing a pattern of U.S. Presidents and their wars. Could this Libya bombing be Obama’s pet war for 2012?

Some argue this is too costly for America. But, in my view, the incremental cost is not that high. NPR has some interesting numbers on the previous “no-fly zone” and air campaigns. In the grand scheme of things, these bombings cost very little.

Like bread, bombs and cruise missiles have limited shelf life. Since the U.S. has some $700+ billion in military budget, some of that will definitely go towards newer cruise missiles. If the U.S. doesn’t spend the 150+ cruise missiles, she will likely spend them in future military exercises anyways. Dismantling them is probably viewed as a waste. Why not spend it on Libya especially since the U.S. has been wanting to topple Gadhafi anyways?

NPR earlier today reported U.K. politicians expecting high returns from oil and reconstruction deals once Gadhafi is taken down.

Ever wonder what happened to Iraqi oil money after Saddam Hussein was taken down? NBC reported back in 2005, “What happened to Iraq’s oil money?” I would look at it this way. U.S. destroyed Iraqi bridges, electricity plants, and other infrastructure. Guess who took those money and paid who for reconstruction of the said infrastructure?

If ground invasion occurs (many predict otherwise) I think the above formula will take place.

Back to the China and Russia abstention from the U.N. resolution question. I can’t quite make up my mind which of these two cases are true: China and Russia fear reprisal from the U.S. or China and Russia think this will drag the U.S. into further mess so she won’t have the energy to meddle in their respective backyards?

  1. Charles Liu
    June 20th, 2011 at 11:42 | #1


    More civilian death being reported, after weeks of doubting reporting of civilian casualty.

  2. raventhorn2000
    June 20th, 2011 at 13:09 | #2

    To paraphrase Stalin,

    “A single lie is an outrage, a thousand lies are statistics.”

  3. xian
    June 21st, 2011 at 00:26 | #3

    One should assume any kind of military action will cause “collateral damage”, i.e. dead civilians. The only way to actually avoid is to not take those actions in the first place.

  4. June 21st, 2011 at 05:31 | #4

    yes, thus, because NATO and US are well aware of collateral damages in their many past wars, they are obviously being willfully blind to the civilian deaths. Thus, their purpose was never to prevent civilian deaths.

  5. June 21st, 2011 at 09:01 | #5

    So in 1946, judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it unleashed many other evils which we consider to be crimes of war. Consequently, ten leading Nazis were executed.

    Similar trials were staged against Japanese leaders although for political reasons, the trials were much less severe and toned down.

    Now when it comes to NATO or U.S. starting wars – big and small – all over the world since WWII, including most recently Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya – for political reasons – there has been no talk of applying Nuremberg principles to today’s warmongering Western leaders.

    The truth is, as Noam Chomsky has duly noted,

    If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

  6. Charles Liu
    June 24th, 2011 at 09:33 | #6

    People talk about regime change as if it’s mandated by UN resolution or something:


    Oh wait, Res 1973 was about protecting ALL civilians not dividing Libya’s sovereignty and oil wealth.

  7. July 13th, 2011 at 09:01 | #7

    Bump as relevant topic today.

  8. Charles Liu
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:26 | #8

    the west continues to aid the Libyan rebels who are violating UN resolution:


    Tell me it’s still about protecting civilians not regime change and/or oil. Where’s the call for ICC prosecution?

  9. Charles Liu
    August 4th, 2011 at 15:43 | #9

    Madam Clinton, as you announce death figure to indict Syria, where’ the Libyan civilian death toll caused by NATO?


  10. pug_ster
    August 5th, 2011 at 05:51 | #10


    I guess that NATO doesn’t care even when it is Ramadan, they go out and bomb the hell out of Libya anyways.

  11. raventhorn
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