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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/14/11

NATO Demonstrates Why It Needs to Stay Out of Libya

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It happened and received very little attention. Shortly after Libya's Col. Qaddafi finished a radio address, a NATO airstrike killed Qaddafi's son, Saif Al-Arab, and three of Qaddafi's grandchildren. Is this what is supposed to happen in a no fly zone? In case you did not notice, they were not flying at the time of their deaths.

I searched the paper looking for explanations for this murder and could find none. It was as if NATO believed that it could act with impunity. This killing comes on the heels of an earlier attempt by NATO to actually kill Qaddafi himself.

Though in no way a supporter of Qaddafi, I am angered at what some people are calling "mission creep." Though the United Nations unfortunately passed a resolution calling for a "no fly zone" over Libya, allegedly as a humanitarian gesture in defense of civilians, NATO has displayed an increasingly audacious approach toward intervention in what is an internal conflict of the sovereign nation of Libya.

Many well-intentioned progressives, including some friends of mine, supported the NATO intervention in the name of protecting civilians from being massacred by forces loyal to Qaddafi. In addition to there being a serious question as to whether a massacre was ever just over the horizon, it is now important for progressive and democratic-minded people to assess what is going on in Libya and what the intentions of the NATO forces happen to be, not to mention the impact of the NATO intervention on the pro-democracy forces within Libya.

While Qaddafi's family was being murdered, to the east in Bahrain, doctors and nurses who had treated injured pro-democracy protesters were being arrested for the crime of treating injured protesters. The Bahraini government, a very close ally of the USA, has been acting without restraint. The Obama administration has done nothing to stop the increased repression, yet attempts to convince the world that horror of horrors were being planned by Qaddafi's forces in Libya such that a military intervention was justified. At last reports, there have been no surgical strikes to take out the Bahraini royal family for the brutality that it is inflicting on the Bahraini populace.

It is worth noting that the NATO countries felt it was important to go to the United Nations in order to secure a mandate in order to implement an intervention under the cover of a "no fly zone." Yet that resolution did not call for support of regime change and it definitely did not call for the assassination of Qaddafi and his family. Yet, despite a slowly growing international chorus of criticism of NATO for these aggressive actions, NATO feels no compulsion to explain what it is doing or to cease and desist from the efforts that it is undertaking.

While it is quite possible that some individuals in the administrations of NATO countries believed that they were embarking on a humanitarian effort, it is impossible to accept that this is what has been guiding their strategy. The actions of the NATO countries have been hypocritical in the extreme. Instead, it is more likely that NATO aims to set up a reliable client state in Libya, thereby thwarting the efforts of the Libyan people to introduce democratic rule. Since it remains unclear how the revolutionary process will continue to unfold in Tunisia and Egypt (or whether it will be set back), and since Algeria remains a potential flashpoint, Libya, even a divided Libya, could serve the NATO countries well as an outpost in the midst of what the West sees as chaos.

The only thing that will stop the NATO aggression is an aroused populace in NATO countries that understands that the airstrikes underway in Libya have nothing to do with aiding the cause of democracy, human rights or the protection of civilians. If anything, the intervention will accomplish just the opposite. The murder of Qaddafi's son and grandchildren cannot be addressed through a heartfelt apology by President Obama or any other leader of the NATO gang.

NATO must withdraw from the conflict, and do so immediately.

Cross-posted at Black Commentator

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Bill Fletcher, Jr., is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Labor Rights Forum, Executive Editor of The Black Commentator and founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. A longtime labor, racial justice and international (more...)

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