MURDER IN LIBYA

A week or so ago I wrote that if there was no protest at the murder of Gaddafi’s son and grandchildren then it would show that in the west we had crossed a serious moral line.  In the event this straightforward act of murder was eclipsed on the following day by the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Though I find the fact morally indefensible I nonetheless recognise it as a fact that the news of Osama bin Laden’s killing is an event that would inevitably drive discussion of the murder in Libya off the news and comment pages.

There is no such excuse for an event that has happened since.  A few days ago a NATO bomb killed eleven Muslim clerics in the Libyan town of Brega.  Apparently the clerics were part of a peace mission on its way to Benghazi.  According to the Libyan government another fifty people were wounded and killed.  NATO has barely acknowledged this massacre and the British media has barely reported it.  Most British newspapers failed even to report the story on their front pages and when they have reported it they have given disproportionate attention to the uncorroborated comments of a Dutch engineer who has claimed that he constructed an underground bunker over the building in which the clerics were killed.

Even if there was a bunker beneath the building (and it is difficult to understand why such a bunker would be built in what is a small provincial town) and even if the bunker in question was being used as a command post I find the indifference to the slaughter of the clerics chilling.  NATO continues to do all it can to try to murder Gaddafi himself and will now doubtless use the arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court as a further excuse for doing this even though this is plainly illegal and wrong.  Meanwhile the head of the British army General Richards is calling for the bombing campaign to be extended to take in more civilian infrastructure whilst calls for a ceasefire from the African Union and the BRICS states are being ignored.  Of the representative of the UN Secretary General who as envisaged in UN Security Council Resolution 1970 is supposed to visit Libya to carry out a mediation mission and to prepare a report on the conflict for the Security Council there is no sign and I doubt that such a person has even been appointed.

In other words what we are seeing is another illegal war prosecuted by criminal means though with the UN Secretary General’s sanction against a background of indifference on the part of the public in the countries perpetrating it.  I wonder at what point our brutality will reach its limit.

One thought on “MURDER IN LIBYA

  1. Thanks for this. I am as opposed to the Libyan invasion as to the Iraqi and Afghani invasions before it. But amongst the Oxford students and academics whom I know, a strong majority support the intervention, and a minority are mildly opposed on Realpolitical grounds (for example the argument: 'we don't know what will happen next'). Few are opposed on the grounds that intervention in a civil war is illegal; that trying to depose or kill a head of state by military means is illegal; that this intervention is in bad faith (not embarked upon for the reasons given, as is made obvious by the inconsistency with the treatment by the same countries of other countries in the region); that it has resulted in civilian deaths and is likely to result in more. There are of course also a host of valid Realpolitik arguments, in addition to future uncertainty: we are not only being, but are spectacularly demonstrating ourselves to be, hypocritical. Our armed forces are already overstretched, and our armed forces are opposed. We can't afford it. And so the list goes on…

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