It happened and received very little attention. Shortly
Col. Qaddafi finished a radio address, a NATO airstrike
killed Qaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Arab and three of Qaddafi’s
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
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
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.
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.
Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher,
Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president
and co-author of
Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path
toward Social Justice(University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized
labor in the USA. Click here
to contact Mr. Fletcher.