Malaysiakini Letter

Hypocritical to condemn Libyan intervention?

Manjit Bhatia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

When the first cruise missiles and rockets, fired from Western Allied fighter jets, slammed into the compound of Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi's fortified sanctuary in Tripoli, the United States government was quick to add that the Libyan dictator, who had fashioned himself around Italian Nazi-loving despot, Benito Mussolini, was not the target of its attack.

If you believed that, then you'd probably also believe in fairy tales. Washington's claim was a bald-faced lie. Still is. There's no point in taking this kind of extensive military action, minus ground troops, if not to also kill off Gaddafi and his equally thuggish sons.

The next day, the British government said unequivocally that Gaddafi was a legitimate target of Allied bombing. Hooray. Kill the bastard, I say, and his sons. And show no mercy to his henchmen.

No doubt there'll be those who will quickly invoke the ‘just war' theories and principles on the US -led no-fly zone attacks on Gaddafi's murderous forces.

This move is as predictable as night follows day. It's a tiresome and pointless exercise. War is war; it is never just, no matter which way you scale this.

Or do ‘just war' protagonists suggest that the world sit by and watch Gaddafi and his sons and their heavily-armed military factions hunt down and kill in cold blood pro-democracy citizens?

When the US-led coalition intervened, albeit belatedly, in the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, did anyone complain? Did anyone label that intervention, which came of the heels of the breakup of the old Yugoslavia and the collapse of the Soviet empire, as unjust, as a transgression of national sovereignty? No.

It's true that there are few limits to war, as we have witnessed with World Wars One and Two. But wars, by their very nature, do have inherent limitations, whether just or unjust. The war in Vietnam had its limitations. The Soviet invasion and colonisation of Afghanistan had its limitations.

All empires have limitations - political as much as economic. History proves this.

When a brutal dictatorship like Gaddafi's buys jobless Africans to join his own thugs in Libya's military to kill pro-democracy Libyans at will, in the way Yemen's president allowed his military snipers to shoot down in cold blood 50-plus unarmed protesting Yemeni dissidents, that must be the end of that regime's legitimacy.

It becomes incumbent upon all countries that are signed up to the U.N. charter on human rights and international law to end state violence and state-sponsored terrorism - by force if necessary. There should be no exceptions, and no matter what a country's national interest calculus tells it then and about the future.

One of the stupidest things former British prime minister Tony Blair ever did was canoodle to Gaddafi after British Petroleum had lobbied hard that it stood to lose billions of dollars in oil exploration and development rights in Libya if White Hall did not release the Libyan bomber who was jailed in Scotland for blowing Pan-Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie in 1988, killing 243 passengers and 16 crew.

Blair was always lame, a coward. The way he had also canoodled George W. Bush and lent succor to Bush's lies about Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction haul was shameful and pathetic but typical of Blair as it was of Bush. Both men, supposedly of god, are, quite simply, deceitful.

The West cannot be spared from its hypocrisy any more than should anyone spare Arabs and Asians, especially the Moslem states, including Turkey, which likes to pretend it is half European and half the other, but it too must be condemned for its massacre of Kurds and Armenians.

When the West put enormous pressure on Egypt's corrupt dictator Hosni Mubarak to quit his post, you didn't get Malaysia telling the Americans to butt out of Egypt's internal affairs.

You didn't get Malaysia telling the Americans not to butt into the affairs of the Kosovars and the Bosnians. Nor did you see Malaysia condemn Russia for the mass killing of Chechen Moslem partisans (or for Russia's invasion and occupation of Georgia).

You didn't get Malaysia condemning China for the massacre of pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square in 1989 nor for Beijing's invasion and colonisation of Tibet, Mongolia and brutalising Xinjiang's Uighurs, most of whom are Moslems.

You have not seen Malaysia condemn the barbaric and corrupt Saudi monarchy for sending its storm troopers to Bahrain to militarily put down that sovereign country's internal political dissidence, did you?

It would be good if the Western multilateral forces could capture Gaddafi and his sons alive, drag them to The Hague and make them face the indictments of murder and systematic abuse of human rights of their own people, and of foreigners, throughout the time of Gaddafi's reign.

And if found guilty - and they would, when faced with such overwhelmingly incriminating evidence - jailing them for life would be too soft an option. Hanging them, one after the other, would be better. Or, better, line them up against a wall and shoot them down like rabid dogs - one at a time, without blindfolds.

When Gaddafi and his sons chose to live by the sword, they can die by the sword. To that end, my view is thus: send in a large-scale ground invasion force to wipe out Gaddafi's troops and all remaining land and air defense systems before capturing or killing Gaddafi and his sons.

If the battle for Tripoli should become a protracted one, with the potential of mass murder of opposition forces and anti-Gaddafi civilians a real possibility, then send in a crack Israeli Mossad squad to assassinate Gaddafi and his sons.

The Arab League this week questioned the extent of the Allied attacks on Gaddafi and his forces. Yet they were wholly silent when the United Nations took to voting on the imposition of the no-fly zone on Libya.

In fact they had quietly agreed early on to the no-fly zone when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured the region to gauge as much as to obtain the acquiescence of Arab League states. That they had given; otherwise there would have another hideous delay for imposing the no-fly zone.

Even the Gulf Cooperation Council had lobbied the US and Europe to impose a no-fly zone on Libya. But of all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, only Qatar has said it would contribute its jet fighters to the multinational alliance.

How dare the Arab League becomes so two-faced that it now questions the no-fly zone in so far as it may be killing and maiming civilians?

How can the league not know that actions like this are almost always likely to sustain a degree of "collateral damage", especially if Gaddafi surrounds himself with civilians for his own protection?

And why is the Arab League bellyaching about Libya when its member-state regimes have been taking equally violent and barbaric actions against its own people, including cold-blooded murder of their unarmed citizens protesting for democratic regime change?

So-called Moslem leaders, wherever they may be, must not be allowed to turn the US-led intervention in Libya into another complaint that Moslems are again being targeted by Western Judeo-Christian powers.

Where were these Moslems and Arabs when the Sudanese Moslem regime began slaughtering other Moslems in Darfur?

Where were these Moslems who now condemn the multinational alliance against Libya when the Sunni Saudis sent 1,000 soldiers to Sunni minority Bahrain to help brutally put down pro-democracy Shi'ite Moslem protestors?

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