Though some of his reflections and expressions are uncongenial, Peter Hitchens asks some pertinent questions today:
- Who are the Libyan rebels?
- What do they want?
- Why are we suddenly so worried about Muammar Gaddafi? Until recently many of the war enthusiasts were rather keen on him
- Why is the Prime Minister praised when he announces this intervention?
- What if our humanitarian bombs and missiles accidentally kill women and children (which is almost certain)?
- What if air attacks and distant shelling fail to stop Gaddafi’s forces? Will we then send in troops? Who knows? I don’t. The Prime Minister doesn’t.
His answer: “we all watch too much TV. Its reports simplify, then exaggerate. Reporters, much like politicians, like to feel they are helping to make history, and get excited by subjects they knew nothing about until last Wednesday. Before we know where we are, we are taking sides in quarrels we don’t understand.”
“I pray that this episode ends quickly and cleanly. Perhaps it will. But we cannot know. Some of the longest wars in history started with small-scale intervention, for a purpose that looked good and achievable, and ended up ruining millions of lives . . .
“This supposed objection to rulers killing their own people is not consistent. Sometimes – as in China, Bahrain and Syria – we’re happy to let them do it . . . “
Some remember the very different attitude when over 1000 Palestinians were killed and over 4,500 injured in the Gaza Strip by their de facto rulers.
Answers to Peter Hitchens’ questions from Len Aldis and A.N.Other
Q. Why are we suddenly so worried about Muammar Gaddafi?
A1.Why? The answer is OIL. If Occupied Palestine and Gaza had OIL, they would be bombing Israel: Len Aldis.
A2. Libya – because the whole world hates Gaddafi – even the Arabs and the Russians. This made the enterprise possible – now.
Q. What if our humanitarian bombs and missiles accidentally kill women and children (which is almost certain)?
A. Collateral Damage (!) is inevitable when shooting starts but then you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. (!)
Q. What if air attacks and distant shelling fail to stop Gaddafi’s forces? Will we then send in troops? Who knows? I don’t. The Prime Minister doesn’t.
A. I suspect we already have some troops in there. I also suspect that the clandestine operation that saw SAS members being ‘caught’ by farmers was a planned operation to put equipment – particularly communications – into the hands of the so called rebels. The SAS don’t get caught like that. It was mildly embarrassing for William Hague but meant that he could claim that it was not supposed to be like that. After all, we would have needed a secure means of communicating with the rebels that was outside the interception of the Gaddafi forces.
Other reflections – A.N.Other:
Why Cameron? It was led by Cameron possibly because Obama didn’t want to be seen to be promoting another war on Arabs as he starts the re-elect Obama campaign. (He can act ‘reluctantly’)
Why not intervene in other cases of civilian repression? Other countries wouldn’t get UN support to take on, say, Burma, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. In the first two China has too much involvement and the second the USA/Britain has too much investment.
Why is the UN regional body – the Arab League – not leading? The West didn’t want anyone else looking as though they could be the world’s policeman. Suppose Iran had offered to step in to help with weapons and air support? Although the ‘allies’ are calling for greater Arab involvement in Libya my suspicion is that that would be the last thing they actually want – in case they get a taste for it. They’re not supposed to use the arms we sell them against anyone but their own populations.
UNGA-Link’s Keith Hindell on R2P: http://ungalink.org.uk/2011/03/23/84/