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Noam Chomsky: America, Moral Degenerate

Democrats and Republicans alike embrace torture and assassination policies that are an attack on 800 years of civil rights law.

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But there is no talk of it and I think what that indicates is that Israel, the United States, and their allies just don't want to take moves that will undermine the regime, just out of self-interest. There is no humanitarian interest involved.

As far as Libya is concerned, we have to be a little cautious, because there were two interventions in Libya. The first one was under the auspices of the United Nations. That's UN Resolution 1973. That resolution called for a no-fly zone, a ceasefire, and the start of negotiations and diplomacy.

Bailey: That was the intervention for which the justification was claimed to be the prevention of the destruction of Benghazi?

Chomsky: Well, we don't know if Benghazi was going to be destroyed, but it was called to prevent a possible attack on Benghazi. You can debate how likely the attack was, but personally, I felt that was legitimate – to try to stop a possible atrocity. However, that intervention lasted about five minutes. Almost immediately, the NATO powers( France and Britain in the lead and the United States following) violated the resolution, radically, and became the air force of the rebels. Nothing in the resolution justified that. It did call for “all necessary steps” to protect civilians, but there's a big difference between protecting civilians and being the air force for the rebels.

Maybe we should have been in favor of the rebelling forces. That's a separate question, but this was pretty clearly in violation of the resolution. It certainly wasn't done for a lack of alternative options. Gaddafi offered a ceasefire. Whether he meant it or not, nobody knows, because it was at once rejected.

Incidentally, this pact was strongly opposed by most of the world. There was virtually no support for it. The African Union (Libya is, after all, an African country) strongly opposed it, right away, called for a ceasefire, and even suggested the introduction of African Union forces to try and reduce the conflict.

The BRICS countries, the most important of the developing countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) happened to be having a conference at the time and they strongly opposed the NATO intervention and called for moves towards diplomacy, negotiations, and a ceasefire. Egypt, next door, didn't participate. Within NATO, Germany refused to participate. Italy refused too, in the beginning, though later they joined the intervention. Turkey held back. Later on they joined, but initially they opposed intervention. Generally speaking, it was almost unilateral. It was the traditional imperial powers (France, Britain and the United States) which intervened.

In fact it did lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but it certainly led to that, especially in the end with the attacks on Bani Walid and Sirte, the last pro-Gadaffi holdouts. They are the main center of Libya 's largest tribe, the Warfalla tribe. Libya is a highly divided tribal society, they are a major tribe, and this was their home center. Many of them were pretty bitter about that. Could it have been resolved through diplomacy and negotiations the way the African Union and BRICS countries suggested? We don't know.

It's also worthy of note that the International Crisis Group, which is the main, non-state element that deals with continuing conflicts and crises throughout the world, and is very highly respected, opposed intervention too. They strongly supported negotiations and diplomacy. However, the African Union and others' positions were barely reported on in the West. Who cares what they say? In fact, if they were reported on at all, they were disparaged on the grounds that these countries had had close relations with Gaddafi. In fact, they did, but so did Britain and the United States, right to the end.

 
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