Try Or Die?


So, just how can an abstention or a ‘no’ vote on UN Resolution 1973 on Libya, either in the UN or our own Parliament, be defended or justified in any way whatsoever when the certain outcome of a ‘no’ result at the UN would have subjected thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of men, women and children to a mass slaughter beyond our comprehension?

I don’t understand how you can sit on the fence over an issue like this. It’s either right to attempt to save the lives of those who can’t defend themselves or it isn’t; there can be no in-between.

So which is it?

We can procrastinate and prevaricate and torture ourselves relentlessly and needlessly over the technicalities of a whole host of potential outcomes; but in truth it all comes down to a stark and arguably painful choice:

Do we stand up, be counted, and attempt to defend these
people and do so in spite of the very grave concerns that each and every one of us harbours about the risks involved, including the unknown, potentially catastrophic consequences?

Or….do we wash our hands of them and let them die?


4 thoughts on “Try Or Die?

  1. To be fair theirs a whole host of issues surrounding this – its not as simple as just wailing in and dropping bombs. And as ever there’s little point in being reductivist in this – few things in life are black and white.

    We’ll never know the outcome of a course of action not taken – be it military intervention, economic sanctions, appeasement or even partition. All we can do is look at likely outcomes none of which can be ruled in or out only weighed as possibilities.

    Firstly is firing missiles from a plane travelling 600 miles per hour really the most nuanced approach?

    By ruling out ground troops after the initial bombardment are we going to see a repeat of the NFZ situation in Iraq between the gulf wars – a stagnant false war scenario with no secure state or rule of law?

    After 30 years of Gaddafi’s brainwashing and bizarre mix of Islamic symbolism and revolutionary doctrine there are bound to be a few loopers running around who’ve swallowed it and seeing as he’s shown no hesitation in using terrorist tactics in Lockerbie or arming the provos can we really say he won’t go underground on us?

    There’s no exit strategy as far as I can see and buildings aren’t the only thing that need to be reconstructed after a bombing raid.

    Taking Gaddafi out (which as an objective has already been denied, presumably for the niceties of international law) may do little to end the conflict in the same manner as Saddam’s execution did little to end the conflict in Iraq.

    Is there a chance we’ll see a repeat of Republican Guards tactic in Iraq where instead of fighting as a standing army (and ultimately capitulating) they ditched their uniforms and stashed their weapons for a guerrilla war?

    What about the Tribal system in Libya? Will we see a repeat of Northern Alliance in Afghanistan ruling with an iron fist and executing those who defy them?

    Serious issues that require serious consideration

    1. Thanks for this,

      I don’t agree with your ‘reductivist’ point.

      Consider the situation in Benghazi. The enemy were literally at the gates. The west of the city was being indiscriminately targeted by pro-Gaddafi artillery, including tanks, and mercenaries.

      7 year old Mohammed was at home when soldiers entered and shot his father and mother in the head before turning a gun on him. The footage on Al Jazeera English suggested that neither of his parents would survive the attack though it was hoped that Mohammed would.

      This attack occurred while some western leaders were drinking tea and slapping each other on the back in Paris.

      I have no time for intellectual debate while people are being murdered. Direct and immediate intervention was required and it almost came too late.

      I understand the cost, pitfalls and dangers involved but I support the action.

    1. I replied a couple of days ago but the word predictor on my phone, which drives me nuts, made some terrible spelling and meaning errors. Apologies for only getting back to you now. I am disappointed the UN action has taken so long to bare results but it looks increasingly like Gaddaffi is on his way out sooner rather than later. I am an unapologetic interventionist. In situations were we have an opportunity to assist in this sort of thing to overthrow dictators and tyrants I’m generally in favour of doing so. Though, it really depends on each case and potential consequences and likely outcomes. Anyway, I would have been in favour of sending in ground troops city by city to secure Libya from this madman. My principle concern now is what Libya gets when Gaddaffi is gone. We have no control but some influence over that and ultimately it is a matter for the Libyan people. I sincerely hope that they choose well, the fate of the people is in the hands of those Libyans who have fought to liberate the country. Those who win that libeartion must not be allowed to believe that they have earned the right to rule as a result. So, naturally I hope for elections. I am somewhat cynical that that sort of outcome is likely. It all sounds a bit to easy, really. But at least the UK and its partners including those nations who supported UN resolution 1973 will have helped deliver the Libyan people a chance and I think we can do no more than that. Again, thanks for responding and I’ll try and respond sooner next time.

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