Browse > Home / International Politics / Can we really be sanctioning the murder?

| Subcribe via RSS



Can we really be sanctioning the murder?

March 22nd, 2011 Posted in International Politics by

We at Liberal Vision usually agree – but on Libya it appears we don’t.

From over here this looks like a mess of gigantic proportions. We seem to have gone from a United Nations agreement some 3 days ago to install a “no fly zone” over Libya – to a policy that appears to allow the military to do anything and everything they like, from bombing Libya at will - taking out swathes of Tripoli and elsewhere - to murdering the current head of state. Talk about mission-creep.

But ludicrously it appears not to be the military with the blood lust – but the British Government. 

General Richards appears on TV stating that the murdering of the Libyan leader “is not allowed under the UN resolution..” . Phew thinks I (not entirely sure how a “no fly zone” policy can have escalated quite that quickly to UN sanctioned murder in just a couple of days)… Only then to be told that Downing Street and Foreign Office officials were saying the General was wrong– and that assassinating Gaddafi is legal because it would preserve civilian lives in Libya.

And Government  disagreement with the General does not come just from “un-named sources”. William Hague (who surely cannot last in his role much longer) has point-blank refused, when asked, to rule out murdering of Gaddafi. “It all depends on how people behave”he said. Does it ? Really? Is that really what the UN thought it was agreeing to ? Do we really think they will hold the rest of the Middle East in this unholy alliance whilst squabbling on tv about the legality of murdering a head of state?

So the British Army thinks we can’t murder Gaddafi – the British Government believes we can.

Am I the only one who is worried here?

Is this really what Cameron was talking about on Friday? Did I miss the part of the speech when he said we would murder the head of state, bomb Libya to hell and well do pretty much anything we like but don’t worry chaps it’s all ok providing we don’t actually put our dirty great International Coalition boots on the sand?

Then again we clearly DO have dirty great big Coalition boots on Libyan soil…. we have been told that at least one 3 storey building in Tripoli was destroyed by a missile from HMS Triumph because it was identified as a “crucial target” by “British special forces operating deep behind enemy lines”. What else are they likely to do whilst they are out there I wonder?

And whilst I think it would be very nice if plan A occurs…and Gaddafi supporters do all “lay down their arms ” and join the forces of light. Supposing they don’t? Can I ask what plans Mr Hague and Fox have in the event of massacre the other way round?  What if the Revolutionary Council or it’s followers decide to march on Tripoli – as they are being encouraged to do – and start murdering the wives and children of Gaddafi followers? Is that OK ? Or does Mr Hague believe that UN sanction 1973 allows us to start assassinating them too?

Surely this is already spirallng out of control. ? I may be in the minority right now. But I believe this whole plan to be ill-conceived, poorly planned and showing every sign on going hellishly wrong.

6 Responses to “Can we really be sanctioning the murder?”

  1. Dilettante Says:

    Can we sanction the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, brutal dictator and terrorist sponsor extraordinaire? Yes, we can. Since when did libertarians give a damn about the United Nations in any event?


  2. Kieran E Says:

    Polling at the moment would seem to suggest you are not necessarily in a minority, but although much of what you put forth is your opinion and fair enough, you begin with something which explains your shock and which is factually incorrect. Thusly:

    “We seem to have gone from a United Nations agreement some 3 days ago to install a ”no fly zone” over Libya – to a policy that appears to allow the military to do anything and everything they like, from bombing Libya at will”

    1)It was made perfectly clear to all involved in the wording of the resolution that the UN agreement was not just about installing a no fly zone. That was part of it, but it always said, and all those involved knew it always said, they all necessary measures could be taken to protect civilians, short of ground troops anyway(this is one area I think the coalition is likely to ignore – or argue that short term special forces operations is not an occupation). You can disagree with that, but that is what it said, not what you seem to think it said.

    2) A no fly zone can only be implemented by bombing Libya, as the American defence secretary pointed out all along, so why are surprised about this, even if it involves taking out communication and command centres as well.

    Things may well go very very wrong, but somewhere upwards of 5000 people have already died with many many more promised to come, so will it be worse?


  3. Mike Says:

    It would be far easier to sit out – nobody ever lost an election for a foreign policy not pursued.

    But taking no choice is a choice in itself, it is choosing to be complicit in deaths that are preventable.


  4. Geoffrey Payne Says:

    I rarely agree with Libertarians but I do on this issue. I think the bigger issue in terms of the fate of Gadaffi is will he be left in charge at the end of all this? Surely regime change would make a huge difference, but even if that happens it is far from clear that our intervention would have been successful. More generally what is our exit strategy? It is absolutely alarming to hear Nick Harvey admit that the government had not thought this through – repeating the mistakes we made in Iraq.


  5. Andy Mayer Says:

    I think if the planning proves to be as poor, and outcome as chaotic as you fear, those fears will have been justified.

    Standing by on the other hand, allowing Gaddafi to murder countless Libyans score-settling in Benghazi, is not a morally neutral position.

    The events on the ground set the timetable for decisions, and difficulty of consensus building in that timetable I suspect has led to current reports of division.

    I am still optimistic though that this will prove to be an intervention for good in the long-run.

    On killing Gaddafi, the libertarian positions are manifold, but if one well aimed cruise missle ends the fighting by collapsing his regime, it’s hard to argue this is a worse ‘necessary means’ than picking off his mafia in their tanks.


  6. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Andy I believe your optimism to be misplaced. We have no history of calling these things correctly .. and I cannot agree that one well placed strike that kills Gaddafi makes everything ok in Libya ….. therein madness lies…. and misunderstands the nature of tribalism in Libya….the Middle Eastern reaction to the assassination of the Libyan head of state by Western forces will be catastrophic… And the blood bath that is likely to ensue will make the current civil war look like a minor skirmish by comparison..


Leave a Reply