‘You cannot bomb a country into democracy’ – anti-war activist

Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition says the intervention in Libya was all along about removing Muammar Gaddafi from power.

­“There is a very big split in the alliance. On the one hand you have people who basically want to stick to the UN resolution, which talks about defending civilians and has very limited aims,” he said. “On the other hand, you have the US, Britain and France, who have now ‘come clean’ and said that they are going for regime change with this intervention, which is something that is not covered in the resolution. As far as I can see, it is illegal.”

Leaving aside the legality of the operation, Nineham added, the conflict has only escalated since the intervention.

“Everything that we have learned from Iraq and Afghanistan tells us that you cannot bomb a country into democracy or liberation, you cannot create progress in a country by launching cruise missiles at it,” he said. “I fail to see how intensifying the bombing is going to do anything more than increase the level of violence, increase the level of suffering of the Libyan people, and spread the civil war across the country.”

Patrick Hayes, a reporter for the news website Spiked.com, believes that the West’s military intervention has taken the power to change Libya’s future out of the hands of its people.

“Even if [the coalition] got rid of Gaddafi… [Libya] is going to have the same Gaddafi regime, just minus Gaddafi,” he said. “Basically, the rebels are going to deal with the people who will end up winning that civil war. When the West comes in and tries to intervene on behalf of the Libyan people, the power is taken away from them, the democratic initiative is taken away from the Libyan people and put in the hands of the Western elite.”

­Former UN diplomat and political writer Peter Dale Scott believes that the partitioning of Libya into east and west could be a “good measure to get political processes going on each side of the de facto partition line.”

“As a Canadian, I have a very high priority on stopping the fighting,” he said. “And I think that the reason the Americans don’t want a cease-fire is that a very likely consequence would be a partition of Libya into east and west.”

“I think that would actually be a good way of calming things down, because it represents most of the divided support in Libya right now, and it also represents returning to what has been a usual historical figuration of Libya,” Scott added. “Libya was only united by the Italians in 1934.”