>Should we intervene in Libya?

>A no-fly zone has now been authorized by the UN, and this starts with the bombing of Libyan air defences i.e. it’s direct military action. Bearing in mind no one is calling for an intervention in Cote d’ivoire, or any other states where the people are calling for the leader to step down, should we be going ahead? And if the no-fly zone fails what then?

Also, since the UN authorisation for a no-fly zone Gaddafi has said that it has declared a ceasefire. Could this change anything?

Also, see this link for more info: http://nickandtheworld.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/the-gesture-politics-of-a-no-fly-zone/


  • >Just watched the debate on Question Time.First point – The UK and the US lost all moral authority for interventions when it invaded Iraq.Second point – There are other Middle Eastern countries that are also run by dictators, but we only intervene in the ones with oil.Third point – David Cameron was in Libya with representatives from British munition companies just a few months ago.Fourth point – The US launched missiles yesterday that destroyed 4 tanks. They must have been flying tanks I guess.Fifth point – Who are 'the Rebels' ? I find it hard to imagine that it's just a group of free speech protestors led by the local A-team. Is it right that the West helps 'the Rebels' when we don't know what they stand for or who they are ?Sixth point – Russia has said it disagrees with the UN decision, as has the Arab League. Has the U.S. just used it's dominant position within the UN to better effect this time ?Short answer, leave them alone until it is absolutely verifiable that a genocide is taking place. Otherwise it's just a civil war.

  • >1. This is not only the US and UK. In fact Obama's getting attacked right left and centre for not taking a more aggressive leadership role (it's France who's being attacked for going it alone because they're acting without adequately informing allies). When the first strikes were carried out he was in Brazil. This went through the UN (they're sticking to UN Security Resolution 1973), the Arab League agreed, and it's not breaking international law as was Iraq.2. Good point. There are many humanitarian cases to be made for intervention in countries all around the world. However so long as Libyans and the international community are asking for it, and therefore that oil is not the only reason, oil is nevertheless a valid point. Oil is absolutely crucial to the functioning of the world economy, and it's fair to say that the world does have a stake in the stability of oil producing countries. If Libya's oil dissapears off the market, and it's followed by other oil producing nations, then a double dip in the world economy will be almost inevitable.3. There's no defending Cameron. He's dishonest, inexperienced and under-educated in these matters. He's pushing to be at the forefront for largely political reasons, rather than economic or humanitarian ones; obviously only opinion but …4. This is why the US opposed a no-fly zone and only came on board after strong pressure from Europe. These operations involve direct military action, and are a declaration of war, hence why the 'no-fly zone' label is drastically misleading, and I suspect largely so named to mislead the public. Even under their remitt however destroying 4 tanks is suspicious, but this goes to show that in war you can't predict what's going to happen, or account for soldiers who over-reach their mandate.5. There are a great number of rebels in Libya. You don't take and keep control of half of a country as oppressive as Libya if you don't have a sizeable following and also resources. Of course you're right to say we don't know a great deal about them, nor how much support they actually have since Gadaffi would never allow a referendum. But we do know that the rebels are, by on large, fighting for more democracy. And let's face it if it's a choice between Gadaffi or an unknown opposition who would you choose? 6. The Coalition only intervened due to consent from the Arab League: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/22/arab-league-libya-no-flyRussia is one of the only countries against this. And why is it against this? Because discontent is widespread in Russia and Russia wants to keep its options open about using non-humanitarian methods to keep any revolts under control.

  • >Well, I'm glad we agree on some points which is not always the case.I kinda can't be bothered to argue about it any more though to tell the truth. For the sole reason that it was something that the US, UK, and French political powers wanted and was therefore inevitable.The contempt those politicians have shown for their citizens makes me just give up. So soon after the absolute shame of the Iraq invasion and they're straight back into it.Mind you, I love finance, and I'll take an opportunity to make a profit right away (invested in BP 2 weeks after the spill, for example), so I can't blame politically minded people for doing the same I guess.However, to quote the wise G.W.Bush, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice (confused pause), you can't fool me again".Mind you, I don't think the political powers are even trying to fool me this time. I think this time, they just haven't even bothered to make up a crap story like "weapons of mass destruction". This time they've just laughed in our faces and gone in shamelessly.The media are the ones who have tried to fool me, especially the BBC. I only flick between the 8 news channels on sky (al jazeera, bbc, rt, india, chinese, france24, etc) and you can definitely see how each one is very closely aligned to the cause of their host nation.The BBC is plain propaganda that is worse than Fox. Really !RT is anti-invasion much like the Russians. France24 is strongly in favour like the BBC.CCTV treats it like another imperialist mission of the western powers.The arab channels have swung very quickly from pro to anti invasion.I used to wonder why people in the old days put up with communism and oppression etc, and the reason taught at uni was that the people were kept just happy enough with food and housing etc.For a short minute I also wondered why democratic citizens put up with lying, dishonest, and war-mongering elected politicians, until I relaised that as long as they are kept happy with low interest rates and stable employment, they don't care enough either.Really Rob, I don't see how you can maintain any sense of optimism for representative democracy when it is as brazenly unrepresentative as any unelected government.

  • >Sean, you really shouldn't speak without knowing the facts. People are skeptical of action as they should be; most people don't have a clue what's going on, and don't have an education in military strategy or a knowledge of Libya. But the latest polls in the UK show more people support action than do not. In the US people are slightly more skeptical than in France and Britain. But this was reflected in how difficult it was to get the US onside, and in how the US is letting the international community lead the action rather than taking control themselves."For a short minute I also wondered why democratic citizens put up with lying, dishonest, and war-mongering elected politicians, until I relaised that as long as they are kept happy with low interest rates and stable employment, they don't care enough either."I take your point here but I can't help but feel a bit insulted. You're effectively saying that it's human nature not to give a damn about the suffering of others. And you used poor examples too, as where public opinion supports the conflict in the UK unemployment is rising and interest rates are also about to rise.Do you honestly believe that World leaders are putting people in harms way because they like to see bloodshed?

  • >Which polls show the support (link) ?No, it's very little to do with human nature. It is very much to do with the false dilemma presented by representative democracy, i.e. it's either accept a gov't that supports war or accept a government that has poor economic policies.If you empower the people and say "look, here are the budget cuts needed. Would you prefer us to cut back on education, economic stimulus, or another military invasion", then I think the people would say No to the invasion.Instead though they are only give one hobsons choice every 3 or 4 years.I honestly believe world leaders are putting people in harms way because they like power and money.

  • >In general most polls agree with action. Early US polls showed support: http://www.pollingreport.com/libya.htm. A later poll carried out by Ipsos/Reuters (http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5172) show that 60% of Americans support US and Allied military action and that 79% agree that the US and its Western allies should seek to remove Gaddaffi. Yougov polls showed more supported than not in the UK: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/03/british-public-support-action And there are many more.However we can't rely on polls heavily at present for people are waiting until they see results before they really make their mind up. This is one reason why people who actually know about what's happening should be making the decision rather than through direct democracy."If you empower the people and say "look, here are the budget cuts needed. Would you prefer us to cut back on education, economic stimulus, or another military invasion", then I think the people would say No to the invasion." And if you said 'if you had to, would you kill 2 people or 3?' most would pick 2; but it doesn't mean they actually want to kill. This is why data from polls can sometimes be unreliable as it depends on how they're worded. However it's also a point well made against direct democracy so well made! For people would indeed vote for no military interventions if given a choice of what to cut; but at the same time these polls suggest that they would also vote for the military action later on. Direct democracy would create confusion, contradiction, and what would soon be called the "most stupid nation in the world".

  • >Yeah I know I rant on about direct democracy but it was a beast that you unleashed. I didn't even know that there was another type of democracy until you told me about it.So you can only really blame yourself ;-)I agree that if you required a vote from the people at the current time on whether or not we should intervene in Libya, then you would get a poor result.This would be due to a poorly informed public.That is why the most important aspect of direct democracy is that you inform the people about what is going on, and why.Sometimes I feel that the decision makers are more capable of choosing wisely, not because they are smarter, more educated, or more experienced, but because they are better informed.And why should they be better informed when there is mass media and multitudes of communication channels ?I.e. why do they have information that the public doesn't ? And why won't they share it with us ?National security concerns ?How does divulging what is happening in Libya put Britain's national security at risk ?I'm surprised that most people are in favour of the invasion, because I agree with what you say, "I am unaware of the facts".But I think that this is not just my particular situation. I contend that most of the public are unaware of the facts.1 month ago everything seemed hunky-dory and 6 months ago we were releasing prisoners back to Libya. Then all of a sudden the politicians acclaim that he is evil and we're going in.All within the space of two weeks.Now I may be wrong, because I admit that I gave up following the TV news because I saw it as simply an inevitable lead up to an invasion, but surely I am right to be suspicious ?

  • >On this I'm quite inclined to agree with you. Information needs to be much more freely available and governments need to be more transparent. If this is done then we have much greater potential for strengthening democracy. There's a question about how much we need to know, and I would perhaps say that I think people need to know more than you think they do (I would suggest a knowledge of military strategy, Libyan history, our finances, how overextended our forces are, reports of terrorist groups in Libya etc etc). However if the public was more greatly informed I would not object to a referendum. In fact I would support it. So yes I'd say you are right to be suspicious.

  • >We should not be intervening with the situation in Libya as we need to get our own country out of our own mess. We got involved with Iraq and Afghanistan and look where that has got us… hundreds of British soldiers dead, the Taliban still ruling a grand area of afgahnistan and the British population afraid to watch the news at the thought of another woman's or man's face on the tv screen being announced dead. No we should not intervene in Libya.

  • >I sympathise with your arguments. That we don't have the ability to intervene in Libya is one I would partially agree with. However it must also be recognised that we have self interest in the region and thus the question of whether we can afford not to intervene must also be raised. It's this reason (perhaps less so than the moral causes but a significant reason nonetheless) that makes me agree with the UN decision; but say that Britain should be playing a much more back seat role than it is at present.However the second argument that we shouldn't intervene because of comparisons made to Afghanistan and Iraq are more debatable. Many of us, myself included, know friends or friends of friends who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. But comparisons could also be made to more succesful interventions. The truth is that although we must learn from all these other events Libya is different, and must be treated differently.

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