Look back in horror –Libya 2011

In 2011, NATO bombed Libya to Kingdom Come.

Blasting a well-functioning country off the map was not – I repeat, NOT – in compliance with UN Security Council resolution 1973 (Incidentally, no less than five countries, including Germany, abstained from voting on that occasion).

The said resolution authorised action to “protect” civilians.

…. take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory


The said resolution did not authorise reducing the country to rubble. It didn’t even authorise forcing regime change, which (as we now know) was what the freedom and Democracy-loving countries unofficially set out to do.

Now it is true that Gaddafi was a dictator, and it is also true that he did not take kindly to the Arab Spring demonstrations. Yes, the Arab Spring debacle evolved into a civil war in Libya as in Syria, and during civil wars, crimes against humanity tend to be committed. But unlike many other countries and like Syria and Iraq, Libya had, until we intervened to defend our blessed Democratic values (or interests), been a well-functioning state.

Public education in the country became free and primary education compulsory for both sexes. Medical care became available to the public at no cost, but providing housing for all was a task the RCC government was unable to complete. Under Gaddafi, per capita income in the country rose to more than US$11,000, the 5th highest in Africa. The increase in prosperity was accompanied by a controversial foreign policy, and increased domestic political repression.

Wikipedia as at 17 March 2023

All of this was destroyed as we know. Libya has ever since been a failed state. The freedom-loving Democratic countries in the West, the countries that so love protecting other (particularly oil-producing) countries’ freedoms, apparently prefer failed states to “controversial foreign policies”.

Norway was apparently rather gung-ho in Libya, dropping bombs in areas where nobody else wanted to do so, including urban areas. We continued to do so, not only long after the Libyan military had been defeated, long long after the protesters in Benghazi whom we initially set out to “protect” no longer needed protection. Since Gaddafi was systematically described in the press as the Devil incarnate (just like Putin), the Norwegian press (with the honourable exception of Klassekampen and Ny tid) and its readers loudly applauded all of this bombing, hardly noticing that civilian lives also were lost to NATO bombs. (We will never know how many of them there were, but Amnesty International has painstakingly collected impressive documentation.) There are those who maintain that Norway dropped more bombs on Libya than any other NATO country.

Norway dropped 588 bombs on Libya. There are those who have suggested that there is a link between Norway’s enthusiastic performance there and the ascent of the former Norwegian Prime Minister to the post of Secretary General of NATO. Of course I would never suggest anything of the kind.

Neither NATO nor NATO countries have apologised for the havoc they left in the territory that once was Libya. Nor have they paid compensation to those (civilians) whose loved ones, homes and livelihoods they exterminated. Norway, the neocon Norwegian press and the increasingly neocon readers of the Norwegian press are no exception. After all, Gaddafi was a dictator, wasn’t he.

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