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Libya is a Moral Warning

National Public Radio (NPR) had a segment this week on the chaos in Libya. With more than forty years of rule under Muammar Gaddafi, Libya had become a thriving country. There were limited freedoms and an unbending system of laws, many of them harsh and restrictive. But the country held together while Gaddafi entered strategic partnerships with the U.S. and European powers, striking deals with defense manufacturers and oil companies. We were apparently fine with his dictatorial rule as long as there was something in it for us.

Then, in the fall of 2010, revolt was moving through the Arab world. The U.S. government saw, once again, an opportunity for regime change. The rich oil reserves in Libya and other resources would be the spoils of a limited battle fully supported by the U.S. but mostly fought by NATO troops. Removing Gaddafi was never admitted to as a U.S. mission, but it was carried out nonetheless. It all went bad quickly, however. Gaddafi was beaten, sodomized, shot, and then drug through the streets like an animal. Enraged soldiers and civilians went berserk. Human life was cheapened to meaninglessness and remains so now. To this day the U.S. government refuses to accept responsibility for the mess that is now Libya.

There is no central government there, just a bunch of brutal factions clawing for control, all of them viciously corrupt and violent. The people are mercilessly exploited and abused. There are endless kidnappings, tortures, rapes, and murders. Human trafficking is carried out by criminal organizations without any threat of law or punishment to stop them. Once there was no easy way to manipulate the country to our advantage, we pulled out and left Libya to be ravaged by beasts and bullies perpetrating the worst acts of inhumanity imaginable while mauling their way to power and wealth.

Journalist David Talbot has written, “Our country’s cheerleaders are wedded to the notion of American exceptionalism. But when it comes to the machinations of power, we are all too similar to other societies and ones that have come before us. There is an implacable brutality to power that is familiar throughout the world and throughout history.”

We want to believe we are somehow better than other countries and perhaps in some ways we are. But in the realm of using others for our own benefit, we are no different from countries that harm and brutalize and ruin the lives of millions of innocent people all in the quest for profit. Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples. As well as Libya, Honduras, Yemen, and others.

We’ve been given for years now warnings of fear and dread believing we had to entangle ourselves with those countries in order to defend ourselves against terrorism; when in fact, we have so damaged those countries in our attempt to control them to our advantage, that we have actually increased the threats of terrorism against us. And in the process, we have left a trail of human debris that stains us with the blood of countless innocents.

The world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. The countries with nuclear bombs have grown to include the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and soon, North Korea. And of course, the U.S.A. Interestingly, Japan, the only nation ever attacked with nuclear bombs, does not have any. They have kept to the longstanding Nuclear Non-Proliferating Treaty signed after WWII. They have seen the unutterable devastation. They know the horror of this madness.

Whatever happened to the search for peace? Why is there seemingly no interest anymore in treaties, in negotiations, in the dismantling of nuclear weapons? What kind of lunacy have we allowed so that all we consider now is the accumulation of more sophisticated weapons of destruction and death?

Libya is a moral warning to us. Stay out of the affairs of other nations. Stop pretending to initiate democracy in countries that aren’t ready for it or don’t want it, while the real mission is to take over the country to advance some hidden agenda of our own.

Hyping us up for war, praising war, incessant talk of war, wanting war, from our leaders and others has to be resisted. Gandhi’s great line must be our mantra, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

© 2017 Timothy Moody

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