Torture and a Brewing Civil War in America’s Latest Liberated Country

In the news section today, Jason Ditz points to inter-militia fighting and rampant torture in Libya, America’s latest liberated country. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as we’ve pointed to the ugly humanitarian abuses of the so-called freedom fighters NATO helped oust Gadhafi since the beginning. As an illustration of how widespread the torture is, Reuters reports today:

Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has halted its work in detention centers in a Libyan city because it said its medical staff were being asked to patch up detainees mid-way through torture sessions so they could go back for more abuse.

“Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation,” MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said in a statement.

“This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”

And again, it’s not just the nasty people we’ve put in charge. It’s also that they’re not even truly in charge, as tribal and factional disputes about who wields power are ongoing, indicating a brewing civil war. Ted Galen Carpenter writes that “the flare-up of violence in Libya could also be a symptom of profound divisions” and that “Libya is less a cohesive nation-state than an amalgam of competing tribes, with a marked division along a north-south line.” Carpenter explains that the ruling NTC has refused U.S. and NATO prodding to be more “inclusive” but that they “have ignored that advice, and there were already signs of growing discontent in western portions of the country.” More importantly, he writes:

The United States has nothing at stake in Libya that warrants involvement in that country’s internal disputes, and Washington erred by participating in NATO’s original intervention. If the current tensions escalate into a full-blown conflict between Libya’s eastern and western tribes, the Obama administration should not repeat that error.

  • skulz fontaine

    Well there you go. Dear Obama's "humanitarian intervention" has one ugly and brutal face.

  • fenistol

    “Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation”

    Sounds like humanitarian intervention to me. Perhaps Obama will be willing to lend Libya a few doctors from Gitmo, who are experts on this subject.

  • liberranter

    And again, it’s not just the nasty people we’ve put in charge. It’s also that they’re not even truly in charge, as tribal and factional disputes about who wields power are ongoing, indicating a brewing civil war. Ted Galen Carpenter writes that “the flare-up of violence in Libya could also be a symptom of profound divisions” and that “Libya is less a cohesive nation-state than an amalgam of competing tribes, with a marked division along a north-south line.”

    Mr. Carpenter should find someone who can translate his restatement of the obvious into grunts, groans, stick figures, cartoons, pantomime, or any other means of communication that maybe –just maybe– will penetrate the thick-but-empty skulls of the reigning class neocon morons (yes, I know, I repeat myself) who initiated this travesty in the first place. While no reasonable person would expect the globally ignorant Amoricons in the streets to even begin to grasp what Mr. Carpenter is saying, the fact that no one in a position of power inside the Crapitol Beltway does either is simply inexcusable for a nation that dares call itself a "superpower."

    Congratulations, Amerika. In the latest international version of Jackass: The Movie, you've come out once again with star billing.

  • tomofsnj

    What is amazing is who did not see this happening? Iraq had Saddom who could control the major groups in the nation. Without Saddom the nation of Iraq is going to disappear. The stupidity of the Israel/USA leaders who could not understand that replacing the strong leaders required some method to control the new nation. Iran was made a major player because of the destruction of Iraq. Libya will be the same with a major civil war and hopefully a real monster will not emerge. The former Libya leader actually was a good leader and he had excellent but fatal ideas. He should have understood the power of the central bankers and what they would do if he continue talking the gold standard. Money and greed will alway be the reason for the USA policies.

  • HenryCT

    One reason for the NATO attack on Libya was to make sure there was replacement oil for Europe whenever the NATO countries cut off Iran’s oil market. Could the author please inform us what’s happening with LIbya’s oil?

  • R.Parker

    I miss Khadafy (what is the actual spelling, anyway?)–I thought it was amusing when Reagan called him a "flake", so Khadafy called Reagan a "bad actor."

  • Ben_C

    The “Libya” situation is a tragedy, which is not limited to "Libya" or this moment in time. It’s much worse than “Iraq”, not in the sense of practical and real time consequences; rather it's worse in terms of the future and real world implications. Iraq actually provided an opportunity to repudiate the “Neocon” world view. Libya simply reinforced it… To the nimrods who don’t understand the implications and disagree with this and think it “tweaked” foreign policy, which it did nothing of the sort except in the short-term the current Administration is in power, let’s all remember how Nixon “reduced” the US’s “footprint” in Vietnam and ended the mandatory “draft”…which cooled the domestic “tension” about Vietnam. Obama’s policies and “proposals” are materially no different than Nixon’s when it comes to Vietnam, and they will have no significant long term implications other than the fact Obama has been worse than any other President in modern history in terms of the “anti-war” movement agenda. Libya was indeed a tragedy.

  • Ken Anbarby

    I'm a born and raised American and I loved Muammar Al-Qaddafi and most Libyans did too. The greed got to some like the son of Idris and other ex-pats and they think that they will be rewarded with cash for playing their parts. Now in Syria their is evidence of massacres and Obama doesn't talk tough becuz 1 there is no value and 2 there is no threat to US dollar and 3 Israel loves to see blood.

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  • Man, you said all here:

    " it’s not just the nasty people we’ve put in charge. It’s also that they’re not even truly in charge"

    The problem: how can we solve it?

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  • To the nimrods who don’t understand the implications and disagree with this and think it “tweaked” foreign policy,