The contradictions and the lies that are the foundation for the intervention in Libya are so numerous it’s hard to keep track, and can be even harder to write about over and over and over again. But today’s headlines gave me another opportunity…
September 14, 2011: Libya fighters issue deadline to civilians in Gadhafi stronghold
Libya’s interim leadership gave residents in the pro-Gadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid a 48-hour notice to leave the city, as it sent reinforcements there and to the former regime’s other remaining strongholds at Sirte and Sabha.
…The new deadline warns civilians to evacuate before an offensive by the rebels.
This is pretty serious. The rebels are warning civilians they better leave their homes and become refugees unless they want to be indiscriminately targeted with guns and bombs in a city deemed to be too pro-Gadhafi.
Actually, this sounds rather familiar…
March 16, 2011: Libya army orders Benghazi residents to leave rebel-held areas
The Libyan army issued an ultimatum on Wednesday to residents of the opposition capital Benghazi, warning them to leave rebel-held locations and weapons storage areas by midnight, Libyan television reported.
A text on the screen of Al-Libya television addressed inhabitants of the eastern city, saying the army was coming “to support you and to cleanse your city from armed gangs.”
Muammar Gadhafi and the Libyan army issued a deadline back in March for Benghazi residents to evacuate so that they could unleash guns and bombs on a city deemed to be too anti-Gadhafi. This announcement was the straw that broke the camels back, making clear to Western leaders that Gadhafi may soon be killing large numbers of civilians and that a no-fly zone was necessary to prevent such actions.
Gadhafi was much more colorful about it, calling them rats and dogs and such. Nevertheless, the principle is the same and the results for Bani Walid residents would be the same for Benghazi residents. And these things are already a reality for the residents of these last remaining Gadhafi strongholds. As I wrote in today’s news piece, “as rebel forces invaded these last remaining bastions of Gadhafi support and NATO followed up with unrelenting air raids, hundreds of civilians poured out of these towns, fleeing the violence. The refugees reported days of intense firefights and bombing and complained of deteriorating humanitarian conditions.”
Alas, this is the most consistent principle in US foreign policy, though: crimes are only crimes if we don’t already support you.