The Road to Hell is paved with 'humanitarian interventions'
Will the outcome of the Western intervention in Libya be positive for its people? A look at history shows what came of 'good intentions' and promises in the past.
“It would have been a breach of duty to have left the population prey to anarchy—deprived of all the apparatus of civilized life. Therefore, the…military have, at considerable sacrifice, expended much time and energy in securing the safety of persons…This is a responsibility which was thrust upon them by events, and one which they had as little desireto assume as to evade.”
The liberated populations see…not the aggressor state, but the power which has the right and the capacity of extending…high protection.
“Filled with earnest desire to serve the true interests of the peoples dwelling in this area, to safeguard the…peoples, and to further the peace and social welfare of all…”
The above quotes can easily be assumed to be statements of the US-led Western allies justifying their ostensibly humanitarian motives for the current war against Libya, carried out under the auspices of a no-fly zone authorized by the UN Security Council.ii In fact, all three quotes come from the 1930s, from Japan, Italy and Germany, justifying Japan’s September 1931 invasion of Manchuria, Italy’s invasion of parts of Africa in the 1930s, and Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939 respectively, all carried out in the name of humanitarian intervention, supposedly guided by the highest ideals, namely the protection of human life.(Murphy, 1996: 60-62). Sean Murphy (1996), a leading expert on the subject, identifies three so-called “humanitarian interventions” between the Kellogg-Briand pact and the UN Charter, including the genocidal campaign of Italian dictator Mussolini in Eastern Libya, the first post-World War I genocide (see Simon, 1993: 136).
As Michael Mann (2005: 309) notes, “Fascist writers… had a eugenicist vision of expanding the Italian population through colonies. Since settling large numbers of Italians in Africa required clearing the land of natives, Mussolini’s Libyan and Ethiopian adventures led to mass killings. During the 1928-32 the pacification of Libya killed almost a quarter of the 225,000 people of Cyrenica.” Thus did one of the most destructive world wars in human history begin. No surprise then, that the great powers of today, carry out their programs of bombardment from the air based on supposedly humanitarian ideals, with the assault against Libya ironically right around the time of the anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Naples, Italy is at the moment the coordinating place for the attack, bringing up uncomfortable reminisces of Italy’s invasion and conquest of Libya starting in 1911, where Italian troops landed in various Libyan cities, including Tripoli and Benghazi, and occupied that country for three decades thereafter.
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