I have been concerned in recent days to see well-meaning people promote the idea that a ‘no-fly zone’ or ‘arming the rebels’ would be a progressive act in Libya. Political leaders suggesting they want to send bombers to Libya and pump a whole load more guns into the situation are not interested in peace and are clearly not interested in a political process and are not progressive. If they are, why are they not calling for a ceasefire, or willing to give space to the attempts that already exist for achieving a negotiated settlement?
For me, the best argument against such a no-fly zone was provided by US Secretary of State for Defence, Robert Gates when he said ”A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses.” A no-fly zone will require a major NATO military offensive against Libya and doubtless many more deaths in the country. It is scandalous that the UK is advising the opposition armed forces, has sent in the SAS, has the Black Watch regiment on 24-hours notice for deployment and is setting up a new forward joint taskforce headquarters in Malta.
What disappoints me further is that the Labour front-bench has yet to demonstrate it has learnt the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Jim Murphy belittled the strength of anti-war feeling when he talked of ‘one and a half unpopular wars’ – now Ed Miliband must demonstrate his commitment to a peaceful settlement.
Support the demonstration this Saturday.
No to western military intervention in Libya
2pm, Saturday 12th March at Downing Street
See facebook event here.