COULD THE GOOD GUYS PLEASE WEAR WHITE HATS

I have had a number of conversations recently, both electronically and dinner-party chatter, about how the west must intervene in Libya, even militarily if needed, to stop Muammar Gaddafi from his continued slaughter of the rebels lined up against him.

This move towards intervention seems to be gaining support at the highest levels.

France 24 International News reported that “The US has ramped up pressure on Libya’s Gaddafi, as President Barack Obama Thursday told him to quit. He said the US was considering every option and didn’t rule out the possibility of military intervention.”

At the same time, the UK Mail reported “Britain will not stand by and allow Colonel Gaddafi to slaughter his people, David Cameron pledged last night. The Prime Minister joined forces with Barack Obama to approve a ‘full spectrum’ of military responses …”

France and Portugal have already officially recognised the anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council in Benghazi led by Mustafa Muhummad Abd-Al-Jalil, as the true Government of Libya.

I find it amazing that so many people, including western leaders, seem to have come to the conclusion that because we now believe that Muammar Gaddafi is one of the “bad guys”, those that oppose him in Libya must therefore be the “good guys”, and we should immediately side with them against Gaddafi, even not ruling out “… the possibility of military intervention”.

Just a few months ago these same people were singing the praises of Gaddafi as a “good guy”, and the United Nations had, in May 2010, appointed Libya to the UN Human Rights Council and was holding up Libya as a shining example of respect for “human rights”, as can be seen in the following video:

Instead of Hotel or Embassy accommodation, Gaddafi was allowed to pitch his own Bedouin-style tent on government property during official visits to both Brussels and Paris, and the fact that he travelled with a camel and 30 virgin female bodyguards, seemed to be considered strange only by some press and a few demonstrators.

This lunatic who has been in power for over 40 years through brute force and ruthlessness, and who is not acting any differently today than when he took power in a military coup in 1969 or any time in between, now has open, visible opposition to his rule, so we have all moved to the side of the opposition in some naive belief that they couldn’t be any worse, without knowing much about them beyond the fact that they oppose Gaddafi.

I am not, and never could be a supporter of Gaddafi, but what in the name of anything that is sane makes so many people believe that those opposing him are any better?
I had one friend justify intervention by the west based on the Edmund Burke quote that “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing”, and so we must intervene otherwise evil will triumph over good.

But in this situation, who is good and who is evil?

We all now agree that Gaddafi is evil, but until just weeks ago, the current alternative to Gaddafi, Abd-Al-Jalilwas was his Minister of Justice and considered close to Gaddafi. It also seems unusual that it is only recently that he started commenting on Human Rights violations in Libya, resigned from the Gaddafi Government,stood up as the self-appointed leader of the “rebels” and started asking for support from Western nations. Not surprisingly his leadership is already being contested by some tribal leaders because of his previous close ties to Gaddafi.
Libya has always been more of a region of warring tribes rather than a nation. When Independence was declared in December 1951 there were 3 capitols (Tripoli, Benghazi and Al Bayda), just 16 college graduates, no physicians, engineers, surveyors and pharmacists, just 3 lawyers, and it was estimated that only 250,000 Libyans were literate. Apart from the education of some “chosen few” not much has changed.

By definition, the Muslim nations see the west as their sworn enemy, and whilst it may suit the Libyan rebels to ask for help from the west to help remove Gaddafi, they will not thank us in the long term, no differently than what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt that Abd-Al-Jalil is any different to Gaddafi, and that rather than being a real Hero and potential friend of the west, he is really just another Opportunist who is seeing a chance to take his turn as lead dog.

I believe that in Libya, unless we can get the “good guys” to wear white hats and the “bad guys” to wear black hats like in the old movie westerns, it would seem wiser to just keep out of it all.

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6 Responses to COULD THE GOOD GUYS PLEASE WEAR WHITE HATS

  1. nicola says:

    Could not agree more , Les . The good guys do not need to wear white hats , they are the people that the West is behind , that is how we know who they are …..

  2. leshayman says:

    Hi Nicola,
    Problem is that we keep changing those that we are behind … maybe based on where the oil is located.
    Is it just circumstance that we are now behind the rebels in Libya, who happen to be in the east where the oil fields are located … or is that just good luck ?
    Les

  3. Mal Booth says:

    I totally agree Les. Why do we never learn. We in the West seem to flip-flop quickly on who is for, and who is against us. We arm one side, the ones we believe have the White Hats, but in no time at all they turn against us and use the weapons we supplied them for liberation. It is hard to stand on the sidelines and see such human rights abuses, but from past experience, diving in quickly and picking a winner has done is no favors at all. They hate us, until they need us, and then quickly hate us again when they need us no more. Seems like a lose-lose situation to me.

  4. leshayman says:

    Mal, we do have this belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so if we hate Gaddafi we must love those that oppose him.
    It is also based on the naive belief that if we are needed and help out, those we do help will be grateful in return, and see us as friends, liberators and peacekeepers, rather than seeing us as self-serving, meddling aggressors. Every time we interfere and get rid of one dictator we just pass the crown to another, or have to stay in place long enough to “keep the peace” that we become the enemy and end up being hated for being there.
    Les

  5. Roisin says:

    I agree, Les. We’ve meddled enough.

    • leshayman says:

      Roisin, looks like the speed of developments in Libya, coupled with the general slowness and procrastination of the UN, may work to keep the western nations just at the rhetoric levels of intervention.

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