Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Escalation in Libya

When the UK started bombing Libya, it assured its people that that was all they would do, and that there was no possibility that British troops would end up being deployed. As usual, they lied. They're now sending a team of "military advisors" to help the rebels on the ground. Which is of course how Vietnam began.

But apart from fears of escalation, the deployment violates Parliament's authorisation for military action, which was specifically to "protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack in Libya and to enforce the No Fly Zone". While that has no legal weight, it carries a lot of political weight. Worse, it also violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 [PDF], which authorised military force for the same purpose. But this isn't even arguably about protecting civilians, its nakedly intervening on one side in a civil war - something the UN very specifically did not authorise.

There are two problems here. The first is about the perversion of UN resolutions to serve the west's geopolitical aims - something which will result in a further weakening of the UN and erosion of its power to do good. The second, specific to the UK, is about lies. The Cameron government is continuing Blair's habit of going to war on false pretences, using lies to obtain Parliamentary (and therefore, they hope, public) approval. The UK public is already highly suspicious of this war, even given a fairly decent moral case. Lies will simply cement that suspicion.