On this day ten years ago, the Obama administration launched air strikes over Libya under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which culminated in the killing of Libya’s long-time ruler Muammar Qaddafi on October 21, 2011.
The bombing was presented to the public as a moral imperative that was necessary to stop imminent massacres and genocide by Qaddafi who had cracked down violently on allegedly pro-democracy protesters inspired by the Arab Spring.
Speaking from Brasilia on March 19, 2011, President Barack Obama stated that “the use of force is not our first choice. It is not a choice I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his own people that there will be no mercy.”
Obama making the case for war on Libya, March 28, 2011. [Source: whitehouseblogs.com]
A decade later, Obama’s words ring incredibly hollow.
Libya has descended into years of civil war and anarchy in the aftermath of the U.S. and NATO bombing, which killed hundreds of people.
The percentage of the population that has access to electricity and quality education and health care has declined precipitously from the period of Qaddafi’s rule (1969-2011).
Only four of 97 hospitals in the country currently function and 260,000 students have been deprived of education.
Tens of thousands of Libyans have risked their lives undertaking a harrowing journey across the Mediterranean trying to escape the ravages of their homeland which has seen the reintroduction of slavery.’