Sunday, February 27, 2011

Libya's Pre-1996 History Revisited: Part 1

A Wall Street Journal editorial recently proposed that the Democratic Obama-Clinton Administration consider the option of some kind of “humanitarian military intervention” in Libya in 2011 in response to the recent deadly attacks on anti-government demonstrators inside Libya by the current Libyan regime’s security forces. Yet most people in the United States know very little about the hidden history of Libya. Guy Arnold’s 1996 book, The Maverick State: Gaddafi and the New World Order, for example, observed:

“Despite an outside press that is almost universally hostile, Libyans can count many advances over the quarter century from 1969 to 1994: education which formerly was reserved for the few is universally available and many students are sent abroad for further studies; the country has a fine infrastructure of roads and many Libyans can afford cars; the 1993 average per capita income stood at $6600 (by comparison, the US per capita income was then $24,700 while in Africa, Gabon which is also oil-rich stood at $4050 and South Africa at $2590 although most of the rest of Africa had per capita GNPs well below $1000). There have been huge advances in housing and health, and despite internal press controls and largely sycophantic media, Libyans can follow developments outside their country without difficulty. Many receive Europeans television programs through their satellite dishes and anyone can receive fax or telephone messages from outside while there are few restrictions on travel. Given the range and power of his many opponents outside Libya, Gaddafi’s political survival alone has been a remarkable feat…”

“Gaddafi has been persistently portrayed in the Western media and by leading Western politicians as a dangerous and irresponsible villain…The inescapable conclusion must be that unlike…other enemies of Western involvement in the region, he represents a `soft target’ that can more easily be disciplined. When in April 1986 the United States sent its planes to bomb Tripoli to teach `terrorist’ Gaddafi a lesson (and hopefully to kill him), the exercise demonstrated—both ways—that little on the international scene has changed: the powerful bully the weak to make them come to heel and the weak use pinprick tactics to protest against policies they cannot change…

“Few international figures have ever been treated as though they are such threats to Western interests as has Gaddafi; the question is why?...Perhaps his greatest crime has been his refusal to be `brought in’ by the West and the fact that the nationalism he has espoused including attacks upon Western economic control has provided an example later followed by others…

“The world needs figures to hate and that appears to be especially true for the West as its own values appear less and less certain. Gaddafi fulfills such a role admirably…”

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