By Scott Taylor
Last week, a British parliamentary committee published a report that roundly condemned prime minister David Cameron’s role in the 2011 international intervention in Libya.
Rather than complying with the United Nations resolution authorizing NATO to protect Libyan civilians from reprisals, the report concludes that Cameron instead embarked upon the misguided path of assisting Libyan rebels to oust President Moammar Gadhafi.
Beyond the goal of toppling the Libyan leader, there was no clear plan to deal with a post-Gadhafi Libya. As a result, once the NATO-backed rebels achieved victory, the country descended into a state of violent anarchy.
The country is now a failed state with no functioning central government. There are an estimated 2,000 separate private militias — many of them Islamic extremists, including Daesh supporters — and it is also an unchecked staging area for human traffickers preying upon African asylum seekers desperately striving to find a better life in Europe.
It is also believed that the vast arsenals funnelled into Libya during the revolution are now in the hands of terrorists, rebels and insurgents in 20 other nations.
Given that outcome, it is no wonder that U.S. President Barack Obama recently referred to the Libyan intervention as a “shit show.” Of course, in the world of finger pointing and shirking of responsibility, Obama blames the British and the French for leading the campaign to overthrow Gadhafi and then failing to stabilize the country following his murder.
At the very least, these nations are admitting the obvious, and in the case of the Brits, they are chastising their leader for his role in the debacle.
Where is the clamour in Canada for a similar investigation into our country’s role in that massive failure? Prime minister Stephen Harper and his warmongering minister of foreign affairs John Baird were quick to trumpet at every opportunity the fact that the NATO-led military intervention was commanded by none other than Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Canada also furnished six CF-18 Hornets to bomb Gadhafi’s loyalists under the ironic authority of a UN resolution to enforce a no-fly zone.
That’s right folks. NATO dropped bombs on Libyans to prevent Gadhafi from dropping bombs on Libyans.
Diplomatically, Baird was the most bellicose Western politician demanding the ouster of Gadhafi. When a stalemate had developed during the 2011 revolution, the rebels controlled eastern Libya, while Gadhafi loyalists were firmly entrenched in the western provinces.
At that juncture, South Africa was trying to broker a peace deal that would see a formal partition of Libya and leave Gadhafi in control of his own tribal areas.
However, our boy Baird wanted none of that plan, and on June 27, 2011 he flew secretly into Benghazi to meet with the Libyan rebels. Baird’s message was clear: NATO wanted Gadhafi gone.
As soon as Baird’s plane touched down in Rome following his whirlwind visit, he told reporters that he was impressed with the rebels. “I saw a commitment and a passion that you can only see when you’re sitting across the table from these men and women,” Baird breathlessly told reporters. “It certainly had a positive impression on me.”
For the record, by that stage of the rebellion, there were already numerous media reports revealing the fact that most parties in the anti-Gadhafi coalition were in fact Islamic extremists — some with links to al-Qaeda — and an assortment of criminal organizations.
Following the defeat of Gadhafi, Harper and Baird gave themselves a massive pat on the back by staging an elaborate victory parade and celebratory flypast over Parliament Hill in November 2011. Those ceremonies included the awarding of the Order of Canada to Lt.-Gen. Bouchard for his successful defeat of the Libyan military.
Now that Obama has declared the whole intervention a “shit show,” we should feel like complete dolts for having celebrated it with marching bands and tickertape.
Like the Brits, we should launch a parliamentary committee investigation into the role our political leadership played in committing Canada to the forefront of the Libyan catastrophe. We claimed we would liberate the Libyan people from a despot; instead we delivered them into anarchy.
David Cameron is not the only one responsible for the ongoing deaths and suffering in Libya; he has Canadian company in Harper and Baird.