Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What was Libya like under the "cruel dictator" Muammar Gaddafi?

I know that Hillary Clinton (as the US Secretary of State) is being blamed for the 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government (that of Muammar Gaddafi) and turned that country into a failed state that is now a major source of violent extremism. It is true that the election of Hillary Clinton to the Presidency would have almost certainly guaranteed more US aggressions for the purpose "regime change" and, consequently, a spread of terrorism. But she didn't act alone ... not at all. With the recent examples of the US failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, what was the overwhelming mood of Americans in 2011 to the use of military force to overthrow another government in Libya? It was shameful. There was almost no opposition in the US except, perhaps, among Libertarians. Certainly not from either of the political parties. Where was the "opposition party" that was so willing to attack Clinton for Benghazi? Silent.

The exaggerated reports of Gaddafi's evil cruelty were swallowed whole by a frightened gullible public.  Propaganda works well on Americans. Too well.

What did the United State do to Libya? Ask, rather, what was Libya like under Gaddafi's dictatorial rule (and, yes, it was dictatorial)?  But how did the people of Libya fare under Gaddafi, at least compared to other nations in that region of the world?

We know, for instance, that everyone in Libya had access to an excellent health care system:

The number of medical doctors and dentists reportedly increased sevenfold between 1970 and 1985, producing a ratio of one doctor per 673 citizens. In 1985 about one-third of the doctors in the Libya were native-born, with the remainder being primarily expatriate foreigners. The number of hospital beds tripled in this same time period. Among major health hazards endemic in the country in the 1970s were typhoid and paratyphoid, infectious hepatitis, leishmaniasis, rabies, meningitis, schistosomiasis, venereal diseases, and the principal childhood ailments. Malaria has been eradicated, and significant progress has been made against trachoma and leprosy. In 1985 the infant mortality rate was 84 per 1,000; by 2004, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that the infant mortality rate had dropped to 25.7 per 1,000. Other estimates report an infant mortality rate of less than 20 per 1,000.

We know that primary education was both free to all Libyan citizens and was compulsory:
In 2001 public expenditures on education amounted to about 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) ... in the early 1980s, estimates of total literacy were between 50 and 60 percent, or about 70 percent for men and 35 percent for women, but the gender gap has since narrowed, especially because of increased female school attendance. For 2001 the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report estimates that the adult literacy rate climbed to about 80.8 percent, or 91.3 percent for males and 69.3 percent for females. According to 2004 U.S. government estimates, 82 percent of the total adult population (age 15 and older) is literate, or 92 percent of males and 72 percent of females.

We know that Libya ranked 55th out of 170 countries on the 2010 United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, which measures overall quality of life. 55th in the entire world!

The government subsidizes medical care and education. A labor law provides for workers’ compensation, pension rights, minimum rest periods, and maximum working hours. The government also heavily subsidizes rent, utilities, oil, and food staples.

It is a fact that the full truth is never exactly what we're told. In the case of the Libyan war, the truth was very much different from what we were being told.  The Libyan war was, first and foremost, a propaganda war; and it was another war for regional power and control of resources.  Concern for human rights or for national self-determination through democratic elections, were non-issues.

So, after decades of relative stability in Libya, especially in relation to the rest of the middle east, why did it suddenly become necessary for the U.S. to support (financially and militarily) Gaddafi's enemies in a civil war?

In January, 2009, Gaddafi announced that he was considering the nationalization of the foreign oil companies in Libya.  He also threatened to grant Russian, Chinese, and Indian oil companies the rights to pump and purchase Libyan oil.  Gaddafi sealed his own fate when he made the mistake Saddam Hussein made when Saddam announced in September 2000 that Iraq was no longer going to accept the U.S. petro-dollar for oil being sold under the UN’s Oil-for-Food program and, instead, Iraq would begin using the euro as Iraq's oil export currency.  Gaddafi, like Hussein before him, threatened U.S. hegemony over the oil resources of the middle east.  That was his real "crime."

Patriotism and "democracy" were used sell yet another neocon war ... and this time, just like every other time, most people bought it.

Just like most people will buy the next one. 

Don't tell me there won't be a "next one." You just wait for it.