Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not a War

“U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.

  President’s Report, June 15

[June 21:] The Libyan government says 19 civilians have been killed in a NATO air strike on the home of one of Muammar Gaddafi's top officials, a day after the Western military alliance admitted killing civilians in a separate attack.

Libyan officials took reporters to Surman, 70km west of Tripoli, to the site of what they said was a NATO air strike on the home of Khouildi Hamidi.

The officials said the attack on the home of Hamidi, a member of Libya's 12-strong Revolutionary Command Council, led by Gaddafi, took place on Monday morning.

Rescue teams were looking for survivors while reporters visited the site.


Hamidi is a longtime regime insider who took part in the 1969 coup that brought Gaddafi to power.

He reportedly commanded a battalion that crushed rebels in the nearby western city of Zawiyah in March, and his daughter is married to one of Gaddafi's sons, Saadi.

Gaddafi officials said he was inside a still-intact building at the time of the strike.


NATO said it had bombed a "legitimate military target, a command and control node" in the area, and it could not confirm whether civilians had been hurt.


NATO acknowledged on Sunday that a "weapons failure" had led to civilian casualties after a strike intended to hit a missile site erred and destroyed a house in Tripoli.


The Arab League, which in March asked the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians, condemned Sunday's mission by NATO.

  al Jazeera

Obviously, there was a typo in the UN resolution approving NATO’s operations in Libya. It was widely reported that the resolution authorized the establishment of a “no-fly” zone in Libya to protect civilians from being killed by military attack. However, it’s clear now that what the international body really greenlighted was a “no-life” zone, designed to, er, kill people with, er, military attacks.

It’s an easy mistake to make, really, transposing the “f” and “l” like that; a UN transcriptionist probably misheard the original intention, then mentally “corrected” it with the “y” to make it read in the more accustomed manner. Happens all the time.

  Chris Floyd

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