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Why it is right to intervene in Libya

March 22, 2011

Last night I voted to endorse the Government’s decision to intervene militarily in Libya.  I have believed for several weeks that outside intervention would be necessary to save the civilian population of Libya from a violent and brutal repression by Colonel Gaddafi.

Inevitably, some people have asked me how could I support another war given my record in opposing the disastrous war in Iraq and my long running scepticism about our role in Afghanistan.   I believe the case of Libya in 2011 is fundamentally different.  Our intervention in Libya is to uphold the United Nations principle of “Responsibility to Protect” civilians from death at the hands of a repressive government.  This is not primarily about our own security nor any desire to secure economic interests or a regional power base.  It is about a commitment to uphold the sanctity of human life.  We could not stand by and observe the indiscriminate slaughter of Libyan civilians as their deranged ruler exacts revenge for rebellion against his despotic regime.

I felt a similar way in 1991 when Saddam Hussein was attacking the Kurds and from 1992 when Yugoslavia unravelled.  I was angry then that NATO hesitated too long in Bosnia and acted only in the nick of time in Kosovo in 1999.  Our intervention there was to save life and our action now in Libya has the same aim.

The other very clear difference between now and Iraq exactly eight years ago is that the UK has co-sponsored a successful United Nations Resolution and has the prior support of the Arab League.  Also the UK Attorney General has given clear and unequivocal advice to the cabinet that we are acting in accordance with international law.

Of course there are risks and there are issues to resolve.  I want the Government to plan for the aftermath, on the assumption that Gaddafi is thwarted or even removed.  The failure of Bush and Blair to plan for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq compounded their folly.  The Foreign Office and the International Development Department should be as involved as the MoD.  As to Gaddafi, I do not believe it should be a mission priority to kill him.  I would prefer his fate to be determined by the Libyan people (a Mussolini type end perhaps…) or better still an indictment and trial in the International Court, where Milosevic and Karavic eventually ended up.

It looks as though we have already succeeded in preventing Gaddafi from re-taking Benghazi, a city roughly the size of Greater Bristol.  We are unfortunately too late to save the civilians in the rebel-held towns in between Tripoli and Benghazi that were captured last week.  I hate to think what terrible scenes are taking place there.  We know that Gaddafi is capable of the most heinous crimes against his own people as well as sponsoring terror abroad.

I am glad that Britain is playing a key role in this humanitarian mission.  After a series of disastrous military entanglements we are now acting in accordance with international law and I believe our actions are just and proportionate.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2011 3:44 pm

    Good post, but the response from Nato is always too late, wouldn’t you agree?

    Oil is the master and always will be in the middle east.

  2. Crow. permalink
    March 22, 2011 3:46 pm

    I agree, it IS different, and I support this one too, but I think it is in danger if it is not over very soon. I sent a comment to the BBC, who may well not print it, but to save time I can print it here because it says what I need to say:

    Why dither over Gadaffi? If he commands war on his people he is a valid target as defined by resolution. Focus on the core, instead of the periphery. Take him down, negotiate a ceasefire with whoever is left at the top of command, then sit quietly outside Libyan airspace while the Libyans attempt to do what they tried a week ago. If they can do it without getting murdered for trying, the job is done. Leave this clear attempt at closure for longer than a week, and people will have bigger problems there than they already had.

    Afterthought: I have carefully been listening to the news, andd watching the BBC live web page, and I read most of the text of the resolution. The statement above is my best interpretation of all the events and expressions of those joining this coalition. There is a surprising unity about it. That might not last the night, never mind another half week. Dealing with Gadaffi reminds me of drilling stainless steel. You have to go firmly, even brutally. It is not a matter of cruelty, you just have to do it to cut it before it work-hardens and grinds the hardened steel of the drill to broken shards. Go swiftly, and you minimise heat and waste. If people engage Gadaffi like this, and pull out before people forget why we all went in, this can work.

  3. Tom permalink
    March 22, 2011 4:20 pm

    Interesting point of view and in many ways I agree that repression against the masses is incorrigible however I have to ask to what extent we’re really applying these principles globally. I seem to recall another nation that has recently been shown killing innocent people wanting change. People that were protesting against a completely undemocratic regime. A regime infact that recently called in another nation to aid in it’s repression. Where are NATO’s forces involvement in that situation? Oh hang on a minute, they’re our friends right they host the F1 how could they require military intervention?,

    Likewise the very minor example of Mugabe in Zimbabwe and his obvious and much publised acts of atrocity against humanity, I’m yet to hear mention of NATO troops entering their soverign state?

    The hipocracy is beyond dispute. Either we’re here to protect the world, or people that want change must achieve it with their own beliefs and via their own means.

    One simple, three letter word: oil

    (appologies for the iteraction of the above point I just feel it had to be said again).

    • Crow permalink
      March 22, 2011 4:47 pm

      Why oil? Not that I haven’t thought about this, but I have, that’s my point… Libya will need to sell its oil to raise money to rebuild. The best thing we can do is not to hammer them too long, because whatever we hit, it IS Libya, one way or another, so damage limitation and repair are most important. That way they see more actual income from their oil, not just making good their losses.

      This time I really think that oil is not the issue, at least, noty very important. Security is. Gadaffi says he wants the whole of North Africa tyo become a war zone, he made that clear as soon as it looked like real resistance came from anyone at all. It is entirely possible he might have sought to invade Egypt ostensibly to chase down fleeing ‘traitors’, but in actuality perhaps to take advantage of what he sees as weakness on the part of both Egyptian and Tunisian leadership for accepting public demands to change. This is a fragile situation. If it works out ok then trade and lots of other things we take for granted become possible for a whole group of nations. If it does NOT work out, then there is a conveivble front for a third world war on the edge of Europe. Trust me, this IS a tad bigger than ‘oil’.

      PS. Thanks, Stephen, for granting the possibility of reply both to you and to other posters. This goes a long way to repairing my recent despair at the state of UK politics. If the signal to noise ratio stays high, a large number of public inputs might be a great help. After all, if it works in Egypt, why not here? 🙂

      • Tom permalink
        March 22, 2011 5:29 pm

        Quote “Why oil? Not that I haven’t thought about this, but I have, that’s my point… Libya will need to sell its oil to raise money to rebuild. The best thing we can do is not to hammer them too long, because whatever we hit, it IS Libya, one way or another, so damage limitation and repair are most important. ”

        I think that you may have just made my point, they WILL have to sell their oil, to their ‘saviours’ no dount at, to use the venicluar, mates rates. Also who do you think will be the ones they come to for ‘aid’ in rebuilding their infrastructure … us. This also does not explain why we pick and choose whon to save … other than oil.

        I would also like to express my thanks at having this as a forum for discussion it’s interesting for me see what others are thinking on this issue and I respect everyone’s views on this.

  4. Joe permalink
    March 22, 2011 4:59 pm

    I agree with Tom above. The world is a very big place, every day there is violent and brutal repression across the globe in many regimes, completely ignored by the UK, UN or NATO. Even within Libya, Gaddaffi has been at it for decades, why is now so different, if the objective is solely saving civilian populations. I agree we should do what we can to stop it, but lets be honest about other agendas (its probably not just oil) please when western politicians pick and choose which repressed citizens to save and which to ignore.

    • Crow permalink
      March 22, 2011 5:22 pm

      I’ll try not to make a habit of this (not my blog, I don’t even have one..), but these are important points I’ve heard before and tried to answer for myself, and I like this chance to post those thoughts.

      Maybe it has much to do with will, and public attention. China in Tibet, for example.. That’s huge. Another is proximity, Libya is closer to the UK than some parts of the EU. And the attention and will to act are there. If the world is to solve other more distant problems, it has to show a working method. Iraq damn near failed, though arguably the long term results prompted Egypt and Indonesia to have a go at change. The world has watched that change, and felt thwarted in its hopes by what Gadaffi is doing. Even those who don’t ally with the attacking coalition likely felt thwarted by that act of his. People are fickle in what they care about, and major moves often happen fast. And as I said in my main post, dealing with some of them is like drilling stainless steel, if you do it half-heartedly, you grind to an indecisive halt. Most of the other problems that demand such actions usually fail to get it right either because of this lack of immediate confidence in the need to act, (Shakespeare had stuff to say on that notion), or because the problem was acted on, but not firmly enough to prevent it becoming intractable.

      Anyway, not my blog… I can’t promise, but I will try to be quiet now.

  5. Mystery permalink
    March 22, 2011 5:28 pm

    If this Country & The West was not reliant on Oil then our armed forces would be safe at home….They will die so I can continue to drive !!

  6. March 22, 2011 5:55 pm

    It seems transparent to me that Mr Cameron has decided to boost arms sales, so it is currently convenient to advocate a limited bombing campaign, which will allow ‘Battle tested’ to be stamped on a few more planes and missiles for export. Which will of course be subsidised by tax payers under the Export Credit Gaurantee system. How long do we have to keep repeating this cycle, selling weapons, makes war possible, having a war helps weapons sales increase.

    How do you feel about the certainty that this bombing campaign will be causing civilian casualties Mr Williams? There is no such thing as surgical air campaign, and I speak from experience having been eye witness to fact in Iraq.

  7. Sam Donahue permalink
    March 22, 2011 10:05 pm

    None but a tiny number of politicians address the question of whether or not it is in Britain’s own interests to carry war to Libya or Afghanistan. The humanitarian case is clear but the national interest of the British people is something different. Our leaders ignore this issue and one has to search their speeches and declarations for any tiny mention of the national interest.

    It seems that no Prime Minister can consider himself as arrived until he has seen to it that thousands of our troops are either maimed or killed in these superfluous foreign adventures.

    Talk about revolution…we need one here to rid ourselves of war-mongering politicians. Perhaps, someone nice will intervene on behalf of those of us who sicken at whom we kill and maim in the name of our misplaced compassion.

  8. John Rippon permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:05 am

    I lived in Benghazi for Five years from October 1966 to December 1971 as part of the BBC team who were seconded to the Libyan Government, at the behest of the British Foreign Office, as Consultants to build a Television Network for the Libyan Government.

    I went out there to work for The Kingdom of Libya under King Idris’ Government but, after the Coupe detat on 1st. September 1969, worked for the Revolutionary Command Coucil, headed by Colonel Qadaffi in a country now called The Peoples Republic of Libya!

    It is a fascinating country which I know well and I made many Arab friends there who were always amused by my curious style of Arabic!

    I was in contact with several friends in Benghazi and Tripoli via Skype and email. Since the uprising I have lost all contact with Benghazi but had intermittent contact with friends in Zawiya, close to Tripoli. They have been beaten up by Qadaffi’s mob and one of their relations was shot dead because he refused to allow the mob to enter and search his house.

    The Libyan People have had 42 years of increasing misery under Qadaffi’s utterely corrupt regime and I applaud the Coalition for their intervention.

    I just hope that all ends well and that the ordinary, decent, hospitable Libyan people can after all these years return to happy lives again.

    John Rippon.

  9. Ron DeWitt permalink
    March 29, 2011 5:20 pm

    The major concern in the Libyan war should not be focused on Qaddafi, but on the identity of the rebels. Recent information has unmasked a siginificant portion of the rebels as being the same Muslim fighters who fought Allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, U.S. and European forces are supplying combat air support to the same people who were killing our troops. What does this mean for future Lybian relations? It means that if the rebels should ever prevail, our relations with Lybia could potentially be much worse than before with an Al-Qaeda backed government in power. Granted, Qaddafi is an evil ruler who should have been dispensed with many years ago, but why are European and U.S. powers seeking to do this after a quarter of a century since our last confrontation with him? The humanitarian argrument is invalid because NATO did nothing to alleviate bloodshed in Rwanda, Algeria, Tiananmen Square in China, or the Congo. Furthermore, the recent spike in oil prices is directly attributed to the actions of the Lybian rebels, not Qaddafi.

    We must use caution in making geo-political decisions based upon current emotional reactions, and render more pragmatic decisions that will affect us 10, 20, or 50 years from now. The same people we are lending assistance to now have killed Westerners in the past and will kill more in the future. Libyans, both pro-Qaddafi and rebels, hate our guts because we are deemed as infidels; therefore, no support whatsoever should be afforded to them. Both sides are enemies to the West and should be treated as such.

  10. Ben permalink
    April 4, 2011 12:49 pm

    Good to see multilateral action upholding the R2P in line with lib dem values. No hypocrisy on part of the lib dems, but previous governments’ arms sales to Libya are shameful. It’s time for an ethical foreign policy and an ethical trade policy.

    Also good blog by Olly Grender at

  11. jrbearpad permalink
    April 5, 2011 2:23 am

    I hope that Ron DeWitt has good evidence to support the alegation that the Freedom Fighters in Cyrenaica are imported from elsewhere.

    I think it is important that you all understand that NO units of the Libyan Army of any real significance were ever stationed in Cyrenaica: Qaddafi was always careful to base the bulk of his army in Tripolitania because he knew that he has always been highly unpopular in Cyrenaica and the third region of Libya: the Fezzan to the far South, about which nothing has been heard of as yet (Not even on Al Jezeera, which I regularly watch as a far more reliable source than the BBC). I wonder what, if anyting, is happening in the Fezzan?

    I think that the whole operation has taken far too long: there was already 42 years of evidence of Qaddafi’s Crimes Against Humanity, sufficient to justify a quick covert operation by our own SAS to spirit Qaddafi and his two sons out of Tripoli and deposit them in the Hague for a fair trial and in the meantime the UN could have organised a referendum of the Libyan people to decide what they wanted for their future political structure.

    A lot cheaper too!

    Oil: libya does not have the capability to feed its population and must sell oil to whoever will buy it to obtain food, medicines and practically all its other essential needs. China and India will buy as much as they can lay their hands on, so I doubt if Western Sanctions would ever work.

  12. Chris Bury permalink
    April 7, 2011 10:06 am

    Is it true that the Libyan rebels have Al Quaeda affiliated groups eg. Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). If that is right how can the UN pass a resolution 1973 when there is earlier UN resolution 1267 which, “prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or training related to military activities, to designated individuals and entities [arms embargo].” Those refers to the Al Quaeda affiliated organisations LIFG etc. It is still a banned organisation

    Stephen I think you have not read the facts properly before you voted for this. Well some might forgive you as this is your first time in the Gov. But not the likes of us.

    If we look at the Libya’s past we know that Since King Idris went down we been clamouring to have the head of Qaddafi. Except of course the West trying to grab the oil contracts from the country of Libya in the 90’s. Even then, like Saddam Husseine, Qaddaffi never allowed the National oil company to give power to outsiders. But BP, with a seven-year contract on two concessions and over $1 billion dollars in planned investments. Five Japanese major corporations, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, Italy’s Eni Gas, British Gas and the US giant Exxon Mobil signed new exploration and exploitation contracts in October 2010. The most recent oil concession signed in January 2010 mainly benefited US oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum. Other multi-nationals operating in Libya include Royal Dutch Shell, Total (France), Oil India, CNBC (China), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Norway’s Norsk Hydro (BBC News, 10/03/2005). THat is oil.

    Did you know that The United Nations Human Rights Commission gave the Gaddafi regime a clean bill of health in 2010. But he did a lots of bad things like arresting, torturing and killing Al Qaeda suspects, expelling Palestinian militants and openly criticizing Hezbollah, Hamas and other opponents of Israel.

    Qaddaffi did a lot of good to Libyan people, using the oil money. He got rid of the mullas who were against women in education.

    This is taken out of an article I read:

    “Anglo-American propaganda portrays Qaddafi as a kleptocrat. In reality, Libya is one of the most advanced developing countries, ranking 53 on the UN Human Development Index, making it the most developed society in Africa. Libya ranks ahead of Russia (65), Ukraine (69), Brazil (73), Venezuela (75) and Tunisia (81). The rate of incarceration is 61st in the world, below that of the Czech Republic, and far below that of the United States (1). Longevity has increased by 20 years under Qaddafi’s rule. Qaddafi, while suppressing political challenges, had shared the nation’s oil income better than the rest of OPEC.”

    Stephen, do you know who Mr Benotman is? Mr Benotman used to be a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group but now works for the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation. He is very proud to have got the double agent Moussa Koussa. Nice bedfellows, don’t you think. Benotman, CIA and MI6 have a very long relationship going back to the time when we were worried about the bloody Soviets in Afghanistan. He was one of the Taliban Mujahideens.

    And then Stephen you should ask the question about the rebel leader Hakim al-Hasidi. According to the Daily Telegraph on March the 12th, he admitted that, “jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime..” Abdul Hakim Al-Hasadi, is a leader of the LIFG who received military training in a guerrilla camp in Afghanistan. He is head of security of the opposition forces in one of the rebel held territories with some 1,000 men under his command.

    Even Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, admitted that there are Al quaesa members in the crew of the rebels. That was on March 13th.

    You used to reply to my emails in the good old days when you were in the opposition. Be a good lad and at least reply to this.

    • April 7, 2011 9:17 pm

      Chris and everyone else above, thanks for your postings. I know that this situation is multi-facteted, the Middle East and the Mahgreb are not straightforward places! But the decision I and other MPs was fairly simple – do we allow Gaddafi to seize Benghazi back from the rebels with the dreadful consequences that would follow…or do we stop him. I stand by the decision, though I am concerned as to the timescale of our involvement and whether Gaddafi will prevail in the west for the time being. Parliament is being given regular updates both on the floor of the House as well as in other briefings. People may disagree with our involvement but I hope they will recognise that Parliamentary involvement (and the UN resolution) make the conduct of this mission a stark contrast to Iraq.

      Incidentally, the Political & Constitutional Reform Select Cttee, of which I am a member, has just started to take evidence on how we could codify Parliamentary approval for war. It is a complex subject!

  13. Chris Bury permalink
    April 8, 2011 4:19 pm

    Let me first of all thank Stephen for a very convoluted reply which a normal politician would use. And I applaud your selection for the said committee. Bravo. Next step minister I hope.

    But back to basics as the top man said. We elected you to represent us. But now you act as a leader of this constituancy. And tell us that we do not understand the problems around the world. You do not tell us the truth. So how can we understand?

    We have had this problem for as long as I been interested in politics. You have a habit of muddying the waters and come out with very complicated answers. We all know that; all the affairs of foreign countries are, by right, complicated, because we do not live there. We the general uneducated population are given facts by the main-media. But some of us do read the alternate media on the net. You knows the way!

    You on the other hand have educated researchers, paid by us. My question is; do you make decisions from the advice you get from the researchers? I think when we follow liberal and democratic way, that is, wrong. You have to listen to the facts and logic supplied by us, the constituants. You can then ask your researchers to find out whether the facts we let you know are right and then, ask questions in the big house.

    There are 100’s of MPs who come from all walks of life who gather around to find out the best way for the population can live and prosper. If all of you take advice from think tanks and decide which way to vote, our democratic system is in deep trouble. No wonder the youngsters are not interested in politics.

    Why don’t you make a difference and check how educeted we are, and listen to us who take a lot of guts to write in these forums. We spend lots of time reading various articles in the internet and are moderately educated in these matters. Please check the validity of what we comment in this blog and raise questions in the parliament. Please represent us, not rule us. You of all people must know this as you used to say it yourself.

  14. Crow. permalink
    April 8, 2011 5:14 pm

    One more from me:
    I think the difficulty comes from one central dilemma. Do we live and let live? If we can we are lucky. Whether we call it democracy is largely irrelevant, those times, places, societies that could do it thrived when others could not. (Constantinople is an early example, I read that they were trading and at peace while many other countries had Christians and Muslims killing each other. Right now this is a context we need to think about). Nations need to trade, if they cannot the tensions grow, and they go to war. It’s why sanctions rarely work except where there is some great imperative to remain peaceful for a specific reason. Gadaffi was up to things that made himself a weapon, and he should have been treated like one, the same as any of his army who drove a tank. By making him different, the war is prolonged. The logic of live and let die works in a Bond film but it’s not so good when applied to a leader willing to kill his people.

    Sounds wrong? Contradictory? That’s the dilemma. I remember that bullies often listened to me saying I didn’t want to fight if I hit them first once talking stopped helping. Once they know they can and will be ‘touched’, heavily at need, they become far more willing to live and let live. Libyans wanted to live, differently, they started dying for it, they asked for help, so many nations went to help them. Looking for side motives should never distract us from that one. If we don’t take it whole we lose the plot.

    If the world gets any more crowded, we have two choices ahead: share it, or face a human cull. We don’t have very long to work this out because in China and India, despite China at least trying ways to limit population, the total number of people on Earth will become our greatest threat. Except the bacteria. And how will we deal with them if we spend our wealth and equipment fighting each other? Fights should be short, sharp, and rare. Dogs learn to roll over to end a fight. My point being that rigid military or political analysis or assertion as to motives will NOT fix this. Every time we do this we should already be thinking ahead, we’ve repeated far too many mistakes as it is. That said, we have learned past some of them. No weapons supplied to rebels in Libya, for example. If people are willing, at need, to fight alongside them, in the air or on the ground, this is better than dealing in weapons from safe rich gated estates in neutral nations. Soldiers should never relinquish weapons, if possible, they should leave with those who bring them. There are several other basic points of good sense that can help like that one. This resolution was a far neater one than some I vaguely remember, from times before I became as interested as I am now. I think that not interpreting Gadaffi himself as a weapon of his own war is an error though, one that has already cost time, and rebel’s lives. We can’t count on goodwill for long if the reasons for the effort become clouded in pain and traumatised memory.

  15. John Rippon permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:16 am

    During the Second World War, if Hitler and his Henchmen had been forceably removed from the scene everyone would have cheered and nobody would have muttered about “Regime Change”. I doubt if anyone would have shed a tear if Stalin and his sympathisers had been removed before many millions had suffered and died as an inevitable result of his policies.I bet that the Libyans cheered alongside us when Mussolini was hanged! Ditto an awful lot of African and South American Dictators who were finally and forceably removed after they had caused much misery and death to their own people.

    Hilary Clinton and ALL members of the present coalition are saying daily that “Qaddafi Must Go”. So why all the Hypocrisy?

    The “Ideal” solution is for Qaddafi and his evil sons to be spirited away and handed over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for the fairest trial they could hope for, given the fact that their own words and actions are plainly on record.

    Given that the same crew have surrounded themselves with brain-washed sympathisers, the only other solution is a Cruise Missile directly on top of them. There would be civilian casualties, but only amongst those who fervently support Qaddafi and his evil aims.

    Otherwise this whole saga will rival the mess we made of Iraq.

    I really cannot see why we are pussyfooting around in this ludicrous way.

  16. Chris Bury permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:03 am

    Nice one John; you who is safely hidden amongst your own kith and kin. Send the uranium dosed missiles some where else (Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) so that we can get the IMF into Libya. Let the next generations of libyans suffer from radiation. Bravo! You should be elected to the parliament, so that we can have more wars.

    How many law makers of this country have their kids fighting for the ‘freedom’ of this country, we always trumpet out? None, nix, nada. Ask the educated MP. Ache sorry we always have Prince Harry init?

  17. John Rippon permalink
    April 10, 2011 11:48 pm

    Chris Bury: wish you would get your facts straight.

    DEPLETED uranium is used in armour-penetrationg shell heads, NOT Uranium dosed, because it is a tough heavy metal ideal for the pupose. Radioactive natural Uranium is far too expensive to use for this pupose which is why otherwise useless depleted Uranium is used.

    I did my time in the RAF in Akrotiri Cyprus when it really was not a place to be with EOKA around and I have experienced two revolutions, the Libyan Coup detat, the Arab/Israeli 6-day War (Which was pretty frightening) and the Irish mess: sitting alone in an unguarded TV Station right on the border in Londonderry: my “Digs”, by the Cregan estate, was burnt to the ground. Being born in 1937 and living in heavily bombed Dewsbury, Yorkshire, I have not lived the cosy life which you assume.

    I really do not have any idea how old you are but you certainly impress me as lacking wisdom and the ability to face facts.

  18. Chris Bury permalink
    April 14, 2011 9:27 am

    John Rippon: Sorry I was a bit harsh. One of those days when the logic goes in front of empathy. I have no experience in war matters. But due to my disability I have a lot of time to read. I listen to main media everyday but I read on the internet alternate media websites.

    According to wikipedia DU, contains less than one third as much U-235 and U-234 as natural uranium. And DU has 60% of external dose of Uranium. You are right to say that DU is used for armour piercing in munitions. But the problem is on impact and combustion, aerosol or spallation frangible powders are produced. And these will spread in wide areas. 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of DU munitions were used in Iraq alone. There is a quite rapid increase in leukemogenic, genetic, and reproductive cancers in Iraq. It is well documented.

    Did you know that British Army doctors warned the MOD about inhalation of DU in the battle field by military personal.

    “According to a report issued summarizing the advice of the doctors, ‘Inhalation of insoluble uranium dioxide dust will lead to accumulation in the lungs with very slow clearance – if any . . . Although chemical toxicity is low, there may be localised radiation damage of the lung leading to cancer.” The report warns that ‘All personnel… should be aware that uranium dust inhalation carries a long-term risk… [the dust] has been shown to increase the risks of developing lung, lymph and brain cancers”

    I have doubts about, that wisdom comes from old age. wisdom is using your knowledge and understanding of a situation and ability to applly optimally for the desired effects. I have high regard for older people and due respect. The problem is do the older generation have proper respect for the youngsters.

  19. John Rippon permalink
    April 15, 2011 12:11 am

    Chris Bury: You mention that you are disabled. I am also disabled with advanced Peripheral Neuropathy. I am in a Powered Wheelchair and my hands are now useless to the extent that I use “Dragon” to voice-operate my computer. What little energy I have left I devote to Disability Equality matters and now the latest attempts by this pathetic Coalition to make our lives even more difficult by cutting our allowances.

    So, most of my energies are spent sifting out the truth of Government intentions from the vast quantity of Acts, Statutery Instruments and Local Government SELECTIVE interpretations of these vast amounts of paperwork.

    I am a member of:
    Bristol Physical Disability Committee
    Bristol Disability Equalities Forum
    Bristol Older People’s Forum
    Clifton East Neighbourhood Forum
    Clifton/ Clifton East/ Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership

    Attending and preparing for all the meetings and active campaigns takes up most of my time to the extent that I cannot also examine the details of every Nuance of the personalities and political interests of the few hotheads from outside Libya who you assure us have become involved. My concern is with the ordinary people of a Country I know and love and the terrible times they are going through because, unlike you, I TALK to them.

    You ask me what I think of younger people? In the main they seem to me to be empty-headed Hedonists interested only in Sport and they certainly are NOT interested in looking after disabled and older people either now or in the future, much less their own futures.

    • Chris Bury permalink
      April 17, 2011 1:49 pm

      I think you be lot above my standing in disability and status, Hon: J Rippon. I won’t be surprised how many other corporations you are affiliated to, but I need not even guess. Little us have been the wasted lot, staying at home and doing nothing.


      First we have to think, right now about what we, in Bristol, are going through. We had our savings undermined, unemployment gone up, and tax gone up (Blimey 2.5% VAT). That is a very big amount, for us the poor people. And we go for another war.

      I thought it is the oil. But after avidly reading about this subject I found out there is WB, IMF and BIS (Bank Of International Settlements) to consider. we have seen Iceland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal going into bankrupsy levels in the past. People in those countries already know what the bankers are doing. This is from “Democracy Now” interview of U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.), back in 2007:

      “In it he says that about 10 days after September 11, 2001, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. Clark was surprised and asked why. “I don’t know!” was the response. “I guess they don’t know what else to do!” Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.”

      Wow the above countries are not in the BIS. Stephen please join the other MPs who are trying to call the parliament for a debate on this issue.

      Freedom? There is no freedom, when you owe money to the bank, for the rest of your life.

  20. Morgan Daly permalink
    September 16, 2011 6:23 pm

    I commend my MP on a principled stand. It’s not always easy to do what you think is right, particularly in a city that is often ostensibly anti-war. I also applaud your willingness to discuss your motives and reasons openly on your blog, which is a good step towards engaging with your constituents.

    Having close friends who until recently were living in Tripoli, I have had a decent link into the views of individuals on the ground in Libya. I think it is fair to say that this revolution has been a long time in the making, and is very much a popular uprising. The situation regarding foreign intervention is actually separate from this matter, of course, as our hand was essentially forced by the impending rape of Benghazi.

    It would have been immoral to have stood and watched with hangers full of jets and rockets as thousands upon thousands of innocents were slaughtered. Why have a military at all, if we choose to not use it to save so many innocent lives?

    re: the argument of ‘why not other nations, why Libya’.

    1. It’s not always possible to intervene. We are a powerful military entity, but we are far from omnipotent.
    2. Lack of appropriate action in one situation is either moral or immoral. But inaction in one situation does not mean that inaction in every situation is therefore moral. I have rarely seen, in my humble opinion, a more obvious case for military intervention than in Libya.

    • September 16, 2011 8:16 pm

      Morgan – thanks for your well informed comments. Most of the votes we cast in Parliament are ephemeral in the sweep of history. This one will be remembered for a long time, with vindication for those who supported intervention. Quite the opposite of the disastrous Iraq vote.

  21. Greg Burrows permalink
    October 19, 2011 2:11 pm

    Intervention into sovereign countries is illegal, so we were told when Mugabe decided to destroy the bread basket of Africa,causing the starvation of millions of people, Britain could have stopped this inhuman episode but chose not to, could it be because there is no oil?
    Claptrap is the best word I can think of with out being rude for your defence of NATO in this land grab.
    How would we feel if someone decided that we were not ruling ourselves effectively and invaded our country, sovereign countries are to be decided by their people and not by people from outside.
    Get a grip

  22. October 20, 2011 1:16 am

    Hello Greg, you are back in town!

    (1) Intervention into sovereign countries is illegal. Yes it is: until the United Nation passes a unanimous resolution to allow it, which it did.

    (2)Mugabe decided to destroy the bread basket of Africa: yes he did! appallingly and successfully. BUT the African Union did NOT support moves to get a United Nations resolution to stop him in his tracks. So he is still there and all the nations of Africa should hang their head in shame.There was no oil but it now emerges that Mozambique is rich in rare minerals and the Chinese are sniffing around and they are on the Security Council at the UN: do you think that there is now the faintest chance of a UN resolution to remove this appalling dictator who you say, quite rightly, destroyed the bread basket of Africa ?

    (3)Claptrap is the best word I can think of with out being rude for your defence of NATO in this land grab.
    I have not the faintest idea of what you are talking about!!! Do you mean Libya? If so, you are woefully mistaken. The Removal of Qaddafi and his utterly evil sons I fully support, by ANY means, From the Coupe d’tat on 1st. September 1969 which , living in Benghazi at the time I experienced, to the time I left in late 1971 it became increasingly clear that Qaddafi was CLINICALLY INSANE. 1969 was a Military takeover and the Country was ruled by a “Revolutionary Command Council” consisting of 12 high-ranking military leaders. I personally knew some of them: Jaloud, Kharoubi, Mahishi , They were were all reasonable men and all were later arrested and died in prison, replaced by other military men who could turn a blind eye to Qaddafi’s glaringly obvious faults.
    The PEOPLE of Libya did not have a chance.
    As for “Land Grab” we have not set a foot on Libya and the idea is ludicrous
    However, having spent a lot of time, money and effort I DO expect new contracts from a grateful Libyan Government on oil and gas in favour of Britain: that is what friends do and we have ALWAYS been friends of Libya: I can assure you that the Libyan People have always had the warmest feelings for the British.

    (4) If things got that bad in the UK I would WELCOME a full UN declaration and would trust their ability to sort us out!



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