The British together with other Europeans are guessing why their rulers went to war against Gaddafi. On Sunday, shouting “Hands off Libya” and waving placards stating “The lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan have not been learnt”, a small but passionate group of anti-war protestors took up their positions outside Downing Street, the residence of the British Prime Minister in London.
“This war is about oil, control and a message to the rest of the world that we can do it if we want to. I fear we will soon be involved in a ground war, the partition of Libya and the theft of that country’s oil and resources,” said a participant of the rally, British MP, Jeremy Corbin.
He was supported by Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, which is quite famous in Britain for its fervent opposition to aggressive British politicians who led the country to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars, as warned by activists, have become protracted bloody conflicts. “The people of Libya will not be helped but will be harmed by this intervention, just as the people of Afghanistan and Iraq have been. The only people who can change the situation in the Middle East are the people in the Middle East,” Lindsey German said.
However, anti-war activists admit that the people in the West have not realized what a mess their rulers have got them into. Explaining this Andrew Burgin of the Stop the War Coalition said: “The first flush of war is always accompanied by jingoism. We saw it with Iraq too”. However, according to the activist, people start to think about what were the motives of those who unleashed a war. “In this case, the motives of those who are going into Libya with all their guns blazing, are clearly duplicitous. They are not really going to protect the poor people in Benghazi: they are going in to re-establish their power, position and strength in a strategically important place,” Andrew Burgin said.
Other words are also heard in London. In the past weeks, Libyans, who have taken refuge in Britain, have been staging protests at the Libyan embassy demanding Gaddafi’s step down. They have their own opinion towards the military campaign. Gaddafi came to power with the assistance of the West that armed him. Now, the West is removing him. There are many people in Britain who share this opinion.
An opinion poll conducted by the popular daily Metro in London confirmed the unambiguous approach of the West towards Libya. 58 percent of readers said that Britain acted wrongly by interfering in Libya’s internal affairs. Only 30 percent of respondents believe that Britain should be involved in launching attacks on Gaddafi’s forces. Over 50 percent of respondents said that the use of force against Gaddafi does not meet the country’s interests. Those who supported the British government’s position say that Libya is an oil-rich country and a person loyal to the West should rule it.
The British press also provides the opinion of families who know by their tragic experience what will be the outcome of wrong decisions taken by politicians. In an interview with The Guardian, Lucy Aldridge, whose son William was one of the youngest British soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan, said that our government was completely mad to go to war against Libya. She does not understand how it decided to take this step when the country had cut defence expenditure and there is insufficient money to equip servicemen well and supply weapons to our soldiers in Afghanistan. I agree that Libya is facing a humanitarian disaster, but it has been there for the past 40 years. How will the British government find money for this mission?
Last evening, Britain’s ruling party spoke to the parliamentarians trying to convince itself and party supporters that the operation against Libya would not be a protracted one. However, according to BBC correspondents, every Briton, who is sacked form his job owing to budget cuts, has every reason to think that Britain is waging a war on his money.