Libya attacks: not about democracy

The Takeaway

This story was originally covered by PRI’s The Takeaway. For more, listen to the audio above.

The reason behind American and European attacks on Libya may not be entirely clear. “I think there are multiple purposes depending upon which capital you talk to,” retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner told PRI’s The Takeaway. The United States has said the attacks are not about regime change, while British officials seem to be more aggressive in their rhetoric. Gardiner says, “I don’t know if anybody really knows what the purpose is.”

Officials in the American government have tried to down play the country’s role in the attacks, saying it is not in the leading, but is in command. No matter what officials are saying, Gardiner says, “it appears to the world as if the United States is a major leader in this operation.”

The rhetoric surrounding democracy and freedom is misleading, too, according to Gardiner. “We talk about democracy movement in Libya, that’s very wrong,” Gardiner told The Takeaway. ” Most of this is about a civil war — it’s about tribes against tribes.”

“We’re involved in supporting one side in a civil war against another side,” according to Gardiner. “It’s not democracy.”

The air strikes are making a difference in the region, but Gardiner is not optimistic about the results. “I think the endgame is general unrest in the entire Middle East,” he said. “That’s scary.”


The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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