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“The No-Fly Zone Has Always Been a Recipe for Disaster”: Jeremy Scahill Says Libyan Strategy Has No Endgame

StoryMarch 22, 2011
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Guests
Jeremy Scahill

award-winning investigative journalist and author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He blogs daily for thenation.com. His latest article written for The Nation is “WikiLeaking Covert Wars.”


The U.S. and allied air strikes on Libya have entered their fourth day as part of an international effort to enforce a no-fly zone. While the United States is denying it is attempting to assassinate Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, allied forces bombed his compound for the second night in a row. “In Iraq, [the no-fly zone] resulted in a strengthening of Saddam Hussein’s regime... I think that it could end up backfiring in a tremendous way and keeping Gaddafi in power even longer,” says Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent and independent journalist. [includes rush transcript]


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We have to go in one minute, but very quickly on the issue of the comparison of the U.S. response to Libya and Yemen. It’s believed thousands of people have been killed in Libya, not clear how many have been killed in Yemen, but what about the U.S. response?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right, well, I mean, first of all, the no-fly zone has always been a recipe for disaster. It was a disaster in Iraq, where it resulted in a strengthening of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The U.S. has bombed Gaddafi’s house. The U.S. is bombing targets that have no aerial value whatsoever. You know, I’m against the U.S. policy in Libya for tactical and strategic reasons. I think that it could end up backfiring in a tremendous way and keeping Gaddafi in power even longer. And if the United States is going to start intervening in every failed rebellion or insurrection around the world, it’s going to be very, very busy. I think this was a reactionary policy with very little sight of an endgame. This morning we heard that an F-15 went down inside of Libya. Remember Donald Rumsfeld said in November of 2002, “Iraq might be five days, five weeks or five months, but no longer than that," and 50,000 U.S. troops and an equal number of private contractors remain there. So, I don’t see an endgame here. I think this is a classic case of knee-jerk “we need to remain relevant in the world so we’re going to take military action," while propping up ruthless dictators elsewhere that have conducted the same kinds of operations, or ignoring far worse humanitarian crises and far worse mass slaughter on the part of dictators around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, Puffin Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He blogs at thenation.com, Democracy Now! correspondent. Thanks so much.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Thank you.

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