WW in 1986: Stop Reagan's terrorism against Libya!
Workers World is in its 50th year of publication. We are reprinting articles from our archives on major developments of past years. This one on the bombing of Libya appeared originally in the April 24, 1986, issue.
The Reagan administration's murderous bombing of Libya, which resulted in at least 100 civilian deaths, was a long-planned act of aggression and war.
The Reagan administration has claimed that its April 14 attack on this northern African country of 3.5 million people was a response to the death of one U.S. soldier in the April 5 bombing of a Berlin nightclub. In the largest air assault since the Vietnam War, some 120 aircraft rained destruction on points around the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi because Washington claimed that Libya was responsible for the Berlin bombing.
Today's New York Daily News, however, reveals that this assault had been in the works for nine months. The Pentagon even staged a practice bombing simulating the long flight and refueling conditions of the invasion of Libya. Clearly the Berlin bombing was only the excuse to attack Libya.
It began in July 1985, says the News, with an options paper drawn up by then-National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, and later endorsed by Secretary of State George Shultz.
"On Oct. 18, eleven F-111s accompanied by flight escort and refueling planes were scrambled on a surprise super secret mission and flew across the Atlantic and dropped mock bombs over Goose Bay, Canada. Air Force officials told the New York Daily News that the mission was a drill for the strike early Monday morning."
No act of self defense
This was no "act of self defense," as Vernon Walters, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, claimed before the Security Council yesterday. It was an arrogant and criminal act of terrorism in violation of both U.S. and international law.
While the Pentagon has bragged about a "surgical strike" on "terrorist nerve centers," the facts reveal that the attack was genocidal in character. There were high numbers of civilian casualties, including women and children.
At least 100 civilians were killed, according to Western diplomats, and at least that many wounded as laser-guided U.S. bombs rained down on the Al-Azziziy barracks in Tripoli, where the Qaddafi family lives, and the residential neighborhood of Bin Ashur.
The Libyan leader's 15-month-old adopted daughter, Hana, died from a fractured skull two hours after the bomb blast. Qaddafi's 3-year-old son Camis and his 4-year-old son Sef el-Arab were seriously wounded. Safiya, the Libyan leader's wife, suffered from the shock.
In the neighborhood of Bin Ashur, at least six houses were literally torn apart by bombs. Other homes suffered from fallen walls, shattered windows and blown-out doors. ABC Network News on April 14 showed a 30-foot bomb crater in the middle of a Libyan street, with apartment buildings on both sides severely damaged.
At Tripoli's Central Hospital, Dr. Fathi Bengazi, head of the emergency ward, reported that 60 to 100 people were being treated in that hospital alone for serious injuries incurred in the Pentagon's bombing. Many were children. There were 15 bodies in that hospital's morgue, two of them infants. Correspondents who viewed the dead said that most were in bedclothes and some were horribly mutilated. Two other Tripoli hospitals were treating the wounded.
Today, Libyan families rendered homeless by the U.S. attack are camping out in parks.
Schools, centers for disabled bombed
Rajab Azzarouk, Libya's delegate to the United Nations, pointed out at a special session of the Security Council yesterday that the Pentagon also bombed schools, a center for the disabled and the civilian section of the Tripoli airport. Also damaged were the French, Swiss and Rumanian embassies and the Austrian and Japanese diplomatic residences.
This is the bombing attack that the Reagan administration has said it is "happy" about. This is the genocidal assault which Deputy Secretary of State Whitehead called "absolutely essential." Clearly this attack was aimed at the whole Libyan people, whose hatred for U.S. imperialism will now be even greater.
The U.S. savage bombing raid and massacre of Libyan people has been denounced by governments and progressive forces around the world. When the Nazis bombed civilian areas during World War II, it was roundly decried in the U.S. media as genocide, and rightly so.
The U.S. media, however, have not uttered a word of criticism for the indiscriminate killing of Arab people. On the contrary, the so-called "objective" press has become an active part of Washington's racist and chauvinist war hysteria against Libya and all Arab people. The media have played down both the civilian casualties and the worldwide outrage at the Pentagon attack and have even repeated Pentagon alibis that the Libyans bombed themselves!
Libyan families were not the only victims of this criminal U.S. assault. Fernando Ribas-Dominicci and Paul Lorence, two U.S. airmen, were killed when their fighter plane was downed in the raid. Ribas-Dominicci was from Puerto Rico, an island nation held in bondage by Washington. These first casualties of the Pentagon war on Libya would be alive today had it not been for the Pentagon's lust to increase its dominance in the oil-rich and strategic Middle East.
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