WW in 1986: Stop Reagan’s terrorism against Libya!
Published Oct 12, 2008 7:56 PM
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
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
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
Today, Libyan families rendered homeless by the U.S. attack are camping out in
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
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
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