The NATO air war against Libya, which officials are still crowing about as a “flawless” sort of victory, is coming under renewed scrutiny this weekend after the New York Times investigation into claims of civilian casualties confirmed at least 40 deaths of civilians attributed to NATO air strikes.
The 40 figure is the bare minimum, of course, and all that the cursory examination was able to confirm. The paper reports that the figure could be “perhaps more than 70” when all is said and done.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen only last month praised the war, bragging that there were no “confirmed civilian casualties.” The reason there was no confirmation, it seems, is that NATO didn’t really look.
And indeed, civilian casualties are particularly damaging in this case, because the war was conducted under a UN Mandate to “protect civilians.” The fact that this “protection” included killing a large number of Libyan women and children by bombing their homes in the middle of the night. It will only add to the evidence that NATO dramatically overstepped the authorization of a no-fly zone by conducting a full scale air war.