On this day in 1986 American planes bombed the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The May Socialist Standard of that year carried the following condemnatory statement.
The callous incursion of US military might on Libya cannot be justified on the pretext of securing a better and safer world than the cowardly bombings by covert agents. Terrorism is no less terrorism when it is executed by the state and dressed up in the hideous morality of nationalism.
The Socialist Party condemns without hesitation the actions of the Reagan government and the assistance given to it by the British government, whilst warning our fellow workers not to be beguiled into an unwarranted sympathy for the Gadaffy regime that such actions may prompt. The conflict of interests that is involved here is not one in which workers anywhere have a stake. The background against which this latest tragedy is played out is that of a global system of economic competition. It is a system rife with conflict in which war is endemic - the brutal expression of its insane logic - notwithstanding that wars are fought by and large by those who have nothing to gain and quite possibly everything to lose.
The Socialist Party points out firmly that a free society can never be fashioned by coercion. Conversely, armed might can never be the agent of liberation in any real sense of the word. The attack on Libya can only foster a greater insecurity, a more insidious erosion of what limited freedoms there are as a result of the tightening spiral of tit-for-tat reprisals it will inevitably provoke. Behind all the cant and hypocrisy it represents nothing more than the latest addition to the bloodstained chronicle of capitalist butchery.