Students protest US involvement in Libya

Caitlin Restelli

Kent State students walked across campus with cardboard signs letting people know their stance on the U.S. intervention in Libya Thursday.

One sign read “Iraq: $784 billion, Afghanistan: $321 billion, Libya: $608 billion, ‘Change’: Priceless.” Another sign read “always anti-war” with stickers saying “Libertarian: More freedom, less government.”

“We should be defending ourselves and nothing else,” said Robert Sustersic, Kent Student Liberty Alliance member . “We’re not defending (Libya), we’re facilitating a change in government that has nothing to do with us, other than resources.”

The group of students involved in the demonstration all held the same belief: The U.S. should not be involved in Libya.

Josh Stacher, assistant political science professor, said Libya is split in half into the East and West. Benghazi, a city in the east, feels alienated and not well represented.

The identity conflict between the two parts of the country make this situation “much more repressive than what we saw in Egypt or what we saw in Tunisia,” he said.

Since the rebellions occurred, the U.S., along with other European nations, began attacking the country because Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s leader, began killing off his civilians.

Stacher said the military aggression toward Libya has been defined on a humanitarian basis, but he does not believe that.

“There are lots of nasty humanitarian problems around the world,” Stacher said. “So by choosing to intervene in one humanitarian disaster as opposed to another; what that does is not speak to morality, it speaks to a political choice being made.”

The U.S. has not sent troops onto Libya’s grounds but does have CIA operatives, Stacher said.

“We don’t have boots on the ground but [we] definitely have sneakers,” Stacher said. “We’re really kind of playing around the edges of the sort of debate. I don’t know if we really want to get in to this game of semantics because it misses the wider picture that a third imperial war has been started.”

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Throughout the afternoon, KSLA members and others walked the campus twice and ended standing on the corner of Main and Franklin Street in downtown Kent.

Reactions from students varied, but Corey Moore, KSLA vice president, said he feels most students support the intervention.

“I find it kind of ironic,” said Moore, freshman electronic media major. “Because back when Bush was president everyone was against these wars.”

Moore said that because Obama is the one initiating the intervention, people are supporting it.

Maggie Dickerson, KSLA president, said the situation does not directly affect the U.S. and feels there are other motives, such as the oil in the country.

“While it’s a good thing to try to help people out, we just can’t do that,” said Dickerson, senior philosophy major. “We have two other wars going on, and we just don’t have the money to drop bombs on another country.”

Since the uprisings in Libya have occurred, the U.S. has decided to involve itself with the country.

Stacher said he thinks the main reason for intervening was because the U.S. knew Libya was going to eventually fall, which could lead to a failed state and extremist groups.

“I think that being brought to bear in a country that is right across the Mediterranean from Italy in southern Europe was just too much for the Western powers to deal with or think about,” Stacher said.

Moore said he is sick of the wars, sick of the death and sick of all the money that is being spent.

“We’re going literally bankrupt and morally bankrupt,” Moore said. “If you continue to kill people that means you are not a moral nation anymore.”

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].