Libya: Daffy Qaddafi dead? And the country’s future?

October 20, 2011

Let’s hope so; I can think of few people more deserving of a trip to Hell. What’s certain, though, is that his “hometown” and last major focus of resistance, Sirte, has fallen:

There are unconfirmed reports deposed Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi has died of wounds sustained when fighters captured his home town of Sirte.

If true, his death, which came swiftly after his capture is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.

“He (Gaddafi) was hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said.

“There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

Mr Mlegta said earlier Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

There was no independent confirmation of his remarks and NATO said it was still checking on the reports, which could take some time to confirm.

“We are checking and assessing the situation,” a NATO official said.

“Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. If it is true, then this is truly a historic day for the people of Libya.”

I’ll say it would be, if true. That sharp-dressing psychopath made the lives of most Libyans a nightmare for over 40 years and was responsible for the murder of Americans and other nationals in acts of terror. In the 70s he was a backer of the Irish Republican Army, as well as the Italian Red Brigades, the Basque ETA, and Peru’s Sendero Luminoso. While it became easy to laugh at his public buffoonery (and here’s the sad truth about his female bodyguards), let’s keep in mind that Muammar Qaddafi was a seriously evil, vile human being. If he has indeed met the fate of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Benito Mussolini, let no tears be shed for him.

But what of Libya’s future? This morning I caught a few minutes of Fox and Friends and watched Gretchen Carlson interview a reporter from the New York Times (sorry, can’t find a video link) and almost laughed at the man’s naivete: the Libyans were fighting for “democracy” and the “rule of law,” and that they “want the same things we do.” It was the starry-eyed “they’re just like us” argument that’s almost inevitably lead to cries of “what went wrong” a few years later.

“Just like us?” Did this reporter know of the Libyan Jew who went home to rebuild a synagogue in his old neighborhood, only to be told to flee for his life? Or how the rebels would scrawl the Star of David over pictures of Qaddafi, implying he was a Jew and thus an enemy to the Muslims?

“Just like us,” only without the religious tolerance part.

Did the reporter recall that eastern Libya, the Benghazi area, where the rebels originated, was also a hotbed for Al Qaeda recruiting? Or that at least some influential rebel commanders and their soldiers have fought for Al Qaeda? I think the “rule of law” they’re fighting for may mean something a bit different to them then it does in a Western liberal democracy. (hint: Sharia)

“Just like us,” only without that equality under the law part.

I’m not saying all the Libyan rebels are Islamists nor that there are no liberals among them; they’re not and there are. Libya may yet become a recognizable constitutional democracy instead of another Islamic hellhole. Let’s hope so, for the world would be a better place. But no one can predict a revolution’s future, and I’m not nearly so sanguine and indeed positively chirpy about Libya’s as a “sophisticated” reporter from the nation’s fish-wrap of record.

They’re not “just like us.”

RELATED: Some great photos at The Atlantic on the fall of Sirte. (via Stephen F. Hayes)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: What we did right in Afghanistan and Iraq, and my qualified disagreement

September 16, 2011

Bill Whittle returns with another episode of Afterburner, this time with his own retrospective on the ten years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. In it, he looks at what has happened since in Afghanistan, Iraq, and America and looks at the things we got right, a needed corrective to the constant drumbeat of failure played for us by the MSM:

I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with Bill. We did indeed liberate over 60,000,000 people from two of the worst tyrannies on Earth, and we did indeed maul Al Qaeda, killing thousands of fighters who might otherwise have found there way to America or Europe. The removal of Saddam’s regime ended a serious strategic threat that would surely have returned once the sanctions regime had finally failed (which it was already doing).  And Iraq has a realistic chance to establish the first genuine Arab representative, constitutional democracy, though Obama is endangering that by pulling out too fast and too soon. And we have been very successful at preventing further catastrophic attacks against us.

None of that is to be dismissed lightly.

But I can’t wholly agree with Whittle. While he’s right that the fall of Saddam and it’s replacement with a democratic regime (albeit flawed) inspired the recent Arab revolts against dictators, much as the French Revolution inspired the liberal rebellions in Europe in 1848, I’m much less sanguine than Bill about the prospects for those revolts. Unlike mid-19th century Europe, the Arab “liberal class” (1) is small and likely to be overwhelmed by Islamist factions, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied Salafi groups in Egypt or the Islamists among the rebels in Libya. I can more easily see this “Arab Spring” turning into a bloody winter.

And while I too take great joy from the killing of bin Laden, unlike Bill (and assuming I’m not misunderstanding him), I don’t see this as the end of anything, except perhaps the end of the beginning. Al Qaeda “central” may be broken and reduced in influence, but it has dangerous franchises around the globe. And beyond Al Qaeda, the broader jihadist movement, one of the keystones of which is Iran, remains a menacing, perhaps even existential threat.

So, yes, while we’ve ravaged Al Qaeda, the struggle with the problem of jihad and the conflict created by the matter/antimatter incompatibility of Western liberalism and Islamic Sharia remain.

RELATED: Commentary’s Abe Greenwald on “What We Got Right in the War on Terror.”

Footnote:
(1) “Liberal” as in the constitutionalist, limited government and free market philosophy that evolved from the 17th-19th centuries, not the progressivism that hijacked the word “liberal” in the 1930s.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Military revolt in Cuba?

February 8, 2007

Small-scale, but then so was the attack on the Moncada barracks that eventually lead to the Castro’s overthrow of Bautista. Publius Pundit has the story.

 

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Good point

July 18, 2006

From Roger L. Simon, on "Starbucks Revolutionaries:"

I have sympathy for what the Lebanese people are going through as expressed by some Lebanese bloggers. I would hate to be under fire and honestly have no idea how I would react. I have been courageous at certain moments of my life and a complete coward at others.

But I am troubled by these complaints in a larger sense because I think they are based on the fallacious assumption that the Lebanese had a real democratic revolution. They didn’t. They had a drastically unfinished one on which they had punked out in big ways. I know "Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!" was a great rallying cry and the Cedar Revolution had plenty of democracy "babes;" but much as I love babes, that’s only a small part of the story. Unfortunately some Lebanese (and their supporters) think revolution is all latté, chic chatter and art galleries. Toward that end they made a deliberate/unconscious entente cordiale with that cult of religious psychokillers known as Hezbollah: If you guys leave us alone and go live by the southern border, we will pretend you don’t exist. You can do whatever you want in your own neighborhood. We can do what we want in ours. That’s great in the short run…. you might get that kitchen and bathroom finished in the condo… but murder, as we now can see, in the not-so-very long run.

Read the whole thing.