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Sic semper tyrannis

Gaddafi summarily executed by Libyan rebels… the world is a better place today than it was yesterday.

Lets hope this puts the right idea in people’s heads elsewhere.

56 comments to Sic semper tyrannis

  • I’m glad the Libyan people removed a tyrant. I hope they take the opportunity to embrace freedom.

    My only wariness is that Ghaddafy was cooperating with the Bush administration, and I’m worried that this will discourage other dictators from cooperating on reform at all. (It’s not a huge worry — it’s a longshot to start with — but still a worry.)

    The solution, of course, would be to go all in and start toppling all the dictators.

  • James Waterton

    Hear hear. I’ve seen many comments fretting over what comes next. Perhaps his replacement will be worse. Perhaps. In fact, given the nature (and form) of the region, I’d say there’s an even chance of that coming to pass.

    Still, how can you not be gleeful to see this guy finally thrown up against the wall after all these years? You’d be heartless if this news didn’t give you a warm glow for the day, I reckon. Excellent stuff.

  • Rich Rostrom

    At this point, the anti-Gaddafi forces are the recognized government, not “rebels”. They hold the capital and all but a few small parts of the country; they receive foreign emissaries such as US Sec of State Clinton.

    As for the demise of Gaddafi – my only dissatisfaction is that someone else won the Dead Pool.

  • MattP

    I’m not at all sad Gaddafi’s dead, but on the other hand I’m not at all gleeful.

    So, color me heartless I suppose. But I believe events in Libya as well as the region will simply go downhill.

    So far, the only leaders to either be tried or killed in these rebellions have been those cooperating with the US. It would be a mistake to call Gaddaffi an ally, but more than once both Bush and Obama called him a partner in the war on terror. Then we helped overthrow him so he could be executed. I doubt the Egyptian military would have helped overthrow Mubarak, currently awaiting trial, had we not withdrawn our support.

    What did we do when the Iranian people rose up during the post-election Green Revolution? Worse than nothing. Not only did our miserable excuse for a president fail to even give them any sort of support, but at the time if you recall he was in a lather to congratulate Ahmadinejad for successfully stealing the election.

    I’m sure, when you add it all up, it will put an idea in some people’s heads. Just not what we might consider the right idea.

    That there is zero percentage in cooperating with the US. We’ll turn on you if befriend us. On the other hand, there’s nothing to worry about if you’re our enemy. We’re not just a toothless enemy, but as long as Obama’s at the helm we’ll fawn all over you.

    I think the idea we’ve collectively put into Al Assad’s head is that he has the green light to ramp up the slaughter of his own citizens. With Iran at his back, he’s got nothing to fear. And certainly the Syrian dictator our administration foolishly tried to paint as a “reformer” and for some insane reason tried to partner with to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians has no reason to cooperate with us.

    Unfortunately, foreign policy is the main policy area where the president can act with a free hand. And the president who is currently shaping that policy is relying entirely upon, as one astute observer noted, his “untutored tiers mondiste instincts.”

    Sorry. I just can’t paint a happy face on this. Again, I’m not sad Gaddafi’s dead. But given the track record in the region, I expect things to go from bad to worse.

    And I can give a specific description of what “worse” looks like. One of my concerns, over and above the fact we are simply providing groups like the Muslim Brotherhood with armies of their own, is that hardliners in the region, after observing our feckless performance, will be sufficiently emboldened to decide now’s the time for a major confrontation with Israel. I don’t know if it’ll be Erdogan in Turkey, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, some combination of those, or all of the above.

    If my concerns prove correct, it’ll make killing Gaddafi look like small beer. Very small beer.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I guess all those photos of Tony Blair shaking G’s hands in his tent, grinning like a fucking idiot, will now have to be scrubbed off the Blair photo album. I am sure it never happened.

  • James Waterton

    But I believe events in Libya as well as the region will simply go downhill.

    Well, you certainly aren’t the only one. However, I think it’s possible to view the shifting sands in the ME and much of North Africa with trepidation, whilst cheerfully greeting the news that the tyrant Gaddafi got what was coming to him.

    One down…

  • PeterT

    Lets hope this puts the right idea in people’s heads elsewhere

    Indeed, presidents and prime ministers everywhere beware.

  • Matt… the fact this event may prove unsettling for US (and UK) policy makers concerns me not one iota if the ‘war on terror’ involves cuddling up to more cooperative terrorists to fight less cooperatives ones.

    People in Libya now have a shot at something better and that is vastly more tangible than questionable international power politics and wars against verbs.

  • Lets hope this puts the right idea in people’s heads elsewhere.

    What? A bullet?

    There is no denying that Gdaffy-Duck deserved what he got for the way he treated his own people for more than 40-years.

    However, a summary execution, without even the pretence of a trial sticks in my throat somehow. Like many people, I would have preferred to see him in the dock, preferrably at the International Criminal Court in The Hague – but failing that a Libyan Tribunal in Tripoli would have sufficied.

    Seeing him just shot in the head like that doesn’t bode well for the future. Blood begets blood and all that.

  • Laird

    John Galt, what possible purpose would a trial have served? Is there any doubt as to his identity, or what he has done over the last 40+ years? A trial isn’t (or isn’t supposed to be, anyway) mere theater, and that’s all a Gadddafi trial would have been. His guilt has long been established.

    Personally, I would have a lot more problem with an entity like the International Criminal Court claiming jurisdiction over him than with his own people meting out their own rough justice. Where is the legitimacy of that body? To the extent he committed international crimes, perhaps, but certainly not for actions within his own country. Blood may indeed beget blood, but the ICC model is, in my opinion, far more dangerous to the world at large. Do you really want bureaucrats in the Netherlands sitting in judgment of any national leader? That’s a can of worms you surely don’t want to open.

    I agree with MattP. Gadaffi’s death is surely a good thing, but what follows is the real concern. We’ll all just have to wait and see.

  • @Laird:

    “What possible purpose would a trial have served?”

    Well, pretty much the same as it did for Saddam Hussein. It presented the facts in a clear and non-judgemental way (as far as that was possible) and allowed him to defend himself (again as far as that was possible).

    In the end the net result was the same, the difference being that he was found guilt of his crimes by due process of law and sentenced to death by judicial authority.

    I would have preferred the same for Gadaffi as it might have allowed those who have unanswered questions about things like Lockerbie or his involvement in the sale of arms to the IRA to have some closure.

    Even if the end result was the same (i.e. sentenced to death for his crimes), there is a value in the due process of law regardless of all else.

    Summary execution may resolve the bloodlust of those involved in the actual killing, but many people would have preferred justice rather than simple murder.

  • Right on Laird, the ICC is a mess of power hungry transnational wusses, Gaddafi, like Mussolini, got what he deserved.

    One point, Gaddafi never completely gave up his WMD, he did give up the A.Q. Khan centrifuges, which from what I heard had never been unpacked, but he kept a stockpile of yellowcake, and he also had a small stockpile of mustard gas which was stored in the south somewhere and was the subject of a lot of NATO worry.

    Like many dictators the guy was good at quick maneuvers to keep power. While the West fooled itself that he had become respectable, it looks like he went back to his old habits pretty quickly. Look at the way Mugabe and Chavez stood with him.

  • John K

    I am really disappointed at the way that dictators who have been in power for decades, such as Saddam and Gaddafi, end up cowering in holes. What happened to the underground cities, the network of tunnels, the Blofeld-style escape pods? I suppose that they can never envisage the day that it all ends with a 9mm lobotomy, but I feel they have let down the mad dictator community somewhat. Oh, and don’t put your trust in a force of all girl bodyguards. It looks like they were washing their hair yesterday.

  • Law-abiding soul that I am, I’d probably have preferred a trial. A Libyan trial, not those tranzis in the ICC. Still, there you go, such an end is the occupational hazard of being a dictator. I’m so upset that I might just have to make myself another cup of coffee, as Heinlein had the narrator say of a summary execution in Glory Road.

    The thing I’m really enjoying, unmixed with any qualms at all, is the thought of what Assad, Mugabe, Chavez and, oh boy, Kim Jong-il are thinking right now.

  • John Galt, what possible purpose would a trial have served? Is there any doubt as to his identity, or what he has done over the last 40+ years? A trial isn’t (or isn’t supposed to be, anyway) mere theater, and that’s all a Gadddafi trial would have been. His guilt has long been established

    This sums up my views exactly.

  • Summarily executed? I guess you have missed the AJ videos – there are two of them, you may want to look them up, but make sure there are no children around. The man was beaten and kicked to a bloody pulp, while lying on the ground. It remains unclear whether he was shot before the events captured on that last video, but to me it does not make much difference.

    Did he deserve to die? Definitely. Did he deserve such a treatment? Personally I doubt anyone does, but what do I know. Should he had been given a trial first? Don’t know, but I tend to be with the skeptics on that. Given the way he died, is there any doubt in my mind as to what comes next? Unfortunately, not at all. Welcome to the Middle East.

  • MattP

    Perry, the odds of the people of Libya getting something better from the “democrats” who are no longer united in their opposition to Gadaffi and who will soon be fighting among themselves over the spoils are very small.

    They didn’t even get the deal we told them they were getting from us. NATO countries asked for and received a UN resolution (#1973) that established a no fly zone to protect civilians. No sooner did we have it in our hot little hands then did we exceed it when announced the mission was regime change.

    So, not only did we end up doing a poor job of protecting civilians when we shifted the mission, we’ll never get another UN mandate using the “responsibility to protect” line. Everybody sees through it now.

    So, will you still think it’s worth it when other dictators like Al-Assad in Syria act with a free hand, knowing that from here on out it’ll be much, much harder to get other countries on the Security Council to approve of intervention anywhere for ostensibly humanitarian reasons? Knowing, since we demonstrated the fact in Libya, that the humanitarian mission isn’t our real objective?

    I’d say there’s a little more than just inconveniencing US/UK policy makers involved here. For instance, if the Muslim parties win the November 21st election, as is the most probable scenario, and they review the Camp David Peace Accords as promised (a highly popular move as the vast majority of Egyptians want it revoked), how are you ever going to convince Israel that they can actually trade land for peace? They traded the entire Sinai desert with Egypt for peace. Now they’re finding out they’re only one revolution away, with any potential negotiating partner, from being played for fools.

    The “Arab Spring” as reported in the western press involves a lot of wishful thinking. It’s really just an Arab rebellion. And the people rebelling have only one model for governing; the one they lived under their whole lives.

    So, yes, the people of Libya have the chance for something “better.” If by that you mean a government that conforms more closely to their wishes, a very small chance exists and it’s likely to be taken away from them by more organized factions.

    But let’s say they peat the odds. Then what? I don’t recall who said it, but don’t expect me to congratulate you on the fact you are free to do what you wish, until I know what you wish to do when you are free to do it.

    Again, I’m not going to mourn Gaddafi. But, I certainly don’t expect things to get better in Libya simply because we aided those who killed the last dictator. And I expect we’re opening a Pandora’s box with our unthought-out interventions.

  • Again, I’m not going to mourn Gaddafi. But, I certainly don’t expect things to get better in Libya simply because we aided those who killed the last dictator. And I expect we’re opening a Pandora’s box with our unthought-out interventions.

    Your mourning or not is not that important compared to the fact there is no functional difference in your position to simply supporting the continuation of Gaddafi’s actions at home and abroad.

    Things might get worse, yes that is true. Or not. They could actually get better too. But by your logic no one should ever oppose tyrants because what comes after might be worse.

    Sorry, no sale.

  • what comes after might be worse

    No, what comes after will be at least as bad. I think that what Matt is saying is not that Qaddafy shouldn’t have been removed, but that it should have been done differently. Of course, I agree that that would be too much to ask of our “leaders”.

  • I think that what Matt is saying is not that Qaddafy shouldn’t have been removed, but that it should have been done differently.

    Like how? Drop the 82nd, 2 Para and the 2eme REP on Tripoli? And if so, why is that better than just dropping some well aimed bombs whilst letting most of the heavy lifting (i.e. all the casualties and suffering) be undertaken by Libyans taking care of a Libyan tyrant?

    Seems to me that the ‘light touch’ of this intervention, ie the opposite of the Iraq intervention (which is to say much more like the Balkan intervention from the air against Serbia whilst leaving the HV/HVO and Bosnians to do the real work themselves on the ground) was pretty much the perfect ‘solution’ to Gaddafi.

    As for what comes next, well unless the US, UK and France actually want to roll in and impose a government and then keep it in power at bayonet point, seems to me that the best way would be to step back and just let western (hell, and even Chinese) economic interests help the locals pick up the pieces.

  • I really don’t know and don’t care ‘how’ militarily. Politically, I think Matt’s comment explains pretty well how not to. He may be wrong, of course – but then I’d like to hear precisely why. I think you can rest assured, Perry, that no one here regrets Qaddafi being finally dead. Unfortunately, there are related issues that naturally arise from his death and the way it came about, and they really are worth a discussion, IMO. You are saying “we’ll just sit back and see what happens”, and I’m saying that we already know what will happen, and that if our “leaders” weren’t as useless as they are, it could possibly work out differently.

    BTW, militarily it may be like the Balkans, but politically (and culturally) it is anything but.

  • frak

    Alisa & Perry,

    Given the way he died, is there any doubt in my mind as to what comes next? Unfortunately, not at all. Welcome to the Middle East.

    Exactly. I’d only add, as the relative birth rates if different peoples/’cultures’ suggest: “welcome to the future”.

    As for what comes next, well unless the US, UK and France actually want to roll in and impose a government and then keep it in power at bayonet point

    Substitute law and order for government and make the endeavor profitable and I’d say yes, absolutely Most of Africa is in desperate need of colonialism and imperialism.

    BTW, militarily it may be like the Balkans, but politically (and culturally) it is anything but.

    Courtesy of the US State Department, which really ought to be known as the Great Balkanizer, since they create discord, disorder, and distrust. Well, come on, what would we need a Great Balkanizer for if law and order prevailed in the world? That’s rhetorical.

  • thefrollickingmole

    I’ve got a slightly different view.
    I think its bad that dictators are now faced with Hague courts and justice.

    Bear with me, I do have a point.

    It used to be dictators such as Idi Amin, when their time was up, robbed the treasury and scampered off to die of luxury in exile somewhere pleasant. It was bad justice, stunk to high heaven for the poor bastards who’d suffered at their hands….but.

    It left them an out other than to cling to power and double down on brutality.
    Assad, Khadafy, and half a dozen others know they wont have a dictators retirement, instead they face being hounded (victors justice and all that).

    Does imposing justice come at a huge cost? Its easy for countries not affected (except by having to endure the pompous Jeffery Robinson) to pretend international trials are “good”, but if it means a dictator clinging on past the point of no return, killing thousands more, is it worth it?

  • JackC

    “I am really disappointed at the way that dictators who have been in power for decades, such as Saddam and Gaddafi, end up cowering in holes.”

    Gadhafi was a psychotic, but I don’t know what you’re talking about. A number of his sons escaped across the border. Gadhafi, for his part, holed up in his home town and fought until the end “Alamo” style. Freak flag flying, and all.

    Murderer. Madman. But little sign he was a coward, that’s for sure.

    As for Libya as a whole, the place has plenty of room to fall yet. And given the state of its tribal (winners vs. losers), ethnic (Berbers vs. Arabs), and ideological politics (Islamists versus everyone), I suspect it will. I suspect that killing Qadhafi was the only thing keeping that bunch together. This isn’t even close to over.

  • MattP

    Perry, I couldn’t disagree more. The “light touch” as you call it is referred to “cheap and easy” here in the US.

    And we have another saying. You get what you pay for.

    Killing the dictator is the easy part. Now the real trouble starts. And only now, we’re about to find out who we’ve crawled in bed with.

    For someone who declares, and I believe you are sincere, you don’t want to cuddle up to more dictators, shouldn’t you be uncomfortable with that sequence of events?

    Ready! Fire! Aim!

    The problem is that any nascent, potentially somewhat decent democracy movement in North African, Middle Eastern, or South West Asian dictatorships is way out of it’s league when it finally gets to compete with the hard-line Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. Those organizations may have been outlawed. But they are at least organizations.

    Had we done a some “preparation of the battle field” I might see some chance of things getting better. We didn’t. That’s what happens when you use “the light touch.” I fully expect the more well organized elements of this revolution to wind up on top. Which currently are people I like no more than Gaddafi.

    I’d be interested in knowing the reasons why you think things might get better? Because don’t see any actual reasons. Just a pious hope and perhaps some blind luck.

  • Killing the dictator is the easy part. Now the real trouble starts. And only now, we’re about to find out who we’ve crawled in bed with.

    Well to state the screamingly obvious… the west was already in bed with Gaddafi, a murderous tyrant at home who had a history of attacking the west via terrorism. Lockerbie not enough to put him beyond the pale for you? His successor will have to work hard to be worse.

  • Well to state the screamingly obvious… the west was already in bed with Gaddafi, a murderous tyrant at home who had a history of attacking the west via terrorism. Lockerbie not enough to put him beyond the pale for you?

    Your point being what, exactly? We’ve already established that Qaddafi dead is good. Why don’t you actually address some of the points Matt made?

    His successor will have to work hard to be worse.

    And he will, because we gave him all the incentives to do so, including how we went about getting rid of his predecessor. And by ‘how’ I mean how we keep getting in bed with murderous tyrants, and then, when they suddenly stop serving our narrow political agendas, we get rid of them (and not others) under false pretenses.

  • Your point being what, exactly? We’ve already established that Qaddafi dead is good. Why don’t you actually address some of the points Matt made?

    My point being that if killing Gaddafi is good, then why worry that Gaddafi was killed? And as Gaddafi was a monster that the US and UK were pandering to, helping the process along that caused him to be killed makes the US/UK/France look a lot better than pandering to Gaddafi did, thus making it more, not less, likely that what comes after will be not just preferable to Libyans, but also preferable to us.

  • Perry, I think that I and others here reiterated several times that we are not worrying about him being killed, but rather about the circumstances surrounding his death, both historical and latest ones – as well as the implications thereof, both present and future.

    Pardon me if I don’t take seriously an opinion expressed by a random denizen of the ME as reported in your link. I think that as someone who’s in the habit of reading, and indeed admiring Michael Totten, you shouldn’t either.

    I would still love to see the specific points made my Matt by someone, whether in agreement or not.

  • Er, another try: I would still love to see the specific points made by Matt addressed by someone, whether in agreement or not.

  • I dont think the killing of G has put us ‘in bed’ with anyone… there isnt an anyone yet to get in bed with.

    While I do not usually condone the broadcast of torture and killing, in this one case, I think seeing Mo handled as he was, is a good message to all the world’s monsters. Sure, they will tighten their grips even more, but, the grip is already about as tight as it can be. If you are unfortunate enough to be living under one of these tyrants, well, it sucks to be you. And a good incentive to the rest of us not to let new ones gain power.

  • Jacob

    I think all ignore a possible good outcome in Libya. That would be a continuous struggle between the various tribes and factions there, with no strong central authority emerging. A genuine “minarchist” state, built not on an ideological basis, but resulting from the balance of power between the groups in Libya, or rather – the endless fighting among them.
    I think something along these lines exists now in Algeria. Algeria is not causing much mischief beyond it’s borders. If the same is to happen in Libya, I think that’s all we should wish for.

  • Yep, that would probably be the least bad outcome for most concerned, except for those unfortunates who get caught in the crossfire on the way to the market or back home.

  • I think all ignore a possible good outcome in Libya. That would be a continuous struggle between the various tribes and factions there, with no strong central authority emerging. A genuine “minarchist” state, built not on an ideological basis, but resulting from the balance of power between the groups in Libya

    Yeah, by no means a far fetched notion.

    I think something along these lines exists now in Algeria. Algeria is not causing much mischief beyond it’s borders. If the same is to happen in Libya, I think that’s all we should wish for. If the same is to happen in Libya, I think that’s all we should wish for.

    Speak for yourself. Heaven forbid they end up with a less repressive, more pluralistic (than before) place to live and that the ‘balance of power’ becomes exactly that… a balance where the various sections of Libyan society do not need to frequently shoot at each other, even if that notion makes you uneasy.

  • In Jacob’s model, as in Somalia, they are in fact quite frequently shooting at each other. Like I sad, not the worst possible scenario, except for those who cannot get their hands on weapons or even use them.

    BTW, that model is not minarchistic, but anarchistic – and not of the capitalist variety either.

  • Michael Grosh

    The question is: are 2 hours of torture and a quick death a bargain for 40 years of over the top lunacy (the 42 female virgin bodyguard being an especially nice touch)? Are there any would be dictators out there who would find that deal a bargain?
    Judging from the effectiveness of capital punishment stopping capital crimes in this country (less…well, intense torture, let’s say, but also less potential reward), hell the deal looks good even to me.

  • That’s not the point, Michael. The point is would you or anyone you know personally, or second-hand, would be willing to actually take part in such, er, procedure. And what does the answer say about the kind of culture you live in, as opposed to a culture such as the Libyan one.

  • MattP

    I’m compelled to point out that Jacob’s scenario of a “minarchist” state with no strong central authority is quite likely.

    It is also a vacuum. And in this day and age, there are quite a few people who’d be happy to fill it. As I’ve said earlier, I don’t like them any more than I liked Gaddafi.

    I hate being the wet blanket here. I just see no reason for optimism. If anybody else does, I’d love to hear those reasons.

    We’re all going to have to wait to see how things wash out following Libya’s national reconciliation process.

    If anyone’s unclear as to what amounts to reconciliation in North Africa and the ME, I suggest you google a video of Gaddafi’s final moments. It involves the waste of a lot of ammo and constant shouting of “Allahu Akhbar!”

    Again, while I wasn’t particularly bothered by what happened to Gaddafi, I wasn’t encouraged either.

    I can accept being wrong. Perry is telling me that I am. But nobody’s told me why.

    What reasons exist that say I’m wrong to expect things to, at best, crab sideways?

  • MattP

    That’s not the point, Michael. The point is would you or anyone you know personally, or second-hand, would be willing to actually take part in such, er, procedure. And what does the answer say about the kind of culture you live in, as opposed to a culture such as the Libyan one.

    Alisa, I’m sure I’m going to disappoint you, but I’d take part.

    Under a few conditions.

    I’d have to convinced the condemned was a continuing threat. Some people keep killing no matter what. A five year stretch in prison shouldn’t be a death sentence because your cellie is a doing life for his third murder and has nothing left to lose. Neither should taking a job as a prison guard.

    It’s a matter of self defense. On and individual basis, it applies when you’re surprised and you have no other alternatives. On a collective basis, you deliberate first, then decide you have no other alternative.

  • Matt: take part in what? Are you sure you understand what I am referring to?

  • Jacob

    “I think that’s all we should wish for.”

    I probably misspoke.
    What I meant is that this outcome (anarchism) is what we can realistically expect, and it’s not such a bad thing, compared to Ghaddafi and other regimes in the region.
    It has it’s drawbacks, obviously, as Alisa said.

    Of course, feel free to wish for a liberal, free, nice, peaceful and prosperous state. Be my guest.

    Breaking: the Libyan revolutionary council already announced today that sharia, Islamic religious law, would be the basis of the new republic.

  • Jacob

    Another correction:
    I expressed on several occasions my contempt for European military capabilities.
    Turns out that 26,000 sorties have been flown over Libya, more than 120 each and every day. Impressive.
    Probably 2/3 American, but sure, Europe participated. Kudos to Britain, France and Italy, no kudos for Germany.

  • MattP

    Maybe not. Please clarify.

    I took what you said as a protest against the death penalty.

  • What reasons exist that say I’m wrong to expect things to, at best, crab sideways?

    There is no evidence for anything yet. This could shake out in all sorts of ways and not all the plausible scenarios are bad.

  • Jacob

    I read somewhere an analysis that Lybia might break apart along ethnic lines into three parts – Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and a Berber country in the south.

    That’s more form the “not all the plausible scenarios are bad” – department.

  • Indeed. It is also a pity the US did not let Iraq fragment as well.

  • Laird

    “26,000 sorties have been flown over Libya” and you consider that impressive, Jacob? Maybe in terms of sheer numbers, but certainly not in effect. What were they all doing, sight-seeing? With that number of sorties actually accomplishing anything Gadaffi would have been deposed months ago.

    And I certainly hope that 2/3 were not American. We had no business being there in the first place, and I hope we didn’t waste that much money.

  • Jacob

    About 120 sorties per day for 8 months is impressive for me.
    9600 of the 26000 were attack missions.
    The rest probably surveillance, intelligence, EW, refueling, etc.

  • “26,000 sorties have been flown over Libya” and you consider that impressive, Jacob? Maybe in terms of sheer numbers, but certainly not in effect. What were they all doing, sight-seeing? With that number of sorties actually accomplishing anything Gadaffi would have been deposed months ago.

    I think this is quite wrong. The ‘heavy lifting’ was being done on the ground by the Libyans taking the casualties and actually occupying the ground and that is what governed the pace of this nasty little conflict.

    This was a real war over the fate of a whole nation and real wars cannot be won in the air, they are won on the ground. Thus the only way the war could have been over quickly would have been for western troops to have be committed… at least a a division slice or so of US, UK or French troops.

    And as that (quite rightly I might add) was not a realistic option… so giving the ad hoc rebels air support inevitably meant that Gaddafi was not going to vanish like the morning mist, it was going to take time… and that also meant that many sorties were going to be abortive given that with only a tiny handful of FAC on the ground and the political/military need to avoid bombing the wrong people, many aircraft returned with their weapons still on-board.

    Oh I read a while ago that more than half the combat sorties were UK or French but in spite of quite a bit of Googling, damned if I can find anything looking like a definitive source on that, which is a bit frustrating… I would be curious if anyone can find some reliable info on that. Certainly I was under the impression almost all the FACs on the ground were French and British SpecOps folk.

  • Matt: not at all, I have absolutely no problem with the death penalty – at least for someone like that character. My problem is with the way it was done (google the videos, with no kids around). I have the greatest respect for Perry and his opinions, but when he says ‘This could shake out in all sorts of ways and not all the plausible scenarios are bad’, I think that he is being wildly optimistic: people who are capable of taking part in something like that are not going to form any kind of society based on self restraint (without which there can be no ‘society’).

    BTW, I don’t think that any kind of trial could have been expected: the international system is a sad joke, and I doubt there is any institution in place in Libya which any one could trust. All that could and should have been done is Qaddafi having been shot, and his body promptly disposed of.

  • MattP

    Alisa, I like your ‘tude.

    That’s more form the “not all the plausible scenarios are bad” – department.

    As a practical matter, for the rest of the world, Libya’s been a non-factor for years.

    I can’t say I’ve been a an agnostic on the question of killing Gaddafi. I’ve been for it since the Reagan administration. It just became a question of priorities.

    The Duck of Death dropped off the radar a while back. Sure. He made life hell for his own people. But the world’s a big place.

    The NORKs will be eating bark and weeds by the end of next month, if they aren’t already.

    You know, I don’t think I’m heartless. Call me crazy. I’m more interested in keeping my eye on people who are dedicated to causing widescale mayhem. Some guy who bowed out a dozen or so years ago just doesn’t make the top of my list.

    It sucks to live in a lot of places. I feel bad for them. I couldn’t fix their problems if I had a dozen lifetimes.

  • It sucks to live in a lot of places. I feel bad for them. I couldn’t fix their problems if I had a dozen lifetimes.

    Totally understandable. But then that is rather how I feel about the possibility that Gaddafi’s death has inconvenienced US ‘national interests’, given that I really could not care less about any ‘national interests’. That is a shame, perhaps, but I don’t really care that much either as the inconvenience to the average American seem trivial to me compared to the benefits to the average Libyan.

  • MattP

    Sir,

    I honestly don’t see any US national interests at stake.

    Maybe I’m wrong.

    Enlighten me.

    As far as the Libyan people are concerned, maybe they’ll move up one or two levels from the basement of hell.

    As for myself, I just can’t see how I’m going to be inconvenienced. The last time the Libyans tried to inconvenience me, they sent a couple of Soviet-surplus Fitters my way. It was like swatting flys.

    Since then, they haven’t caused me any trouble.

  • As for myself, I just can’t see how I’m going to be inconvenienced. The last time the Libyans tried to inconvenience me, they sent a couple of Soviet-surplus Fitters my way. It was like swatting flys.

    You were personally inconvenienced by the Libyan government and then shot down some of their aircraft? Not sure I follow you.

    I agree that the death of Gaddafi will not much effect the average US person, as frankly the geopolitical antics of various nation-states tend not to most of the time… which was rather what I was sating at the start: worrying darkly about what comes next seems an odd thing to do as the benefit to Libyans of a world without Gaddafi vastly outweighs the trivial ‘risks’ to anyone else who is not in Libya.

    That was rather my point all along :-)

  • MattP

    It wasn’t really an inconvenience.I had to do something after lunch.

    Or maybe that wasn’t really the sequence of events.

    Believe it or not, it was a long time ago.

    A lot of stuff can happen on an aircraft carrier in 30+ years. Then there’s the rest of life.