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Jon Stewart Tries To Trap Don Rumsfeld By Showing How Smart He Is And Fails Miserably | Main | Incivility Watch
February 24, 2011

Reports: Most of Libya Under Rebel Control; Rebels Plan To Storm Tripoli

NATO says it won't intervene. I don't think it would come down to that. (But I do object to what is supposedly an alliance for freedom announcing, for no particularly good reason, that it won't even consider acting to rid the world of a tyrant.)

But Qaddafy doesn't seem to have much of a reign left.

And dictators who do not go quietly often get dead. That would be a nice thing.

The popular uprising against Moammar Kadafi expanded into an oil-rich area of western Libya long considered one of his strongholds, leaving the long-time leader increasingly isolated and in danger of encirclement as he fights for survival.

Calm was returning to a stretch of eastern Libya seized by the opposition. Residents were restoring basic services in the country's second-largest city, Benghazi, and setting up informal governing structures.

"The uprising is over. Eastern Libya has all fallen from Kadafi's power," said Ashraf Sadaga, who helps oversee a mosque in the coastal city of Derna. At a rally there, one young man held a sign addressing Kadafi: "The people have dug your grave," it said.

But reports painted a grim picture of western Libya. Terrified residents of the capital, Tripoli, said pro-government militias rampaged through some residential areas, firing automatic weapons from pickup trucks and Land Cruisers.

The fall of Misurata, Libya's third-largest city and located little more than 100 miles east of Tripoli, as well as a smaller town in the far west meant that the rebellion inspired by revolts in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt now spans nearly the length of the country.

And they're planning the last assault.

Libya's antiregime forces promised to mount an offensive Thursday against the capital, Tripoli, as leader Moammar Gadhafi accused his opponents of being under the sway of al Qaeda.

Speaking by telephone to state television, the increasingly isolated leader directed his 23-minute address to citizens of al-Zawiya, an industrial town just 30 miles west of Tripoli where gun battles raged Thursday.

"What is this farce? You in al-Zawiya turn to [Osama] bin Laden?" he said. "He brainwashed your sons."

Qadaffy keeps saying the rebels are under the sway of Al Qaeda -- with apparently good reason. This is a case where one terrorist bastard is opposed by even greater terrorist monsters, and Al Qaeda is poised to reap the benefits of Qadaffy's downfall.

For example, from the first article linked:

Conditions were far calmer in eastern cities that already have fallen to the opposition, such as Derna, a coastal community of 100,000 people long considered a citadel of conservative Islam and a hotbed of anti-Kadafi sentiment.

But we're hardly going to help Qadaffy. I still have some optimism about all of this.

I do not believe it is "poverty" that is the "root cause of terrorism." I think it is more likely a combination of:

1. The idleness of non-working men who can do nothing at all in the world except sip tea in cafes all day and reassure each other about their supposed manfulness by concocting conspiracies about Jews and Westerners keeping them down (and then beat their wives at night)

2. A powerlessness over their own fates which translates into a naive, retarded (I use the term in the old, genuine sense) view of how the world works, in which childish fantasias dominate the "intellectual" meme-scape

3. The culture's utter failure in virtually any endeavor except militant, violent Islamism, which therefore makes militant, violent Islamism seem "authentic" in the same way drug-gangsters seem like romantic and accomplished figures to poor inner-city blacks and Hispanics who can't even imagine an alternative culturally "authentic" paradigm of success

And so on. These people are divorced from the real world, real world sweat and real world failure and real world success, too. It could just be that after a period of time the fantasias of conspiratorial, destructive, useless Islamism will give way to a harder and more realistic view of the world.

If people feel they have no connection to the ruling class, and therefore no hand in the shaping of their own lives, they wind up indulging in silly-bordering-on-lunatic conspiracy theories. (Again, see inner city blacks, who believe in a welter of quite-ludicrous conspiracy theories in which they are always, ultimately, the Hero of the story, in as much as the main character who is made to suffer is the Hero. If the Hero weren't incredibly important, surely no vast conspiracy would gather around him to keep him down.)

After a period of some truly awful years, it just could be that a culture forced to take responsibility for itself and its own failures will in fact become more responsible.

Failure and futility are great catalysts for sociopathy. It is no coincidence that our prisons are full of the ugly and stupid, undisciplined and unwanted, talentless and aimless. A culture which has produced little but failure and futility will produce sociopathy as its chief export crop.

I don't know if democracy* -- and real score-keeping of wins and losses -- can save this culture but I suppose anything's worth a try.

* I know people always say that it's the republic part that's more important in the "democratic republic" model of self-governance, and I agree, but I think the "republic" part is a bit of an advanced concept for this stunted culture.

Ideally we'd have a democratic republic here, but the words "ideally" and "Islam" really do not fit comfortably in the same sentence.

It is due to this tension (between a republic and a democracy) that people had mixed feelings about Mubarak -- he was anti-democratic, but in all likelihood he'll prove to have been more of a republican than the successor regime, which will probably practice absolute democracy in the sense that if 51% of the public votes to murder the other 49%, well, we took a vote, didn't we?

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posted by Ace at 02:52 PM

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