Libya, Then Syria

photo courtesy of Uncle Remus

From David Letterman’s Thursday Late Show Top 10 List:

Signs Muammar Qaddafi is hiding in your neighborhood:


Number 2) Neighbor keeps parking his tank on your Prius

Number 3) Monday: Quiet;  Tuesday: Quiet; Wednesday: Mobs of Pitchfork-Toting Libyan Rebels; Thursday: Quiet

Number 4) Navy SEALs requested permission to turn your kid’s tree house into a sniper’s nest

From the comments on

10. Paul  |  August 23rd, 2011 at 2:00 pm

So in the span of less than one decade the United States has installed pro American regimes in two of the biggest oil producing countries in the world. The Neo-Con goal after 9/11 was to turn the middle east into friendly liberal democratic regimes. Well so far, that is happening. It’s popular to write about the end of the american empire these days, however, I see a lot of wins.

By Gary Brecher

As far as I can tell, there were a few big reasons, starting with geography. They were close to Tripoli to start with. It’s a long drive along the Med from Benghazi to Tripoli, and a lot longer when you’re being shelled. Zawiya is a close to Tripoli, which is bad when Qaddafi sends his SP artillery over there but suddenly becomes a huge advantage when your guys dig in, hold on, use that NATO air support and start picking off his rocket batteries. Once you’ve done that, neutralized his advantage in heavy armor, it’s infantry on infantry and I haven’t seen one single sign that any of Qaddafi’s units had any stomach for close-in fighting. And that includes the “elite” Khamis Brigade, under the command of Son #29 or whatever. “Elite”! I think in terms of Qaddafi’s army, that means they showed up at roll call more often than not. Supposedly Qaddafi was using his Sahel mercs, the only real fighters in his forces, as MPs: They had orders to shoot anybody running from the front. That works, as long as you can keep the troops in their trenches, but bad troops can never fight once the line is breached, and they’ll run through fire to get away—they’ll be braver running away than they’d ever be attacking. One of the longterm weirdnesses of military history.

Libya: Obama’s Pyrrhic Victory
Our troubles have just begun
by Justin Raimondo
Aug. 24, 2011

Juan Cole derides the oil angle as a “conspiracy theory”: funny, he didn’t hesitate in blaming Greedy Capitalists for the plundering of Iraq’s oil, now did he? But of course the Libyan rebels are already threatening Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian oil concerns with expulsion from the country for not recognizing the new government in advance of their still-to-be-confirmed victory. Whom does Professor Cole expect will take their places?

This is “progressive” politics, Juan Cole-style: an international campaign to install crony capitalism by force. Cole once made the mistake of citing me as a source, and had to do penance by allowing some incredibly pretentious fellow professor to post a long screed on his blog explaining just why Justin Raimondo is a reactionary tool of the capitalist class and no one should ever listen to a thing he says. Look who’s the reactionary tool of the capitalist class now!

To see Professor Cole on Maddow’s war-fest – smirking as he exulted in the advance of the rebel army – was to see, super-imposed on the television screen, the ghostly figure of Bill Kristol smirking his way through an interview on Fox News, hailing the “great victory” of the “Iraqi people.”

Triumph in Libya? Not So Fast, NATO
by Ivan Eland
August 24, 2011

In fact, the Libyan conflict demonstrates that the U.S. is perfecting the technique of using ragtag local ground forces to fix enemy regime forces in place so that its air power can pummel them into sawdust. Previously, the United States had demonstrated this capability using the Kosovo Liberation Army to wrest Kosovo from Serbia in 1999 and using the Northern Alliance to take over Afghanistan after 9/11. The successful invasion of Iraq also was conducted using smaller quantities of forces on the ground — this time U.S. forces — in combination with the employment of massive U.S. air power. This model seems to promise winning brushfire wars without much cost in either blood or treasure.

Of course, the quagmires that Afghanistan and Iraq have become should indicate that, in many cases, this model is flawed. Taking over the country is one thing and ruling it is quite another. As with those two conflicts, if guerrilla war, tribal civil war, or general chaos results in Libya, the world will look to NATO to solve the problem. Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn Rule” — “if you break it, you’ve bought it” — is a truism in foreign policy circles but is nevertheless regularly ignored.

47 Replies to “Libya, Then Syria”

  1. Interesing comments by War Nerd about the Berbers. I don’t know if its quite as extreme as he says but I would agree Berbers are way more on the ball compared to Arabs. I can never figure out Arabs. It’s probably my westerrn culture perspective but Berbers just seem to get a lot more shit done. War Nerd could be right that a few Berbers took care of business in Libya while the Arabs ran around yelling.

  2. Note:

    When writing my last post I was reading with children around.

    General rule being dont open links by dave when others may be near. Its safer that way.

  3. So in the span of less than one decade the United States has installed pro American regimes in two of the biggest oil producing countries in the world.

  4. Bif, for US military personnel stationed in Morocco in the 1950’s the Berber penchant for violence was the stuff of “urban legend”.

  5. So in the span of less than one decade the United States has installed pro American regimes in two of the biggest oil producing countries in the world.

    mexico and canada?
    great[sic] britain and norway?

  6. I lived there for a couple of years – my father was stationed there with the US Air Force. The US didn’t stay all that long either IIRC.

  7. “General rule being dont open links by dave when others may be near. Its safer that way.”

    Or your wife is looking over your shoulder. Good rule, roach.

  8. Except it is not really a pitchfork. It is a spading fork, or digging fork. More dangerous than a pitchfork, IMO.

  9. Whatever that fork is I have one just like it but its old. I wounded a big rat with it in the wood shed a few years ago. What a battle that was. My grandma hit it with a frog poker, it squealed really pissed off, and I stabbed it with the pitch fork and slung it out into the snow, and it went down in a boot track. The dogs, Lucky and Old Blue, came running. They dove down in that boot track and took it from there.

  10. The absurdity of a “tactical” pitchfork is just an extreme example of all things “tactical”. I am a reasonably well-armed citizen and nary a picatinny rail to be found in the whole lot. Save for one heavy-barrel .308 bolt action long rifle with a scope, I prefer carbines with iron sights and short barreled 12-gauge shot guns with stagger loaded with 00 buck and slugs. Simple cost-effective low-maintenance self-defense.

    Oh wait, they all have black “tactical” low-maintenance all-weather resin or composite stocks. Dammit.

  11. Nice braid. Those have been my fashion statement this summer – pigtail braids. They go nicely with the bike helmet.

  12. Irene gave us a bath and did some serious damage here in central NY (and NE). A little taste of what’s ahead weather-wise?

  13. Yep

    Democracy Now had a weather scientest on last night (name excapes me) talking about how this should not be considered the normal.

  14. Actually the pigtail braids are just practical – my hair’s not yet long enough to wear as one braid of any real length, and it’s easier to work on the sides. I just do it by feel and don’t use a mirror. Getting the thirdings and length/volume consistent takes a bit of practice.

    Roach, she’s got a normal-size head imhcfno, it’s a matter of the camera angle and the way the rest of her is so tiny. She looks <5ft tall.

  15. “…my hair’s not yet long enough to wear as one braid of any real length…”

    Same with me. I keep hoping it will grow out but it never does.

  16. A story from the past, or future? Neil?

    Powderfinger ~

    Look out mama there’s a white boat coming up the river.
    Its got a big red beacon and a flag and a man on the rail.
    I think you’d better call John
    ‘Cause I don’t think their here to deliver the mail.
    And they’re less than a mile away
    I hope they didn’t come to stay
    Its got numbers on the side and a gun
    And its makin big waves.

    Daddy’s gone, my brother’s out hunting in the mountains
    Big John’s been drinking since the river took Emmy-Lou
    So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin’
    And I just turned twenty-two
    I was wonderin’ what to do
    And the closer they got, The more those feelings grew.

    Daddy’s rifle in my hand felt reassurin’
    He told me, red means run son, numbers add up to nothin’
    But when the first shot hit the dock I saw it comin’
    Raised my rifle to my eye
    Never stopped to wonder why.
    Then I saw black, and my face splashed in the sky.

    Shelter me from the powder and the finger
    Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
    Think of me as one you’d never figured
    Would fade away so young
    With so much left undone
    Remember me to my love, I know I’ll miss her.

  17. When I think of a white boat with a flag and a number on the side, and a deck gun, I think of the CG. Seems a no brainer. No wonder the guy got killed.

  18. In general, indeed, the wise in all ages have always said the same thing, and the fools, who at all times form the immense majority, have in their way too acted alike, and done just the opposite; and so it will continue. For, as Voltaire says, we shall leave this world as foolish and as wicked as we found it on our arrival .

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