22 August 2011

The Libyans have won

After months of stalemate and slow progress, the final act has come in Libya with startling speed. Less than two days after the rebels began their assault on Tripoli, they already control most of the city; much of Qaddhafi's military seems to have melted away once it became clear the regime was finished, and only pockets of resistance remain, though there is still heavy fighting going on to overcome these. We don't know whether or not Qaddhafi will soon be found, alive or dead, but it no longer matters much to the big picture. His 42-year (!) rule over Libya has ended.

Next will come the slow, grinding political work of designing a new government. The rebels' leadership, the National Transitional Council, has already announced plans to move from Benghazi to Tripoli to start the process.

For the West, whose intervention helped bring the victory about, it means a clear-cut end to military action in Libya, successfully concluded. This may prove difficult to parse for today's pundits who are used to thinking about military conflict in terms of "exit strategy", not winning (just imagine if we'd gone into World War II with that attitude).

In the US, it will be interesting to watch the spin from Obama's enemies both on the right and on the extreme left. For the latter, every overseas military intervention is automatically an "illegal war" and a "quagmire", from which the US must extricate itself as quickly as possible, while any talk of winning is to be dismissed with a cynical smirk. For the far right, well, I've pretty much given up trying to understand their stance on this, and I'm not sure they even have one beyond "Anything Obama does must, somehow, be wrong". For both, it's been Obama's war -- never mind that the Libyan rebels have done the actual ground fighting (and dying), and that even the Western intervention was much more a French and British project than an American one.

They'll seize upon every misstep by the rebels (and there will be some -- there always are) and upon every problem and obstacle that arises as the new government takes shape. They'll clutch at every straw to paint the intervention as a failure and a mistake.

But the reality is clear. It will soon be over, we've won, and more importantly, the Libyans have won.


Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Great news but I'm afraid your right about the extreme left. With them, it's not even a case of "is the glass half empty or half full." It is a case of "the glass is always empty."

22 August, 2011 05:34  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I was excited myself when I heard this one and seen us as a winner too for sure in a short but needed time frame ... in the sense that I hope this mean's that we wont have to spend million's to come on more bomb's and such, or reconstruction I hope too ... at least a big reduction in all the cost's that we have to borrow from our Chinese friend's or whoever, and pay back with interest ... I hope to see Afghanistan next, since my neice is fighting in that one, US Army ... she is hoping to possibly get a college education when and if she get's out and back to America out of the government on this, which is why she enlisted. I have another neice stationed in Germany, but it wouldnt suprise me if she get's called up next.

22 August, 2011 08:37  
Anonymous Chris said...

Here, here! A balanced, smart analysis.

22 August, 2011 13:18  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Spot on about how the far left and right will react.

I wonder now, the far rightie blogs have been calling the Libyan war "Obama's war."

Will they now call it--if all continues to go well--"Obama's victory?"

Of course not, as Infidel753, so aptly put it.

22 August, 2011 13:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: It's sad when people get so invested in failure that success becomes a problem.

RC: I doubt we've been spending much on Libya -- it's been mostly a French-British intervention. On the other hand, Libya has plenty of oil, and unlike Iraq it has a small population. It should be able to pay for its own reconstruction.

Chris: Thanks (have a beer).

SK: I was about to reply by joking that the far right will give Bush the credit -- but then I remembered that some of them actually have claimed that the whole Arab rebellion was somehow inspired by the Iraq invasion. They're beyond parody.

22 August, 2011 16:21  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

You watch... by the time the 2012 elections roll around, a significant percentage of the Republican base will believe that Bush got Osama Bin Laden.

22 August, 2011 17:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

22 August, 2011 18:16  
Blogger okjimm said...

Libya...? Well, all's well that ends well.... now perhaps the USA can help liberate Wisconsin.

23 August, 2011 07:20  
Anonymous NickM said...

Gadaffi (I have given up trying to figure the spelling) is now reduced to broadcasting audio via Syria. Syria eh! It's on ice for me until Assad is tumbled.

26 August, 2011 01:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RtS: I already recall seeing a blog post claiming that bin Laden had actually been dead for years and Obama just trotted out the news at a politically-convenient moment (why now and not October 2012?).

Anon: Thanks.

Okjimm: We're trying -- I donated to the recall effort.

NickM: One by one.....

26 August, 2011 04:44  

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