Monday, March 14

Optical Illusion, Part 1

With Moammar Gadhafi's easy rout of the rebels from Ras Lanouf and Brega it is now patently clear that from the first days of the unrest in Libya he played the fool; he did so long enough to lull the rebels, disloyal troops, and "international community" into overconfidence so they would reveal their intentions and tactics.

It was a classic feint, brilliantly executed by a military man who knows exactly what it takes to mount a successful coup and maintain power.

By the time the Arab League convened an emergency meeting on Saturday to half-heartedly add their weight to calls for a no-fly zone over Libya it was obvious that Gadhafi had never needed air support to disperse the rebels.

On Sunday (Ret.) Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney gave the old fox a back-handed compliment when he stonily told FNC's Geraldo Rivera that he'd go out on a limb with a prediction: Gadhafi wouldn't pull a Montgomery by waiting to reinforce his supply lines; instead he'd forge on to quickly retake Benghazi.

Thinking hard and fast, Geraldo ventured, "You're saying he'll pull a Patton."

Right, replied the general.

But here is a mystery: The eastern part of Libya had never wanted Gadhafi's rule yet spent decades enduring it just because they knew Gadhafi was a formidable opponent who was expert at crushing rebellion. What, then, possessed the residents of Benghazi, the locus of anti-Gadhafi sentiment in eastern Libya, to embark on a rebellion formed of a motley collection of army deserters, and of civilians whose knowledge of military maneuvers was pretty much limited to firing automatic weapons?

While I'm in a questioning mood: And what possessed supposedly well-informed political leaders in the USA and around the world to publicly encourage a rebellion that reason told didn't stand a chance of succeeding without a full-scale foreign military intervention?

I can think of one answer that would cover both questions, which I'll discuss in the next post.

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