Tuesday, August 23

Libya, NATO, and the Pottery Barn rule

John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor Show -- the best news analysis show on the planet -- writes today on his blog:
You break Tripoli

Tripoli is a tragic opera that illustrates how little we have learned since the catastrophes of Kabul and Baghdad.

My information is that NATO and the Transitional National Council at Benghazi have been negotiating with the Qadhafi family for some weeks about en exit with dignity and assurances.

Mustafa Jalil heads the TNC. Since the assassination of the rebel war chief Younes at the direction of the TNC some weeks ago, Jalil has not provided answers about why and how and who.

Now he double-crosses Q and launches the jihadist cells in Tripoli. They behave as expected: hysteria, gun-shooting, boasting, pointing weapons they'd just grabbed as if they were playing video games; no fire discipline, no organization at all, marauding enthusiasts. They even claimed that they had captured Q's number-one thug son, Saif al-Islam.

For twenty-four hours, the speculation in US media was that this is "the end of Q" and that POTUS Obama's peculiar "leading from behind" was a surprise victor. Now Saif al-Islam dashes into the camera at the hotel where the journalists are crowded and under siege -- and he makes a zesty argument that the rebel cells were lured into attacking in order to identify the turncoats. Laughter.

Am told that Qadhafi will now fight to martyrdom -- whether in Tripoli or to the South. The Obama administration's "leading from behind" will now stand a test: how long can it explain anarchy and call it progress toward democracy? Colin Powell's dictum: "You break it, you own it."
Batchelor away tonight, back on the air tomorrow night. See his blog for broadcast details. Stay tuned.

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