Gaddafi is Dead. Now What?
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
First allow me to establish that I am glad the world is rid of Gaddafi. He was a tyrant and a terrorist. “Sic Semper Tyrannis!”
It cost Americans a little over a billion dollars to send Mr. Gaddafi to his eternal reward where, no doubt, he is stoking the furnaces as we write.
But this is not the end. In fact, it is the “beginning of the beginning.”
I have never been totally satisfied that a democratic form of government will actually work in an Islamic country such as Libya, or Iraq or even Afghanistan, for that matter. They are tribal nations. Even their religion has at least two separate factions, Sunni and Shiite. Unlike Baptists and Methodists – they don’t seem to be particularly fond of each other.
There are a number of folks complaining that the US is taking entirely too much credit for ridding the world of Gaddafi. Frankly, when one considers that Obama decided to “lead from the rear” on this operation it does leave a distinct unpleasant taste in my mouth.
However, we did learn it was a US Predator drone that attacked the Gaddafi convoy accompanied by a French warplane. And even though it was a NATO Operation, it IS interesting to note that US taxpayers foot the bill for some eighty percent of NATO’s budget. And, believe me when I declare that I am not trying to excuse Obama’s crowing about the US involvement in the Libyan operation to lend assistance to the Libyan rebels in their now successful, overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.
The British and the French, I believe, should be getting a huge amount of praise and credit for their tireless efforts to bring about Gaddafi’s overthrow and eventual death. My observation is that they are getting short shrift in the American media for their exemplary military effort, which, no doubt, saved the lives of many Libyan civilians as well as Libyan rebel fighters.
I tend to agree with a number of US Congressman and Senators that the Libyan operation could have been over much sooner had Obama released the full force of American military might on Gaddafi’s forces, thereby saving many more lives of innocent Libyans and bringing the conflict to a satisfactory conclusion much sooner with less casualties and deaths.
So now, as the dust begins to settle, we are beginning to see that we have a nation, essentially destroyed, and having never experienced Democracy clearly have no idea what to do in the weeks and months ahead.
Will the new Libya finally settle for the suffocation that will result if they choose to become an Islamic state, or, will they take the plunge and make an honest attempt at the establishment of a truly democratic government of some form for their new fledgling nation? The latter will be the most difficult, no doubt.
Libya has 140 tribes. And every one of them will be seeking a share of influence in the new government. How, exactly can that ever happen?
Libya has absolutely no experience with democracy. They are used to kings and dictators and strongmen. A transition to some form of democratic government will be a wild and wooly experience. It is going to cost the US a lot more money if we take it upon ourselves to go nation building again. Frankly, Americans have had their fill of nation building in Islamic countries where the governments appear to corrupting the new government faster than the US can build it.
Many Americans feel certain that both Iraq and Afghanistan will quickly abandon democracy and revert back to some sort of dictatorship with another strongman in charge in order to pacify all the tribes. Chances are very strong that Libya will do exactly that.
If that happens Europe will again be at the mercy of the Libyan government for the light sweet crude oil they prefer and that Libya has in abundance.
Now that practically every Libyan is armed, suppose they decide they actually liked their little war and make an effort to continue it within Libya or a neighboring country?
How do we get their guns back? We never will get all of them and I’d be surprised if we go anywhere near 50% of them back under lock and key in our armories.
These are extremely dangerous times in Libya. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of American money to prop up some sort of democratic government … if ever. America will have one chance to get it right.
J. D. Longstreet