Video: Libya vs. Iraq

posted at 4:13 pm on March 25, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Jonah Goldberg, mordant robot theater on a slow Friday afternoon. It was posted to YouTube on March 22, the day before Howard Dean introduced America to the “Democratic wars are okay” school of foreign policy.

The most obvious difference between Libya and Iraq, needless to say, is who’s doing the dictator-toppling on the ground. At the moment, if this devastating report from McClatchy is accurate, it sounds like … no one is.

Rebel fighters who once vowed to seize Tripoli from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi instead have retreated from their forward positions to defend their homes, saying their rebel council isn’t leading them, they don’t trust their military commanders and their army is divided.

Days of interviews throughout Libya’s rebel-dominated eastern half provide a grim picture of the group whose side the U.S. and its coalition partners have taken in a fight whose goal, if unstated, is to drive Gadhafi from power after 42 years. The rebels hardly seem ready to take the lead…

“We don’t have an army,” said Lt. Saleh Ibrahim, a former restaurateur who is now supposed to be a rebel commander. “We have been betrayed by infiltrators on the frontline. And when Benghazi came under attack, our government fled to Egypt. We are not safe here. For me, at least I will defend my family.”…

At the 7th of April Army base here, a major rebel army headquarters, Ibrahim, 57, says any appearance of organization is illusory. He said he’s too embarrassed to invite reporters inside because, he said, he doesn’t want the world to see “all the rubbish we have.”…

“All the tanks here are for show only. We don’t have ammunition. We don’t have weapons. We don’t have anything,” he said, the exasperation evidence in his voice.

There’s much more at the link, all of it relentlessly dire. Admiral Gortney admitted to reporters today that Qaddafi’s ground troops are still a major threat, a full week’s worth of airstrikes notwithstanding, and there are cryptic reports in the last hour or so of Qaddafi having “promoted his entire army.” What that means isn’t clear — maybe it’s a simple case of a nut being nutty — but it could mean that he’s now pressing civilians in his territory into military service, either as gunmen or as human shields. As unlikely as it sounds, there do seem to be Libyans who are devoted to him, whose hearts would break if the Great Man ended up at the end of a rope. Quote from a Qaddafi opponent: “They’ve known no one else all their lives. They think he’s in their blood.”

As I’m writing this, an NPR correspondent is tweeting, “Our Pentagon source says Gaddafi still has the advantage, and the US is considering the possibility of arming opposition with RPGs.” So that’ll be the first phase of escalation. No surprise, given the report yesterday about State Department lawyers searching for loopholes in the UN resolution.


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