Yet there has been great progress in the last few days. More roads and shops are opening, and Tripoli now feels reasonably safe. The biggest menace comes not from Qaddafi militias but from rebels firing automatic weapons into the air in celebration.
Most strikingly, there has been almost no looting, and little apparent retaliation against the families of loyalists to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. People have grabbed grenade-launchers from arsenals, but they haven’t helped themselves to private shops or homes (with rare exceptions, such as the homes of the Qaddafi family).
Pro-Americanism now is ubiquitous. I was particularly moved by a rebel soldier near Zuwarah in the west who asked me if New York City was safe. When I looked puzzled, he explained: “Irene. The hurricane.” And he asked how he could help.