Libya is taking the first faltering steps towards living what most of us will consider a normal life. Beyond getting the basic essentials of life working again they have to figure out how to live in a daily world most of them have never experienced.
Gaddafi and/or his goons may yet launch one final spasm of violence, and despite assurances that his chemical weapons are secure that could include something more terrible than anything seen so far.
But it is over. There is not likely to be any Baghdad in part because there are no foreign troops to shoot at or blow up.
The time just past has been spent to what seems to be good use as far as planning for a new society. The National Transitional Council does not on the surface appear to be the Next Gang of Thugs seeking to hold power. The regional and global partners of the NTA look to have a serious intent to have this whole exercise turn out as a demonstration of the values expressed by the original Libyan protesters and the expressed values of modern liberal societal structures.
Unlike many of us, Libya has the opportunity to grow rapidly in wealth. The cash and revenue potential the country holds in hand combined with the will of the people to not just rebuild but remake their country bodes well for a positive outcome. As a small but wealthy nation, Libya has the ability and need to call in the resources of other nations to build its social and physical infrastructure.
This could be, and shows hopes to be, what Iraq could have been with similar foresight. The liberation of the social and financial prospects of a wealthy and capable people from the stifling presence of a mad dictator.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out, both Bush and Obama said exactly the same thing at the beginning of these two conflicts: Nobody wants to live like everyone lived under Saddam or Momar. And they were both right. (if anyone can find that video please post it here)
But one of those Presidents presided over an exercise that shows every sign of achieving the desired end. One of those Presidents, so far (after eight years), has not.
Cynicism and fear should not prevent us from reaching for chances to change the world for the better. The future will always remain untold and the success of today can always become the failure of tomorrow, but even failed attempts are more valuable and honorable than welcoming defeat.
The people of Libya have all my best wishes and highest praise. I hope for a day in the foreseeable future where we visit each other and share our cultures as communities of equally free individuals.