Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Winding Down in Libya

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.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    Another unacknowledged foreign policy coup for Hillary and Obama:

    While the international community and United States will need to support Libya going forward, whatever happens, the revolution belongs to the Libyan people. It will be their success or their failure. The United States, in contrast to Iraq, does not own Libya.

    P J Crowley – Libya Intervention’s Proves Obama Right Daily Beast 27 Aug 11

  2. HappyinVT

    I believe this makes the third time.  Apparently he has already been buried as well so unless he pulls a Saif move and pops up in Tripoli we may never know.

    Gaddafi’s wife, two of his sons (including the once-repentant Mohammed) and his daughter are in Algeria.  It does not appear Gaddafi himself is with them.

  3. HappyinVT

    at the hands of Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife.

    I suspect we’ll see more of this in the coming weeks and months.

  4. fogiv

    History offers additional reasons for optimism when assessing the prospects for an elected government in Libya. In the run up to independence in 1951, Libya was a divided country with no experience in self-governance. Throughout the Italian occupation (1911-1943), Libyans were second-class citizens in their own country with their Italian occupiers actively discouraging indigenous political activity. Regional ties remained strong, and the interests of most Libyans centered on local or provincial concerns.

    Already strong, tribalism and tribal ties were strengthened during the Italian occupation. Nevertheless, Libyans were able to come together in 1951 in a federal system of government with a monarch as head of state.

    Today, regionalism still exists in Libya but it is much less important than it was 60 years ago. In recent decades, Libya has developed levels of national consciousness and national identity that were nonexistent in 1951.

  5. HappyinVT

    Libya live blog to see what the latest is and sometimes I am struck by the picture that accompanies that day’s blog.

    Often it is a man who two, three, five, eight months ago was a baker, construction worker, banker, whatever living his every day life.  Now, for however long, he’s been fighting in his country against an oppressive regime.  (I like to maintain that they all have lofty goals and reasons for fighting while recognizing there are the mercenary among them.)

    Could I do that?  Leave my modest but comfortable apartment and cats and my (stinky) job and my security?  It’s not a game; the other side is shooting live bullets.  Those are real land mines.  It is so easy to lose sight of the realness of all of this from an ocean or continent or world away.  But sometimes it just smacks me ~ these people are fighting a real fight with no assurance of surviving the day.  And if they hadn’t been successful they had, at best, an uncertain future.  That takes more courage than I can imagine.

  6. HappyinVT

    subsequent comments:

    BorowitzReport Andy Borowitz

    The kind of people you used to cross the street to avoid are now all running for President.

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