Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cruise Time for Qaddafi?

Libya, the "Jasmine Revolution", oil prices and U.S. credibility are at a critical juncture as we speak.  Qaddafi has not rolled over the way the Tunisian and Egyptian leaders next door did when confronted by popular uprisings in their fiefdoms.  On the contrary, The Desert Rat has dug in, fought back, and by all reports the rebels yesterday appeared to be losing enthusiasm (and ground) due to air-strikes by his loyalist forces.  Obama publicly stated that Libya must undergo a regime change, just as he did with Tunisia and Egypt, and now has to put his muscle where his mouth is - both to save rebel lives and restore U.S. credibility.  (The U.N. has, of course, been taken over by third world autocracies so it is more useless than ever at accomplishing anything, let alone negotiating a solution to any crisis.)  That leaves NATO (smiling global policeman that it is) under pressure to act, but even that bunch is strained and worn-out after a decade in Wastelandistan.  (Hey, you say, how about the "Coalition of the Willing" that helped out in Iraq after their arms were twisted to the breaking point by Bush?  Sorry, they've all exchanged their army boots for wooden shoes again and gone home.)  There are also problems with European intervention because southern Europe trades heavily with northern Africa.  So the U.S. will have to do this one alone.  It's time to show some gumption, Mr. O.  A well-aimed cruise missile or two should do the trick, eh?  Not so fast.  M. Qaddafi has for several days confined the 700 or so foreign journalists covering the rebellion to two hotels in Tripoli - and yesterday kept them waiting for 7 hours before showing up.  Now, you have to ask yourself: why would Qaddafi even be in a hotel instead of his heavily-fortified palace?  And why two hotels instead of one?  And why not arrive on schedule (other than because he's a prick)?  I'll tell you; because he's using these journalists as a human screen against - you guessed it - a cruise missile attack.