Omar Khayaam, sorry I can’t do the bold around “distant” in a title. I gave Hugo the popcorn on friday, but it didn’t really apply until today. It looks like the Frogs win the first strike award whilst Gaddafi gets the lying scumbag award. The end result of the Gaddafi-vs-the-West military fight is in no doubt; quite where that leaves the ground war is less clear. Probably in an Afghanistan-type situation, where we (well, the US in that case) bombed the Taliban so the Northern Alliance could take over. Only lets hope this time we don’t collude with the drug-dealers; as far as I can tell the rebels are much nicer than the NA.
Soundtrack: Flight of the pelican.
CIP makes various good points; that if we’d done nothing the rebels obvious next choice was Al-Quaeda (but we’ve averted that; good); that by waiting so long we’ve lost the chance to topple Gaddafi easily (sadly so; that leaves Libya badly shot-up and a lot of people pointlessly dead); and that by waiting so long, we’ve probably pushed all the doubters into a show of loyalty to the Dark Side (but hopefully they will be having another think now). But, assuming the worst isn’t true (the worst would be that the West actually wants a stalemate in Libya, because it fears the “example”, and is being leaned on by Saudi and Israel; entirely plausible, but probably not true) then I think the good guys are likely to win out.
Incidentally, I think this is starting to look good for Obama, possibly just by chance. By hanging back and leaving it until late we had the Arab League practically begging the West to intervene, Gaddafi was doing his best to act and sound like a mad dog, and that coupled with France and the UK leading the security council resolution meant that China and Russia found it awkward to veto. Shame about the Squareheads, though.
We’re so predictable
As in, we start off bombing their air defences. Heavens knows how we’d get on against a clueful opponent. Fortunately the enemy in this case is both clueless and effectively powerless.
This is a picture of a tank. As it happens, a rebel tank. In case you’re wondering what it can do, the BBC has some insightful analysis: It offers high protection from small arms fire and carries a big gun (I’m being snarky of course, that is why you’re here, but the rest of the article is of value). Also interesting to see that Toyota seems to have cornered the market in “technicals” – the stuff-a-machine-gun-on-a-pickup-truck type stuff. They got a bad reputation for wanton violence a while back, but maybe these will feature in the Toyota PR literature.
Too much news
This, of course, pushes the Japanese quake and reactor off the top spot in the news league, which I’d say is a good thing. We can stop vacuously panicking about trivial levels of radionucleides and settle down to some decent war porn, and the Japanese can get started on rebuilding in peace; my best wishes to them.
The random bit at the end where I throw in irrelevant stuff
Truely outstanding work from our colonial cousins, who as usual are upholding their constitutional right to have silly names. Not content with firing missiles from a ship called Sandra-n-Tracy (I exaggerate) they actually have a ship called the USS Ponce (I don’t exaggerate at all; presumably they aren’t familiar with our “culture”). My current theory for why they had to lauch 120-odd missiles is that the photos for the first few didn’t come out terribly well and they needed to take a few more to get decent pix.
And… thanks to Denial Depot comes this stunning poll from the Washington Times. As Bill says to Sean: “Really, there is no hope for this country”.
Snark annex: A British submarine has fired a number of Tomahawk missiles at Libyan air defence targets. Well of course it has. It is impossible not to, since zero is a number.
And the sub-basement for pedantry fans: the UN resolution sez 6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians which, taken rather literally, includes flights by the West, too. So the French have been very naughty people. As have we and the US; cruise missiles fly, after all. [Update: I didn't read carefully enough; section 7 gives them a let-out; I should have known, really they would have high-grade lawyers writing this stuff.
[Update: Monday 21st: after the initial round of French air strikes, and the cruise missiles, today there (and Sunday really) there has been a dearth of real news. But a huge yawning gap of air time to fill in. So the meeja have been reduced to junk like Gaddafi 'not targeted' by allied strikes (what next? "Man not bitten by dog?) and other meaningless drivel.]
[Update: Wednesday 23rd: not much going on. Rebs looking rather chaotic and amateurish (really?). Beeb bored with it, leading on the Budget.]