Barry of Arabia

Glenn McCoy


Mark Steyn cuts through the silliness of Barry of Arabia’s excellent Libyan adventure:

…According to the New York Times, “Members of the NATO alliance have sternly warned the rebels in Libya not to attack civilians as they push against the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.” We dropped bombs on Gadhafi’s crowd for attacking civilians, and we’re prepared to do the same to you! “The coalition has told the rebels that the fog of war will not shield them from possible bombardment by NATO planes and missiles, just as the regime’s forces have been punished.”

So, having agreed to be the Libyan Liberation Movement Air Force, we’re also happy to serve as the Gadhafi Last-Stand Air Force. Say what you like about Barack Obama, but it’s rare to find a leader so impeccably multilateralist that he’s willing to participate in both sides of a war. It doesn’t exactly do much for holding it under budget, but it does ensure that for once we’ve got a sporting chance of coming out on the winning side. If a coalition plane bombing Gadhafi’s forces runs into a coalition plane bombing the rebel forces, are they allowed to open fire on each other? Or would that exceed the U.N. resolution?

Who are these rebels we’re simultaneously arming and bombing? Don’t worry, the CIA is “gathering intelligence” on them. They should have a clear idea of who our allies are round about the time Mohammed bin Jihad is firing his Kalashnikov and shouting “Death to the Great Satan!” from the balcony of the presidential palace. But America’s commander-in-chief thinks they’re pretty sound chaps. “The people that we’ve met with have been fully vetted,” says President Obama. “So we have a clear sense of who they are. And so far they’re saying the right things. And most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors – people who appear to be credible.”

Credible people with credentials – just like the president! Lawyers, doctors, just like Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s No. 2. Maybe among their impeccably credentialed ranks is a credible professional eye doctor like Bashir Assad, the London ophthalmologist who made a successful midlife career change to dictator of Syria. Hillary Rodham Clinton calls young Bashir a “reformer,” by which she means presumably that he hasn’t (yet) slaughtered as many civilians as his late dad. Assad Sr. killed some 20,000 Syrians at Hama and is said to have pumped hydrogen cyanide through the town: there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, as the ophthalmologists say. Baby Assad hasn’t done that (yet), so he’s a reformer, and we’re in favor of those, so we’re not arming his rebels.

According to the State Department, Col. Gadhafi’s 27-year-old son Khamis is also a “reformer.” Or at least he was a few weeks ago, when U.S. officials welcomed him here for a monthlong visit, including meetings at NASA and the Air Force Academy, and front-row seats for a lecture by Deepak Chopra entitled “The Soul of Leadership.” Ten minutes of which would have me buckling up the Semtex belt and yelling “Allahu Akbar!,” but each to his own. It would have been embarrassing had Khamis Gadhafi still been getting the red-carpet treatment in the U.S. while his dad was getting the red carpet-bombing treatment over in Tripoli. But fortunately a scheduled trip to West Point on Feb. 21 had to be canceled when young Khamis was obliged to cut short his visit and return to Libya to start shooting large numbers of people in his capacity as the commander of a crack special forces unit. Maybe he’ll be killed by a pilot who showed him round the Air Force Academy. Small world, isn’t it?…

Meanwhile, the same CIA currently “gathering intelligence” on these jihadist lawyers, doctors and other allies has apparently been in Libya for some time, arming them, according to a top-secret memo on their eyes-only clandestine operation simultaneously leaked by no fewer than four administration officials to the press. A reader suggested to me that they’d misheard the Warren Zevon song “Send Lawyers, Guns And Money,” and were sending guns and money to lawyers. And, if some of the guns and money end up in the hands of “al-Qaida elements,” I’m sure Janet Napolitano can have it re-classified as an overseas stimulus bill. In the old days, simpletons like President George W. Bush used to say, “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.” This time round, we’re with us and we’re with the terrorists, and you can’t say fairer than that…

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