I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Benghazi -- Truman vs. MacArthur Redux

This dispatch from Darna, Libya described in some detail the intensity and depth of the resistance and confusion in that place. Darna is less than 150 miles from Benghazi but according to this account Darna is, like Benghazi, somewhat typical of other places in Eastern Libya.

"In some ways, the sway that Islamists hold here is not a surprise. Neglected, conservative and desperately poor under Gaddafi, Darna stood out for its fierce Islamist resistance to the old regime — and for sending more jihadists to Iraq during the U.S. occupation than any other place in Libya."
Thus far the US may have an opening to winning a few hearts and minds in Libya as seen in the popular attack on the local militia group which attacked the US embassy in Benghazi. But anyone who thinks that the sudden appearance of American military power (transforming the US embassy into a garrison) is still a good way to win friends and influence people has learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan. Such a move would be like setting fire to a Molotov cocktail. As soon as you do it you better throw it and run like hell.
 I doubt many Republicans will read this and connect the dots this close to the election.
And that, briefly, is one of the principle reasons this election is so important. Call me a coward if you wish, but I am convinced that the State Department and the Administration -- with the advice and consultation of the military as well -- were correct to be circumspect reacting to the Benghazi affair.


 And that defines in one sentence the reason I want the current administration to remain in office and not be replaced by one which sees the world through military glasses.

What is unfolding here may be the most extreme example of the confrontation underway across Libya, underscoring just how deeply the fundamentalists have sown their seeds in the security vacuum that has defined Libya since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi last September.
The extremists have continued to operate here despite the popular backlash that followed last month’s attack in Benghazi, 156 miles to the west, and despite fears of possible retaliation by the United States, whose unmanned drone aircraft can now be heard humming overhead almost every day.
 In the lawless aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall, Darna was an inevitable hub for extremism, officials said. And on an afternoon shrouded by storm clouds, it’s easy to see why. Yellow, dilapidated buildings slumped over sandstone cliffs toward a dark blue sea that no one swims in. There are few restaurants and no parks.
The city’s population has dwindled in recent years as those who have found the opportunity to get out do so, officials said.
That includes some 200 young men who have traveled to Syria in recent months to join the fight there, according to the local council.
 “It’s the emptiness here — there is a lot of time to waste,” said Ebtisam Stieta, a member of the General National Congress (GNC) from Darna. “Most people feel like their lives are restricted, so they think only in terms of the front lines, death, and jihad.”
Does anybody reading this seriously imagine that a population which has survived what these people have endured since before they were born, all of whom know friends and family members who have died from -- shall we say "other than natural causes" -- would be impressed with a show of American military might?
Gimme a break.

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