The death toll in Libya is over a thousand now, according to sources the foreign minister of Italy finds “credible.” A Qaddafi envoy told protesters in Zawiya, a rebel city, to “leave or you will face a massacre.” They remained hunkered down inside a mosque, which Qaddafi’s forces fired upon. It seems as if some Middle Eastern forces have little hesitation about opening fire on “holy ground.”
An airport outside of Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, also came under attack from Qaddafi militia armed with rocket grenades and mortars. “They left piles of human remains and swamp of blood,” an eyewitness told the Associated Press. “The hospitals are packed with those killed and injured.”
There have been widespread defections from the army and Libyan government officials, including Qaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, who used to be one of the dictator’s most trusted aides. He fled to Egypt and denounced Qaddafi’s “grave violations to human rights and human and international laws.” Yesterday the crew of a Libyan air force jet ditched their plane and bailed out after Qaddafi ordered them to bomb the rebel city of Benghazi.
The dictator is now a cornered rat, dug into Tripoli and rapidly losing control of the rest of the country. His lunatic rant on television yesterday has local and international observers fearing the worst. “After Qaddafi’s speech yesterday,” a local told Euro News, “we were slightly afraid, because he’s capable of anything.”
Qaddafi gave another speech this morning, reiterating his belief that the protesters are all youths driven out of their minds by “hallucinogenic drugs,” and sobbing over the “children of Libya” who litter the streets because he ordered his forces to murder them. In a new twist, he identified the Dr. Feelgood who has been supplying Libya’s children with hallucinogenic drugs as none other than the nefarious Obama bin Laden. I have to admit that if I’d spent decades living under Qaddafi’s rule, a nice hallucination would be hard to resist.
After five days of silence, President Obama finally addressed the Libyan crisis in a press conference yesterday afternoon. The delay was initially attributed by Obama’s press secretary to a “scheduling issue,” but after soaking up the looks of stunned disbelief on the faces of the press corps, the excuse was quickly changed to a statesmanlike determination to avoid provoking Qaddafi into harming Americans who are still in Libya. For some reason, the many Americans in Egypt didn’t stop the Administration from loudly calling on Hosni Mubarak to get out of town, after they shuffled through their hundreds of positions on the Egyptian crisis and decided to play the joker in the deck. They should have considered blaming Obama’s week of silence on hallucinogenic drugs.
Qaddafi didn’t get the treatment our President reserves for embattled American allies – indeed, the President didn’t even mention him by name. Instead, he mumbled exactly the same things Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been saying: violence is “outrageous and unacceptable,” the President is considering a “full range of options,” etcetera. Time spent “considering a full range of options” is time spent without choosing any of them.
It’s odd that so many Americans are still stuck in Libya, this far into a brutal “crackdown” that threatens to bloom into full-on civil war. At the moment, hundreds of our people are stuck on a ferry that can’t sail for Malta until high seas calm down, which will probably leave them parked at the dock until Friday. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that 4500 Chinese waved goodbye to the stranded Americans and skedaddled for Greece. Who was in charge of preparing evacuation plans for the American contingent in Libya?
One of those seeking to excuse the President’s weird silence is Matthew Crenson, a professor of politics at Johns Hopkins, who told the Washington Examiner that Obama “has to be careful because our allies all over the world are watching us.” Actually, our allies all over the world have decided to ignore the Obama Administration entirely, with France’s Nicholas Sarkozy taking the lead and calling for… sanctions. Oh, well. Better than the soybean nothingburger being served out of the White House.
Obama defenders have been talking up his desire to stay focused on important domestic issues, such as declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Well, Libya is about to become a major domestic issue, as the price of oil skyrockets, and the shock waves slam into the anemic Obama economy. Under the best-case scenarios, it will be weeks before Libyan oil production could resume at full capacity. If Qaddafi actually burns the oil fields, even the most disengaged American voter will begin asking hard questions about why the money and time that could have been used for domestic oil exploration were poured into “green energy” rat holes.