Rebels doing what they do best: fleeing.
Libya is such a pitiful mess that it should keep the scriptwriters going for years.
For the dummies, you’ve got a good and evil story, with Qaddafi as the bad guy. Somewhere in Hollywood, producers are hitting scriptwriters on the heads to help them come up with an inspiring title for the upcoming Libya flick. I’m betting they’ll go for something automotive, thanks to all those pictures of Libyan rebels commuting to battle in their SUVs.
So the scriptwriter’s sweating it out: “Uuuuuh…The Peugeot Crusade? No, nobody wants French…oh, that Volkswagen thing, the Touareg? No, won’t do it, there’s apparently these actual people called that…What’s a sympathetic SUV? Something affordable that says, ‘I’m the chassis of an unfolding democracy?’…Better ask the receptionist, she might drive some piece of crap like that…” So he sends his P.A. to the receptionist who breaks the bad news that Hyundai uses southwestern place names like Tucson and the scriptwriter has to pop another handful of ritalins to get over the depression. Then his boss tells him the studio has a tie-in deal with Ford Motor Co. and the lightbulb goes on: “Libya: The Flex Revolution!” It’s a model Ford’s pushing, it drives on sand, sort of, kinda, and the product-placement’s settled. Besides, “Flex”…it’s got a nice ipod casual vibe to it, revolution of the kool kids against the stiff old military models.
Then the writer’s PA has to go and kill the light: “Yeah, but Jerry, come on…a Ford Flex? I don’t think anybody in Libya drives one.”
And that’s why the P.A. got fired and wasn’t invited to the premiere of what they ended up calling “Libya: Flex against the Machine!” Soundtrack tie-in, first-person shooter game, “Dune Combat Libya!” the works.
Meanwhile there’s a little problem: our cute little rebel friends can’t fight worth a damn. They’re fleeing again. Again! US and NATO air stacked over the beaches like commuter flights from LAX to SFO at the start of a three-day weekend, satellite data bounced down to every part-time Che Guevara picnicking on a sand dune between “battles”—and they still can’t fight. It seems that some Qaddafi loyalists, the dirty fascists, are actually firing back. Well, it’s clear these guys didn’t get the memo at all. The script clearly calls for our baby rebs to roar across the beach from Benghazi to Tripoli and be welcomed by the best-looking available local girls. NATO probably has C-130s full of rose petals on standby at airports across Europe.
You can’t help imagining that Tom Cruise producer character from Tropic Thunder stomping out onto the sand dunes in Libya and yell, “Cut!” like an angry director. “Who’s firing those weapons? Who told you to fire? ‘Qaddafi’? Well let me tell you Mister Rambo, Qaddafi isn’t paying for this production! Somebody find this Qaddafi and punch him in the face for me!”
You can see mission creep turning into mission zoom, mission flood, day by day. First the idea was, we’d take out a few of Qaddafi’s heavy armor because that’s what was holding the rebels back. Fine—smoking tanks all over the desert. Oh, but he also has planes, and that’s no fair because the rebels don’t have planes (or they do but they keep shooting down their own planes) and that’s sooooo unfair. So boom, the whole country’s a no-fly zone and we crisp any fighter that tries to take off.
Now it’s clear that these SUV rebels won’t fight if there’s any opposition at all. And I mean AT ALL. Utterly worthless troops. Don’t tell me they’re outgunned. They’re overgunned, if anything, with heavy Soviet machineguns, ZSU-23s, RPGs, Grads, and all-you-can-stall of North Africa’s most important weapon, the Toyota pickup. The Cong kicked ass against real troops with a lot less. God, can you imagine what one VC battalion would do in Libya right now? I say we give’em a shot, call for volunteers at the closest Ho Chi Minh City unemployment center, and tag along. What a movie that’d make!
Even the mainstream reporters who are suckers for any military version of The Mighty Ducks—you know, brave hard-luck rebels overcoming professional military—even they started reporting, “Uh, it’s kind of odd, but we noticed the rebels keep taking time out from battle to…uh…have lunch. Are they supposed to do that?” No they’re not, airbrush boy, but never mind, you’ll still do your bullshit shots of Qaddafi’s statues coming down and hammer this weird funny mess of a story into your little good-guys-win-again! Story line.
Now the support has gone from just intercepting Qaddafi’s heavy weapons to softening up his ground defenses for the rebels. We’re using “Spooky,” those AC-130 gunships that hose down whole neighborhoods to kill anyone inside the grid. We’re sending A-10s against Qaddafi fortifications, to blast a nice clean interstate for these delicate rebels to drive through in their SUVs.
But even that’s not enough. The headline today is “Obama Considering Covert Aid.” What? When we’re already embarrassing ourselves with totally overt aid to a bunch of pussies, what the fuck is this about “covert” aid?
I love getting my picture taken lookin’ all tough’n’deserty. Combat, not so much.
And then I got it. “Covert” means we just plain shove the rebels out of the way—which I don’t think they’d mind very much, you know, like yuppies when they sort of pretend to fix something just so you’ll get frustrated enough to shove them out of the way and say, “here, I’ll do it”—they always make some little “Yeah heh heh I’m no good with tools” remark to remind you that they’re a whole class above you.
It’s a damn movie, a big show, so naturally it makes sense that after trying out the local talent, one of those coked-up Hollywood green ideas “Let’s have ACTUAL LOCAL PEOPLE” play the “rebels,” you know? The hard-ass producer steps in and says, “Fuck these idiots, I’m hiring a Marine division.” And that’s how I imagine it’ll play out, with real troops hitting the beach, though they might be disguised with little desert scarfs and expensive French winter wear (it’s probably a freezing 60 degrees on those dunes) and shades and two days’ beard to make them look like Libyans.
I can see it now, the Marines looking embarrassed coming off those landing craft in civvies, assistant director hissing “Psst! Look more Libyan!” Marine asks, “How we do that, man?” Director: “Look like a scared idiot, damn it!”
But one thing, one big issue, the Obama administration wasn’t going to bend on: no Euro SUVs. Those troops are going to hit the beach on Ford Flexes, damn it, or we’ll let those bad Qaddafi men who actually shoot guns at people wipe you losers out.
This is one of those moments that bum you out as a war nerd, even if you can see how it’ll work for the big-money guys. Of course they’re in favor of “rebels” who can’t fight. They like weakness, because weak rebels will owe them everything once they’re in power. And any time that sorta rebel gives you trouble, you just remind him he can’t fight and he caves again. Lowers the price of crude and promises not to tell anybody so you can keep the retail price ballooned up there. Just threaten him with another platoon of real troops hitting the beach and he’s your doggie in a second.
That’s what’s in it for them. But what’s in it for us? No decent combat, “our” side is worthless cowards, and we lose the whole Qaddafi family, who for my money were a lot more fun than all the lame reality shows ever made. The world loses on this, I’m telling you.
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