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The War Nerd / April 19, 2011
By Gary Brecher

One of the strange things about this war in Libya is how slowly it’s moving.

Rebellions usually have to win quickly. If they don’t, the regime’s advantage in heavy weapons grinds them down.

It looked like the Libyan rebellion was going to win “by popular acclaim,” as they say, by a show of hands, but that changed in western Libya, where Qaddafi’s giant family lives, and where he’s been more generous in handing out the goodies. The rebels stalled about halfway across the coastal strip where most Libyans live.

At that point, it should have gone the other way, very quickly and ruthlessly. Qaddafi’s tanks should have rolled right over the rebels. And that’s what they were doing when NATO intervened. It was as simple as rock/paper/scissors, up to this point: tanks beat riots, but planes beat tanks.

Planes beat tanks, thank God

Then, like nearly every war of this era, it stopped being about the best tech and got social and messy. Qaddafi’s troops—probably a mix of family loyalists and mercenaries—ran for cover in mosques, schools, residential districts where NATO was wary of bombing.

And the planes were called off. Because at that point in this kind of war the one who produces the first and horriblest atrocity pix is the loser. I can’t swear to this, but I’d bet that both sides had video crews standing by to film the mass killings they were hoping for. That sort of gore is part of warfare now. It’s a kind of public trial, and if one side can show the other has killed huge numbers of civilians in horrible ways, that side gets the right to do horrible stuff in return. In other words, it’s like every action movie you ever saw: The hero’s wife and kids have to get raped and killed so he can spend the next hour thinking up cool McGyver ways to kill everyone who ever bothered him.

You’ll notice, though, that this phase went wrong. I’m not sure why. It’s possible that both sides, on the ground at least, are so unbelievably timid and incompetent that they can’t manage to kill a lot of people without heavy weapons. It’s also possible that the side with the bigger and better propaganda access, NATO and the rebels, was the only side that managed to do any mass killing at this stage—and also had the power to block Qaddafi’s attempts to film whatever they did. For whatever reason, neither side has had the money shot that decides whose side the mainstream audience is on.


Duned and Confused

What pictures do you think of when you think of the war in Libya? For me, it’s those weird photos and videos of amateurs with AKs running and ducking along the sand dunes of the coast. It’s not great propaganda material. Your main impression is how windy it is—to be honest, I was thinking, “jeez, I didn’t know it got cold in Libya” because these SUV troops are wearing suave French coats and scarves as they duck in the dunes. You never even see the enemy’s position, which makes sense because amateur troops without leaders—and there’s been no news at all to show there’s anyone in charge of the rebels—always have trouble engaging the enemy at close range.

What I recall next is the highway fights: whole convoys of SUVs parked along desert roads while the rebels, in civilian clothes, watch a few tech geeks from the neighborhood, the same guys you ask to help you set up your stereo, try to launch a volley of rockets.

Something weird about celebrating a rocket launch by firing an AK

There’s an almost picnic feel to these pictures, because there’s nothing Arab families love more than a picnic, and this one has fireworks. That’s about all you can call a volley of unguided rockets fired by absolute beginners. It would be amazing if they hit anything; like attack pilots used to say about those unguided rockets they carry in wing pods, “If it wasn’t for the force of gravity, those things couldn’t hit the ground.”

What all these pix and videos have in common is the feel of a movie, or a big public event. Not combat. Combat is ugly, sudden and scary. This is all more like a political demonstration with an outside chance you could get hurt–which is true for a lot of political demonstrations that don’t even pretend to be war. If I had to choose between getting beamed down into a Libyan “battle” or a dissident demonstration in Tehran, I’d much rather materialize in Libya. Much less chance of getting killed, would be my guess.

I’m not saying the kids and their dads who are driving out toward the next beach town to fire Grads at Qaddafi are cowards. It always takes guts to oppose someone with Qaddafi’s staying power, because if you have half a brain in your head you know he might win again, and if he does you may end up watching your whole family gang-raped and killed in front of you by way of payback.

It’s very brave, politically, and in that “moral” sense they talk about. But militarily, well, I’d have to say there hasn’t been any evidence of organized military initiative on either side so far. There are probably lots of brave individual kids out there; a lot of them are about 18, 19, and most boys are pretty eager to die at that age. But military bravery takes organization, and they have absolutely none at all as far as I’ve seen.

There’s no initiative on the other side either. Qaddafi’s people are getting paid by the day, so they’ve got no incentive to do the job fast, or to win for that matter. They don’t seem willing to meet even these total amateur rebels without the armor of an MBT protecting them.

So, more than a month in, there’s nothing for the world press to go on. They haven’t gotten their cue to send in the heavy stuff. No horrific KIA photos, no clear casualty figures, no sign that there’s been anything very lethal since the planes popped the tanks open like Popeye spinach cans. Nothing but Grad fireworks duels.

This is the kind of cripple fight that makes infantry officers all twitchy. What you could do with even a few real troops…the gratitude of an oil-exporting country, too; that’s no small reward. So naturally NATO is talking itself into sending troops. But in a ridiculous, obvious way, like a little kid trying to steal a piece of cake by shaving one teeny slice off at a time. At the moment, the Brits are planning to send 20 officers to Benghazi as advisors.

Just that word, “advisors,” takes you back to Nam circa 1965. You’ll recall those advisors did their advising closer and closer until they ended up taking the guns out of the hands of the advisees completely: “Gimme that, damn it!” and blasting away themselves. Well, we can hope, but as the Conservative Party leader Hague said, “Advisors are not boots on the ground.” And although I hate that bit, “boots on the ground,” because it’s every idiots favorite military-sounding buzz word at the moment, I suspect Hague is right, and these advisors won’t do more than actually advise. I can tell them where to start, too: Something called a chain of command, of which the rebels ain’t got none.

The French are having to control themselves too, after some hotheads demanded French troops in Libya. You can see the interventionists’ temptation here: This is Qaddafi’s wage slaves we’re up against, not the VC, damn it!

There are European generals right this minute, I bet, doing a petrochemical version of Trimble’s pleas to Ewell at Gettysburg: “Give me a division and I will take that refinery! Give me a brigade…a regiment…a COMPANY…and I will take that refinery!”

It’s very weird that nobody has done it yet. This whole Libyan thing is happening in slo-mo. That’s the weird thing about warfare in this era: it totally upends that law they taught us in Physics that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Libya is a huge vacuum right now, and an oil-exporting vacuum at that, and Nature is tolerating it like Swedish social workers patting “grafitti artists” on their little heads.

Well, maybe that’s the problem, they used the wrong word when they taught us that law. Should be, “Nature abhors a vacuum, but NATO is fine with it.”

Hey Nerdoids and Nerdettes! Note Gary Brecher’s functioning email: gary dot brecher at gmail dot com

Would you like to know more? Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to gary dot brecher at gmail dot com. Read Gary Brecher’s first ever War Nerd column by clicking here.

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Add your own

  • 1. Nestor  |  April 19th, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Dunno, I’ve seen a couple hairy youtube videos. One where the cameraman ends up on the ground, legs twitching, and another one showing a dude firing a rpg close and personal into a passing tank’s tread.

  • 2. Michal  |  April 19th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Well, NATO’s staying out of the vacuum because of other forces containing it, most notably the voters and all sorts of activists. Everyone’s seen what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and hey, this place has lots of sand too, so it’s EXACTLY the same thing, right?

    One of the reasons why there are none of our people on site might be the fact that European members of NATO need to find a way to legalise it. While US might be willing to break every law in the world to get its way, the European powers are a rather different story.

    The UN resolution no. 1973 is already being stretched as it is. It says nothing about toppling Gaddafi, although that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. The whole action is supposed to be about protecting civilians. Yet the rebels themselves don’t really seem to be all that different from Gaddafi’s men to the wide public. Hey, they’re all sand people, ev0l muslims, right? So how exactly are we protecting civilians by trying to execute a coup here, in favour of these people we don’t even know all that well?

    But back to legal stuff, the resolution also says ‘no occupation troops,’ wouldn’t that stretch it even further, if we were to actually send people down on the ground?

    The biggest challenge of this war is to explain to the general public that these people are worthy of our aid. NATO seems to be incapable of doing that convincingly. It is overlooking the PR side of the war, and in turn can not but oversee the conflict in Libya from distance.

  • 3. Jackalus  |  April 19th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Yo Gary you totally missed out in the fight that’s going on in Misrata right now. The rebels there are cut off and Qaddafi’s made some serious attempts to get rid of them but they’ve held out, Stalingrad-style. With some help from NATO of course, but not too much. They’ve actually been able to drive Daffy’s boys back, street by street and building by building. Seems that when they have no where to retreat to, and buildings to hide behind, the rebels CAN fight.

  • 4. Jackalus  |  April 19th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Some more combat footage from Misrata.

  • 5. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  April 19th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I think the whole Libya revolution kabuki is a con. They pretend to fight amongst each other over a sparsely attended broke up protest and the West (lead by the USA) comes rushing in with bags of cash and prizes for the nominal resistance. But at the end of the day, the cash and prizes are the sole goal of the op. Fuck playing the nation state game. Show me the money!

    To me, the real damning aspect of this is that we’ve now been reduced to ineptly fucking with sparsely populated boutique nations like Libya. I get a laugh at the image of the USA the UK and France trying to get imperial shit done these days. For old senile/atrophied empires, in the end all that’s left is the urge.

    Watching the adventures in Libya is like watching old people fuck. None for me, thanks…




  • 6. S.  |  April 19th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    #3/4’s videos are good for a laugh, all guys ambling into open space with rifle down, firing a few rounds, wandering off. No return fire in any of the scenes, interviews in English two feet from someone firing randomly.. even the casual news viewer is probably unconvinced.
    Simon Mann must be kicking himself every time he turns on the TV.

  • 7. wengler  |  April 19th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    No Blackwater yet?

  • 8. WN guy  |  April 19th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I think the west has the objective of ensuring that it has a subservient bunch of rebels before it goes on to kill gaddafi. There is jockeying among the would-be rebel leaders and that has to be addressed. They know at this point that gaddafi doesn’t have a prayer of taking western libya, so they can take their time. The only strategic pest for the west is their own stupid people back home who think that everything’s gotta be settled in 7 days and 7 nights. If you wait a little, show a little resolve, the juice is all the sweeter. And you stupid fucking commenters don’t understand that the “price” of invasion is nominal compared to the reward.

    the funny thing is, that if you toss out the humanitarian R2P talk, and look at the merits of ousting gaddafi from the pure imperial viewpoint, it’s probably one of the biggest no-brainers of the past 60 or 70 interventions we’ve done: it’s located on the Med, so there is a massive military apparatus already established from spain to cyprus to ensure security, and a superdeveloped bunch of oil hungry societies within a 3 day ship ride. It’s got rights to 100 years of enough fresh water to take care of 80 million people a year, but the country has only 7 million people. Its oil costs $1 a barrel to get out of the ground, compared to say Venezuela, which can cost as much as $50 per barrel, and it needs very little refinement. It brings Libya about $80 billion a year…. and it’s probably going to cost maybe $5-6 billion in spending to do the job, which could last for decades. With the nifty trick of using Libya’s frozen assets to pay for the rebel effort and setting up the new libyan government, the western share of the cost could end up turning into a profit. what a deal. And Libya’s funding of other African countries has helped them to be more independent from the west. so you get Libya, but you’ve really weakened 8 or 9 african countries’ ability to act independently. It’s just a bonanza.

    And if you don’t get a hardon for the imperial side of things, Libya is a scalp that has eluded our warrior tribe for 40 years. We’ve been waiting by the door to get the Libyan scalp, very patiently. That Libyan scalp even tried to bare its fangs a couple times at us. And now we can hang it on the wall with the rest on our beautiful wall of scalps. And when I say our, I mean AMERICAN. We, the people premised on ideas, formed under Scots-Irish principles have the greatest wall of scalps of all time. Do you have the guts to admire it? Take a look at it — the Germans, the Hopi, the Phillipinos — subordinated tribes all. And who can we thank for this fantastic collection of scalps? The unstoppable Scottish warrior tribe! It’s right there if you are willing to see it:

  • 9. Plamen  |  April 19th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Hasn’t “postman” (or whatever his handle is) been saying the same thing in the comments section for some time now? How he whole Libya rebellion is a made up movie and not really happening. I thought he was full of it but maybe he does have a point, eh?
    Other than that, vintage War nerd, spot on and filled with great sentences such as “There’s an almost picnic feel to these pictures, because there’s nothing Arab families love more than a picnic, and this one has fireworks.” Love it.
    Keep it up m man, keep it up.

  • 10. WN guy  |  April 19th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Sorry I got so carried away, I pressed publish. but those photos are for the launch of USS NY, forged with steel from the NY WTC towers. (cheesy you might say, but it reinforces the context) — it’s the ultimate moment to display patriotism, and patriotism IS PIPES AND DRUMS. It’s not the Bavokirk organ pumping out Bach. It’s not the oud, it’s not bongo drums. It’s fucking PIPES AND DRUMS. We will crush the mind of your tribe, upset your social order, and then assimilate you. Three generations down the road your great grandson will be a fiery baptist preacher, and the child he will most admire will be the one with a shock of red hair.

  • 11. Chas  |  April 19th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Am I mistaken or is Brecher getting all warm and cuddly on these fops from Benghazi just because they happen to be the latest item on the Facebook menu. Or maybe some War Nerd Reality TV pilot being fashioned out of Facebook color revolution ad pages . Honestly, this constant refrain of “well Ghaddafi hasn’t massacred nobody yet, but hey that don’t mean he’s not gonna” – isn’t this line getting tired, already ?

  • 12. Tall Saul  |  April 19th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I got your atrocities and war crimes right here. If these are faked up, I would be extremely surprised. They were claim to have been found on a dead Qaddafi soldier

    A really cool Misurata battlefield map (where the real action is happening right now)

    Also, this twitter feed has lots and lots of photos and videos of the conflict. Its kind of like a Libya news clearing house, and is updated almost constantly. Better even than Al Jazeera, but even more slanted to the revolutionaries.


  • 13. Michal  |  April 19th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    WN guy, if the western world wanted oil, we’d just keep Gaddafi in power and keep on trading with him. This way we risk destruction of oil refineries, they are certainly going to be damaged, and there will be disruption of oil infrastructure for decades, eg. as is the case with Iraq right now. If we’ve learnt anything in the past thirty years, wars in middle east mean oil gets MORE expensive, and everyone loses out economically.

    Since there were doubts about the measure of truth in this argument, Paul Wolfowitz decided to try it out in real. He seriously thought US and Britain would make enough money off Iraq invasion to pay back all the related expenditures, and look where that line of thinking got them.

    I don’t doubt BP and the lot will want to get rich off the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean the entire operation was designed as business plan.

    This whole oil thing is a pile of bull. It makes my head hurt just thinking about how enormously dumb it is.

  • 14. altekeks  |  April 19th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    What’s there so hard to understand? I mean really intervening might mean that the rebels win. Does anyone want people incapable of running a war to rule a whole country, and one with oil at that? Nato’s too clueless to get anything thought through, much less any consensus, in reasonable time. A little mission creep, yes they’re going to get it, and they’re going to be saying “oops, now we got troops there without having noticed!” by next year. But really, what’s going to happen once big G is gone?

    Oil country politics: meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Same torturing in the same dark cellars, same clinging to power and oil revenue, only they’ll be distributing the petrodolllars to people from Cyrenaica rather than Tripolitana. Nato doesn’t want any dumb journalist to be able to tell the public that their bombs’ve helped them new dudes come to power.

    Moreover we do know that civil wars are long and low-intensity, neither side wants to commit when they might lose precious troops. Irregulars prefer looting and terror to actual combat in which they might get hurt. Nothing new under the sun.

  • 15. ovaut  |  April 19th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Just generally, comments over here are unusually high-value: where are the trolls?

  • 16. motorfirebox  |  April 19th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    What happened to the divisions of the Libyan military who defected, a few months back?

  • 17. WN guy  |  April 19th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t think we’re getting a very good account of events from the news, motorfire box. you just have to accept that key parts of the story are going to be buried deep in the sand, and we will probably never even get to know what they are. War story telling and war making strategy is a skill that has to be concealed. If we keep the dark on the war scaffolding, we can use it again later down the road. For example, how is tripoli and western libya feeding itself? Who’s in charge of approving the food supplies? What’s the story of the road that heads down to chad? Or the south road that connects to lower algeria? Are those towns loyal to Gaddafi? LIbya has something like 100 airports than can land huge jets and planes, a lot of them in the middle of fucking nowhere. are we deploying drones in libya? are we deploying our mini-flyer humming birds into decision making centers in libya to spy? we’re just hearing about the battle over the string of cities along Libya’s PCH and some minor details. Egypt pledged no invasion… but how many of the defected libyan soldiers are training in egypt… what juicy secrets did moussa koussa tell the Brits about the drug habits of Khamis? Is Saif a secret homo? Was that Ukrainian girlfriend of gaddafi’s a wet nurse as rumored? haha

  • 18. Alpha Omega  |  April 19th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Attention barbarians: You have been targeted for memetic attack by the super-intelligent Omega Brain. We have identified 19 vulnerabilities in your security perimeter which we can exploit at will. Your server will be assimilated into the Omegaplex and Gary Brecher will service our network or face elimination. This is your first and final warning. Do not attempt to resist — resistance is futile.

  • 19. Thomas  |  April 19th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Man, people are impatient. The rebels are going to win this war soon enough. As soon as NATO intervened Gaddafi was finished, because as long as the air strikes, money, “advisors”, body armour and weapons keep flowing into Benghazi the opposition get stronger and Gaddafi gets weaker. And the Colonel doesn’t have much going for him, just money, a shitload of hats and a big fucking family. Read the reports from Misrata. The loyalist troops who have been trying and failing to take that town for weeks, fighting teachers and lawyers with their backs to the sea, are kids from military college who were meant to be fixing up headquarters comms but find themselves at the front with a week’s training. Gaddafi’s forces are already pitifully weak, this is his end game.

    And William Hague is the British foreign secretary. Not the leader of the Conservative party. Fuck’s sake.

  • 20. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 19th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Some monstres de jour are more convincing, some less. I’ve yet to hear any really juicy woodchipper stories about Q and his sons, but I’ve no doubt they will come in time. Q has potential stature as a baddie. I can just see some tearful Cyrenaican waif tell the cameras Q held her in his subterranean pleasure dome, made her lick his leopard’s bellybutton, and insisted she call him Septimius Severus… and fed her uncle into a hay rake.

    Anyone remember when, some twenty years ago, the monstre de jour was briefly some poor schmuck from Haiti? General Cedras, we hardly knew ye. All I remember is a Time caricature with him as a madly staring cobra… with a hat on. Not everyone can make it big.

  • 21. Jesse the Scout  |  April 19th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Seems like every one in Libya is just waiting for the other guy to do something. No one wants to stick their neck out and get it over with. Lord knows the US doesn’t want to get involved, Obama’s getting bitched at for not pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan fast enough, the last thing he wants is to be in Libya.

  • 22. Dejo  |  April 19th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Rebels should’ve done a Michael Collins. They got all hopped up on their own bullshit (via neighbouring coups) and American propaganda that when reality hit, it hit like a freight train. Poor, stupid bastards. Americans aren’t much smarter. All Americans have done is turn Gaddafi into an international hero. Still, all non-Americans should be thankful that Americans aren’t as smart as their British predecessors.

  • 23. proletariat  |  April 19th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    i don’t really know about revolutions having to win quickly.

    i mean, if we are to look at the 3 best revolutionaries ever (mao, minh and michael collins), they all took quite a while to wrap things up.

    this is, of course, assuming the revolutionaries are worth a shit, and the lybians have not shown themselves to be.

  • 24. Jie ke  |  April 19th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Huge fan of the nerd.
    But the leader of Conservatives is David Cameron.
    William Hague is the foreign secretary.

  • 25. Tall Saul  |  April 19th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I am obviously taking sides here, so please excuse the comparisons, but how many revolutions in history tend to take a month to resolve?

    How long did we take to get our act together? And even after a year or two of training and then winning at Saratoga, we still needed the French to finish the job.

    Same goes for the Spanish Civil War, or any civil war where at least one side was composed of a mob armed with more weapons than sense. They will take their licks and after a while they will have an army worth fighting daffy with.

  • 26. Soj  |  April 19th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I’m getting the feeling this “intervention” wasn’t planned out at all. I think there’s some kind of Libyan “Curveball” who whispered something in someone’s ear (probably French) and they ran home to their boss, who kickstarted the UN + military + Grand Coalition of All Good Nations attack.

    Only this time they realized what Curveball told em was bunk and now they know there’s literally nobody to replace Qaddafi and so they’re stuck halfway in an intervention, unable to pull out and unable to go full hog and grab Q and install their own guy in Tripoli.

    Therefore all Q has to do is sit back and wait cuz time is on his side in this one. If he can hang in there until the next U.S. election then he’s won.

  • 27. SweetLeftFoot  |  April 19th, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    The funniest bit is that this time last year, the Brits were training Gaddaffis forces. The SAS actually kicked up a stink about it – they didn’t like the idea of helping the guy who provided the weapons that armed the Provisional IRA.

    As in the weapons used to kill hundreds of Brit soldiers and civilians. And now they are being asked to help overthrow the guys they just trained.

    Its hilarious until you realise just how perfectly the Brits play the old game: they’re having the proverbial quid each way.

  • 28. Zhu Bajie  |  April 19th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    This comic-opera civil war is a foretaste of the comic-opera (but with real deaths) civil war coming soon to an America near you. You don’t think the average war-nerd militia-nik is going to be any more competent or disciplined, do you? Although I suppose they’ll be competent enough at raping, robbing, murdering civilians.

  • 29. fajensen  |  April 19th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Exactly #26: Here in Denmark it has long been clear that our politicians have regressed into a bunch of retarded, ADHD-inflicted teenagers: They see something bad on Twitter and they Must Do Something Now Before It Is TOO LATE.

    Its all emotion, with no thoughts or planning involved at all before they are off – in this case getting people killed and probably the wrong people too, if the form holds up.

    The very same thing happened during the “financial crisis”. The government made a 100% guarantee of all bank deposits “to restore confidence in the banks” then, Surprise(?!), nobody wanted to buy the mortgage bonds because one could get a hassle- and risk- free 8% on a deposit account in a troubled bank .. No clue at all.

    I hope “we” lose big and Ghadaffi hangs on for decades, mocking the west all the time, throwing the incompetent kiddies into apoplectic rage which will be fun to watch.

  • 30. RanDomino  |  April 19th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I see the rebels’ purported leaderlessness as a strength. In urban guerrilla fighting, in which combat is a very drawn-out series of small hit-and-run engagements, the flexibility of having basically your whole army composed of autonomous cells should be obvious. In a more general sense, with no leaders, there’s no one to assassinate, no one whose family can be held hostage or threatened, no one who can be bribed or tortured into spilling his guts… Coordination could be formal (a federation of autonomous units), semi-formal (ad-hoc meetings), or even totally informal if you’re feeling crazy (loose networks and memetic coordination).

  • 31. Dejo  |  April 20th, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Also, America should’ve allowed Gaddafi to crush the rebels. That would’ve killed all the loud, dump ones and left all the quiet, smart ones alive. Not to mention create dissent among the people when the inevitable reprisals take place. Right now all the dumb ones are on life support and the rebels are losing more support from the people everyday. Shit’s fucking tragic to look at.

  • 32. aleke  |  April 20th, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Some excellent CIA and MI-6 work on that propaganda spread about these so-called “Qadaffi massacres”, hundreds of wonderful twitter, facebook, and youtube accounts all looking sleek & on message, great job! Some good cyber and psychological warfare being committed against the Libyan people, let’s get that oil boys!! Dont matter if the rebels we got there are incompetent as hell, Bay of Pigs style, but the media war is pretty effective. Too bad Americans are morons, first worlders are weak and all this effort is wasted long-term. Ah well. Enjoy it while it lasts, gadget-lovers!

  • 33. aleke  |  April 20th, 2011 at 2:07 am

    By the way, real home-grown revolutions are lead and fought by starving, miserable people, not monarchist faggots in gucci loafers. This is a counter-revolution at best, and an imperialist coup at second best.

  • 34. nosuchthingasshould  |  April 20th, 2011 at 2:35 am

    michal czy ty pracujesz dla ONZ? czy w MSZcie albo na jakichś studiach politycznych jesteś? co z tym ciągłym ‘nie ma zadnych ukrytych motywów?’

  • 35. Hanko  |  April 20th, 2011 at 2:49 am

    I suspect that NATO:s and EU willingness to try to stabilize Libya whoever is running that country is because they want Libya as a bulwark against all the immigrants tying to get across to Europe. That was how Qaddafi got into the good grace of EU. People tend to forget that the western worlds interests in peacekeeping operation is not always to secure resources but also to avoid refuges coming to their shores. As the WN has pointed out and what the leadership of EU is well aware off is when different cultures (tribes) get into the same spot the most normal reaction is to start sharpening your knifes.

  • 36. Tim  |  April 20th, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Qaddafi’s fighters needs some Barrett M107 .50 Cal Sniper Rifle to blow this rebels away!

    Misurata’s Sniper War
    “Life on the Rebel Side of the Crosshairs”

    In Libya, the opposition stronghold Misurata has become an urban battlefield. Pro-Gadhafi forces are devastating entire neighborhoods with cluster bombs and Russian rockets. But the real battle is being waged in the shadows between snipers, with Gadhafi’s well-trained soldiers facing off against school teachers, divers and mechanics.,1518,758080,00.html

  • 37. Bollox  |  April 20th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Some odd bits and pieces but still no answers to these questions.

    Where is the Egyptian support for the rebels? After all, they’ve had their revolution (of sorts) and they have plenty of useful weapons.

    Could the UK be so dumb as to walk into another quagmire? They were defeated and thrown out of Basra. They’re barely keeping it together in Afghanistan. Their helicopter fleet is massively understrength. Talk about maxing out your War Credit Card!

    What will happen if/when Ghadaffi wins? Will the BRIC countries get even more preferential treatment?

    The standard of Muammar’s army is truly, shockingly bad. It’s beyond embarrassing.

    Loved Medvedev’s comment about the tiny coalition of the semi-willing NATO countries being the ‘weaponized’ arm of the UN.

  • 38. pat b  |  April 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    it looks like some of the rebels are using FN-FAL rifles.

    I guess the french or belgians are supplying those.

    Of course the rebels can’t shoot for S&*t.
    I bet crips and bloods have better shooting skills.

    running while shooting to your right?

  • 39. camabron  |  April 20th, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Here’s your atrocities videos War Nerd: only this time on the part of the rebels, it’s too bad!

  • 40. Michal  |  April 20th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    @ 34. I can’t quite make out what you wrote there. I’m not Polish, although it was a very close guess. 😉

  • 41. NoImportaNada  |  April 20th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I have to agree with aleke on post #33.

    It’s obvious people are being duped into believing that the rebels are some kind of progressive force. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. By letting the west win, you are letting imperialism triumph. Q better get his shit together and get rid of these opportunist sacks of shit. It gets really tiresome when the Imperialists call themselves the “good guys”. I swear to God, if Q fucks this up, we are going to see more “revolutions” in the near future.

  • 42. M.H.  |  April 20th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    ‘WN Guy’- I don’t see the link between the American empire and the Scots and Irish.. If you mean the conglomerate tribe of generally English speaking people, well, we are paying a heavy price for all this.. The only thing left by which to identify our tribe is the language, everything else is gone. Have you actually been to NY, or Chicago or any big city? Seas of plebeians from the tribes we’ve ‘conquered’. There are no scalps- They’re all still alive and we merely bought them off for the time being. Strange way of conquering, inviting your subordinates to come bed down in your neck of the woods and fuck your daughters

  • 43. C. of V.  |  April 20th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    There is a very serious media fakery, disinformation and psyops operation going on regarding the Middle-East Revolutions and the whole Libya war.
    Faked imagery, videos and pictures, and the events are evidently organised.
    Lots of faked imagery found and background speculations on this forum:

  • 44. CensusLouie  |  April 20th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Rebellions have to win quickly?

    See, this is why the daily blog thing is a bad idea. An hour of thinking that statement over and you’d remember the countless times you’ve mentioned Mao’s little red playbook, and how uprisings take time. Heck, even before Mao, how long did the Russian revolution take to secure the country? At least 3 years, depending on your definition.

    I’m begging you, Gary. Go back to the well thought out monthly format. This way lies only retractions and inevitable burnout.

  • 45. Brown Nose or Red Hand  |  April 20th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    What’s a Scots-Irish? Does that make a descendant of eastern Europeans living in North Dakota a Polish-Sioux?

    Carrying the English piss-bucket for centuries doesn’t seem like much to be proud of.

  • 46. Bollox  |  April 20th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Mao had time, space and millions of Chinese lives to spend. The Libyan rebels don’t have any of those advantages. They can’t hide in the desert.

    They don’t have millions of recruits — lots of civilians in liberated areas seem to be fleeing their homes. The longer Muammar holds on for, the worse it is for the rebels and the less likely it is that undecided civilians in areas still under MG’s control will entertain thoughts of rebelling.

    So, I think the WN has it about right on this.

  • 47. Coriolan  |  April 20th, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    “it looks like some of the rebels are using FN-FAL rifles.

    I guess the french or belgians are supplying those.”

    The FAL has been around since the 50′. It’s the wealthy man’s AK 47, widely used by non-USSR countries, the ones that had colonies in Africa.

    The Belgians sold F2000 bullpup guns to Lybia two years from now, Haven’t seen a lot of those though.

  • 48. KA74  |  April 21st, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Al-Jazeera has some solid stuff about Libya. Yesterday they published an in-depth report about the improvements rebel forces have made in their organization and tactics. The verdict: They’ve transformed from a mob to a trained militia, but they aren’t yet an army.

  • 49. Tall Saul  |  April 21st, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I am pretty sure that the longer this goes on, the less likely Gadaffy is to win. An authoritarian government relies on implied violence and a sense of futility in regards to open defiance. When the government can not assert itself completely through violence and defiance does not seem futile, the entire population undergoes a gradual transformation from loyal to ambivalence or outright betrayal.

    Hell, not even his own supposedly loyal military is willing to stick it out, a brigade (or at least a company) surrendered to Tunisia rather than face down a lightly armed rabble, officers and all!

  • 50. nosuchthingasshould  |  April 22nd, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @michal I was asking if you are in some kind of UN or diplomacy related job, or studies, due to your consistent ‘nothing to see here, folks, move along’ position. I mean, there are many reasons for any conflict, but usualy economic considerations are key among them.
    (As for reasons for WWI, germans were setting up an economic/military aliance stretching from hamburg to basra. they were going to be able to challenge britain and other weakening old powers economicaly and strategicaly.
    cutting this new entity in half by promoting a russian supported Serbia made perfect imperial sense. ended the way it ended)

  • 51. darthfader  |  April 23rd, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Most of the comments here have one thing in common – they use the terms “win”, “victory”, etc. without defining them.

    Thus, most of these comments, loaded as they are with interesting guesses, don’t address each other or the article at all.

    The only important definition of “victory”: when France, the UK, and the USA decide they are done here and wash their hands of it.

  • 52. Carpenter  |  May 13th, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Because at that point in this kind of war the one who produces the first and horriblest atrocity pix is the loser. I can’t swear to this, but I’d bet that both sides had video crews standing by to film the mass killings they were hoping for.

    –And that shows the pathetic stupidity of people today. And hypocrisy. They LOVE it when people on the side they support get massacred. But they deny it when the other side’s people get massacred. Like how they ignore weddings being bombed in Afghanistan, or tens of thousands of Palestinians being killed. But they will keep shouting “September eleven!” until their throats ache.

  • 53. Stephen Wordsworth  |  May 17th, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Why not just send in the expendable auxileries like the Foriegn Legion and the Gurkhas? I think NATO want to sort out who the Rebels are before they let them win or create a stalemate and divide up Lybia like Korea so that the Rebely oily areas remain constantly dependent on NATO’s firepower like a bitch.

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