Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Thursday 25 August 2011

Ding dong, the tyrant's gone.

HOORAY! The despot has been deposed.

No-one knows if Gaddafi's alive or dead. He could be scrabbling through underground tunnels below his compound, hiding out in the desert in a foxhole or staging a one-man fight against the "terrorists" via his own air-conditioning ducts, armed with a Zippo lighter, a battered packet of Marlboro Reds and a nice set of wisecracks.

Chances are though he's going to do exactly the same as Saddam Hussein, do a flit and grow a beard while running a counter-insurgency funded by all his oil money, while the ransom on his head fails to catch him. And how many other things about Libya are the same as Iraq?

With international consensus, a dictator has been toppled and a power vacuum introduced. A statue has been hit with some flip-flops. There is mass euphoria, but no water or power in much of the capital. Everyone has an AK47 and no idea how to use them. The day-long 'battle' to get into Gaddafi's main compound seemed to involve a lot of people shooting randomly at a 15ft high concrete wall until someone figured out how to open the gate, and this guy brought some light relief to the evening news by barely keeping on his feet while shooting an anti-aircraft gun wildly into the middle distance.

It's no wonder there are hundreds dead and thousands injured on the streets of Tripoli. The hospitals are struggling, and what do you think they can do for a woman in childbirth or someone with a heart attack?

And Libya is a nation filled with divisions - religious, ethnic, economic - which Gaddafi was the only person crazy and scary enough to unite. With him gone the Islamists, Berbers, criminals and Christians are going to slug it out.

The NATO powers have been quick to point out this time they've planned for a reconstruction. But the Libyan National Transitional Council is still in Benghazi writing a constitution, looters are running riot through the capital nicking whatever they can find, no-one's burying the bodies or emptying the bins, and they longer they leave it the more lawless it's going to get.

A guy who picks up a gun, even with the best of intentions, rarely puts it down again unless someone makes him. And who's going to make him?

Oh yes. That'll be NATO again. There's no military to do it, no police force, no justice system or fear of the consequences.

At least we've learned from our mistakes, and this time we are screwing things up ever so slightly differently to the way we did it last time.

Nice one, saviour.