|Tripoli: Old Medina and Bay|
Our trainees were exceptionally hospitable and grateful people, even for an Arab country. Their children and grandchildren would kiss you, a perfect stranger, as if you were an uncle. They were hungry for the moral oxygen coming from European businesses and tourists. They were wondering if The Leader's son, Seif-Al-Islam, who had hired Monitor, and who was studying political philosophy at LSE, would really prove liberal, really eventually come to power, really open the country to the West.
The Son told one of my colleagues that he would never agree to hold a position in government he was not elected to. His recent television speeches in defense of his father's rule, delivered in a Gucci suit, before and after The Leader's soldiers and mercenaries began killing protesters in cold blood, leave one wondering if The Son's notion of election really needed to be nuanced by an LSE degree.
LIBYA, OR AT least the educated and urbane part of it, seemed to me a painfully promising tranche of the Arab world. The inhabited part of the country (much like Israel, actually) is a strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, with desert in the hinterland. The population of citizens, perhaps 7 million people (along with another couple of million guest workers from sub-Saharan Africa), has been concentrated in the cities and suburban towns. They still think of themselves as great merchants and traders, tied to the sea.
I realize that the shores of Tripoli seem too much for American forces just now, and perhaps never should have been in an American military song in the first place. But I cannot help wondering what use are aircraft carriers if one cannot be used to keep Libyan airspace free of the lunatic's planes and gunships, so that fewer good people will die taking him down.