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Friday, October 21, 2011

Gadhafi Is Dead And I Feel Fine

Me and Moammar Gadhafi go way back.

I knew him back when we spelled his last name with a “K” in the official government reports.

See, I spent a significant fraction of the mid-1980’s parked on his doorstep.

Hell, to be honest, the old bastard deserves some credit for how my life turned out – which, so far, has been pretty good thank you very much.

Back then, I was a junior intelligence technician in Ronald Reagan’s Navy, stationed in Rota, Spain, and riding warships of the US Sixth Fleet patrolling the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Of course, in those days the Cold War was in full hysteria and the only enemy that mattered was the Soviet Union, AKA The Evil Empire. This was 1985, and nobody was talking about Perestroika or Glasnost (remember when both of those words were used daily on the evening news? What? Both concepts came and went before you were born? Yeah, stick it in your fahrvergnügen). Nowadays, people wonder what all the fuss was about, after all the Russians eat Pizza Hut and dig capitalism and watch Jersey Shore and we buy their oil and old nuclear bombs.  But back then, those filthy Slavic bastards were the enemy.

They hated us and we hated them and like the guy said in Red Dawn, most of us figured it was just a matter of time.

Problem was, they weren’t allowed to shoot us, and we weren’t allowed to shoot them. So we mostly glared at each other over the barrels of our guns and the rails of our missile launchers (yes, in those days ship-borne missiles were fired from rails, not out of vertical launch silos. It was a wondrous, primitive time). Sometimes our planes dumped fuel on their ships when they got too close to the carrier, or we buzzed their superstructure shaking their crappy Russian fillings loose. Upon occasion our ships banged into each other, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (it was often hard to tell if the Soviets were just lousy seamen or deliberate shitheads, or both). And sometimes we just mooned them, when our vessels closed to visual range (it’s entirely possible that my own bare white ass decorated the cover of Red Star. See, there was an incident in the Black Sea involving a Russian BE-12 photo reconnaissance plane. But that’s another story). 

Our respective governments would make noises about peace and Détente, limiting strategic weapons and nuclear missiles. They’d sign treaties and everybody would shake hands and smile for the cameras.

Then the politicians would go home and arm us to the teeth and point us at each other.

But as I said, they wouldn’t let us shoot.

Instead, we fought a bunch of idiotic little brushfire conflicts through proxies.

One of which happened to be Libya.

And if these conflicts were like kids in a pushing match, Gadhafi was like the bully’s little sycophant toadie, the one that sneaks around behind your back and kneels down so that when the other guy gives you a shove he’s there to trip you up.

Few adversaries vexed Ronny Rayguns more than the Crazy Colonel. Gadhafi was a burr under the American cowboy’s saddle blanket.  No matter what we did, no matter all our power and military might, he just wouldn’t go away.

Gadhafi was Reagan’s Castro.

Which is how I ended up spending a couple years as a junior analyst in certain aspects of Libyan air defense.

Instead of spending the 80’s lounging around the Costa Del Sol, we kept getting sent down to North Africa to show the flag and put the fear of God into the Libyans. 

Then one day, Gadhafi claimed a chunk of the ocean for himself and we just couldn’t have that.

I was on USS Yorktown when we sailed across his so-called Line of Death into the Gulf of Sitre (back then we spelled it “Sidra” but like Khadafi/Gadhafi, the translations changed over the years, that’s how you know you’ve been around too long) and provoked the Libyan military to a fight. It wasn’t much of a fight in actuality, but it was the best Reagan was going to get.  We spent the next month lobbing missiles at each other.  Well, ok, it was mostly us doing the lobbing and them doing the blowing up – but there were some real tense moments (and some fairly bizarre ones, like the day we watched in utter disbelief as Libyan air defense batteries shot down a Libyan helicopter that was trying to rescue Libyan sailors from a Libyan patrol boat our strike aircraft had sunk. That incident taught me something about perception and hysteria and the fog of war, lessons I remembered many years later when I was in charge of certain combat operations in another war).  Less than a year later I was back, this time onboard USS Ticonderoga, as part of the strike group sent to punish Gadhafi for the Berlin disco bombing and other acts of flagrant terrorism. We struck at the Libyan military bases near Tripoli and Misrata (and “accidentally” dropped a bomb on the French Embassy. Whoops, sorry about that, hold on to your escargot, boys! Liberty in France later that month was a little testy) – and lost two Air Force pilots and their FB-111 in the process – in an operation dubbed Eldorado Canyon.  

Things were quiet after that, we’d taught old Daffy Gadhafi a lesson by George.

For a few days anyway. 

Then Gadhafi sprung his surprise.

He’d gotten himself a couple of SS-N-1’s, the naval variant of the infamous scud missile, from the Soviets.  And one night he launched them straight at the US Fleet – likely with the assistance of Russian “advisors.”  I’m not going to discuss the details because I’m not sure if they’re still classified or not.  Suffice it to say that we didn’t know at the time, as we watched those missiles rise on the radar screen, that they were woefully outdated weapons, with guidance systems that couldn’t hit a barn from the inside and warheads that were unlikely to do much to modern American warships unless they hit dead on – a remote possibility given the aforementioned guidance systems. For very good reason, we thought they were something else. I’ve never been as frightened as I was that night.

But, see, there was this Warrant.

That Warrant set the example.  He was calm and cool and despite the fact that we were all pretty sure we were about to die, he cracked wise and poured himself a cup of good navy coffee and calmly ordered us to our duty. And so we did exactly that, our duty, and waited for the end. At that time I was just a junior petty officer, as green as green can be and had no idea whatsoever what a Navy Chief Warrant Officer even was. But after it was all over, and we lived through it, I realized that he was who I wanted to be.

I’ve never been scared since. Never. Though I’ve been in far worse situations.

Two years later, four days before Christmas, 1988,  I was onboard a US Navy P-3 Orion, flying from Sembach Kaserne in Germany, to Keflavik, Iceland. As chance and air routes would have it, just after dark we flew over Scotland on our way to the North Atlantic.

The P-3,  being a propeller driven Navy patrol craft, had great endurance but it didn’t fly at any great altitude.

And so we had a clear view of the fires burning below as we flew directly over the town of Lockerbie. 

We knew then that we were looking at a horrific disaster – you couldn’t be on that air route and not know.  In the following week we learned that 270 people died that night, 178 of them Americans.  In the month that followed, we learned that Libyans were responsible for a terrible act of terrorism.  We always knew Gadhafi was involved, but it took until 2011 and the defection of a high ranking member of the Libyan government during the height of the Arab Spring before we would learn that Moammar Gadhafi himself had personally ordered the downing of Pan Am Flight 103.

I had always intended to get out of the military after that first tour, but after Lockerbie I re-upped. The world was a dangerous place, bastards like Gadhafi and his friends were killing my countrymen. A life in the military seemed a worthwhile endeavor.

And so it was.

Fifteen years and many, many adventures later, well, I was that Chief Warrant Officer.

So, yeah, maybe in some small way Gadhafi is responsible for where I ended up.

It seems a little weird that he’s not there anymore. Like that bad tooth in the back of your mouth, the one you got in that bar fight in that little town on the French Riviera after your Air Force buddies accidently bombed the wrong building, the one you chew carefully around. It’s not quite bad enough to get fixed and not quite good enough to ignore. Some days it causes you grief, and some days it’s hardly noticeable, but you always know that it’s there, ready to inflict pain for no damned reason at all.

And then one day after decades of this nonsense, you finally get the root canal, and the pain goes away and it’s just weird that it’s not there anymore.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to miss Gadhafi, anymore than I miss a toothache – or the old Soviet Union.

But he’s been such a fixture of my life, it’s weird that we won’t see the Crazy Colonel on TV making some crazy proclamation any more. It’s weird that he’ll never again come to the UN, actually here on the soil of United States – and stay in a tent in Donald Trump’s backyard.  It’s weird that news commentators and intelligence analysts will no longer have to struggle to make sense of his rambling speeches full of fire and hyperbole and wackiness. 

And it’s weird that after all this time, after all the blood and bombs and terrorism, the Cold Wars and the proxy wars, after revolution and Arab Spring, Libya is finally rid of that crazy rat bastard.

It’s as strange to me as the day I watched ordinary people pull down the Berlin Wall.

In the end, it was ordinary Libyans who pulled Gadhafi's miserable ass from a drain pipe and finished him off.

And today, after all this time, the United States of America is spoken of in the streets of Tripoli and Misrata with gratitude again. 

Yes, again. We were friends once, you know, we Americans and the Libyans. We fought side by side against the fascists. And later we were welcome in North Africa when other Western powers were not.  There are still living US Air Force veterans who once flew sorties from Wheelus Air Force Base outside of Tripoli – the same base we bombed in operation Eldorado Canyon. Hell, there were once so many Americans there that Wheelus was informally dubbed “Little America.”

Imagine being friends again. 

No, really, imagine what that means. Imagine what a free Libya means without that madman at the helm. 

Libya has vast wealth in the form of oil reserves and a population long denied freedom and democracy.  The country is intact and so is most of the infrastructure.  They want what we have and they have a means to buy it.  And, and pay close attention here, that oil is not trapped behind the Straits of Hormuz and the Suez Canal – in other words, for those of you not good with geography even after all this time, access to Libyan oil can not be controlled or threatened by Iran.

Oh, the light comes on, does it?

Why do we care about Libya?  Because damned near every other major source of oil on the planet is either in the hands of crazy people, or threatened by powers hostile to the United States and her allies. 

Gadhafi is dead, and today the price of oil per barrel is falling.

Falling.

Falling without a single well having been drilled the Arctic or an American life lost.

There is little that will help restart the world economy faster than lowering the price of energy.  Every American will benefit from having Libya as a friend again.  It is in our best interest, hell it is in the best interest of every human being on the planet, to encourage what is happening in Libya right now.  And it would be even if there was no oil there.  Encouraging the revolution in Libya and the downfall of the dictatorship is the morally correct thing to do. Period.

The President played this one exactly right in every regard.

And whether or not you love him or hate him, Obama deserves full credit for having done so.

He won’t get it of course.

Here’s a sample from the usual source:

You Hussein Obama worshippers are the biggest joke out there. Hussein Obama did nothing but create a power vacuum that radical Islam fascists will fill. But you are all to busy sucking your muzzies dick to see that.

Note that “muzzie” is apparently the new hate word to describe Muslims.  It appears quite commonly in comments on Yahoo, Fox, and Tea Party forums. 

I’ve seen this exact notion expressed in a dozen different places, both from commenters and pundits and politicians.  Better the devil you know, I guess.  I find it hugely ironic that those who so worship the memory of Ronald Reagan rail against the death of a vile dictator, the very gadfly who taunted Reagan himself and generations of American presidents, and who gave the order to kill Americans in the sky over Scotland and in Berlin.  They are loath to cheer the dawning of democracy and freedom for fear that it might, just might, create a so-called “power vacuum.”  

Hell, if they are so frightened that Muslim extremists hostile to the West might take over, then they should be encouraging us to get involved, to render aid and goodwill, and to do every damned thing we can to protect and nurture the fledgling Libyan democracy.  We’ve got a head start, you know, because, you know, turns out Obama did just the right thing.

Korea. Cuba. Vietnam. Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. Come as advisers or come as invaders. Topple the dictator or prop him up.  Send troops. Kill people. Blow stuff up. Pay for it for the next decade.  We’ve been doing this since before Eisenhower – it’s the basic formula that defines our foreign policy and it’s the reason half the world hates our bleeding guts. 

To paraphrase a certain politician, how’s that gun-boaty diplomacy thing working out for ya? 

This time, this time, we have a chance to do it differently.  Do it right. Because Obama took the proper measured response.

The UN and Nato will never let Africa develop. Period. Libya had the highest human development index on the continent.

Uh, what?  I’m not exactly sure where this guy was getting his data regarding human development on the African continent, unless it was the same Wikipedia entry the aforementioned politician got her Paul Revere background from. However, even if you take this comment at face value, which you most definitely should not, i.e. that Libyans were better off under Gadhafi than on their own, this is the same asinine argument used by those folks who think the slaves were better off living in bondage in the Antebellum South than free in Africa.  It’s such a stupid comment that it doesn’t deserve anything but contempt.

Funny how soon many Americans forget that for the past few years our political relations with [Gadhafi] were actually improving and he was turning into an ally. Then we decided to stab HIM in the back and support muslim terrorists in taking over Libya.

The cognitive dissonance in that comment is as stunningly bizarre as something Gadhafi himself might have said.  Conservatives suggesting that we take Gadhafi at his word? Seriously? Muslim terrorists. As opposed to Moammar al Gadhafi?  For fuck’s sake, I hope this idiot stays home and watches NASCAR on election day.

Anyone who would find this to be good news would be a Obama fan. El Gaddafi was a hero to the Tea Party and GOP for how he fought Obama.

“El” Gadhafi? El? Mexico, Libya. potato, potatoe, fuck it, it’s all the same to me.  Gadhafi fought Obama, he’s a Tea Party hero.  What does it mean that he also squabbled with Reagan, the Bushes Big and Small, Clinton, England, France, Italy, Egypt, Chad, and Israel?  Hello? Is this thing on?

I have no objective info regarding him, only what my country wants me to believe. I'm inclined to think the only reason we keep ousting these dictators is because we want the ensuing unrest as a pretense for more excuses to be over there...

If he could have worked in “New World Order” and the face on Mars he’d really have something there. At least he admits he has no objective information, but then again why should that stop him?

It is to soon to tell if the freeing of Libya if that is what it is will be a benefit or a detriment to the U S. My fear is that they will be another terrorist state we will have to deal with.

Another terrorist state? As opposed to what? Libya? Somebody really, really hasn’t been paying attention.  Since about 1970. 

And finally, there’s this little gem:

I suppose we could credit Stalin for defeating Hitler too.

I can’t even work up a snarky comment.  The level of self righteous jingoistic ignorance is appalling on just so many levels. 

 

The bald truth of the matter is this: Conservatives who today are bemoaning the death of Moammar Gadhafi instead of cheering his richly deserved demise have jumped the goddamned shark.  Their hatred has exceeded all rational bounds.

Ask the relatives of those who died in the sky over Lockerbie if Gadhafi deserved his fate.

Ask the loved ones of those who died in Berlin.

Hell, ask the Libyans.

Moammar Gadhafi is dead, and I feel just fine.

56 comments:

  1. Another great analogy... I, too, was affected by a Navy CWO... but I called him Dad! His devotion to duty and conviction to his often liberal beliefs live on in me!

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  2. Right on Jim!

    BTW, Do you think Dick Cheney will write Gadhafi’s obit? Gadhafi was always a sweet deal for Cheney and Haliburton despite those pesky sanctions.

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  3. Apparently the UN is calling for an investigation - if Gadaffi was killed in the fighting, fair enough, but if it turns out he was captured and then shot, well...

    On the one hand, I see their point - it'd be a lot easier to recognize and acknowledge the transitional council as a legitimate authority if they show a commitment to the rule of law.

    On the other -- forty years of oppression, of torture, of having your loved ones hauled off by secret police to be tortured for sedition and undefined crimes... I don't think I'd want to spend much effort searching for the man who pulled the trigger.

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  4. My parents have this attitude towards the whole Arab Spring. Instead of being excited about (hopefully) the spread of democracy, they think that the protesters are really secretly all Islam extremists and terrorists. I don't get it, isn't this what everyone wanted? (I mean democracy in the Middle East not terrorists)

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  5. First I wanted to buy you a beer.

    Then I wanted to smack a whole pile of people upside the head until they saw some sense.

    Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with people? (You don't have to answer that; I have a pretty good idea.)

    And what the fuck is wrong with that anonymous commenter? (Unless you've deleted him by now.) Does he think you'd be sympathetic, or is he just using you for eyeballs?

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  6. Excellent post. Thank you for your service--then and now.

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  7. The level of opposition to this country supporting am indigenous freedom movement at the request of our primary allies, followed by distress over the death of a brutal tyrant and terrorist at the hands of his own people, is something I find incomprehensible and baffling. One might not celebrate the death of any man as a general principle and still regard the death of a man like Gadhafi as a completely not-bad and quite satisfactory circumstance: one certainly wasn't happy about his being alive back in the day.

    Iraq 2 was a different case, in that we chose to stick our mugs in and we didn't have the local support our even any kind of endgame in mind. We weren't prepared to occupy a country in the old-school imperialist fashion. Libya, however, doesn't require anything from us at this point except our moral and material support for the rebels. This was a revolution, not an invasion, and we're in on the ground floor with the winning team (and at relatively little cost and effort).

    This was the kind of thing we're supposed to support and encourage. Hell, it would have been the same if Libya wasn't a strategically important nation, if this was a nation located eight miles from the South Pole (and not right there at the corner of the Atlantic and Mediterranean) and if their only possible export item were the little pebbles that get stuck in your sneakers during long walks. Congratulations, keep your irritating rocks and enjoy your impossible location, it's a great day for freedom.

    There's no pleasing some people. Because they're jackasses.

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  8. Warrant, eloquent and heartfelt.

    And now he goes the way of other despots. I don't know if I sleep more soundly because of it - there are still a bunch of wackos out there - but he's a good start on those who are left.

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  9. Thanks, again, for the great insider history lesson, and your service. You give a perspective that we can't get from the media- even if they were capable.

    When are you writing a book? ( :

    bd

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  10. Ah, the 80s. Great time to be mooned by the Navy while on joint exercises. I think the formation trouser drop was the USN's weapon of choice during FLEETEX, and a terrible thing to spring on somebody watching a contact through the big-eyes...

    Btw, once again, excellent article. Now pull your pants up and get back to work.

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  11. I can't ever think of a mass moon when I was in. Of course we had more flag officers on post than E1-3 and O-1 combined. 17 vs ~12.

    Good article.

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  12. @Eric, urf, you are correct, Sir. I fully intended to say in the post that a) it was a moral imperative to support the revolution - no matter if there was anything in it for us or not. And b) It used to be an imperative for Conservatives to spread democracy around the world, just like they want to spread The Jesus today. WTF Happened?

    It was late, I had a splitting headache (and still do), and I edited it out. After I've enough coffee and shower, I'll probably edit the post to put those points back in. Thanks.

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  13. The tortured serpentine lengths the "Right" will go to to deny that President Obama has done anything worth doing... They're not fooling anyone except their own brain dead minions. I hate to play the race card, but can't imagine any other explanation for why the Right has their panties in such a twist over Obama... And speaking of panties - thanks for the mental image of sailors mooning the rooskies...

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  14. Jim, if this is how you write when you HAVE a headache, then I bow to thee! I am NOT worthy! Thank you so much for this post. I think that like most average American lay-people, I have a really poor knowledge of our own recent foreign policy history. I don't think many people were actually paying attention before 9/11 (and it seems from the comments in the article that some people STILL aren't.) This helped me understand the whole Libyan situation from a much greater perspective, though. Thanks again!

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  15. I remember when the style manual insisted it was Qaddafi.

    Excellent post -- moon the Tea Party for me. It'll be safe. Their aim is so far off it veers off to the right to come around and hit them in their own ass.

    Dr. Phil

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  16. propaganda BS.

    you dont have a clue what is going on and i doubt you ever have.

    pathetic.

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  17. 16 comments before the first angry rightwing conspiracy nut showed up, that's a new record.

    @Jadez, by all means, explain to me what's really going on.

    I could use the laugh.

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  18. Sooo... what?

    We should instead listen to someone who offers no facts, no justification for their assertions, and displays no familiarity with the rudiments of English grammar and punctuation?

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  19. Well, see, first of all, you have to understand that what we call "Libya" is what the Molemen call "x'yll'exia", and what we have down there is an enormous Molemen city beneath the entire northwest corner of Africa. Now, to disguise the fact they're down there, the Molemen have been piping in oil for the "Libyan" "oil wells" using pipelines paid for by the Bildenbergers. This is why the State of Israel had to be created, by the way, which was established in 1948 by the then-newly-established CIA, a renegade group of Freemasons and coterie of reverse-vampires who were only using the Zionists as a front while they ran the pipes across that section of the Middle East, eventually using the Six Day War to complete the Egyptian section of pipeline (by this point, of course, the Freemasons had been replaced by a special sub-franchise of international Scientology under the personal supervision of L. Ron Hubbard himself).

    Much of this would have been revealed had the Apollo Program been an actual success, but when it became clear that the entire house-of-cards would come down if NASA released from-space photos of the region, Apollo 1 had to be sabotaged and the remaining missions were "flown" at Shepperton Studios under the guidance of Stanley Kubrick (the production of Dr. Strangelove and 2001 being used as partial cover for the filming of the "American space program" during the same period of time).

    Ultimately, Richard Nixon canceled "Apollo" and threatened to bring the whole house of cards down, whereupon agents of the United Nations and Federal Reserve, acting quickly, created the "scandal" of Watergate and neutralized the heroic President and installed their own puppet in the White House. (The fact that all this happened so quickly and with so little planning is confirmed by the fact that the conspirators had to use two obvious Molemen in crude human disguise, Zhee-Khortahn Lhid-hee and Zher'ald Fuh-hord, instead of recruiting actual true humans to participate in the plan. Zhee-Khortahn Lhid-hee would, of course, eventually be replaced on the surface with a clone/robot who, after finishing ZKL's prison sentence, has had a career as a radio talk-show host and author, disseminating misinformation for the Conspiracy).

    All of this is completely obvious, and I'd elaborate on some of the finer points, but I can hear footsteps in the hall and

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  20. Found this on Patrick Kutac's fb page; friend-of-a-friend, so unsure if it originated there, but probably. Thought you'd like it, Jim:

    So long, G̶a̶d̶d̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶G̶a̶d̶h̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶Q̶a̶d̶d̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶Q̶a̶d̶h̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶K̶h̶a̶d̶d̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶K̶a̶d̶a̶f̶i̶ ̶ Jerk

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  21. jadez,
    I'm not sure that quite fits the strict requirements for a Haiku, so I'm going to have to mark you down as a result. A decent first effort, though, although a little too stream-of-consciousness-untethered-to-reality for my liking.

    Jim, great stuff. Thanks.

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  22. Eric

    You forgot the Rothschild family

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  23. "Gadhafi was Reagan’s Castro." And he dined out on that fact in America Worst salons for the next 4 decades.

    Now, suddenly, he's a martyr for the neocons?

    Jesus, it's hard for an old man to keep up sometimes.

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  24. "I hate to play the race card, but can't imagine any other explanation for why the Right has their panties in such a twist over Obama."

    Their panties were similarly twisted over Clinton, so it may just be they think the President is either a Republican or a usurper.

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  25. Ah, dammit! Where did I put that Super Sized can of Stupid Ratfuck BEGONE?

    *squirts vigorously and gets out mop and broom*

    The little shits lurk everywhere, don't they?

    Jim, jadez is probably pissed because Camping was wrong AGAIN, no Rapture for him! He's stuck with the rest of us heathens and sinners.

    knittingbull

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  26. Well done, and entertainingly written, as always. At first I was going to mention that there is a country with huge oil reserves that is nowhere near Iran, but then I thought, wait, he mentioned "crazy people" and I'm starting to think that about our beloved Prime Minister Harper... and we don't need another American invasion of Canada. Be nice or we'll send you more female pop singers ;-)
    Cheers
    Ben.

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  27. Excellent write-up...reminded me of the hijinxs we use to pull... but you're just going to have to accept the fact that Conservatives are simply doomed to repeat history over and over and over.. it's in the definition of their name - to conserve, remain unchanged... Trickle down economics vs New Deal economics.. they will never change, so just crack open a beer and wait until they die off...

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  28. so just crack open a beer and wait...

    I'm way ahead of you

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  29. I live in Syracuse NY and I am a graduate of Syracuse University. You can not walk on the campus without being reminded of the SU students who were killed on the pan am 103. Photos, memorial sculpture and reminders are every where. I viewed his end as The Libyans giving him a life time achievement award.

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  30. One of my parent's is one of those living USAF that remembers Tripoli with some fondness.
    Now maybe I will stand the chance of seeing a country that was at one time with the US.
    Here is to cheaper oil prices,even if it hits the state of AK a little hard, and screw the nut heads who think Libya was better off with the jerk!

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  31. Nothing like a free people to shrivel the mojo of a terrorist recruiting office.

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  32. @ Eric
    Heehaw?

    @ Ben
    O Canada welcome us
    with open arms you
    opened up with small arms

    The odd thing is the reaction of the "that was wrong, we shouldn't have gotten involved" bunch. "We killed him." "Oh, noes!"

    Bull.

    Ignore The GOP. They're drunk with power. Sobriety happens eventually. The Tea Party needs to steep. Let it.

    Why are so many other folks shocked, though? Is it youth? Inattention? Too many drugs in the '80s? Wait, I lost track.
    Yes, we were complicit in his death. We helped.
    However, I know I wasn't one of the people who personally stomped him. My uninformed guess is that the mob wasn't made up of US intelligence agents.
    I admire people feeling responsible for the country. For what happens. It's outrage I don't get.
    There are consequences to one's ethical choices. A trial would have been great. Didn't happen. If you feel bad, do something about it. He doesn't deserve moping over.
    This was a terrible waste of life. Tragedy writ large. The man's death was the death of a failed politic. What happens when a country goes to the dogs.
    Gadhafi was a tyrant. He sheltered murderers.
    He trained, or was complicit in the training of murderers.
    When Libya showed signs of dissent and it's people asked for help, this country got involved. Oil, payback, the president was jealous of his bodyguards; we got involved.
    We need to stay involved. Libya is an opportunity for peace. Our choices and actions matter. Discourse matters. Shock, like drunkenness doesn't.

    I feel fine.

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  33. Thanks for the review of the past decades when I was forgetting things quickly.

    "I’ve never been scared since. Never. Though I’ve been in far worse situations."
    That.
    People have commented, occasionally, on my lack of fear. I usually say "I think I used up my lifetime quota of fear too fast."

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  34. While you were sitting watch over Ghadaffi, I was a single girl working in Saudi Arabia. I thank you from the bottom of my hear. We all felt a hell of a lot safer knowing you guys were there.

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  35. Rens said...

    "Apparently the UN is calling for an investigation - if Gadaffi was killed in the fighting, fair enough, but if it turns out he was captured and then shot, well..."

    Whatever the UN does or doesn't do will not change anything unless the bastard was killed by someone other than Libyans. In the videos, it looked to me like a pretty ragtag bunch. I'm sure they don't care what the UN thinks.

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  36. I'm sure they don't care what the UN thinks.

    That was my impression as well.

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  37. I find the doublethink of the Right to be both hilarious and horrifying. Had the fall of Gadhafi occurred when Ronald Reagan first bombed Libya, they would have been congratulating themselves on a tyrant deposed. Now that that black man is president, it's a bad thing, because the power vacuum will mean those d*mned heathen Muslims will come into power.

    No doubt when Kim Jung Il is deposed, the Right will bemoan his loss too.

    I think they don't like that under the foreign-born, Muslim, America-hating Obama, we've killed Osama bin Laden, killed a number of other high-ranking terrorists, and participated in the fall of a dictator who was a sponsor of terrorism. Those Dumbocrats aren't supposed to be good at war.

    Word verification: clergo: a detergent used for removing clerical stains for your altar boy surplice.

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  38. @ Bill

    They don't really care about skin color. Since Reagan it's only been about them. Obama is easier to defame. If Hilary Clinton beat Obama in a surprise primary challenge, then won it, they'd turn the lie machine on her. Same with Biden or any random Kerry.

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  39. Jim,

    The very second apple basic program I ever made was one in which I had a secret file about the colonel, that could be only accessed by a password, in order to satisfy my instructor's input-output test. So, I've been in this in a less direct sense almost as long as you have.

    I had an acquaintance post recently a metric shit-ton of unsubstantiated statistics about life in Libya under the Benevolent Dictator's regime. My acquaintance isn't paying attention to the other things that Mr. Gadhafi (is that how we spell it now?) did, but instead focusing on what he did to sway the electorate, in much the same way that Chavez is doing now south of us. From what he said, however, Daffy was a pretty benevolent dictator, so long as you were on his good side.

    My question is, simply put: What remains? Who replaces Daffy Duck?

    Cuz in a few short months, I think I'm gonna miss him, too. He was crazy. He was batshit whackadoo. He actually made me feel better about Ahmendinijad, if the truth were to be told. Not because I'm less frightened of of BOB and less of DAFFY. But because, after everything else in the last decade, I actually thought Daffy was gonna play ball. He was scared shitless and willing to at least talk.

    Did he need to go? Sure. He was an evil, pain-in-the-ass agitator. But, you know what? I'm gonna miss him, too. I miss having a serious, no-shit, dyed-in-the-wool asshole, because the world isn't nearly as clean-cut as it was in the 80s.

    I miss having a Sauron in our far eastern backyard. Instead, I've got a Sandor Clegane. And while he's a reprehensible fuck, I almost feel bad for what he's been through.

    And that's where we're at now. That's the government I'm worried about. The Sandor Clegane government. I've been burned too badly, and I'm cranky.

    What's the best policy for engagement? I honestly don't know. But we had Daffy at least a little scared after Afghanistan, and he wanted to play ball, or at least fake it. Now? All bets are off. And where does that leave us?

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  40. Jim, While I don't have the military perspective, having been in publishing and traveling each year to the Frankfurt Bookfair, I also feel fine about Gaddafi / Kadafi / Qaddafi or whatever the hell you want to call him. He was omnipresent during my travels, especially during the 1980s when we took him on. I was also at the Cavendish Hotel in London in 1984 when a young British police woman was killed outside the Libyan embassy (shot by someone in the embassy) which I could see from my hotel window and for the next couple of nights I shared that view with British special police sharpshooters who were on a rooftop across the way. Good riddance I say but it's what we do from here on out to encourage responsible nation building that will count and what are the chances the Obama will be given any latitude by the party of No?

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  41. My comment on this evil tyrant's death? Simple: AMF.

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  42. well written, informative, and entertaining. Although I would have enjoyed a diversion into his sunglass collection.

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  43. I keep wondering how many of the deaths of those that Gadhafi was responsible for were investigated by the UN.

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  44. They don't really care about skin color. Since Reagan it's only been about them. Obama is easier to defame. If Hilary Clinton beat Obama in a surprise primary challenge, then won it, they'd turn the lie machine on her. Same with Biden or any random Kerry.

    While I agree that they would turn the lie machine on (especially for Hillary), I think the color of the president's skin has mattered. I still maintain that had the president been Barry O'Brien, with a Irish national for a father and every other fact of his birth & upbringing the same, you wouldn't have the whole "birther" conspiracists (much as I loves me a good conspiracy) that still dog Obama. Heck, today, Rick Perry said that it was a good thing to keep the birther issue alive.

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  45. I can remember listening to my AC and Co-pilot, on a flight from Morocco to Sig., commenting that "That bunghole down there is full of people so stupid that a JO could take over the army and run the country."
    Years later a "Daffy" Captain did just that.
    Good bye, Asshole!
    I can only hope that our President has the time to rid the world of more assholes before the hatemongers drive him, and the rest of the sane Americans, out of office.

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  46. bashicIf ya'll don't mind, I'll just add that I've been listening to Lindsey(former JAG) and Newt(Army Brat) and Michele(Christian Soldier) and I'm about to puke.
    They don't have a clue that GWB commited his successor to leave Iraq December 31, 2011. SOFA Section 24, I think.
    Racist lunatics.

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  47. The Iraqi withdrawal will be the subject of today's post.

    If I manage to get it done.

    Oh, and welcome aboard, Master Chief.

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  48. Once upon a time, Republicans may have actually wanted Democracy to spread rampantly around the world but not anymore. I'm not even sure they pay it lip service anymore. See, they've realized that governments that are democratically elected by other people don't necessarily behave the way Republicans want them to. Imagine that...other countries might have different priorities and different agendas.

    Truth be told, there's nothing to prevent a fledgling democracy from democratically choosing to be a bunch of complete assholes. Those are the chances you take when you champion self-determination.

    And before anyone accuses me of painting Republicans with too broad a brush, I'll remind you that they don't even approve of Democracy in other States. They've figured out ways prevent voter registration in Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee (to name a few). I'm not sure they've got a handle on how to control things so well in Tunisia or Egypt. The reason they're moaning about Gadahfi getting what he deserved (besides being pathologically incapable of giving Obama credit for anything), is that he'd at least become reasonably predictable. Better to have a tyrant than a country that might act in its own self interest.

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  49. Thank you for the welcome, Warrant.
    We need more informed comments about current events and chapped asses.
    I served under eight presidents, beginning with JFK and proudly followed them all.
    I hated some, loved some, but proudly called all my CofC and did my duty.
    72 countries, 31+ years, and I can't believe the shitheads who comment in some of these blogs. What a great country we have!
    What a great president we have!
    What a great Secretary of State we have!
    Wake up you FUCKING DINGBATS!!!

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  50. "This was 1985, and nobody was talking about Perestroika or Glasnost (remember when both of those words were used daily on the evening news?"

    FWIW, I *do* vividly remember those words (glasnost & perestroika, "Star Wars" missile defence and ICBMs, Gorbachev & Reagun & the pre-fall Berlin wall & the SALT treaty & more) indeed - and being genuinely terrified of nuclear war wiping the planet out as a kid. Oh & of the Daleks as well!

    Thankyou, well written and thankyou for your service. (Aussie here but we were on your side and my city of Adelaide was, I found out years later a target too thanks to a research lab based here.)

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  51. Well, by-and-large, Stalin (and his millions of long-suffering soldiers) did the lion's share of defeating Hitler. Anyone who can do a little research knows that.


    Over all, an interesting analysis, and you've just changed my entire opnion on that nastly little fight over there. Thank you.

    I spent most of my Navy time on the other coast, so never got a chance to develop any personal knowledge on things in the Med, or on things *surrounding* the Med. Vladivostok and the vessels sailing from there were of much more importance to my world. Also a certain reclusive, primitive, paranoid nation on a peninsula jutting into the

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  52. Wonderful! I enjoyed this one immensely.

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  53. I wanted to wait a while before responding to see how Libya was shaping up. And I have to say, the one big worry that I had when I heard Gadhafi was killed seems to be well-founded: the revolution sounds like it's going more for revenge than for justice.

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  54. I have nothing to add about Qadhafi except I'm glad he's gone. I am very pleased to have found your blog today.

    I remember glasnost and perestroika, but I'm *so* glad you used the word fahrvergnügen. Makes me laugh. We had a VW, and they came out with that ad campaign. My husband looked at the billboard, looked at me, and said "I wonder if I could take this thing in and get it retrofitted with fahrvergnügen." Aah, the 80s were awful and good. Kind of like now.

    Sue

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