One of the most impressive questions to be posed by the death of Colonel Gaddafi was formulated by Raymond Ibrahim in a column for PJ Media: “Gaddafi Dead — So What?”
Mr. Ibrahim goes on to anatomize what he describes (rightly, in my view) the “myopic view” of the so-called Arab Spring purveyed by the Western media. Naïveté, your moment has come. A rabble topples Hosni Mubarak: to listen to the Western media, spoon-fed by Obama administration officials, you would have thought it was the second coming of James Madison. Was the onslaught in Cario fueled largely by the Muslim Brotherhood: no matter, the Muslim Brotherhood, said our director of national intelligence, is “a largely secular organization.” Tell that to the Copts who, just a week or two ago, were murdered in the Cairo streets.
Mr. Ibrahim is correct: we need to look beyond individual bad guys and “start focusing on the forces, the ‘spirit of the time,’ in this case, Islam, which creates bin Ladens no less than the tyrannical autocrats who suppress them.”
Think about this: When George W. Bush went after Saddam Hussein, he “smoked him out,” dragged him from a hole in a ground and handed him over to what counted as the legitimate authorities in Iraq. He was then tried and executed. When Barack Obama went after Gaddafi, his (and NATO’s) support led to Gaddafi being dragged from a sewer pipe, sodomized with a metal rod, and then summarily shot. (Maybe this is what that New Yorker meant when describing Obama’s adventures in Libya as “leading from behind.”) As I write, his corpse along with the corpse of one of his sons and an aide, are on public display, as Libyans come from all over the country to leer at the rotting flesh of their former leader. “Fighters guarding the darkening body and those of Gaddafi’s son Mo’tassim and his former army chief had placed plastic sheeting under them as fluids leaked into the market cold store in Misrata where they had been taken after their capture and killing near Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte on Thursday.” The air, no doubt, is redolent with the scents of the Arab Spring.
What’s happening in Egypt? The radical Islamicization of the country. What’s happening in Libya, home to some of the world’s largest proven oil reserves? The radical Islamicization of the country: Islamic law, the “rebels” announced in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s murder, will be the “basic source” of law in Libya.
I think the commentator Frank Gaffney is right: Obama may be good at murdering bad guys, but he is well on his way to “losing the world” — losing, that is to say, the Western consensus that relied on freedom, prosperity, and democratic capitalism to knit the world together in a more or less ordered whole. The world is not only far poorer now than when Mr. Hope and Change took office a couple of years ago, it is also a far dangerous and more volatile place. Mr. Gaffney includes a striking picture of Barack Obama in his column. It reminded me of a picture of another bringer of hope and change, another politician who had big plans for the government. Are you scared yet?