A Civil War

110503137

From Jon Lee Anderson's latest Libya dispatch:

In front of another tank, a man fiddled with a camera and asked me to take his picture with his elderly father, who seemed overcome with emotion, and suddenly lifted both hands in a “V for victory” sign. Men wandered up to me to ask my nationality: “French, American?” and shaking my hand happily, shyly, expressing their gratitude to the West and their outrage at Qaddafi, and their humiliation, too. “Qaddafi, you know, he’s not normal,” Libyans often say in an ashamed way, as if trying to fathom the man who has dominated their lives for more than forty years and who is now sending bombs and planes and tanks against them. “What does he think, that we will somehow forgive him and agree to live with him again, after this?”

The underlying question is whether the pro-Qaddafi forces are entirely mercenary or whether they are genuine. The same question applies to the pro-Qaddafi crowds in Tripoli. Pure propaganda? Paid stooges? Or brainwashed enthusiasts? Wilkinson encourages plain language:

It seems to me obviously correct to characterise the military conflict between Libyan factions as a "civil war", and thus to characterise the actions of the Americans, French, and British, which target the Libyan state's air defences, as "taking sides in a civil war". 

(Photo: Libyan rebels duck for cover behind a sand dune during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Moammer Khaddafi's forces on March 21, 2011 as news reports said Libyan government forces pulled back 60 miles from rebel-held Benghazi but showed they still had plenty of fight as they beat off an insurgent advance. By Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Just In