Libya, Muddling Through

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 31 2012 @ 5:08pm


The Economist is upbeat about the country's reconstruction:

Clashes are, for the moment, little more than unpleasant, but isolated, incidents. Shops and cafés open late in city centres and, at least in the urban coastal areas, people are still largely positive about their lot.

Amnesty warns of widespread torture in the country's prisons, although the authorities appear to be responding to international pressure on the isssue. Greenwald zooms out:

Obviously, the Gadaffi and Saddam regimes were horrible human rights abusers. But the point is that one cannot celebrate a human rights success based merely on the invasion and overthrow of a bad regime; it is necessary to know what one has replaced them with. Ironically, those who are the loudest advocates for these wars and then prematurely celebrate the outcome (and themselves) bear significant responsibility for these subsequent abuses: by telling the world that the invasion was a success, it causes the aftermath — the most important part — to be neglected. There is nothing noble about invading and bombing a country into regime change if what one ushers in is mass instability along with tyranny and abuse by a different regime: typically one that is much more sympathetic to the invading regime-changers.

(Photo: Libyan men stand at the destroyed gates the 28May Brigade military base which was damaged during earlier fighting in the oasis town of Bani Walid, on January 25, 2012. By Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images.)