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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Egypt sure got the ball rolling

All from today:
“Protesters die as crackdown in Libya intensifies.”
“Protesters rally for 6th day at Wisconsin Capitol.”
“China cracks down on protest threats, rounds up dissidents.”
One of these things is not like the others.
For all the (valid) complaints about U.S. government and policies, I have to say there is a great distance between ignoring your demands, and shooting at you when you make them. In Wisconsin we’ve got a bunch of union supporters ticked that their collective bargaining rights are about to be stripped away. Basically it’s a protest about removing their protest options, a sort of preemptive protest. It does beg the question, though, as to how many of those thousands would still be there if there were snipers and hired killers raining bullets into the crowd. If you dare to protest in some countries, you’d better have a serious gripe. Heck, China is arresting people who are only talking with each other about maybe getting together to get something started (a preemptive shutdown, if you will - it’s all about being preemptive).
However, I have to say that of all these Libya takes the cake. Not only is Gaddafi shooting anyone who uses their outside voice (you know he’d be one of those guys that really takes it out on movie-talkers), he is now shooting the people who show up at the funerals for the people he’s already murdered. That’s nuts. It’s some sociopath's version of entrapment. I mean, this is comic book villainy here, real moustache-twirling over-the-top bad guy stuff, so amoral you wouldn’t believe it if you read it in a novel. It would be absurd if it weren’t so horribly tragic.
Gaddafi came to power in 1969, and there he has remained, though he’s changed his title a few times. He is currently the longest-serving non-royal head of state (read: dictator) anywhere. Most of us followed his rise to stardom in the Western media during the heady days of Reagan, where President Actor dubbed him the “mad dog of the middle east.” In spite of a few sad efforts to embrace the world community, Gaddafi has been content to run his oil-rich corner of the world like his own private pleasure palace (for him, not his people). To list his human-rights violations is beyond the scope of this article, my blog, and possibly the whole internet.
My question is: How did this guy escape the Bush-boom being lowered on him? Sure, Reagan bombed him a bit in ’86, but Gaddafi never saw hordes of marines come surging over his beaches to oust him from power. Bush Senior smacked Hussein on the nose, and Dubya finished him off, but what about Gaddafi? Isn’t his oil good enough for America? Is it Communist oil somehow? Just like Hussein, he’s guilty of abusing power and his own people. Like Hussein, he’s never managed to build weapons of mass destruction. Why aren’t his fictional weapons as dangerous as Hussein’s were? Come on, guys. Gaddafi’s got oil, he’s no American ally, he’s no threat to U.S. soil, there’s no chance he could ever expand his little empire, and he certainly looks the part of dictator, with his weak moustache and his penchant for poorly-chosen hats. So just how is Gaddafi any different from Hussein? America, doesn’t he deserve your bombs and attention just as much as the next despot?
I’m sure those poor protesters could use the help.

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