Since there ain’t much in the way of any sort of good news coming out of Libya so far as ousting Gadhafi goes, the Wall Street Journal gleefully reports that the Libyan Rebels Have Hijack[ed] Gadhafi’s Phone Network:
A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.
The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.
That March cutoff had rebels waving flags to communicate on the battlefield. The new cellphone network, opened on April 2, has become the opposition’s main tool for communicating from the front lines in the east and up the chain of command to rebel brass hundreds of miles away.
Did they just say “rebel brass”? What exactly constitutes a person who is a member of the rebel brass? That he has two, instead of just one, “technicals”, i.e., modified Toyota Hi-Lux trucks with a machine gun mounted in the bed? Where is this rebel brass, and why is Gadhafi so effectively kicking its ass?
This sounds so inspiring. But Americans are so stupid, believing that the resolution to all of the world’s problems are just a few mouse clicks or cell phone calls away. Like, yeah, man. They can Google now. You know they’re gonna win.
Are all new technological applications always plotted out on the back of a napkin?
On March 6, during a flight back to the United Arab Emirates after organizing a naval convoy to the embattled city of Misrata, Mr. Abushagur says he drew up a diagram on the back of a napkin for a plan to infiltrate Libyana, pirate the signal and carve out a network free of Tripoli’s control.
What followed was a race against time to solve the technical, engineering and legal challenges before the nascent rebel-led governing authority was crushed under the weight of Col. Gadhafi’s better-equipped forces. After a week of victories in which the rebels swept westward from Benghazi toward Col. Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, the rebel advance stalled and reversed on March 17, when the United Nations approved a no-fly zone and government forces kicked off a fierce counterattack.
As romantic as it sounds, this really can’t be true. What airline offers up napkins anymore? And for the ones that do, how could any sort of diagram of any meaningful thing be fitted onto the back of them? They can’t be more than about three inches square.
And exactly what legal challenges does one face when hijacking the telecom network of another? Isn’t the act itself a legal challenge, making the law sort of irrelevant? And isn’t war, as is claimed is going on Libya, a contravention of law? Notwithstanding all the caterwauling to the contrary, perhaps the most oxymoronic phrase ever coined is the “law of war”.
The Journal must have thought the home front needed some good news on the Libyan front in order that its imperialistic impulses remain a top priority. But NATO just ain’t getting the job done. Gadhafi has not only survived, but he’s thrived since NATO took over the mission. And NATO is bickering, as all losers do, again from the Journal (behind the pay wall):
France and the U.K. called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to more aggressively defend civilians, particularly in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, from Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, but NATO officials said the allies were doing a good job and reported strikes in the area.
France and the U.K. are leading the charge against NATO? Is the next phase of European decadence to be a gradual turn back into bickering empires, until finally a last world war finishes the job started by the first two? With the US backing away from engagement in the world as an expense it can ill afford as it is trying to spend itself into the stone ages, the field for renewed European empire is flung open. Perhaps Italy can borrow some money from the EU and reassert Mussolini’s claim to Libya.
Libya seems already forgotten. Another imperialistic blunder that the US can conveniently now blame on others. But the stated aim for getting involved, i.e., protecting civilians, has, like the law of unintended consequences* predicts, not been accomplished. The US has an unblemished record over the last decade in accomplishing its stated objectives with military interventions in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries. It has failed all three times.
*The law of unintended consequences of government action states that whatever is the objective claimed to justify government intervention in affairs political or economic, the outcome will be precisely the opposite. Thus the stated aim of intervening in the housing market during 2009 and 2010 was to prevent housing prices from crashing, precisely what is now happening, again.