I was having lunch with a Libyan man named Saif. When we got to the hummus-covered lettuce, Saif had an epiphany: Why can't America have a Common Sense Institution? I asked Saif just what exactly is a Common Sense Institution? Saif went on to explain that a Common Sense Institution is one in which the US forms a New Deal-type-plan with its Arab partners that is dedicated to peace, progress, a clean environment and a jobs program. I spit my tea out all over Saif because he made too much sense. America, this is the deal: We need to get behind the Common Sense Plan.
You almost had me fooled there for a minute. The drawing of big-picture conclusions out of the tiniest of epiphanies culled from his own personal interactions is pure Friedman. But unfortunately your writing is relatively clear and free of a lot of painful mixed metaphors and bad verbal gymnastics.
This is going to get NASTY very quickly. Americans have a notion that all Libyans are the same...they aren't. And I am not even talking about the Berbers who have been the whipping boys of the mountains since the Marines were last setting foot in the country. As much as they might be offended being lumped into the same camp as Africans, the political landscape of Libya is more akin to Somalia socially than say the typical middle Eastern nation. Tribe takes priority over everything. As Kadaffi got older, he depended more and more on his tribe to keep the others in line. This is why major cities and the military officer corp didn't necessarily jump sides as quickly as most people thought they would as he had already pretty much ensure only his people were in charge.There is a history of various tribes getting brutalized during Kadaffi's entire reign to maintain control. There is going to be ugly victors justice between these groups. And god forbid if you got dark skin since Kadaffi decided to try and use African mercenaries to keep the peace. If they didn't have oil, we would ignore them like Somalia. But they do so I am guessing we are going to pressure the winners into keeping the killings and rapes out of the press as much as possible along with hoping for the best.
I'm working on my metaphors, Chez. I just need a few more lunches with former terrorists and oil sheiks - and I'll be back to my self. Oh, one more note: don't make fun of my rich wife.Regards,Tom
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