‘Fighting in Libya Hints at Civil War’

My hate-affair with The Washington Post began innocently enough: reading David Broder and realizing that in a lengthy and featured column, that he had said absolutely nothing that was print-worthy.  The second phase was the ill-advised Dana Milbank/Chris Cilizza video-fest wherein they looked like smug Beltway dweebs.  The next phase was the discharge of Dan Froomkin (who found a home at The Huffington Post (which is becoming part of AOL)).  This last (from 3/6/11) is a masterpiece of nothingness.

First, who doesn’t know there is an armed conflict in Libya?  Yes, there are armed conflicts everywhere and most agree that Libya’s conflict will have telling consequences throughout the world.  Yes, no one seems to have a clue as to possible options for the West.  It would seem that doing nothing is the consensus opinion.  But is there something in particular (in LIBYA) that merits attention?  Oh, there is a HINT.  This is a ‘firm grasp of the obvious’.  What has been streaming across the wires is not a hint.  Were they pressed for pixels?

Second, let’s examine the civil war meme.  If there is armed conflict intra-nation,  that is the definition of civil war.  Is there a meaningful distinction between armed insurrection, rebellion and civil war, or maybe chaos?  Is it the parties contesting one type of control?  Is it the level of firepower?  Is it the class of opposition (tribal, class, race, religious, or political-ism)? Is it a simple case of numbers?  Is it regions?  The term ‘Civil War’ is meaningless here except as provocation.  I (feeling like a sucker) read the entire article to find out if they ever revisit the term in a way that expands understanding.  The second page of the article expands the horizon by adding the words ‘long’ and ‘protracted’, which is VERY IMPORTANT.  They are synonyms.  That means they meant to say ‘potentially very long’.  And no, they never get around to telling you what defines civil war, or why this may take a long time.

The fighting made clear that government forces were prepared to fiercely contest the eastern front of the conflict, which had been moving steadily toward the capital.

This merited its own paragraph, and I think they meant to distinguish this fighting from the fighting on the western front (Zawiyah), but you knew that.

This article is a bunch of quotes from people all over Libya assembled to look like a meaningful narrative.  A bunch of quotes is not a meaningful narrative.  (Actually, I should clarify: a series of quotes, if managed properly, can be a fabulous narrative.)  The only conclusion I draw from this article is that The Washington Post, along with the rest of the world, has no idea what’s going on in Libya, or at least can’t, or can’t be bothered to explain the situation coherently.  What I felt after reading the article was a faint odeur of  ‘these poor fuckers’ and that the paper should have placed a coda at the very end containing the words:  “Tut, tut”.

One Response to “‘Fighting in Libya Hints at Civil War’”

  1. […] Diego, USA Nice related topic here: https://a4synapse.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/fighting-in-libya-hints-at-civil-war/ Nice related topic here: […]

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