What does Libya, and any nation for that matter, most need? It's not democracy - which even the great 'liberator' Winston Churchill commented: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” and “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”...... No, they need stability.
For over 40 years, Gaddafi and his sidekicks have united over 130 formerly warring tribes in an arbitrary area defining a state called Libya. On taking power in 1969, his priority was to establish schooling and a health service - a first for any arab state. He lives in a bloody tent for god's sake, unlike most 'democratically' elected leaders who live in palaces. He took over a desert. Their biggest industry when he seized power (which wasn't particularly bloody. The previous ruler had lost control anyway) was recycling scrap metal left behind by WW2. Oil was only discovered in the 70s, and much of the wealth his regime obtained from it turned the country from one of the worst educated in Africa, into one of the best. Today 83% of the population can read - 72% of women - how's that for a muslim nation. And religious fundamentalism is kept in check. Indeed Al Qaeda is an illegal organisation there, despite 97% of the population being Sunnis. Life expectancy is now 80 for a woman (77 for men) - Libya is 57th in world ranking for longevity - ahead of many 'democratic' nations. There's even a network of local councils who dispense justice and regional administration by 'elected' (not sure how) local folk using a system Gaddafi invented called Direct Democracy. Well it's a system at least, and not controlled by secret police and military. Basically it is (or at least was) a peaceful country in the midst of a bunch of greedy power-crazed leaders in neighbouring states.
Agreed his troops did kill over 1,000 prisoners, mainly political opponents, during a prison revolt soon after he took power. I'm not sure we know much of the details about this. And he did authorise the downing of the Lockerbie flight as well as armed the IRA because of some deluded crusade (can Muslims crusade?) against both Capitalism and Marxism. But he claims now to be reformed, at least that's what Holy Tony believed. He has stopped (he says) building / buying WMDs (that's saved him a few bob), and there are no longer any sanctions in place against his country (that cost him several $billion to compensate victims of his sponsorship of terrorism). So the rest of the world has decided 'better the devil you know'. What's changed our collective mind so suddenly?
Which brings me to the real stupidity of the UN's decision to back the rebels fighting him. Why force regime change from something which sort-of works, and who's sort-of our friend now that he's said 'oops sorry' (whether you believe him or not), to enable a bunch of heaven knows who, brandishing guns on the streets of Benghazi, to take control. Crazed mullahs for all we know who desperately want to launch WMDs on every non-believer? How on earth can we be certain these people want 'democracy'? Have they any idea how to establish it? Do we? WHO ARE THEY? Why have we declared war on their enemies?
So why are these rebels on the street anyway? Tribal factions and greed. They've looked at their neighbours and have spotted a window of opportunity to take wealth and power for themselves. We've not the slightest idea what their agenda is, or if they have one at all. And we want them to take power?! The UN must be totally mad. What's the alternative to a relatively stable system? Complete anarchy and confusion. Brilliant. Let's arm the rebels, whoever they are, just because they're rebelling and fancy having a go at controlling the country themselves.
My final question to our idiot politicians is this. If armed terrorists were shooting at our own troops in London or New York, would we thank China or Russia for bombing our air force to make it harder for us to stop them taking control of our streets? A bloke going crazy with a gun in our country is called a terrorist or a nutter and we expect, nay want the state to use maximum force to eradicate him. But if he's in Libya he's called a freedom fighter and our crazy politicians want to help him. Go figure.
Madness. Gaddafi might not be the most perfect leader for Libya, but he's the best we know about. All he's doing is protecting his own people from further bloodshed by nipping a revolution by god knows whom from escalating. He's certainly eccentric, and probably brutal, but is that a good reason to start another Iraq and open the doors to the next really dangerous nutters?