CNN Says Don’t celebrate Libya just yet
Posted on September 8th, 2011

By William J. Bennett, CNN Contributor

Libya is a mess. It has been a mess for a long time, but as with other states in the Middle East, it was not always so. As Fouad Ajami put it, “Libya was a wealthy country, blessed with abundant oil, but the despot turned it into one of Africa’s poorest populations. …The country was turned into a cruel tyranny, and what wealth existed was the prerogative of the man at the helm and his children.”Much the same could be said of other regimes throughout the Middle East.

So we rightfully will celebrate when Gadhafi — whom Ronald Reagan once called “the mad dog of the Middle East” — is finally and fully deposed. But the celebrations here and abroad are premature. On Monday morning, it was reported that two of Gadhafi’s sons had been captured by the opposition in Libya, including his eldest, Saif al-Islam. By Monday night, Saif was roaming free, “flashing V-for-victory signs.” As the Polish poet Stanislaw Lec once put it, “When you jump for joy, beware that no one moves the ground from beneath your feet.”

There are plenty of other reasons to be cautious. The question of “Who and what comes next?” is too easily dismissed by too many. It is this question, more than any other, that has dogged our fight in the global war against Islamic terror from the very beginning.

We rightfully celebrated the ousting of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but today it is unclear whether the Taliban will be coming back to power, or if Hamid Karzai is the ally we once thought he would be, as he threatens to join with our enemies. And, of course, Afghanistan’s Constitution speaks of “jihad” and states “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”

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