Meet the Gun in the Sky that Ended Qaddafi

Illustration for article titled Meet the Gun in the Sky that Ended Qaddafi

It might have been a pack of brave Libyans who captured Qaddafi on the ground today, but his demise was started by a single French jet. Details are sparse, but a Mirage 2000 stopped Qaddafi's getaway in its tracks.


Bloomberg reports that Qaddafi was looking to get the hell out of Sirte—his last remaining, tenuous stronghold, in an SUV—but was strafed to a halt by the 1978 Mirage's 30mm cannon. Once slowed, Qaddafi's convoy was swarmed by Libyan rebels, and, well, the rest we know. It's a fitting bookend to an air war that was pushed hard by the French, though the National Journal's Yochi Dreazen relays the Pentagon's boast of a Predator strike somewhere around Sirte at the same time—the latest in a string of drone attacks that's beat the number we executed in Afghanistan last year. Was the American missile aimed at Qaddafi? We don't know yet. We might never know.

But the consequence is clear: as the NYT and others have pointed out, the Libyan war was perhaps the most modern to date. Qaddafi's military hardware was destroyed from above, by weapons that his men likely never even saw before they were killed by them. Of course an immense amount of blood was splattered by rebels on the ground, fighting and improvising with little training, if any. But the decisive factor was death from above. Drones controlled half a world away, jet attacks, and cruise missiles. A warning shot from a shimmering French plane's about as fitting as an end to the war gets. [Bloomberg]

Photo: Smudge 9000

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Subsidized food, inexpensive housing, free medical care and education, and profit-sharing were among the benefits that eased the lives of all citizens. The government protected the employed in their jobs and subsidized the underemployed and unemployed. In addition, there were nurseries to care for the children of working mothers, orphanages for homeless children, and homes for the aged. The welfare programs had reached even the oasis towns of the desert, where they reportedly were received with considerable satisfaction.

The number of doctors and dentists increased from 783 in 1970 to 5,450 in 1985, producing in the case of doctors a ratio of 1 per 673 citizens. These doctors were attached to a comprehensive network of health care facilities that dispensed free medical care. The number of hospital beds increased from 7,500 in 1970 to almost 20,000 by 1985, an improvement from 3.5 beds to 5.3 beds per 1,000 citizens. During the same years, substantial increases were also registered in the number of clinics and health care centers.


Life expectancy at birth (women and men, years) 2005-2010 76.9/71.7

Infant mortality rate (per 1 000 live births) 2005-2010 18.0

Fertility rate, total (live births per woman) 2005-2010 2.7

Contraceptive prevalence (ages 15-49, %) 2006-2009 45.2 1995.

International migrant stock (000 and % of total population) mid-2010 682.5/10.4 Data refer to foreign citizens.

Refugees and others of concern to UNHCR end-2008 11547

Education: Government expenditure (% of GDP) 2005-2008 2.7 1999.

Education: Primary-secondary gross enrolment ratio (w/m per 100) 2005-2008 104.1/98.7

Education: Female third-level students (% of total) 2005-2008 51.4 UNESCO estimate. 2003.

Seats held by women in national parliaments (%) 2009 7.7

I'm not going to comment much on the matter. Here is just a few things on Libya from the internet. Please, Please, Please do not come at me with the human rights crap.