I’m currently working on a professional development paper, that has me reading Anthony Shadid’s book Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War on Bagdhad before and after the US invasion of 2003, and rereading Tom Rick’s book Fiasco: America’s Military Adventure in Iraq. Both books describe how the US had no clue what it would do with Iraq after it overthrew Saddam, and had no clue really who the players in Iraqi society were. It’s therefore encouraging to read James Traub write in Foreign Policy that we know who the Libyan rebels are and we have a good opportunity now to get behind them and prepare the way for Libya post-Qaddafi. MP+
Here’s an excerpt:

“But the problem may be political as well as legal. “We’re paranoid about the possibility of Islamic infiltration,” says Marina Ottaway. For months, critics of the decision to bomb Libya, as well as many on the right, have wrung their hands over the rebels in Benghazi, saying, “We don’t know who they are.” Now, after extensive reporting, we know who they are: people from all walks of life, including a great many professionals, who loathe Qaddafi and yearn for a better life — and yes, some Islamists, too. Behind the NATO-enforced cordon sanitaire in front of Benghazi, a chaotic laboratory of democracy has sprung up. Benghazi has 400 non-government organizations and 40 or so proto-parties. There are endless meetings, debates, committees. The Tripoli Task Force, a TNC-appointed committee of independent experts, makes plans — quite serious, specific plans — for Day One of the post-Qaddafi world. Whatever its inevitable shortcomings, this is a struggle which undoubtedly deserves the support — not just moral, but also financial — of the West.”