What Are Journalists Missing in Libya?
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia--Watching from afar the televised scenes of the rebel takeover of Tripoli and the collapse of the Qaddafi regime, I found something satisfyingly familiar about the rituals.
There is the celebratory gunfire as the liberators toast their surprising victory -- without realizing that Newton's law of gravity also applies to bullets fired from AK-47s. There are the portraits and posters of the fallen dictator, once ubiquitous on walls and in houses, now dragged into the streets for stomping. There are the reports of holdouts, "pockets of resistance," "loyalists," or "die-hards," who will start firing on the liberators and spoil the party. The palace, compound, or headquarters will be combed through for curios or evidence of past atrocities. Secret prison sites will be found. Then come the inevitable questions about a breakdown in law and order, revenge killings, and whether the newly victorious force is really capable of governing.