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Sympathy For The Devil

by Geraldo Rivera | Apr 08, 2011

Loathing their master, I admit to feeling sorry for the Gaddafi force attacking east from Brega toward Ashdabiya in the Libyan civil war. This is no longer the overwhelming armored column seeking to suppress the eastern rebellion. This is the desperate remnant of a battered army.

Far from their western base, their supply line stretches along a single coastal road for 300 miles. Pushed from behind by the hysterical urgings of their mad maximum leader, they face death from the giant Allied air hammer above.

Still they attack.

Because they have been over this road before as the pendulum of war swings from one side to the other, each advance they make takes them past what is left of their dead and burned out carcasses of their tanks and trucks previously destroyed by Allied air power.

Whether wielded by the Americans or other NATO power, the air forces lurking invisibly above are like a death-dealing God, the referee of this bizarre excuse for civil war.

Their golden rule apparently is this: If the loyalists go too far too fast or get too close to the rebel-held cities, they get whacked and splattered from the sky.

When they are hit, their survivors retreat. When they retreat their opponent, the otherwise worthless rebel army charges forward to fill the vacuum, firing mindlessly and often; until the loyalists see the rebel lack of skill, courage and resolve, and move forward again.

They charge because Gaddafi will never let them come home alive from the Kamikaze mission he has ordered.
This war will end when they are too few or too battered to be afraid of their evil lord any longer; or when he is killed or gives up the ghost of his delusions of grandeur.

I also feel delusional, though mine is benign not malignant.

Having not slept more than an occasional hour my head bobs and falls with each bump on the road during the 600 mile trek back east to Cairo.

That is the worst thing about working a war zone, this sleep deprivation. It has none of the gory drama of the whiz and bang of battle, but it tests reporters harshly. Exhausted and chilled by the wet sea breeze, we passed through the Libyan/Egyptian border crossing known as al Salloum in the pre-dawn dark this Wednesday morning.

As it was when we entered last Thursday a long time ago, as we leave Libya the No Man's Land between nations is crowded by scores of African refugee men, women and children. They are sleeping on the dusty concrete walkways, huddled under donated blankets, waiting for safe passage to their homes in faroff Chad and Mali.

We stopped for breakfast in ancient Alexandria. In the relative normalcy in that second largest city in recently tumultuous Egypt perhaps there is hope for Libya.

Tonight we sleep in Cairo.

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