Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TOP STORY >> Dictator fooled by coverage?

Leader executive editor

Did Fox News goad President Obama into taking action in Libya?

Every hour until the missiles started flying, Fox showed Obama goofing off: Doing everything except his job, but there was a reason to the March madness, and it had nothing to do with basketball.

Fox may have been part of a grand strategy to deceive the dictator into thinking he wasn’t on Obama’s radar. Did White House aides ask Fox to keep telling viewers Obama was “too disengaged” to care about Libya? A lot of people thought so.

This could be the start of a new era of cooperation between the White House and Fox.

All month, Fox News kept telling viewers the President was too much into college basketball to pay attention to the uprising in Libya.

Is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi now on the ropes because of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by the White House and Fox News? Did they fool Qaddafi into thinking coalition forces wouldn’t come after him because America was too busy with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, not to mention the NCAA tournament bracket?

A clever disinformation campaign may have lulled the colonel into complacency. Everyone knew President Obama seemed too distracted to do anything about Libya. With two wars and a disaster in Japan, why pick a fight with another Arab dictator?

If Qaddafi watched Fox News, he would have seen President Obama playing golf, attending family outings and filling out March Madness brackets. If he didn’t fill out the brackets, he would have been called un-American.

The democratic spirit has caught on in the Muslim world, thanks to the Internet and instant worldwide communication. Old dictators like Qaddafi should not expect to rule for another 40 years.

It’s no surprise that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last week pressed President Obama into taking action against Col. Qaddafi.

Considering her husband’s decision to go to war in Bosnia almost two decades ago, Bill Clinton may have channeled his feelings through his wife to persuade Obama that the time had come to target Qaddafi.

The administration has deftly used the United Nations’ no-fly resolution to go after Qaddafi once and for all. Fortunately, U.S. involvement appears limited.

American officials say they’ll finish the job in a couple of days and let France lead the military action against the aging dictator.

He could stick around for a while in a divided Libya, but the bombings have destroyed the country’s air defenses and sent Qaddafi into hiding—perhaps in a spider’s nest, like his cohort Saddam Hussein before he was captured.

Obama and his team were slow to catch the revolutionary wave sweeping across the Arab world. The Tunisian and Egyptian dictators have been deposed and more are on the verge of going down and out. Dictators and monarchs are watching their backs and bank accounts, wondering if they’re next. From Libya to Bahrain, from Syria to Iran, the spirit of freedom is spreading.

There are different kinds of dictators: Those who die in bed, perhaps the rarest of the breed, and there are those who escape overseas with billions in suitcases.

Those who don’t flee or die in their bunkers get caught in spider holes and die on the gallows. None of these are pleasant prospects for the longtime dictator and his sons.