I used to think that The War on Terror was a misnomer in that terrorism is a tactic. How do you wage war on a tactic. But recent events illustrate that terrorism is not just a tactic. It's a motis operandum, a strategy, an environment one creates and maintains to achieve and maintain control of a population. People who subscribe to this operating model are the enemy, and the U.S. is not alone in the fight.
It occurred to me that Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi is a true terrorist. He has ruled his country for over 40 years by demonstrating continually that there is no limit to his capacity for cruelty. He had the population in constant fear for their lives. A recent dispatch out of eastern Libya (not under Gadhafi's control as of this post) by a local man stated that, in the past, if the people of his town protested, they would simply all be killed and nobody would ever hear about it. The new technologies and services on the Internet enabled people across the whole continent to communicate and share ideas and frustrations despite government's all out efforts to stop it.
In the real War on Terror, Gadhafi, Mubarak and anyone else who governs without the express consent of the governed, has to be on the hit list. I'm not making the list. The White House isn't making the list. The list becomes clear when you realize that the freedom to communicate and associate are not things people will give up. They've had a taste of the liberation that comes with the free flow of ideas and it's spreading like wildfire.
Gadhafi is losing because he's lost the fear factor. His proposal: "My way or you die." was answered with "We'd rather die." The Internet is no small factor. Dying for your principals when nobody will ever know about it is noble, but not very compelling. A chance to go down in history for standing on your principals is another matter altogether.
With a clearer view of the enemy, the battle lines and the battlefield conditions, I now feel much more confident that the good guys are going to prevail. Now if we could just have a popular uprising in support of accounting and budgeting...