Steve Harper likes to boast how Canada and our NATO allies saved Libya by bombing the hell out of Gaddafi's forces. It sounds nice but it's hogwash.
As the United States and coaltion did in Iraq, as we all did in Afghanistan, so we got into the Libyan war utterly indifferent to realities on the ground.
In our hubris we ignored a lesson that's been repeatedly taught to us over the past decade, one we've paid in blood to learn. You can't build a stable Muslim state without first overcoming the two-punch scourge of warlordism and tribalism. If you don't suppress warlordism and tribalism, when you topple the ruling strongman all you're left with is warlordism and tribalism. Those people are all about wielding power, not giving it up.
So Libya, quite predictably, stands poised on the verge of a civil war that's probably inevitable at this point.
The government of the interim Prime Minister, Abdel Rahim el-Keeb, is virtually paralysed by rivalries that have forced it to divide power along lines of regions and personalities, by unreachable expectations that Muammar Gaddafi's fall would bring prosperity and by powerlessness so marked the national army is treated like another of the many warring militias.
This week one militia assaulted another militia at a seaside base in Tripoli to rescue a woman who had been abducted.
This didn't have to happen. There was an alternative, one that would have quickly ousted Gaddafi and left no room for the warlords and religious extremists to undermine Libya's future. Instead we let the Libyan problem fall into the hands of the West's astonishingly incompetent military and political leadership to achieve the predictable result that besets the Libyan people today.