Libyan opponents and political moderatesnfrom Arab and African countries.nThe authors discuss CIA warnings tonthe White House that a military attacknon Libya would neither overthrownQaddafi nor significantly reduce terrorism.nAnd, familiar with the relevantnscholarship on Libya, Blundy and Lycettnassist the reader with an excellentnindex.nInterestingly, Qaddafi’s view of societynis a holistic one. His “Green Book”noccasionally sounds like a poor imitationnof Fichte or Herder. The nation isna “natural,” organic entity, compactednof family and tribe. The primary societalnvalues, Qaddafi maintains, are solidarity,ncohesiveness, and unity. Thenintegrity of the family has unique importance:n”Societies in which the existencenand unity of the family arenthreatened,” he writes, “are similar tonthose whose plants are in danger ofnbeing swept away by drought or lire.”nNone of this has prevented him fromnencouraging women out of the homenand into the army or from attackingnLibya’s religious establishment. Onnboth counts, Qaddafi has sought toncreate new, “radicalized” constituenciesnloyal to him alone.nDespite Qaddafi’s military rule andnhis use of terror both at home andnabroad, there is little doubt that he hasnlong enjoyed widespread popular supportnwithin Libya. Recently, there havenbeen signs that this support may beneroding, as sharply lower oil pricesnimpose constraints to which Libyansnhave not been accustomed since thenlate 1960’s. Nevertheless, as Blundynand Lycett point out, Libyans still earnnmore per capita than do Englishmennand enjoy free education and medicalncare as well. Most own a house andnfew are unemployed. Clearly, Libyansnremain among the economic elite ofnthe Third World. Barring a total collapsenof oil prices, rampant popularndisaffection with Qaddafi or his policiesnis unlikely.nEspecially puzzling, then, is Qaddafi’snfrantic campaign to eliminate hisnLibyan critics abroad. Ironically, Qaddafi’snefforts to assassinate Libya’sn”stray dogs” overseas recall the Reagannadministration’s attempt in April 1986nto assassinate the “mad dog” who rulesnLibya. As Qaddafi’s operations onlynundermined Europe’s toleration of hisnregime, so American bombing discour­naged whatever opposition to Qaddafinmay have existed within the Libyannofficer corps. Silent contempt wouldnhave been a more intelligent approachnfor both Libya and the United Statesnand would probably have served theirnnational interests more effectively.nIf the publisher had understood thencontents of this book, the dust jacketnmight have avoided the spectacularlynerroneous suggestion that the authorsnhave presented new evidence concerningnthe enormous terrorist threat thatnQaddafi poses to the West. Moreover,nbetter editing might have eliminatednsome of the tedious detail accordednQaddafi’s foreign adventures and economicnrelationships. These flaws aside,nthis book can be recommended tonanyone seeking a judicious assessmentnof Qaddafi and Libya during the lastntwo decades.nAntony T. Sullivan is director of NearnEast Support Services, a consultingnfirm.nBetter War ThannTroublesnby Thomas McGoniglenThe Gun in Politics: An Analysisnof Irish Political Conflict, 1916-n1986 hy J. Beyer Bell, New Brunswick:nTransaction Books; $24.95.nThe Irish have a word — as they arensupposed to — for this sort of book:nblather. The author could be describednas one of those fellows who “does gonon,” to the point of being, eventually,nbarred from the pub for boring everyonento tears.nThe Gun in Politics bears the subtitien”An Analysis of Irish Political Conflict,n1916-1986.” If we are to judge anbook by its cover, given the reality ofnmuch that is published in the UnitednStates, we might conclude that this wasnan interesting book. The gun has beenna central force in modern Irish history,neven if it is not immediately visible ornheard, and it would be good to havensuch a study. However, Bell’s book isnnot that but rather a collection ofnpreviously published essays on diversenthemes. As the author writes in hisnown introduction, “… a minglednnnmanuscript — some old, some new,nmuch discarded, all edited, a medleynrather than separate essays or a brandnnew book.” He adds in way of defensenthat the book has “little wisdom tonoffer after a generation in and out ofnthe island.”nMr. Bell’s medley is composed of anninterminable essay about his own livingnin Ireland, a bibliographical criticalnoverview of everything that has beennwritten on the Irish problem in the lastn15 years or so, a buffs history of thenThompson submachine gun (originallynpublished in The Irish Sword, Journalnof the Military History Society ofnIreland), a history of the Irish contributionnto the Spanish Civil War whichnreads like a proposal for an interestingnbook. And that is Bell’s main problem:nmuch of his book reads like a proposal,na pitch for this or that grant, a hustle tonget some of the loose cash that floatsnaround and about in university andngovernment circles, engaged in thenstudy of terrorism and other assortednproblems. A world populated withnpeople such as Mr. Bell, who is presidentnof something called InternationalnAnalysis Center Inc. (a consulting firmnfocusing on the problems of unconventionalnwar, terrorism, deception,nrisk analysis, and crisis management),nis indeed in trouble, for anyone whonhas the time and money to consultnsuch an organization might as well kissnhis ass good-bye: it is already too late.nThe facts of the Irish case are laid outnand plain when it comes to the situationnin Ireland today. It was all probablyna matter of failure of nerve inn1921. If Michael Collins had held out,nif he had been better informed and hadnwaited while negotiating with LloydnGeorge an end to the war betweennEngland and Ireland, partition wouldnnot have occurred. True, the warnwould have gone on, but it would havenended in real resolution rather thannpostponing it to some dim future. ThenAlgerians, for example, knew this whilenfighting the French in the 1950’s.nToday there is no part of Algeria that isn”forever” France. It is done with.nThere is France, and there is Algeria.nBut today there is Ireland, there isnEngland, and there is something callednNorthern Ireland. And there is warnacknowledged as such only by thenIRA. The English treat it as a civilndisturbance and brand their opponentsnMAY 1988 I 39n