The video: As violence swelled in Tripoli and other Libyan cities, Moammar Gadhafi went on state television Tuesday to deliver a long, unfocused diatribe. (See a clip below.) Gadhafi characterized those protesting his regime as "rats" funded by the United States and other foreign governments, and urged his own supporters to "go out into the street and chase them." He insisted that, unlike his counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia, he would not leave but would "die here a martyr." In a curious section of the hour-plus address, Gadhafi also warned of future bloodshed: "I have... not yet ordered one bullet to be fired… when I do, everything will burn." Human Rights Watch estimates that pro-Gadhafi forces have already killed more than 200 people, and observers describe Tripoli as a "war zone."
The reaction:
This kind of "rambling" speech is Gadhafi's trademark, says Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy. Though he made a few vague promises about constitutional reform, "even he must know that's not going to satisfy the crowds in Green Square." If nothing else, the speech "perfectly illustrates why this man is unfit to run a country," says Maajid Nawaz of the British think tank Quillium, as quoted by Reuters. "Gadhafi and his family are willing to destroy the entire Libyan nation in order to cling to power," and it's high time that the world helps bring Gadhafi's reign to an end. Watch a clip of Gadhafi holding forth: