A year ago. the Daily Mail was one of the most enthusiastic advocates of intervention in Libya to oust the Qaddafi regime.
As a result of the conduct of the victors in Libya and the still prevailing chaos, the paper and others are experiencing some change of heart. This sentiment received further impetus after British and Commonwealth graves from the Second World War were desecrated in a cemetery near Benghazi, where the revolt against Qaddafi originated.
Libya was the theatre of fighting between the British and the Italian and German Axis forces during the war.
The Libyans systematically demolished the tombstones and climbed up to destroy a cross overlooking the cemetery. They also found a Jewish tombstone with "Israeli writing" that they proceeded to pulverize.
The Daily Mail exploded:
"A year ago they begged for Britain’s help when Colonel Gaddafi’s tanks encircled their city, threatening annihilation.
"Now former Libyan rebels in Benghazi – liberated with the aid of the RAF last March – have systematically desecrated the graves of more than 150 British servicemen killed in North Africa 70 years ago…
"Several uncomfortable conclusions can be drawn from the Benghazi outrage. The first is that Libya after the fall of Gaddafi is a lawless and ungovernable place where horrible actions can be done with impunity by those who have enough guns.
"The second is that there is no gratitude among many of those we have helped.
"The third is that those who warned that we did not know – or care enough – whom we were aiding, have now been vindicated in the most spectacular and gruesome way."
Iran's Press TV could not restrain itself from gloating over the desecration of the graves:
"Nevertheless, one year after Libya’s revolution, Britain did not even help maintain stability in a cemetery where its own soldiers are buried."
The Libyan National Transition Council promised to investigate and assured Britain that this was not a display of ingratitude.
While the West lost a great deal less in lives and money in Libya than it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, the behavior by the "liberated" has helped dull the appetite for similar action in Syria.