June 15, 2005

Burning Questions

Our friend Qaddafi in Libya. Why is he still a colonel? Did he get passed over for promotion? I don't understand.

update: Oh, I see. Bless you wikipedia Slate. (Although bless wikipedia for filching from Slate, I guess.) Here 'tis:
Unlike other military dictators, Qaddafi did not promote himself to the highest rank of General upon seizing power, but rather accepted a ceremonial promotion from Captain to Colonel and has remained at this rank for the last thirty five years. This no doubt appears odd to western militaries, in that a Colonel can rule a country and serve as Commander-in-Chief of its military, but in Qaddafi's own words Libya's utopian society is ruled by the people, so he needs no grandiose title or a supreme military rank.

Qaddafi remaining a Colonel, even while military ruler of an entire country, is not a new concept among military dictatorships. Gamal Abdel Nasser remained a Colonel after seizing power in Egypt while Jerry Rawlings, dictator of Ghana, held no military rank higher than Flight Lieutenant.
Uh... there was a dictator of Ghana named "Jerry Rawlings"? Says who.
-- Brad Plumer 3:38 AM || ||