In March, a few days after NATO planes began bombing Libya, Moammar Kadafi delivered a speech to the nation he had ruled for more than four decades.
"Great Libyan people," he began, "you are now living through glorious hours." In the speech, designed to rally Libyans with soaring rhetoric to stand against the rebellion and the foreign attacks, Kadafi ended with a promise. "We will defeat them by any means.... We are ready for the fight, whether it will be a short or a long one.... We will be victorious in the end."
The speech may well have been an attempt by Kadafi to emulate Winston Churchill's stirring World War II oratory during the London Blitz, when Britain endured 58 bombing raids designed to break the will of the British people. In a speech on June 18, 1940, Churchill exhorted his countrymen to "brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British empire and its commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"