In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Reuters and other sources are reporting “Muammar Gaddafi is dead.” And if you can’t trust Reuters on the Middle East, who can you trust? But seriously, multiple sources are reporting that the body in the (slightly graphic) video linked to by fellow PJ Express blogger Michael Totten, also the source of our headline above, is indeed Qaddafi. As Michael writes, “I figured it would probably end this way:”
He had a reputation in the West for being a bit of a goofball, but that’s not how he looked from inside Libya. From inside the country he looked like, and was, a monstrous tyrant.
Television, as McLuhan noted 45 years ago, has a way of doing that. Ed Morrissey adds:
The death of a terrorist-supporting tyrant cannot be bad news, if indeed Qaddafi’s death is confirmed. If he has died in a military action, it might have been the best end for which either side could hope. Qaddafi will end up being remembered by his small cadre of supporters not as a Saddam Hussein, diminished in captivity and finally humiliated on the gallows by the people he oppressed, but as someone who at least fought to the end. The new government doesn’t have to worry about holding Qaddafi and putting him on trial with the world watching, with the risk of him becoming a symbol of opposition that undermines their attempts to unite the country.
But unite the country into what, exactly? It still remains to see whether Libya has indeed been “liberated” and will now pursue the path of a liberal, pluralistic democracy — or whether the Libyans will follow the path of Egypt and a military/Islamist regime. At least the Libyans have an opportunity to make that choice for themselves now that the tyrant has been defeated and removed from the equation.
At Ricochet, Mollie Hemingway writes, “I remember that President Obama said that we’d be engaged in action against Libya for “days, not weeks” back in March. So I figure that means we should be leaving Tripoli in, what, 2044 or so?”
I don’t know — we’ll likely have helicopters evacuating our embassy in Iraq sometime in the next couple of years; maybe they can swing over to Tripoli in the process.
Update: This should have been done immediately after Lockerbie, Mark Steyn adds. “The post-Iraq Gaddafi of the last eight years was seen throughout the Arab world as a western ally:”
Bernard Lewis said a few years ago that, in the Middle East, America risks teaching the lesson that she is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. So far the score in the Arab Spring is pretty consistent: On the CIA rule, Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Mubarak were SOBs but perceived, to one degree or another, as the west’s SOBs. Baby Assad wasn’t our SOB, and he’s still in business, and getting aid and comfort from a supposed US client regime in Iraq. And the two most assiduous ideological exporters, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have vastly increased their influence. So has the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the other hand, it’s bad news for Ukrainian nurses. And for Beyonce, who won’t be getting any more million-dollar paychecks for playing the palace.
She can always play Chechnya, I guess.