"It's not acceptable to kill a person without trying him," said Louay Hussein, a Syrian opposition figure in Damascus. "I prefer to see the tyrant behind bars." New York Times, October 20
The New York Times reported that a NATO jet and drones disabled vehicles in a convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi near the besieged town of Sirte on October 20. Loyalists in the remaining vehicles scattered becoming easy prey for the emboldened fighters of the new Libyan state.
Reuters expanded the narrative on the 21st by reporting that Gaddafi fled from his jeep, hid in a drainage pipe, and emerged with an automatic weapon and side arm. He was manhandled and slapped by the soldiers of the new Libya. He allegedly asked the crowd, "Don't you know right from wrong?" They took exception to the question and shot him twice in the head.
He was transported to Misurata, scene of one of the few decisive victories by the former rebels. Gaddafi's corpse was placed on a bare mattress and put on display for the public on the 22nd. It remains there today, although it is now reportedly covered by a blanket (Reuters, October 23).
There's a new sheriff in town, NATO.
On one level, the truth of this story matters a great deal. On another level, accuracy is not as important as the clear message to those who oppose United States, French, and British policy executed by NATO. Those who resist will be publicly humiliated in the most primitive way and then killed. The composite story indicates intent and reveals policy.
It's not just leaders who will be punished
Sirte after NATO bombing and rebel destruction
"You have won your revolution. And now, we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity." President Barack Obama, White House, October 20, 2011
The citizens of Gaddafi's home town, Sirte, were said to be special beneficiaries of the ruler's largesse. The Mediterranean port was prosperous and productive amidst the strangeness and strictures of his arbitrary rule. Were citizens supposed to object on moral grounds because their benefactor favored them? What risk would they have incurred by doing so, even if they wanted to turn away special favors? They had no choice but they got the message from NATO. It's your turn to die.
Hadn't they heard the pronouncements from the United States, Great Britain, and France that Gaddafi was reformed and a member in good standing of the world community? Perhaps they missed President Barack Obama's announced change in that assessment.
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