Being Right: Another Win



Alan He

A week ago, Muammar Gaddafi met an appropriate ending at the hands of his people, the ones whom he previously called “rats” and “cockroaches.” In retrospect, it was an ending that was both inevitable and befitting a murderous dictator.

Besides Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi had more American blood on his hands than anyone else. The 1986 bombing of a German disco club by Libyan intelligence killed two American service members. The 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772 over Africa killed all 170 passengers, including seven Americans. In 1988, Gaddafi’s murderous reach penetrated the Colgate bubble when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie Scotland, killing four Colgate students, four Brown Students and 35 students from Syracuse University, all of whom were coming back home from study abroad.

In recent years, his image underwent a makeover from a murderous dictator to an ec­centric one. In 2007, the United States took Libya off the list of state sponsors of terror. Gaddafi opened Libya’s borders to oil companies and Western investment; he gave up his WMD program and his terroristic activities to avoid the fate of his coun­terpart Saddam Hussein at the hands of the American military. But in the end, the man who Ronald Reagan called “the mad dog of the Middle East” could not give up his power when his own people demanded it back.

The fact that anyone would have expected Gaddafi to be captured and then handed over to the magistrates in The Hague is laughable. In this case, Jon Stewart’s mono­logue was spot on. “You know why they shot him? ‘Cause they’re rebels…” We can and do expect the American military to follow the rule of war in moments such as these, but it’s simply absurd to think that a bunch of an­gry men and boys who were street vendors, shopkeepers and students only months before with little to no mili­tary training, would do the same as professional soldiers. The Libyan Rebels who killed Gaddafi with their AK-47’s accomplished the functional equivalent of what Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, NATO and millions of dollars worth of bombs and missiles failed to do. In the end, Gaddafi had multiple opportunities to escape with im­munity, riches and his life. He failed to do so at every occasion. It is likely that if he were to be brought to the Hague, Muammar Gaddafi would’ve made a mockery and spectacle of the International Criminal Court, just as he has done in the United Nations countless of times. And unlike the German and Japanese War Criminals who were tried and hanged over sixty years ago, the most that the 69 year-old dictator could potentially face was spending the rest of his remaining years in prison. Mr. Gaddafi met the same end as Benito Mussolini and Nicolae Ceau?escu before him: killed by their very public. Perhaps brutal deaths didn’t stop Italy and Romania from becoming functioning democracies. The road to democracy is by no means inevitable in the case of Libya, but Muammar Gaddafi’s death and the liberation of Libya without the loss of a single allied service member represent resounding victories for the freedom agenda. Nicholas Sarkozy, David Cameron and yes, Barack Obama, should be applauded for their leadership.

Contact Alan He at [email protected]