A Bullet To The Head

Politics & Current Events

Muammar Kaddafy is dead, along with all of the variant spellings of his name.  Huzzah!

It's a wonderful moment, a triumph of the human spirit, when a tyrant meets a disgraceful end.  When Qaddafi was pulled out of a sewage pipe by his own people and shot through the head, it was Christmas in October, with Santa Claus giving all of the world's good boys and girls a pony, a stable, a stablehand, and an annuity sufficient to pay for the pony's upkeep for twenty years.  We can all agree on that.

Why couldn't we agree on that five years ago?

(Note: If you're squeamish, get off this train now. Why not read about about the delightful Marian Call?)

This morning, the Center for American Progress wrote joyously of Gadaffi's demise, without a word of disapproval for the manner in which it occurred:

Moammar Qaddafi's demise today represents a measure of justice for the countless individuals he and his regime terrorized in Libya and around the world during his 40-year rule. … His death creates hope for a truly new Libya that can be responsive to its people and responsible in the world.

Amen.

But what did the Center for American Progress think of the judicially ordered hanging of Saddam Hussein, executed after a trial far fairer than what any of his victims ever received?  Not so much.  Rather than calling Saddam's death a new dawn of freedom and hope, the CAP quoted Tom Brokaw with approval as he compared Saddam's execution to a lynching.

"[W]e portray ourselves around the world as the champions of democracy and the rule of law,” Brokaw said, yet Hussein’s execution “resembled the worst kind of nightmare out of the old American West."

To which the Center for American Progress added:

Digg it!

Mouammar Qhaddaffy was captured alive, and killed by an enraged mob who shot Kaddafi through the right temple.  Here's Ghaddafy on capture:

No bullet to the head yet.  That man can walk and talk.

Here's Qaddhafi several minutes later, his body being desecrated:

With a prominent bullet wound to the head.

That's a lynching. A well-deserved lynching, to be sure. But it evokes none of the tut-tutting of frontier justice, of barbarism, of western disdain for savages as they take their revenge on the future martyr. Instead, we get Hillary Clinton cracking a joke so lame it would have been rejected by the writing team on an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie.  (They'd have given it to Steven Seagal.)

As citizens of a democratic republic, we should all cheer when a tyrant gets his just deserts.  So I'll join the Center for American Progress in celebrating this long delayed justice, and congratulate them on their change of heart.

And in years to come I'll look forward to celebrating the deaths of Kim Jong Il and Bashar Assad with them.  Regardless of who occupies the White House.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. ElamBend  •  Oct 21, 2011 @7:47 am

    hear hear!

  2. ElamBend  •  Oct 21, 2011 @7:54 am

    I always hate to see a tyrant die in his sleep (as, unfortunately, Castro is fated). Now, in the last decade, we've had two go down at the hands of US proxies. Whether or not either war was a good idea or even legal; I'd say we at least got that going for us.

    Now, of course, we'll see what happens next in Libya

  3. marylyn kasper  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:05 am

    He got what he gave.

  4. InMD  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:14 am

    I find it strange to see something like this celebrated on this site, considering the whole thing was enabled by the unconstitutional actions of the Obama administration. There still has been no Congressional approval for this war nor is there any indication that what comes after old Muammar will be any better than what came after Saddam, what came after the Taliban, etc. It's just as likely that this is one group of thugs executing another thug, not liberty on the march.

  5. Patrick  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:18 am

    You find it strange? I hate to break it to you, but chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they've always made me glad.

  6. JLA  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:34 am

    I would have preferred to see Qaddafi put on trial in the Hague, so he could face the long line of victims and their family members that he brutalized during his long reign. However, I will also celebrate his demise in the manner in which it occurred. After all, in a truly idealistic world the Qaddafis of the world would never come to power in the first place.

  7. InMD  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:35 am

    I'd be more likely to share the sentiments if it didn't involve expansion of executive power, American money, and another ill-conceived intervention in a third world country which few, if any, Western leaders can credibly claim to know much about. I'm also not sure how much there's going to be glad about in the likely event that some other tribal alliance takes Gaddafi's place and adopts the same methods of persecution as the former regime.

  8. Patrick  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:48 am

    We can disagree with the war (I do, as by 2006 I'd concluded I was suckered on the Iraq war), yet still rejoice when a dog that's been kicked for forty years finally bites the sonofabitch who was kicking it.

  9. SPQR  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:55 am

    There is one little fly in the ointment. Qaddafi negotiated with the US to give up his nuclear weapons programs. Obama has just told every other flea-bitten dictator what a bad idea giving up nuclear weapons programs to the US is.

  10. Patrick  •  Oct 21, 2011 @9:04 am

    I find it odd to see a man who goes by the handle SPQR fretting over the consequences of deposing a Tarquin.

  11. John Farrier  •  Oct 21, 2011 @9:13 am

    How glorious that this monster died in such a humiliating manner! And best of all, it was recorded for all the tyrants of the world to see.

    There could be negative consequences. Dictators will be harder to ease out of power. Or, seeing this, they might take any retirement option offered to them.

  12. Ken  •  Oct 21, 2011 @9:14 am

    Can't I leave for a few days without you turning this into a snuff film site?

  13. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Oct 21, 2011 @11:36 am

    SPQR; you may very well be right, but Obama took no notice of Q'daffy's surrender of his WMD program, because it didn't fit in the convenient Democrat narrative of "Bush's war is no good, and accomplishes nothing".

  14. Goober  •  Oct 21, 2011 @11:39 am

    I just love the idealistic inflexibility of some people. You can get good results from bad things, folks. You can hate the expansion of executive power, the unconstitutional war, and so forth, and still celebrate when a total bastard gets one in the brainstem. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

  15. Linus  •  Oct 21, 2011 @12:30 pm

    Does saying "I like these ends" automatically equal "the ends justify the means"? I don't think so.

  16. mojo  •  Oct 21, 2011 @2:03 pm

    Now the UN (Useless Nabobs) want an inquiry into how he died.

    It's not complicated, folks – he died from a bad case of getting caught by his victims.

  17. piperTom  •  Oct 21, 2011 @2:17 pm

    I have to agree with InMD. I'm not so sorry that he's dead; I'd just rather he had been made into an example of formal justice delivered even unto dictators.

  18. Patrick  •  Oct 21, 2011 @3:47 pm

    We've already had an example of that Tom. Slobodan Milosevic died in his bed, with only a well-stocked personal library to comfort him.

    Personally I'm sorry they only shot Kaddafy (sp?). It was too good. I wish they'd tied him to a car and dragged him around the streets.

    I don't think there are too many potential dictators who worry about meeting the fate of Slobodan Milosevic. But meeting the fate of Mussolini? Or Kaddafy? The Libyan people have given every coup-plotting colonel in the world an instructive video.

  19. SPQR  •  Oct 21, 2011 @5:01 pm

    Patrick, the Republic discovered the consequences of having a reputation for your word as diplomats not being trustworthy, it got them into a couple of nasty wars that could have been avoided if they had had a reputation for sticking to their agreements.

    In this case, don't misunderstand, I'm not going to miss Qaddafi at all. But if trading off a nuclear weapons program to the US does not confer protection from the US, then we'll only see more interest in proliferation. Not less.

    And the ICC / UN War Crimes trial stuff is a freaking joke before Milosevic put the punchline into it.

  20. Rich Rostrom  •  Oct 21, 2011 @8:07 pm

    When a Bad Guy stops some of his Badness, he should be encouraged and rewarded. But limited repentance and partial shouldn't be a full Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

    Gaddafi was not a U.S. ally in any way. He continued to do lesser Bad Things, and he was not entitled to U.S. protection, or even immunity against U.S. power.

  21. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Oct 22, 2011 @5:44 am

    Some thoughts;

    1) The dictator may well be dead, but the alternate spellings of his name will live on so long as people keep writing about him.

    1a) I wonder if his name was easier to spell in whatever language was the sonofabitch's milk tongue. Probably.

    2) A trail would have merely supported the absurd fiction that there was a court that had jurisdiction. Setting aside the issue of whether such a court would be a good thing, if there was one why the hell didn't the political body the court was supposed to represent do something about the swine before now? So, a trail would be merely some pathetic bunch of of transnationalists who wouldn't have said "boo" to Q'daffy while he held power trying to build their own rep by kicking him when he's down.

    3) Does anyone know if Libya has ever had a decent government? From reading Wikipedia, it doesn't look like it, but opinions differ.

    4) in the sense that it means anything, Q'dipstick has had a trial. Dictators that people are merely sick and tired of are allowed to escape to live off their Swiss bank accounts.

  22. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Oct 22, 2011 @5:46 am

    Sorry, for trail please read trial. I probably shouldn't post before breakfast. It aggravates my case of CSS (Can't Spell Sh*t).

  23. piperTom  •  Oct 22, 2011 @6:23 am

    Patrick, I agree that the ICC is a joke. Had Qaddafi lived, the current rulers of Libya would have created a court for the specific purpose. Such court's likeness to a kangaroo would hopefully be muted — not worse than Nuremberg. The part I'm regretting most is the weeks of TV showing Qaddafi listening to the stories of hundreds of victims — being who is is, he'd likely be angry and shouting stupidity a lot. That would be a much better lesson for other dictators than bad video of someone — maybe Qaddafi — just bleeding.

  24. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society  •  Oct 22, 2011 @2:15 pm

    Setting aside the issue of whether such a court would be a good thing, if there was one why the hell didn’t the political body the court was supposed to represent do something about the swine before now?

    a) There's a latin term for this (sp?): "Inter Arma Silent Leges"
    b) One of the clear checks on the court system of the USA, and one which ought to apply to any legitimate court system of the world, is the separation of powers. A court is about as close to a true dictatorship one wants in a positive societal construct, and thus should be very dependent on externals to enforce their decisions. Or, more simply: "You've made your decision, your honor, now who do you think will implement it?"

  25. Patrick  •  Oct 24, 2011 @3:49 am

    Personal to "Justthisguy", who tried to leave a comment arising from one of his many personal demons here.

    Ken is not going to alter a single word of what you wrote. The reason that Ken is not going to do that is because I (no relation to Ken) am not going to allow your comment through moderation.

    Sorry Charlie.

  26. Turk  •  Oct 24, 2011 @9:57 am

    Big difference between Hussein and Kaddafy. The former had the pretense of a justice system and official approval by the government.

    The latter was simply a mob. That doesn't come with the seal of approval of a government. (They may well be delighted in happened, but that isn't the same thing as giving the stamp of approval beforehand.)

    So it isn't, to me, hypocritical to have differing opinions on how these two dictators met their ends.

  27. Scott Jacobs  •  Oct 24, 2011 @4:24 pm

    Um… Turk?

    I get that there is some basic difference between the two men's deaths, but the thing is, CAP is apparently OK with the mob-enforced sentence and NOT with the one that at least had the appearance of a legal system handing it down.

    So no, I guess it isn't necessarily hypocritical, but if it isn't it certainly suggests something fairly troubling about the people at CAP.

  28. Turk  •  Oct 24, 2011 @6:18 pm

    … but the thing is, CAP is apparently OK with the mob-enforced sentence …

    Or, perhaps, many people just see criticizing a mob as a big of a waste of pixels? I mean really, is there much point? Organizations can be criticized, but disorganizations?

  29. SPQR  •  Oct 24, 2011 @6:37 pm

    And just what are the chances that that explains the difference reactions, Turk?

  30. Turk  •  Oct 24, 2011 @7:09 pm

    And just what are the chances that that explains the difference reactions, Turk?

    By my back-of-the-evelope estimation, 97.367%.

    Give or take a smidgen.

  31. SPQR  •  Oct 24, 2011 @7:36 pm

    I think you need to recalibrate your envelope.

  32. Scott Jacobs  •  Oct 24, 2011 @10:08 pm

    Really Turk?

    You don't think it has anything at all to do with the fact that CAP is blatantly Liberal-leaning? That maybe they only support this because it happened while Obama was in office?

    You don't think that had it been reversed, we might see the CAP crying out and demanding to know why the evil PotUS hadn't condemned it?

  33. Turk  •  Oct 25, 2011 @5:16 am

    You don’t think it has anything at all to do with the fact that CAP is blatantly Liberal-leaning? That maybe they only support this because it happened while Obama was in office?

    You don’t think that had it been reversed, we might see the CAP crying out and demanding to know why the evil PotUS hadn’t condemned it

    When looking for explanations, I usually go with the one that is the simplest. Occam's Razor.

    I think you need to recalibrate your envelope.

    The mileage on your envelope may vary.

  34. SPQR  •  Oct 27, 2011 @6:56 pm

    Turk, except that that isn't Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor is better defined as "The simplest answer that explains all of the facts".

    Yours does not.