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Game Over, Gaddafi

October 21, 2011

AP Photo/Rami al-Shabheibi

by Andrew Parker

With Colonel Gaddafi now dead and the Libyan civil war seemingly over, the National Transitional Council can begin to do what it must to rebuild Libya into a democratic state, something I’ve talked about on this site before. What I want to address in this article is a question now pervading both the mainstream media and the UN: Was Gaddafi executed, and does this tarnish the credibility of the NTC?

From what I can discern from the various grainy cellphone videos of his capture, Gaddafi was already heavily dazed, bleeding and injured, perhaps from the airstrike that stopped his fleeing convoy, perhaps from gunfire. Who knows how long he actually would have lasted without immediate treatment. Yes, Libyan fighters clearly beat him and mock him. But none of the footage or written accounts I have seen definitively pinpoint his death, from an apparent gunshot to the head. We may have to wait for more to surface, or for the official autopsy. Even without clear footage, it’s probably safe to say he was indeed executed.

I doubt the NTC’s statement that he was killed in a crossfire. Their reason for making that statement is merely to save face. Their objective all along was to bring Gaddafi to trial. I wrote earlier in the conflict that “I have great faith that when the regime of Col. Gaddafi is fully removed, the NTC (if not some individual rebels) can be relied upon to treat their prisoners fairly and prosecute them justly.” No doubt the NTC is highly embarrassed. Despite this I understand why Libyans would want Gaddafi’s immediate execution as he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans. Most likely the individual or group who executed him lost family members or comrades. While it’s not the calm Western justice we expect of them, it’s important to remember that the Libyans are working towards that, and it won’t spring up over night. Libya would have required an actual judicial system for him to be tried. Then, who is to say it wouldn’t be a farce of a trial like Saddam Hussein’s, only to end in his execution anyway. Gaddafi’s crimes were obvious and horrific enough that his final hours were probably deserved. Now the nation has a chance to move on to their democratic goals.

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