|My guess is that the fat bodyguard in the background was|
not one of Gadhafi's first-stringers.
Gadhafi's death probably doesn't mean as much to us as it does to the Libyans. Yes, we no longer have to fear his "Line of Death," and it seems that he's paid the piper for all the terrorism he's sponsored in the last 40 years. But for those who lived under his horrifying opression daily, this probably comes as a relief to those demanding he face justice for what he's done.
Perhaps it's only a small comfort. It would probably have been better had he been captured alive and brought to trial, but I'm not so sure. Gadhafi was definitely a bad guy, and there's no arguing that he was a vile man who probably didn't deserve a quick death considering all the suffering he has caused. But what good would a trial have really served?
Sticking to our principles is a good thing most of the time, and we probably shouldn't get comfortable with executing villains on the spot without trial. My question is, given a trial would the outcome have been any different? We can't know for sure, but it's likely that he would have met the same end. Gadhafi would have been found guilty of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity, executed, and probably still dragged through the streets of Tripoli. With a trial, however, he would have been given one last chance to grand-stand in some silly purple outfit; he would go into the trial knowing he was a dead man; and his antics would have just made a mockery of the judicial process.
That's what happened at Saddam's trial, which in my mind was largely a symbolic three-ring circus. Saddam was just as wacked out as Gadhafi, and there was no doubt that he had a one-way ticket to the gallows the moment he was caught and incarcerated.
It would have been nice had the rebels just thrown him in a prison, waited to establish a government and functioning courts, and then prosecuted Gadhafi with a fair trial. Was that realistic, though? When we caught Saddam the major part of the war was over. And mind you, we caught Saddam. American soliders, well disciplined and with orders to take him alive if they could, caught and detained Saddam. In Gadhafi's case, he was caught by the very people he brutalized for 40 years, and asked them for the mercy that he never showed them and their loved ones.
Can you really blame them?
Some of you will say yes. Some of you will say that a fair trial should always be held, and that the principles of fair justice should always be upheld. Some of you will assert that the rebels are nothing but uncivilized barbarians who have no concept of justice, but before you pass judgment on them, perhaps you should first look deeply into your own soul.
I think that anyone in the same situation would have acted as they did. They are rebels--a rag-tag collection of citizens fighting for freedom agains brutal opression--who are still in the midst of a war against Gadhafi's terror. They could have been among the many who were personally affected by the sting of his reign. How many of you would honestly grant him the mercy for which he begged?
My guess is that given the same circumstances any human would have likely acted the same way. We like to think that we don't have it in us to kill another human being, but few of us have actually lived in a tyranny like his. How many of you would have shot Hitler on site had you captured him? Who would have let Stalin live if he begged for mercy?
I'm not justifying the acts of the rebels, but I understand why they did what they did. We're no better than them, considering all the jubilation that was expressed when we found out Osama had been killed. People still cheered knowing that he was defenseless when found. Human beings everywhere, no matter how "civilized," they're supposed to be, are little different from each other. It's easy for us to say that rule of law is important, and that everyone deserves a fair trial, but those are fairly hollow assertions in my opinion.
We're not living in a country in violent rebellion, and how many inmates of Guantanamo Bay have received a fair trial? Humans are shit heads, no matter what flag you fly, what god you pray to, or what color your skin is.