Well, it looks like Muammar K-Daffy is finally dead. Driven from power by rebels (backed up by a US-dominated (but not led!) coalistion), driven to ground in his home town, finally caught and shot. And good riddance.
Oh, there’s a lot of positive things to say about ol’ Mo taking the big dirt nap. He was a monster and a sociopath of the first order. He was responsible for the deaths of a lot of people, many of them innocents. (I take a smidgen of it personally, as one of those Mo had killed was the brother of my fellow New Hampshire blogger Giacomo, who was aboard Pan Am 103 and died over Lockerbie, Scotland.) The man had a lot of blood on his hands, and he absolutely deserved to get killed.
On the other hand… there is an argument to be made for letting him live. K-Daffy the man was a monster, but K-Daffy the symbol was useful. Right after we invaded Iraq, he had his “Come To Allah” moment and pulled a near-perfect 180 on his international relations. He admitted responsibility and paid damages for a lot of terrorist acts, including the aforementioned destruction of Pan Am 103. He stopped supporting terrorists and actually gave us information and cooperation in fighting them. He even surrendered his entire WMD program, which was far more advanced than pretty much anyone suspected.
So, as a symbol, K-Daffy showed that there was a way to walk back from the abyss. that any head of state, even one who’d been as atrocious as he had been, could be forgiven and welcomed back into the family of nations (well, grudgingly) if he simply stopped acting so monstrous and started playing nice. It gave others like him an option — that they didn’t need to stay on the path, didn’t have to stay our enemy, didn’t have to stay on our shit list. Which saved a whole lot of money and lives.
Further, K-Daffy was contained. He wasn’t causing anyone any real trouble any more. He wasn’t a threat to his neighbors or the rest of the world. Sure, he was nasty to his own people, but let’s be honest — that’s pretty much par for the course in that area of the world, and in a lot of other neighborhoods. Hell, look at what Syria and Iran are doing to their own people now. Now, though, Libya’s in the hands of the rebels — and no one knows what the hell they’re really after or really like. Look at the example of Egypt — everyone was all thrilled about the overthrowing of Mubarak, but now we’re seeing the brutal attacks on the Coptic Christians, the rapid deterioration of relations with Israel, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. For those saying that this is an improvement over Mubarak, I gotta say I just don’t see it. I’m reminded of Eastern Europe in the 1940’s — yeah, they got rid of the Nazis, and instead were conquered and controlled by the Communists. I don’t consider that much of a step up — and neither did most of them.
Anyway, it’s done. And our fingerprints are on it — the Libyan rebels were on the ropes when we (through NATO) stepped in and started bombing on their behalf. And, in the process, President Obama managed to declare that pesky War Powers Act null and void without going through that whole tedious repeal or challenge in court thing, so there’s that, too. The only thing left is to figure out what’s next.
I’m not overly optimistic.