Quotes of the day

“New video posted on Facebook showed revolutionary fighters dragging a confused-looking Gadhafi up the hill to their vehicles after his capture and less than an hour before he was killed. The young men scream ‘Moammar, you dog!’ as their former leader wipes at blood covering the left side of his head, neck and left shoulder.

“Gadhafi gestures to the young men to be patient, and says ‘What’s going on?’ as he wipes fresh blood from his temple and glances at his palm. A young fighter later is shown carrying a boot and screaming, ‘This is Moammar’s shoe! This is Moammar’s shoe! Victory! Victory!’…

“Celebratory gunfire is heard in the video aired by Sky News and at one point a gun is pointed at the dictator’s head.

“‘Do you know right from wrong?’ Gadhafi added on the video shortly before he appears to lose consciousness.”

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“For one thing, the entire war was pretty much a legal farce to begin with. The U.N. Security Council resolution enabling it called for countries to take action to protect civilians — and yet NATO stretched that definition to the breaking point, more or less functioning as close air support for rebel fighters. France, Qatar, and the UAE sent weapons. Sometimes NATO’s contortions on this matter reached the level of farce, like the rationale a senior officer provided the LA Times Thursday about striking Qaddafi’s convoy: ‘Those vehicles seemed to be directing the actions of the others, and they were struck. For all we know it could have been a lower-level leader.’ Ha, ha.

“Furthermore, as Shashank Joshi notes, the real issue to worry about in Libya right now isn’t some kind of fanciful, abstract notion of the rule of law — that’s a long way off, clearly — it’s whether the transitional government can get control of the dozens of militias that sprang up spontaneously to fight Qaddafi. (Though, given that it was a Misratan brigade that probably whacked the Brother Leader and dragged him through the streets of town, it’s admittedly hard to separate that vital issue from Qaddafi’s killing.)

“So, am I troubled by the manner of Qaddafi’s death? Yes. But it’s not realistic to expect people that have been ruled for four decades by a brutal tyrant — who left no institutions left behind and called his people ‘rats’ as he vowed to hunt them down ‘alley by alley’– to behave like Western democrats when they finally catch him. Far more important than getting to the bottom of Qaddafi’s end is stabilizing the country itself and standing up a legitimate government as soon as possible.”

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“At the close of an obscene regime, especially one that has shown it would rather destroy society and the state than surrender power, it is natural for people to hope for something like an exorcism. It is satisfying to see the cadaver of the monster and be sure that he can’t come back. It is also reassuring to know that there is no hateful figurehead on whom some kind of ‘werewolf’ resistance could converge in order to prolong the misery and atrocity. But Qaddafi at the time of his death was wounded and out of action and at the head of a small group of terrified riff-raff. He was unable to offer any further resistance. And all the positive results that I cited above could have been achieved by the simple expedient of taking him first to a hospital, then to a jail, and thence to the airport. Indeed, a spell in the dock would probably hugely enhance the positive impact, since those poor lost souls who still put their trust in the man could scarcely have their illusions survive the exposure to even a few hours of the madman’s gibberings in court…

“I was in Romania on the day that Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were hastily done away with, and I was in Mosul on the day before Uday and Qusay Hussein were surrounded and submitted to lethal shot and shell in a house from which there was no escape. In both cases, the relief felt by the general population was palpable. There can be no doubt that the proven elimination of the old symbols of torture and fear has an emancipating effect, at least in the short term. But I would say that this effect is subject to rapidly diminishing returns, which became evident in Iraq when Moqtada al-Sadr’s unpolished acolytes got the job of conducting the execution of Saddam Hussein. There are sectarian scars still remaining from that botched and sordid episode, and I shall be very surprised if similar resentments were not created among many Libyans on Thursday. Too late to repair that now. But it will be a shame if the killing of the Qaddafis continues and an insult if the summons to the Hague continues to be ignored.”

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“As bizarre as he may have seemed to foreign eyes, it was his brutality at home that marked him to those who knew him best. Even among the closeted regimes of the Middle East, Libya was notoriously repressive. Gaddafi’s police state tolerated no independent press, civil society or political opposition. The security apparatus was pervasive, its membership as high as 20 percent of the population, by some estimates. Publicly criticizing Gaddafi or the regime was a death-defying act.

“Long before the Arab Spring, and long before the rebels tossed the Brother Leader like a rag doll in the streets, smarter and savvier autocrats had decided that it was too costly, too risky, to be the type of dictator Gaddafi had become. Other strongmen may be repressive, but they cleverly mask that repression behind a facade of legality, procedure and process…

“Dictators, whether czars, kings, generals, sultans, mullahs or something else, have been with us for time immemorial. But the classic narcissistic totalitarian was a distinctly 20th-century phenomenon. We probably won’t see the likes of Gaddafi again anytime soon. And now, in one death, life begins for millions.”

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“From the Global Post, this appears to be footage from immediately after Qaddafi’s capture right up until he arrived at the truck that appears in the video that went viral yesterday…

“Legal or not, justice was done – good riddance. But hearing the chants of ‘Allah akbar’ is a not so subtle reminder that we may end up regretting our role in this.”

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“A small group of local residents filed in nervously. Blinking in the darkness before the light was switched on, they gasped as their eyes adjusted to the sight of Gaddafi’s body, scarcely able to believe that they were peering at the dictator’s dead face just inches away. It was, for them, concrete proof that their ruler was truly dust and to dust he was returning. An elderly man in a gray robe and white skullcap staggered out into the sun, lifted his arms to the sky and said, ‘Oh, thank you, God, thank you, God.’ An 11-year-old boy waiting to enter, having been brought to the site by his father, sneered as he chewed a wad of gum and said, ‘I came because I want to see frizzhead.’

“Unlike in the suspect capital, feelings in Misratah for Gaddafi are clear and uncontaminated. The celebrations of Gaddafi’s death on Friday are infused here with intense bitterness. Before Friday prayers in the open area in the city center, now named Freedom Square, a cleric delivered a sermon vilifying Gaddafi and smirking at his death. ‘You said you were staying in Libya and that you’d hunt us out like rats,’ he bellowed through the microphone while about 500 men sat on the ground under a blistering sun. ‘Instead they trapped you like a rat. Where are you now, Gaddafi?’ The crowd shouted back, ‘In hell! God is great!'”

Via Breitbart TV. Content warning.

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