Saturday, October 22, 2011

West gets twitchy conscience after Gaddafi death

Calls by the UN and many in the 'international community' for an 'investigation' into the circumstances which led to the grizzly death of Col Gaddafi beggars belief.

“It would have been better if he had been tried in The Hague,” said Poland's Foreign Ministry as the body of Muammar Gaddafi was still warm, Thursday, shortly after his death was announced by the National Transitional Council (NTC).

The Polish government was not being daringly original, or independent, in its demand (whenever has it been?). The UN's commissioner for human rights, as well as Amnesty International - that self-appointed guardian of the international community's conscience – have called for the same.

Confusion surrounds the nut-ball dictator's demise.

The semi-official line taken by the NTC is that he was captured alive in his home town of Sirte, only to take an accidental bullet in the head during a fire-fight between rebels and what was left of Gaddafi's army. But mobile phone footage shows that he was probably executed.

I was going through the European Press Association's (EPA) photostream on Friday to see if there were any of the photographs of Gaddafi laid out in a meat storage facility in Misrata that I could use for another place. The caption below the photographs all warned: ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT.

Indeed, the content was so 'graphic' I decided none were publishable. But I am looking at them now and I will describe them for you here.

The body on, what looks like, a mattress, is recognisably Gaddafi's. There is his trademark curly hair and his goatee beard. He has been stripped to the waist and there is, what appears to be, one large bullet hole in the centre of his stomach.

The NTC is saying that he died from a bullet to the head but that bullet to the belly would have killed him by itself. There are at least two other marks which could be bullet holes on his abdomen and blood has been coming from his head, suggesting another bullet went in there. But it could be another kind of wound as his head was bleeding in the mobile phone footage taken when he was being dragged around the streets of Sirte after capture.

Cuts cover his face and blood marks are all over his body. It is a gruesome sight.

The NTC is currently (Saturday afternoon) promising a post-mortem and then he will be buried some place – maybe out to sea, as was Osama bin Laden, so his grave cannot be turned into a shrine in memory to mad despots everywhere.

Libyans are not too concerned how Gaddafi ended up in cold-storage, they are just glad he's gone. His madcap, often brutal 42-year dictatorship is over. Finished.

But the West – the international community' – has got a little squeamish about it all. This summary execution – if that is what it was – was not in the script, which went something like this.

When the insurgency broke out in February in Libya, and Gaddafi refused to make a graceful exit and fought '”the rats” of the uprising, France, UK, US jumped at a chance to regain some international respect and authority after the débâcle of Iraq, Afghanistan. Here was a dictator with few buddies internationally – that someone like Hugo Chavez was one of the few to give him his support all the better.

So France and UK took the lead in the air support, to “protect civilians” from Gaddafi's demented anger. The US could stay behind the scenes, in case the Arab world saw another example of American militarism trying to get its way in the Middle East.

It was all going swimmingly until Gaddafi was taken out of a drain pipe, beaten and killed.

To maintain the western moral high ground, in jump human rights NGOs and the UN. “He should have stood trial in The Hague” they said, the place where the West usually lines up despots from Africa or the Balkans on charges of 'war crimes'.

No mention, of course, that the bombing of Gaddafi's forces in Sirte and elsewhere were on the border of 'legal': how was this “protecting civilians”?

Nasty things happen in wars and nasty things always happen in civil wars ... they don't play to the nice set of rules drawn up by the Geneva Convention.

If I was the NTC I would tell the 'international community' to kindly get stuffed. If someone has to hear charges for the execution of Gaddafi then it should be in a court in Tripoli, not The Hague.

The West encouraged the rebels to tear down his regime and now Libyans, and the international community, are going to have to live with the consequences.

Sunday update - doctor confirms bullets to head and stomach killed Gaddafi.


rolnik_jaś said...

well said that man.

although i am having trouble pinning the actions in libya with obama's promise very soon after that us troops will leave afghanistan by the end of the year. could these events be linked, or is it simply good timing on obama's part? or is this simply a prelude to the west's magnum opus of trying to resolve the israel/palestine issue? what does the beatroot have to say about that?

beatroot said...

Well, pulling out of Afghanistan is part of America's disengagement with all that kind of stuff. Libya was something Obama wanted to show Americans - who are fed up with all the lives and money they are losing - that the US did not invade countries with boots on the ground any longer.

remember, however, tnat before he came to power Obama was going on and on about Iraq was the wrong war and Afghanistan was the right war. Don;t hear him saying that anymore...

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