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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Execution of Qaddafi
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

By now it seems increasingly clear that Moammar Qaddafi and his son Mutassim were executed by the rebel forces who took the Qaddafi stronghold of Sirte yesterday. There are multiple videos of each man alive after capture, and then dead afterward with a number of wounds that would indicate physical torture before death.

Few people are going to shed any tears over the killings. Qaddafi was a deeply belligerent and brutal murderer. But the circumstances of his death are interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the availability of modern camera technology in mobile phones has prevented safe diplomatic lies from becoming universally accepted. The fact of Saddam Hussein's undignified execution was proven by a hidden mobile phone video, the existence of which infuriated Iraqi and U.S. officials. The mobile phone videos of Qaddafi and his son blatantly disprove the lies that he was killed in a crossfire. Diplomatic lies about quick deaths during gunfights and dignified executions have been a staple of propaganda for centuries to cover over for much more brutal and disturbing actual events.

The U.N. has appropriately asked for an inquiry into Qaddafi's death. If the Qaddafis were indeed executed as it appears they were, the responsible parties should be held accountable. The circumstances of Mr. Qaddafi's death will make it more difficult for a fractured nation to reconcile its differences under a new government.

Second, it must be said that Republicans have been proven comically wrong once again when attacking President Obama's handling of foreign policy. Republicans have mocked Mr. Obama's approach of "leading from behind" in Libya, in which European and Libyan forces provided much of the effort and leadership structure in the effort against Qaddafi. But in the end, Mr. Obama has proven once again that he knows how to handle a military operation far better than George W. Bush did. As far as interventions go, the Libyan intervention was handled in textbook style: targeted operations that allowed Libyan forces to do the bulk of the work in retaking their own country, with a truly multinational coalition providing support.

Without going into the morality of military action and focusing strictly on the competence with which it is are undertaken, it is clear that even simply from a logistical point of view, Mr. Obama is a far superior Commander-in-Chief of the nation's armed forces than any Republican.

Under Obama, Mssrs. Qaddafi and Bin Laden are no longer factors on the world stage, and Libya is now free to establish its own national future. The same cannot be said of Mr. Bush's unsalvageable disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama should realize that continued presences in Iraq and Afghanistan are simply throwing good money after bad, and that nothing can be done to improve those situations at this point.

The contrast in military effectiveness between President Obama and his predecessor could not be more clear. That conservatives continue to be trusted in America not only on the morals of foreign policy but even in its basic logistical operation is mind-boggling.