The Lost Truth: The Killing of Gaddafi and Bin Laden
By: Jamal Kanj*
Human rights organizations described the gruesome killing of Gaddafi a war crime. Most certainly, if Gaddafi’s horrid photos were not revealed on TV screens and the front pages of newspapers, not many would have admonished the rebels for the slaying of the dictator.
Irrespective however, the killing of Gaddafi was a cold blooded murder. Much like the crimes he was accused of committing against his people.
While indirectly criticizing the way in which Gaddafi was handled by his captors, the US President was quoted recently on John Leno TV Show“… there’s a certain decorum with which you treat the dead even if it’s somebody who has done terrible things.”
I fully agree with the President: captives, even the presumed guilty, should be treated with a level of civility. But wasn’t the President being cynic in criticizing the rebels of Libya when he took a front row seat watching the murder of Osama Bin Laden in what appeared to have been a similar cold blooded execution of a captive person?
The only “decorum” here, unlike in the case of Gaddafi’s killers, and other than the live TV broadcast to the White House, the US army did not allow US soldiers to carry personal devices that could be used to record the raid. As for the official recording, Obama decided against releasing any public photos; thus the absence of “habeas corpus” by sinking Bin Laden to the bottom of ocean failed to meet the mercurial “war crimes” litmus test for human rights organizations.
No one is passing a judgment on whether Gaddafi or Bin Laden deserves to die or not, the question: what have the US or the Libyan rebels achieved by taking the life of another human being without due process of law?
Short of satisfying our worst human trait for vengeance or to get even, the harm in the summary killing does not serve justice or any higher purpose.
In the case of Osama Bin Laden, it would have been important to know more about the Regan’s administration and CIA role in arming the forerunners of Al Qaida in the 1980s, and what the US could have learned from those short sighted alliances and policies.
In Gaddafi’s situation, the treasure box is much larger. It would have been interesting for the world’s public opinion and the Libyan people to know more of the wheeling and dealing between the Libyan dictator and world leaders.
Almost all Western leaders, who supported the rebels to topple the Libyan regime, were until recently in bed with Gaddafi.
US Senator John McCain who became passionately an anti Gaddafi advocate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were guests in Gaddafi’s infamous tent less than six months before the people’s revolt. The American officials called then to work closely with Gaddafi to strengthen US Libyan relationship.
Italian prime minister and French president were frequent visitors in the same “evil’s” tent making special energy deals or selling him their surplus exports including some of his killing machines, much of which was used to torture or kill his people.
However most interestingly, one would have liked to know more on the paid relationship between Gaddafi and ex British prime minister Tony Blair. The obsequious politician who ruined the British economy and turned the Middle East Peace Quartet into a useless impotent forum, evolved from a failing politician into a highly paid international consultant and lobbyist.
Unfortunately, Bin Laden took his secrets with him to the ocean floor, and Gaddafi buried it in the sands of the vast Libyan Desert. Meanwhile, their ex-partners continue to rule the world.
Humanity did not lose much in their disappearance, but it surely, did not gain any insight either.
*Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America”, Garnet Publishing, UK. Jamal’s articles can be read at www.jamalkanj.com, his email address is email@example.com
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