Archive for Friday, October 21, 2011

Pulled from pipe, Gadhafi was shown no mercy

October 21, 2011


— Dragged from hiding in a drainage pipe, a wounded Moammar Gadhafi raised his hands and begged revolutionary fighters: “Don’t kill me, my sons.” Within an hour, he was dead, but not before jubilant Libyans had vented decades of hatred by pulling the eccentric dictator’s hair and parading his bloodied body on the hood of a truck.

The death Thursday of Gadhafi, two months after he was driven from power and into hiding, decisively buries the nearly 42-year regime that had turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom.

It also thrusts Libya into a new age in which its transitional leaders must overcome deep divisions and rebuild nearly all its institutions from scratch to achieve dreams of democracy.

“We have been waiting for this historic moment for a long time. Moammar Gadhafi has been killed,” Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said in the capital of Tripoli. “I would like to call on Libyans to put aside the grudges and only say one word, which is Libya, Libya, Libya.”

President Barack Obama told the Libyan people: “You have won your revolution.”

Although the U.S. briefly led the relentless NATO bombing campaign that sealed Gadhafi’s fate, Washington later took a secondary role to its allies. Britain and France said they hoped that his death would lead to a more democratic Libya.

Other leaders have fallen in the Arab Spring uprisings, but the 69-year-old Gadhafi is the first to be killed. He was shot to death in his hometown of Sirte, where revolutionary fighters overwhelmed the last of his loyalist supporters Thursday after weeks of heavy battles.

Also killed in the city was one of his feared sons, Muatassim, while another son — one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam — was wounded and captured. An AP reporter saw cigarette burns on Muatassim’s body.

Questions about death

Bloody images of Gadhafi’s last moments raised questions over how exactly he died after he was captured wounded, but alive. Video on Arab television stations showed a crowd of fighters shoving and pulling the goateed, balding Gadhafi, with blood splattered on his face and soaking his shirt.

Gadhafi struggled against them, stumbling and shouting as the fighters pushed him onto the hood of a pickup truck. One fighter held him down, pressing on his thigh with a pair of shoes in a show of contempt.

Fighters propped him on the hood as they drove for several moments, apparently to parade him around in victory.

“We want him alive. We want him alive,” one man shouted before Gadhafi was dragged off the hood, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance.

Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi’s lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head. His body was then paraded on a car through Misrata, a nearby city that suffered a brutal siege by regime forces during the eight-month civil war that eventually ousted Gadhafi. Crowds in the streets cheered, “The blood of martyrs will not go in vain.”

Hatred of Gadhafi

Thunderous celebratory gunfire and cries of “God is great” rang out across Tripoli well past midnight, leaving the smell of sulfur in the air. People wrapped revolutionary flags around toddlers and flashed V for victory signs as they leaned out car windows. Martyrs’ Square, the former Green Square from which Gadhafi made many defiant speeches, was packed with revelers.

In Sirte, the ecstatic former rebels celebrated the city’s fall after weeks of fighting by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.

The outpouring of joy reflected the deep hatred of a leader who had brutally warped Libya with his idiosyncratic rule. After seizing power in a 1969 coup that toppled the monarchy, Gadhafi created a “revolutionary” system of “rule by the masses,” which supposedly meant every citizen participated in government but really meant all power was in his hands. He wielded it erratically, imposing random rules while crushing opponents, often hanging anyone who plotted against him in public squares.

Abroad, Gadhafi posed as a Third World leader, while funding militants, terror groups and guerrilla armies. His regime was blamed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and the downing of a French passenger jet in Africa the following year, as well as the 1986 bombing of a German discotheque frequented by U.S. servicemen that killed three people.


The day began with revolutionary forces bearing down on the last of Gadhafi’s heavily armed loyalists who in recent days had been squeezed into a block of buildings of about 700 square yards.

A large convoy of vehicles moved out of the buildings, and revolutionary forces moved to intercept it, said Fathi Bashagha, spokesman for the Misrata Military Council, which commanded the fighters who captured him. At 8:30 a.m., NATO warplanes struck the convoy, a hit that stopped it from escaping, according to French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet.

Fighters then clashed with loyalists in the convoy for three hours, with rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft weapons and machine guns. Members of the convoy got out of the vehicles, Bashagha said.

Gadhafi and other supporters fled on foot, with fighters in pursuit, he said. A Gadhafi bodyguard captured as they ran away gave a similar account to Arab TV stations.

Gadhafi and several bodyguards took refuge in a drainage pipe under a highway nearby. After clashes ensued, Gadhafi emerged, telling the fighters outside, “What do you want? Don’t kill me, my sons,” according to Bashagha and Hassan Doua, a fighter who was among those who captured him.

Bashagha said Gadhafi died in the ambulance from wounds suffered during the clashes. Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who accompanied the body in the ambulance during the 120-mile drive to Misrata, said Gadhafi died from two bullet wounds — to the head and chest.

A government account of Gadhafi’s death said he was captured unharmed and later was mortally wounded in the crossfire from both sides.

Amnesty International urged the revolutionary fighters to give a complete report, saying it was essential to conduct “a full, independent and impartial inquiry to establish the circumstances of Col. Gadhafi’s death.”

The TV images of Gadhafi’s bloodied body sent ripples across the Arab world and on social networks such as Twitter.


Mixolydian 2 years, 5 months ago

Correct order of credit:

  1. Libyan rebels
  2. Sarkozy and France
  3. Cameron and Great Britain
  4. Obama and America

I'm fine with our actions here, what I wish for though is that we had done something when protestors were taking the streets in Iran.


rockchalk1977 2 years, 5 months ago

"Libyan Leader Declares Nation Islamic, Sharia Law to be Implemented".

Didn't take long for Obama's illegal war to backfire! January 20, 2013... the end of an error.


Paul R Getto 2 years, 5 months ago

Mike_Gerhardt (anonymous) replies… Well, so much for freedom of speach (sic) I guess. === Once again, "Free Speech" has little or nothing to do with internet blogs, most of them being privately owned sites like this one. This Dolph's sandbox and we play by his rules.


yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

Another Obama foreign policy success. No, he didn't pull the trigger, but his policies and persistence were factors.

I was skeptical of the Libya war and saw it as an extension of the Bush doctrine. Obama played thus just right and proved me and other critics wrong.


Pywacket 2 years, 6 months ago

Get over yourselves, ItsJustMath and FalseHope. We all know that if bin Laden had been killed and Gadhafi overthrown during King George's reign if incompetence, you and your kind would have been parading around as if you had personally effected the executions and you would have been crowing to the skies about how wonderful your little swaggering puppet president was (as Cheney et al. pulled his strings in the murky background). You are fooling no one with your late-breaking concern about "the death of another human."

You're just frustrated that these victories over tyrants happened when they did, and (in the case of bin Laden) under the orders of a President who had his priorities straight.

Obama credited our military and CIA with bin Laden's long-overdue demise but make no mistake: even though they undertook the task with great competence and skill and carried it off to perfection, it happened because Obama made it a top priority, unlike Bush, who used the events of 9/11 to start a distracting and unrelated war in Iraq.

There is evidence that Bush had planned to invade Iraq since before he took office. Nine-eleven and the fictitious "weapons of mass distruction" were just the flimsy excuse he needed to do so. In the process, he divided our military forces and took them away from what the events of 9/11 really required: the elimination of the profane false prophet bin Laden, who had ordered the killing of so many innocents.

As for Libya, yes, the US led NATO forces in the bombings for a short period of time, when the revolutionaries needed a boost, but the hunting and killing of Gadhafi is credited--and rightly so--to the people he oppressed and abused for so many decades. I, for one, would not deign to sit in judgment of their actions, which, though brutal, probably had a cathartic effect for all who participated and also for those watching it on TV who had lost loved ones or had been tortured and marginalized by the unspeakably brutal and heinous regime of the dictator.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 6 months ago

I always find it disturbing when US military power is used to attack other countries, particularly because this represents an expansion by Obama of the aggressive tendencies of BushCo.

But it is rather comical that conservatives are falling all over themselves trying to say that Obama deserves no credit for this, when we all know that if this had been done under a Republican president, they'd be wetting themselves with glee.


beatrice 2 years, 6 months ago

A dictator and enemy of our country has been taken out without the loss of American lives. Excellent! However, some conservatives here are upset by yet another foreign policy victory by the Obama administration. Party over country is all they know, and they give all conservatives a bad name. How sad to think these people call themselves Americans.

LJWorld -- flush the zombies already! Too many are continuing to come back from the dead. When will you do something about this? At the very least, please allow others to block by choice their repugnant and hateful comments so serious discussion and debate can take place. The technology exists. Use it.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 6 months ago

At least he wasn't an american citizen and assassinated by Obama. Dictators like Obama need to keep the assassinations to a minimum until his landslide victory a year from now.

It will be a victory that Castro and Chavez will be envious of.


its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

And for those who actually read the link above, before you say it, I couldn't give a flying fig what John McCain thinks or says. And many of you are right, he would've been a worse president---especially if you base that premise on his lousy campaign management. Sad thought? Sure it is.


its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

What it has to do with Obama, Mike? Oh, I think Obama and the Obamamania Media disagree....

See how the Obamamania Media can weave a positive story out of practically anything Obama does, except if it's too insidious and crooked, they (the Obamamania Media) do what's right: they ignore the story.


Mike Gerhardt 2 years, 6 months ago

Although I am rather pleased with the death of this dictator, I fail to see what this really has to do with Obama. Yes, the US did provide some support doring this revolution, the dictator was found and killed by his own people.


its_just_math 2 years, 6 months ago

Our Nobel Peace Prize winning president sure is whacking these Muslims, one by one. I never knew the effect the NPP would have upon him. Even if 50 some-odd cars were in the caravan and a dozen or so and everyone in them were blown to smithereens and a following riot ensued resulting in the savage beating and a round to the forehead of Qaddafi, Obama's peacefulness allows him to not worry about. He likes head-shots from afar too. Thank you NPP panel.


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