Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gadhafi Dead! Another Chapter In The Arab Spring

Reuters and the BBC are reporting that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been captured near his hometown of Sirte.  The report indicates that Gadhafi was wounded and taken to a local hospital. 
Another report issued by a rebel military leader states that Gadhafi was in fact killed while fleeing Sirte and that his body has been taken to Misrata for security reasons.
A photo showing what appears to be a gravely injured or dead Gadhafi is circulating on the internet.
A press conference by Libyan interim leaders is expected within the hour.
The US State Department is still trying to confirm the reports.
One thing seems certain… something very bad has happened to Moammar Gadhafi.
This is yet another chapter in a remarkable decade of change across the globe. The groundswell of discontent that is the Arab Spring has swept another dictator from power. 
But this was different. 
Unlike in Iraq, where US military forces drove Saddam Hussein from power; this uprising was led by the Libyan people.  In Iraq the US led in ousting Hussein with the support of the Iraqi people.  In Libya the Libyan people removed Gadhafi with the support of NATO and the United States. 
The difference here is important. 
The US invasion of Iraq was a costly mistake.  The US policy of leading from behind in Libya worked.  The US flag is being waved in jubilation by the Libyan people rather than burned in protest as it was in Iraq.
The President should get some credit here.  Long criticized by his enemies for his foreign policy decisions, the President has demonstrated the ability to be bold and aggressive, as in the case of killing bin Laden,  or patient and cautious, as in allowing NATO to take the lead in Libya, depending on the situation.
The job in Libya is far from complete.  Gadhafi’s apparent removal marks only the beginning of what will be a long power struggle within the country.  But at least this time we won’t be paying billions of dollars to maintain thousands of boots on the ground to oversee the process. 
A long reign of terror apparently has been brought to an end.  The President got this one right.      


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