The man with the golden gun: Moammar Gaddafi reported killed at Sirte

The reports remain sketchy, and contradictory. Here’s what the BBC is saying:

Libya’s ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his home town of Sirte, officials from the transitional authorities have said.

Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said fighters had told him they had seen Col Gaddafi’s body, and other officials also said he was dead.

The claims have not yet been independently verified, and other reports said he was captured alive…

The colonel was toppled in August after 42 years in power.

… Grainy video footage has been circulating among NTC fighters appearing to show Col Gaddafi’s corpse.

The video shows a large number of NTC fighters yelling in chaotic scenes around a khaki-clad body, which has blood oozing from the face and neck.

Another video broadcast by al-Jazeera TV showed a body being dragged through the streets which the channel said was that of Col Gaddafi.

NTC official Abdel Hafez Ghoga told AFP: “We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution.

“It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate.”

An NTC fighter told the BBC he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole in Sirte, and the former leader begged him not to shoot.

The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi…

I thought I’d go ahead and put this up and give y’all a chance to comment. Political Wire has already called it a “Big foreign policy win for Obama”… for those inclined to interpret such events in political terms…

23 thoughts on “The man with the golden gun: Moammar Gaddafi reported killed at Sirte

  1. bud

    Another example of the hard right looking foolish. They said the president’s approach to dealing with Ghaddifi was inadequate, dangerous, disjointed and a whole lot of other things. Right now his approach looks both effective and has cost the US taxpayers very little and the military few, if any casualties. Kudos to the POTUS.

  2. Phillip

    If getting OBL didn’t result in much of a durable bounce for BHO, this will certainly provide even less of a bounce. The approach here (the limitations of American involvement, the clear sense of being part of a legitimate, not window-dressed, partnership) was the right one, I believe, but for the vast, vast majority of Americans, none of this is as important in their lives as the crisis of their wallets, their home values, the uncertainty of their economic future.

  3. Phillip

    The credit for this certainly deserves to be spread widely, first and foremost to the Libyan rebels themselves, secondarily NATO. And, unlike a certain other black-and-white-no-gray-either-you’re-with-us-or-you’re-agin’-us-mission-accomplished-good-vs-evildoers-thinkin’ administration from a long-ago era* , you can be sure this team understands that today’s news does not mean the long arc of the story in the troubled land is over.

    Here’s a fun mental exercise: imagine what the GOP might make of a leader from its party with this foreign policy record? Andrew Sullivan has it right today: “To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.”

    *”long-ago,” that is, unless Romney brings them all back for the big Neocon “God’s Purpose for Creating America” Reunion Tour, which he seems to have promised in that Citadel speech last week.

  4. bud

    Just got through watching the GOP debate in Las Vegas. Biggest surprise of the night, shocking really, New Gingrich actually acknowledged that Ronald Reagan made a big mistake. WOW! That is in reference to trading arms for hostages with Iran. WOW again! Someone in the GOP bad-mouthing Saint Ronnie. Never thought I’d see the day. Overall I thought Newt had a pretty good night. Maybe he really can claw his way back into the picture.

  5. Brad

    Well, actually, that’s not TOO shocking. If a traditional Republican like John Courson or Henry McMaster (both of whom are supporting Jon Huntsman, by the way) said something like that, you might be surprised.

    But these newfangled Republicans today… not so much. And Newt has always tried to be cutting-edge.

    Here’s one of a number of things David Frum has posted lately on “why a candidate with Ronald Reagan’s record would encounter problems if he were trying to become the Republican presidential nominee today.” He refers to this series as “Ronald Reagan, RINO.”

  6. Brad

    As for me, any time I hear a Republican calling anyone a “RINO,” I know that’s the sort of Republican — the zampolit, the enforcer of radical ideological purity — I’m not likely to agree with about much of anything.

  7. Brad

    Also, Phillip speaks of “mission accomplished”… I won’t even go into the fact that Bush himself was in no way responsible for that banner…

    I WILL point out that shortly after the news broke that Gaddafi was dead, NATO announced it was pulling out of Libya.

    The quote: “NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya. We will terminate our mission in coordination with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council.”

    They’re kinda saying, you know, “mission accomplished.”

    Those shameless triumphalists…

  8. Phillip

    Though Bush may not have been directly responsible for the banner, the mindset and the dismissal of complexity, disinterest in historical/cultural context, and derision shown towards concepts like “diplomacy” and “nuance,” were always clear in the Bush/Cheney co-presidency.

    NATO ending its mission in Libya says less about “mission accomplished” and more about “our role in coming to the aid of an internally-generated rebellion is done.” Not exactly like Iraq, eh? Regime change in the absence of a substantial domestic military rebellion, i.e., created solely by an outside nation’s unilateral invasion, obviously (well, obvious to most except the neocons) opens a MUCH bigger can of worms, though that’s not to say that Libya won’t be a complex situation for a long time to come.

  9. `Kathryn Fenner

    Bush wasn’t responsible for the banner? What happened to “the buck stops here”? Oh yeah, that was Harry Truman. Republicans are Teflon while Democrats seem to be Velcro…

  10. Brad

    I think you’re misunderstanding. As I recall — and please correct me if this is wrong — that banner had been put up by the crew of the ship, NOT about Iraq, but with reference to heading home from a cruise abroad.

    It’s been awhile, so I stand ready to be corrected. But the way I’m remembering it, Bush was essentially an interloper into a ship’s celebration of something only partly related, if that. He wanted a setting for a photo op, and that was it.

  11. Brad

    OK, I had to go check… here’s what Wikipedia said. So my memory was partly right:

    “The banner stating “Mission Accomplished” was a focal point of controversy and criticism. Navy Commander and Pentagon spokesman Conrad Chun said the banner referred specifically to the aircraft carrier’s 10-month deployment (which was the longest deployment of a carrier since the Vietnam War) and not the war itself, saying “It truly did signify a mission accomplished for the crew.”[7]
    The White House claimed that the banner was requested by the crew of the ship, who did not have the facilities for producing such a banner. Afterward, the administration and naval sources stated that the banner was the Navy’s idea, White House staff members made the banner, and it was hung by the U.S. Navy personnel. White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN, “We took care of the production of it. We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up.”[8] According to John Dickerson of Time magazine, the White House later conceded that they actually hung the banner but still insists it had been done at the request of the crew members.[9]
    Whether meant for the crew or not, the general impression created by the image of Bush under the banner has been criticized as premature, especially later as the guerrilla war began. Subsequently, the White House released a statement saying that the sign and Bush’s visit referred to the initial invasion of Iraq. Bush’s speech noted:
    “We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous.”[10]
    “Our mission continues…The War on Terror continues, yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide.”
    However the speech also said that:
    “In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

  12. Brad

    So, in response to the crew’s request having to do with their deployment, the White House made a banner that could easily be interpreted as meaning something else.

    So you’re partly right.

    But… Bush’s actual words also made it clear that the mission was NOT over.

    Reality is complicated. Assuming Wikipedia got it right. Actually, whether Wiki is right or wrong, reality is complicated.

  13. bud

    Bush was the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world. It may not have been his idea to put the “Mission Accomplished” banner up but he damn sure knew about it, approved it, authorized it and knew exactly what it implied. Of course the bucks stops with the president. To dodge and weave on something as obvious as that silly banner is pretty low in my estimation. But then again that man was the worst president of the last 100 years so what can you expect.

  14. Tim

    Brad, regardless of the circumstances of the banner, the fact is, Bush flew to the carrier in a fighter jet, wearing a flight suit, and his team appropriated all the imagery from that event to make the point that Bush had accomplished the mission. They managed the messaging entirely. Blame the Navy ain’t very decider-y.

  15. Brad

    So he’s just short of evil incarnate, eh, Bud? If only he’d had another year in office, he probably would have made it all the way.

    Tim — “blame the Navy”? I don’t think ANYBODY is “blaming” the Navy. It was perfectly natural and even laudatory for the sailors to want to celebrate the end of the cruise. To them, it had no political meaning.

    What the politicos did — Rove or whoever coordinated the president’s histrionic visit — was take advantage of the fact that the sailors wanted that banner.

    There’s an interesting double-layered situation here. If you are picture-oriented — say, people who watch TV with the sound off — you have a completely clear impression that the warrior chief is celebrating a victory with his warriors. The flight suit, the banner (which actually means something else, but the blank-slate viewer doesn’t know that).

    Meanwhile, the person who experiences the event via radio, or who reads the president’s words in a newspaper — without photographs — gets the message that the job is far from done, and will be difficult and hazardous. (Which was ALWAYS what I thought, and I was often surprised that others got the impression that the administration was saying it would be a breeze.)

    What we have here is the dichotomy that occasionally arose between Robert Ariail and me. Robert, being the cartoonist, was always on the lookout for the image (while being a skilled hand with words as well). I got most of my news via newspapers, and from reading the wires in text form, and I almost completely managed to avoid television.

    Many, many times, Robert would come in with a cartoon idea, and I would say, “Huh? What’s this about?” And Robert would be enormously frustrated, saying, “It’s all over the news!” I would say, “No, it isn’t,” waving toward the NYT and WSJ, and perhaps my stacks of The Economist.

    Most of the time, Robert and I were in sync, and a good team. I’d come up with an idea, and he would go refine it. Or (more often) the idea was his, and I’d offer suggestions to take it up a small notch.

    But sometimes, we needed an interpreter…

  16. bud

    So he’s just short of evil incarnate, eh, Bud?

    Who said anything about being “just short of”.

    Brad, I understand you have this weird man crush on George W and you’re more than willing to let certain things go. But seriously, defending the banner, the ridiculous airplane ride when he could have used a helicopter, and the rest of this hokey photo-op is just beyond the pale for cutting the man slack. Bush and Rove no doubt were planning to use this whole charade for political purposes during the next election but events backfired on them.

    Bush was not evil in the same sense that Hitler or Osama Bin Laden were. I’ll give him that much. But his grotesque abuse of his powers as president to lie and spin the facts to suite his inexplicable world-view of imperialism does put him in a class just one notch removed from those tyrants.

  17. David

    My political party represents prosperity, responsibility and has the interests of the American people at heart.

    Meanwhile, your political party does foolish things, is beholden to special interests, and shirks responsibility at every turn. This is not even to mention its foolish policies, which are 100% different from the wise policies of my party.

    It is an embarassment to America when your party controls the White House. But thank goodness that when my party has the White House, dignity and honor are immediately restored.

  18. Brad

    Bud, in response to you, I’ll just repeat, in its entirety, a response I wrote to this comment by Karen:

    Karen, why do you like it? Doug has once again twisted what I say in order to argue with — or in this case, mock — something I never said.

    What I have been known to say is that many people make too much of the impact of money, or misunderstand the way it works. There’s an absolutism in some people, the idea that a political contribution leads, inexorably, to a politician making a particular decision — every time, we are led to think.

    What I have said is that there are many forces acting upon a decision. None is greater than — or has greater capacity for an evil result, as well as good ones — the simple urge to please the voters. Money is an important element, too, but my guess (and all we can do is guess; there’s no way to quantify how much of given decisions result from this cause, and how much from that) is that pandering for votes more often is a greater factor than political contributions.

    This — “money doesn’t influence politics” — is just one of many misrepresentations of my attempts to explain, in great detail, the nuances of the way the world actually is.

    Another occurred about the same time as this one — on another post, Bud refers to my “man-crush” on Bush, a guy I don’t really like, and only supported with great reluctance (and because of the failings of opponents). He does that because I see people absolutely going over a cliff in their desire to hate the guy, interpreting every single fact in a way that intensifies that hatred. That is a form of extremism, and I pull in the opposite direction the way I do to many forms of extremism.

    Bush is just this guy who I don’t believe was a good president, although he had some good points. And I reject utterly the arguments of people who seem to want to portray him as all good or all bad.

  19. Karen McLeod

    Brad, If the only way money influenced politics was through direct influence on the legislators, I could agree with you. But money now controls, to a large extent, who is elected. The power of money to ‘spin’ and distort any idea is incredible. Look what happened to universal health care. All of a sudden we had ‘death panels’ and government denying access to health care, and numerous things that simply were not/are not there. Money buys those ads. Money allows one to have an entire news operation that is designed to alter people’s perception of events. If one has enough money (lets say faux news, big pharma, and several of those on the side of big business get together) one can ultimately persuade the populace that black is white, or at least light gray. It drowns the truth for most people. Money buys lobbyists, but it also buys the way truth is perceived.

  20. bud

    Ok, So Brad doesn’t have a man crush on George W. But he did endorse him twice.

    But really, defending the banner thing? I just don’t get that. If ever there was an action by a president that was clear and obvious posturing for a photo-op this was the time. The only reason we didn’t see that banner in the 2004 election cycle was that the mission really wasn’t accomplished as it turened out and to use it would have been unthinkable. But don’t think for one nano-second if things had gone smoothly in Iraq there wouldn’t have been endless references to that event.

    Now compare that to Obama’s recent triumphs in killing Bin Laden and now Khaddafy. He’s been pretty reserved about it. And that’s as it should be.

Comments are closed.