Friday, October 21, 2011

23 Years, 270 Deaths, One Dictator

Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy's capture and apparent execution yesterday comes nearly 23 years after agents of his government bombed Pan American World Airways flight 103, killing 270 people in the air and on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, in late 1988. It was a brutal end for a man ultimately responsible for one of the most vile acts against travelers in the modern era.

His departure does nothing, of course, to erase the pain that lingers after all these years - nor does it offset the celebratory images from Tripoli several years ago, when a Libyan convicted of the crime returned to a hero's welcome after being released from a Scottish jail, supposedly because he was terminally ill. At last report, he was living in a comfortable villa in an upscale section of Tripoli.

That said, images of the dictator's last moments do nothing to inspire confidence that the North African nation will suddenly evolve into a kinder, gentler society. As for the rebel leaders saying the strongman died in a cross fire, their claims seem debatable at best. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? It's easy to see it happening.

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