21 August 2011

Number, number, weight, division

It seems that Gaddafi's rule in Libya is heading very much into its final days. If he had any sense, he'd flee into exile. Sadly, I doubt he'll do that.

(the title is from the "writing on the wall" part of the Book of Daniel - a Middle Eastern ruler is killed the night after he finds out what the writing means)


jams o donnell said...

He will go down in flames taking a lot more of his people with him. He is that sort of tyrant

Anonymous said...

Well--once upon a time, we in the West were savvy enough to "build golden bridges for our enemies," to quote Sun Tzu.

Idi Amin, for example, was enticed to give up power in Uganda in 1980 by guarantees that he'd be permitted to live out the rest of his life in luxurious exile in Saudi Arabia, without having to worry about being put on trial in the Hague for war crimes.

There may be some merit to the position that we should always say "fiat justitia, ruat coelum," but this also guarantees that, though we may or may not obtain justice, and the heavens may indeed be falling, the Qaddafis of the world know they will be put on show-trial and hung on live television, so they have nothing at all to lose by fighting to the very last.

What if Qaddafi had been offered guarantees of safe exile, instead of what amounted to death threats from the UN? Perhaps much of the death and destruction, to say nothing of this expensive little air war, could have been avoided.

I am aware that there are many people who want to see Qaddafi imprisoned or hung. I cannot say this desire is wholly wrong. But I am looking at the big picture here.

Silent Hunter said...

Amin was facing Tanzanian invasion and the large-scale defection of his military in 1980 - also the ICC didn't exist back then.

The thing is before NATO intervention, Gaddafi was winning - he had no reason to go into exile. So the parallels aren't there.