By MARC McDONALD
It's hard to see Muammar Gaddafi's death Thursday as anything other than positive for the world. However, there's a couple of issues that continue to trouble me about the dictator's violent end.
One is that if those who killed Gaddafi really wanted to show the world that they were morally superior to the dictator, they should have given him a trial. If Libya is really going to turn over a new leaf and become a democracy, it will now do so on a weak foundation of violent, blood-soaked anarchy.
Gaddafi was a tyrant. But for any nation that is supposedly based on the rule of law, even tyrants deserve a trial. The exact circumstances surrounding Gaddafi's end are murky, but the videos of chaotic scenes around Gaddafi's bloody, battered body show lynch mob rule at its worst.
The world is better off without Gaddafi. But frankly, lynch mob violence is nothing to be celebrated.
The second issue that nags at me is that the U.S. media once again fails to put things into perspective about Gaddafi. Let's be clear, the man was a tyrant. But he was a third-rate dictator who presided over a poor and relatively small Third World country that has little real influence in the world.
If you stop and think about it, George W. Bush was a far greater force for evil in the world than Gaddafi ever was.
Take the Iraq War for example. This was a totally unnecessary, illegal, immoral war that killed as many as 1.4 million Iraqi men, women and children civilians.
Gaddafi was guilty of many crimes over the years, but these were all nickel-dime crimes compared to the Iraq War.
I'm old enough to remember back in the 1970s when U.S. leaders like President Carter would criticize other nations for human rights violations. From time to time, we'd hear about some dictator in a far-off land that was guilty of human rights violations, including (gasp!) the crime of torture.
Fast-forward to 2011. These days, America still goes around the world and lectures other nations about human rights. But our words simply don't carry the same weight as they did when Carter was president.
After all, under Bush, we became the nation with little respect for human rights. We became the nation that invaded other countries that posed no threat to us. We became the nation that waged wars based on lies. We became the the nation that ran hell holes like Gitmo and stunned the world with the shocking photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.
We became the nation that thumbed its nose at international law.
In short, under Bush, we became an outlaw nation.
Make no mistake, Gaddafi was a tyrant. But he was a nickel-dime, small-time crook, compared to the truly massive crimes of the likes of Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of the NeoCons that caused an enormous amount of death and destruction around the world.
Gaddafi ultimately paid a horrible price for his crimes, as the videos of his battered, bloody body show. By contrast none of Bush's NeoCon team has ever faced any sort of justice for their crimes. Indeed, they continue to thrive on the lucrative book-writing and lecture circuit and no doubt will continue to pocket many tens of millions of dollars for the rest of their comfortable, prosperous lives.