Death, it's been noted, is no surprise. And on a planet packed with 123 people per square mile, the numbers dropping by the day are dizzying. Still, it feels like I wake every other day to find some globally-important figure has slipped - or been shoved off - this mortal coil. A Saudi prince here, an asshole billionaire there. But I was thoroughly unprepared to begin Friday being gawked at by Qaddafi's droopy kabuki corpse-maw. Put me right off the strawberry yogurt I was eating for breakfast.
Surveying the online reaction, I was pleased to see the relative restraint across social media, as braying gaiety over Qaddafi's death was kept to a minimum. Given that Qaddafi was directly, provably responsible for more deaths & acts of international terrorism (cf. the Abu Salim massacre, Pan Am flights 103 and 73, UTA Flight 772, the 1986 La Belle bombing) than Osama Bin Laden was, I'd like to think that everyone had sobered up since the bloodlusty celebrations of Bin Laden's murder. Oh, I'd like to think that, but let's not be naïve - fewer people remember, and fewer still care, about Qaddafi's towering bodycount.
What jubilant chest-thumping there was came overwhelmingly from the liberal media - that is, the meager 10% of the media that actually is liberal. Most visibly, Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart attacked Republicans for refusing President Obama any credit for Qaddafi's demise. Of course, Olbermann & Stewart are correct that when, for example, Marco Rubio applauds the British & French for leading the charge into Libya, the GOP are playing politics by cynical omission, rather than giving credit where it is, in fact, due. But for men who built careers lambasting the illegal brutality of the last administration, Olbermann & Stewart - not to mention their acolytes - are unnervingly comfortable with the fact that their Nobel Laureate President's greatest legacy may very well be, in Stewart's own words, "his ability to rain targeted death from the sky." I can only imagine the righteous tongue-lashing Olbermann & Stewart would have given Bush when he signed Executive Order 13477, which restored the Libyan government's immunity from pending & future terrorism-related lawsuits. But in the mafioso logic of American exceptionalism, there's always room for another murder, as long as our guy is pulling the trigger.
It's this smug, fickle partisanship that makes our elected leaders so depressingly fungible. Meet the new boss...
Same as the old boss.