Muammar Qaddafi's Lavish Life and Lonely Death

The dictator's death seems a suitable Hollywood end to the rule of a terrible dictator, writes Stanley Crouch in his New York Daily News column.

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Former Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi (Getty Images)

Had Col. Muammar Qaddafi been a bit more than a barking dog hidden behind a high fence, perhaps he would have been driven to take his life in the sewage pipe where he was captured, Stanley Crouch writes in his New York Daily News column. In this perceptive analysis of the dictator's death, Crouch pulls no punches, essentially concluding that Qaddafi died the way he lived.

Some may have hoped for better for Moammar Khadafy -- or at least a slight sign of the nobility that he always claimed but never actually showed. Had Khadafy been even a bit more than a barking dog comfortably hidden behind a high fence, perhaps the most famous dictator on Earth could have brought himself to take his own life in the sewage pipe where he was captured. But he did not do it, which settles the question of just what kind of man he is.

Ordering mass executions, torture and terrorist bombings was much easier, allowing him to show off the stainless steel of a merciless fist. Washing blood from weaponry was much easier than putting his famous golden gun up to its owner's temple -- or placing the barrel in his mouth the way Adolf Hitler did. In the end, that took just a little bit too much nerve.

Sure, the dictator had enough nerve to try to flee the city of Sirte in a convoy that was intercepted, and from which he ran into a sewage pipe.

While maybe not a rodent, he occupied Tripoli like a rabid autocrat for four decades. Bluffing to the West was a game he loved to play, giving his admirers the sense that he was standing up to the old colonial powers and had no intention of becoming one of their lap dogs -- a stance he made famous with his rant in front of the UN in 2009, when he called its Security Council the "terror council." 

And yet he inhaled his last minutes of air like one of the very rats he had thundered against, when they were in fact lovers of democracy attempting to overthrow dictators around the Arab world.

Read Stanley Crouch's complete column at the Daily News.

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