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Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in International | 2 comments

Gadhafi’s Death and The Word on the Street (Guest Voice)

Gadhafi’s Death and The Word on the Street
by Jack Lundee

With the news reports flooding in this morning about the capture and death of Moammar Gadhafi, the violent dictator of Libya, much of Libya is in a state of euphoria; honking horns & celebratory gunshots are ringing out as Libya citizens celebrate what should be a great turning point in the country’s government. It has officially been confirmed by Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, but what does this mean for Libya’s future and what does this mean for U.S. involvement?

NATO, Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) and U.S. forces have all been fighting a battle against the Gadhafi regime for some time now trying to bring about a democratic government for the people of Libya. Gadhafi had been on the run and in hiding from all of these forces and it is believed that he was discovered and attacked in a house in his hometown of Sirte.

Libyan television was the first to report that Gadhafi had been killed, but there have been false reports of leaders being killed coming out of Tripoli before so the rest of the world waited on official confirmation. A graphic cell phone picture and video of what looks to be an injured and bloodied Gadhafi into custody has surfaced. Both have not been verified that the man in them is in fact Gadhafi.

Now that the world is in fact dealing with a Gadhafi-free Libya, what does that mean for the future of their country? Frances Fragos Townsend, CNN Security Contributor, believes that the sense of euphoria that is in the streets with anti-Gadhafi citizens will continue for a few days. There are still pockets of pro-Gadhafi supporters that will most likely lay low while they wait to see what the NTC next moves will be about establishing a new Libyan leader.

Now is the time for NTC to act quickly and work with NATO and any other supportive forces to get a democratic government and a new leader in place to continue to work hard to establish political stability and to continue to disband any pro-Gadhafi support forces. Some are worried that these forces will begin to follow Gadhafi’s sons, but Abubaker Saad, a former Gadhafi aide and now a professor of Middle Eastern history and culture at Western Connecticut State University, believes that Gadhafi’s sons don’t have the loyalty of the Gadhafi supporters to be any real threat to the plans of a new democratic government.

In terms of what this all means for the U.S. government’s involvement and security, it is a very positive sign. The U.S. has already invested millions in the effort to help take Gadhafi down, on top of the billions that has already been spent in our other Middle East efforts fighting the war on terror. Many citizens feel that we spend far too much of our federal budget cleaning up other countries’ messes when we need to focus on our own and see foreign aid as a ploy to get other countries to do what we want them to.

However, foreign aid has been a huge player in helping build relationships with countries, like India, and has been helpful in humanitarian efforts. All of the aid that goes to foreign countries isn’t all from the federal wallet either. When many people hear about foreign aid, they assume that it’s their tax dollars being worked when in fact it also comes from programs like the Clinton Global Initiative, started by former President Bill Clinton with assistance from his aide Doug Band, CGI bands together non-profits and businesses to bring about positive change in foreign countries.

With Libya now sitting in a delicate position and on the verge of a history making change to a democratic government after 42 years of Gadhafi’s dictator rule, what do you think should be the United States’ next move in terms of helping Libya transition?

Jack Lundee is a supporter of all things green and progressive.

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