Not a martyr, but certain to go down in infamy

By ordering his army and air force to fire on civilian protesters, Moammar Gadhafi is composing a powerful punctuation to his brutal legacy, though it will not be as he intends. He defiantly claims that he will die a martyr, fighting against Islamic extremists and foreign “agents.” But widespread abandonment of Gadhafi by high-ranking diplomats for the regime, parts of the military, and tribal allies, all point to a tyrant in his death throes. And with reports filtering in that the eastern half of Libya is now under opposition control, it seems that Gadhafi will follow very soon.

In breaking with the standard set by the Egyptian military to not attack civilian protesters, Gadhafi has revealed his weakness and insecurity. Rather than stepping aside and ushering in an era of peaceful self-determination, he is trying to purge the country of anybody and anything inimical to his absolute rule. Unfortunately for his personal legacy, you only become a martyr when you die for your people, not when they topple you for brutalizing them. Good riddance.

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