Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Killing Gaddafi

Lately, everyone seems to be looking for ways to save money; both individuals and governments are tightening their belts. Some have questioned whether President Obama should have been spending hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars on destroying despotic Libyan dictator Gaddafi while our own country is over $15 trillion in debt.  I questioned this decision myself, but after carefully analyzing the costs of U.S. operations in Libya, I realized that killing Gaddafi was a bargain.

Killing Gaddafi cost U.S. taxpayers around $1 billion. A billion dollars might not sound like a bargain, but compared to other wars, it actually is. Let’s compare U.S. expenditures on killing Gaddafi to what we paid to get rid of another greedy, vile tyrant –

Saddam Hussein. The U.S. spent nearly $1.1 billion on bombing the Gaddafi regime and enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. That’s a thousand times cheaper than the more than 1 trillion we paid for the war in Iraq. Another way to look at this is the human cost of these wars. More than 4,400 U.S. soldiers lost their lives in Iraq, including one from my hometown. Another 40,000 suffered serious physical injuries that will cost us billions more in the future. Tens of thousands of veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which often haunts them for life. Not a single U.S. soldier was killed or seriously injured in the Libya campaign. U.S. and NATO pilots were not in much danger during operations. One U.S. F-15E fighter jet did crash in Libya due to mechanical malfunctions but both pilots survived. F-16CJ and B-2 Spirit aircrafts were simply too fast and too stealthy for the Libyan military to handle.

Libya was liberated the way a nation should be liberated: by its own people. U.S. forces and NATO bombarded military bases and blasted Libyan planes while the Libyan rebels fought on the ground for freedom from oppression. The U.S. was liberated in a similar manner, by patriots fighting for freedom and democracy with some external support in the form of guns donated by the French monarchy. A dictator getting overthrown by his own people will be more favorably perceived by people than a foreign army marching in to liberate them. Gaddafi deserved to die not only for his crimes against his own people but also for killing 259 innocent people aboard Pan Am Flight 103, as well as the 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, England in 1988.

Killing a despot doesn’t have to cost millions or even billions of dollars. All it takes is a few high-caliber bullets to the face. The bullets that killed Gaddafi cost less than five bucks. The cost of an assassin killing Gaddafi while he is giving a public speech would likely be less than $1 million. That’s a thousand times cheaper than the $1.1 billion we paid to help Libyan rebels. However, assassinations are risky. If Hussein or Gaddafi were assassinated, they would likely get replaced by their spoiled playboy sons. Who knows, their sons might be even worse than their fathers, but it’s hard to predict.

I hope Libya’s transitional government finds Gaddafi’s estimated $60 billion fortune and compensates the U.S. for the money and time we spent, plus several billions as a tip. If they don’t find the money, they can pay us back with some free oil and return the Pan Am terrorists to face justice. While Libyans celebrate their new found freedoms, we can smile knowing another murderous terrorist has been defeated. I think the viral video of Gaddafi’s final moments will be a clear warning to all kings and autocrats on the consequences of sponsoring terrorists. If you oppress your own people, arm terrorists, and kill the innocent, sooner or later justice will be served.

David Gealekman is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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    David Hunt '90Nov 28, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Sharia Law is already being established in Libya, as it is in Algeria, as it will be in Egypt.

    So much for “freedom” of half the human race in these countries.