Originally posted by OldCorp
but I don't think he was the monster he has been claimed to be.
I wouldn't be so sure.
At the beginning of September, 1969, a 27-year-old Gaddafi successfully staged a military coup against King Idris, while the King was out of the
country. Immediately he abolished the monarchy, expelled most foreigners, and established the anti-Western Libyan Arab Republic. Gaddafi wanted to be
a Che Guevara of sorts, and thus allowed any rogue group who declared themselves anti-imperialist (even if they were simply terrorists) safe haven in
Libya, and access to weapons and financial backing. These groups included the IRA, Palestinian Black September (responsible for the 1972 Munich
Olympic massacre), and those behind the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, which killed 270 people. Libya finally took responsibility for the bombing in 2003
with a remorseless letter to the United Nations.
In 1977, Gaddafi changed the structure of Libya from a republic to a "jamahiriya"—a "government by the masses" that was at least in theory a
democracy. The reality was much different of course, and Gaddafi began exhibiting some of the eccentricities that come with megalomania. For instance,
he loved wearing animal skins and furs, started wearing garish sunglasses wherever he went, and was attended to by his "Amazonian Guard," a group of
virgin females highly-trained with weapons and martial arts, each hand-picked by Gaddafi.
Beyond the use of violence to intimidate Libyans, Gaddafi has been responsible for severely stunting Libya's economy. His belligerence towards the
West and stubborn refusal to extradite wanted terrorists earned his country years of UN economic sanctions. The United States' response was to ban
imports of Libyan oil, effectively removing the biggest market for Libya's most valuable export from the equation.
By the eighties, Gaddafi began using brutal violence to silence any criticism of his regime. He not only quelled any opposition sentiment at home with
violence, he did so abroad as well. Gaddafi arranged squads to seek out Libyan dissidents domestically and in other countries (mostly Italy) and
systematically murder them.
And now, as Libyans have risen against their autocrat, reports are coming in that peaceful protesters are being fired on by Gaddafi forces. Deaths are
somewhere in the hundreds, though confirmed information coming out of the country is sparse. Gaddafi has stated that he will "fight to the last drop
of blood" and the "last bullet", showing that his only concern is for his power, and not his country.