News Gallery: Gaddafi's Fall

Article excerpt

Oct. 18, 2011

Tripoli, Libya: A Tyrant Meets His Fate

"We came, we saw, he died." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered those words Thursday upon learning that Muammar Gaddafi had been killed--but before the gory photographs of his demise appeared. Earlier in the week, when Clinton landed at Tripoli airport, she was greeted by zealous Libyan revolutionaries smiling and shouting, "God is great." All the while the craven dictator--the self-styled "king of kings of Africa"--was hiding in his hometown of Sirte, hunted on the ground and by NATO planes overhead.

Though Gaddafi's death was closer than crowds cheering Clinton might have imagined, she nonetheless warned Libyans that the hard part of the job--building a functional government--remains ahead.

Oct. 20, 2011

Misrata, Libya: The Obscenity of Death

When Gaddafi fled Tripoli, he was still defiant, threatening to turn Libya into "a volcano of lava and fire." By the time he was caught, the bravado was gone; Gaddafi didn't seem to know where he was. Gone were the brocaded uniforms and imagined adulation. He was wounded and still alive, but fading, as captors dragged him before bloodthirsty crowds by his hair. It turned out to be a hairpiece, revealing the dictator as vain to the end.

He begged for his life. Bystanders shot grainy cellphone videos that showed him being propped on the hood of a truck.

The fledgling government said he was killed by crossfire, but few believe that. Later, in Misrata, rebels jostled each other for the chance of a snapshot of his corpse. The images they captured were savage, obscene. …