BOSTON (CBS) – For 42 years, Moammar Gadhafi terrorized his own people and the world in the most grotesque way possible.
Mass executions, terrorism, rape, you name it.
The man is a savage, has been for decades, and everyone has known all about it.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
So while I’m glad to see that Libyans and others, including our own government, finally stood up and did something about it, the fact remains that for decades we and most everyone else did little beyond wringing our hands and cutting oil deals with this animal and his henchmen.
Be very thankful that you don’t live in a wretched place like Libya, named one of the ten worst human right violators in the world by the watchdog group Freedom House, along with such hellholes as Burma, North Korea, Somalia, and Sudan.
And don’t forget the nightmare dictatorships in Laos, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Chad.
But while we thank heaven we aren’t stuck in one of these dungeons, and hope for liberation for the poor souls who are, let’s be candid about something, shall we?
There isn’t very much we can or will do about them.
NATO’s apparently successful effort to goose Gadhafi toward the exit, and our removal of the vicious blight of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are the exception, not the rule.
Most other nations don’t have the guts to take on their ilk.
It’s risky and costly, both in human and financial terms and, as in the case of Libya and Iraq, in access to precious resources like oil.
And in America and elsewhere there are always plenty of people, some of them powerful, willing to make excuses for egregious human-rights violators for any number of petty, political reasons.
Just think of the Republicans who kissed up to Saddam back in the day, and the Democrats who more recently paid homage to Hugo Chavez.
Around here, we like to think of ourselves as paragons of human rights.
But the truth is, we’re far more likely to look the other way than to actually take action; our record in that regard is, pitifully, better than most.
So hurray for the Libyans who appear to have rid themselves and the world of a cancer.
But for a moment, at least, let’s wonder about something: what took them – and us – so long?
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.