Letter from the i editor: The right call or not?


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The Independent Online

So, he’s dead. He was in Sirte all along - which at least explains the ferocity of the fighting there.

The ignominy of his end mirrored that of that other great bogeyman, Saddam. There, on grainy mobile phone footage, is the familiar craggy face of Muammar Gaddafi, apparently captured cowering in a humble storm drain, clutching his ridiculous golden gun to the end. Paraded in the streets of his one-time safe haven Sirte, it was not possible to make out exactly how he died after he was hauled off the back of a pick-up truck still alive - or from what wounds, but blood seeped all over his khaki.

As I write it is unclear as to how many of his wounds were down to Nato air strikes and how much down to the exultant, if frenzied, rebels. Which I suppose is as good a metaphor for his fall as any. Would it have been better to have captured him alive and have him stand trial for war crimes? It is certainly cleaner this way. And to those to whom he will now be a martyr, he would have been a martyr whichever way he died, however long it took him to do so.

It is obviously a huge global story, which i has covered in more depth than most for much of our brief history. By the time you read this you may have seen Gaddafi’s bloodied corpse paraded in Sirte via yet more grainy footage. Here at i we spent a lot of yesterday looking at some pretty horrific images. We decided, regardless of what other papers do, not to run the worst of them on our front page, where you readers have no choice but to see them. I warn you here that there are some more graphic images to follow on pages 4-5. As ever, I am sure you will let me know if you think it was the right call or not. ’Til tomorrow.