His staunch defiance of Euro-Atlanticist imperialism made him a revolutionary for some. For a time.
But then a 40-year grip on power begins to transform even the most ardent socialist activist into something rather akin to a megalomaniac. And from there it is but a short, sharp step to the torturous subjugation of an entire people.
By the time it came to doing away with Gaddafi — The Mad Dog of the Middle East — the Americans and their allies had learned the lessons of Saddam. That is, don’t have your own military try a one-time friendly dictator at the end of a war that you waged without UN backing.
Thus when it came for the final curtain call — the coalition of the most willing let the Libyans pull the trigger, as they stood back quietly after having supplied the rebels with arms.
Today, Libya remains in turmoil.
Though not as far as Boris Johnson is concerned, given his recent bout of showing off over British investors going out there to see how feasible it would be to turn it into the next Dubai. Once they have, you know, cleared away the dead bodies first.
That Bojo, he’s such a clown. Nevertheless, the fact is that post-Gaddafi Libya now comprises part of the black market chemical weapons supply route that opened up in the aftermath of the post-Iraq military intervention and that goes en route to Syria.
The latter, of course, being where ISIS has set up camp. Meaning that for the terror group, Libya presents the cheapest and easiest gateway to Europe. Even without Theresa May’s ‘open door policy’.
What, therefore, is to be done?
Well, it seems that the international community is as good as its word, when that word is no to nation-building.
The most urgent British priority appears to be the question of UK victims of terrorism receiving overdue compensation. The authorities are said to be coveting the 9.4 billion GBP fortune that Gaddafi is said to have stashed away in London before his regime was toppled.
Certainly, those families affected by the Libyan strongman’s violent acts should receive some sort of payout. But the question remains who has to pick up the tab? Or rather who gets first dibs on wealth that essentially belongs to the people of another nation?
Had the British state been serious about taking Gaddafi to task over his orchestrating acts of terrorism on its soil and his reported arming of the IRA — it surely wouldn’t have stood back and allowed the then ruling New Labour, under the odious Blair and the dour Brown, to do big business with him. But then, it was case of them all being champagne socialists together.
In the end, the Brits and the Americans and everyone else falling under the NATO post-Cold War umbrella simply and conveniently exploited the Tunisia-sparked Arab Spring for their own form of rough justice.
It is one that has proved anything but for the Libyan people.