A Libyan bomb blew up New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland 27 years ago this week, killing all 259 aboard. Many of them were traveling with wrapped Christmas gifts for their families in America. Eleven Scottish people on the ground were killed by falling wreckage.

At the time I was a very young man working at the CIA. I had had several encounters with a colleague killed on that flight, who was not much older than I, and who left behind a widow and two small children. He was publicly honored and acknowledged in 2012.It’s common, because of the chaos in Libya that followed, to lament the 2011 overthrow and death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who almost certainly ordered the Lockerbie bombing. I am not among the lamenters. After a 42-year reign of terror, his demise was long overdue. 

The upheaval in Libya, which included the infamous 2012 killings of a U.S. ambassador and several other brave Americans in Benghazi, should have been forestalled by better Western planning for a succession. But nothing justified trying to prop-up Gaddafi when much of his nation justifiably rose up against him.

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