World-changing events continue in the Middle East.
It's a rare dictator who vacates office of his own accord to enjoy a peaceful retirement.
So it is no great surprise that Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi finally and officially left office feet first. Whether Gadhafi was killed in a NATO air attack or was shot by rebels fighting to overthrow his government hardly matters — another Middle East dictator is gone as what's been naively called the "Arab spring" continues to stir this volatile part of the world.
What's next? No one knows. Certainly, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting to stay in power, can't be feeling too good about future prospects.
U.S. Sen. John McCain described Gadhafi's death as "an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution." The U.S. is moving quickly to fill the power vacuum created by the revolution, but there will be other competitors for the affection of those who seek to lead Libya.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that those who follow Gadhafi won't be as bad or worse than he was.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hopes to plant the seeds of a vibrant democracy in Libya, and that's a laudable goal. But democracy is a foreign concept in the Middle East, where might always has made right.
Given the experiences in Tunisia and Egypt, where governments were overthrown and autocracy continues, Libya's future is wide open.
Nonetheless, it is good news that this tyrant has received his just desserts.
He ruled ruthlessly for more than 40 years, killing and imprisoning his political opponents at home while sponsoring a series of terrorist attacks abroad.
Who can forget Libya's role in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, many of them Americans? For that alone, he should spend eternity in the fiery pits of hell.
Ironically, Gadhafi's demise comes after he appeared to have made his peace with the world, particularly the U.S. But the speed and intensity of the revolution demonstrates that virulent dissent at home was boiling just beneath the surface.
It took just seven months to drive him from power. Obviously, assistance from the world community, particularly the U.S., was crucial to the campaign to oust Gadhafi. But it's clear the Libyan people felt it was well past time for him to go, that Gadhafi's ruinous economic policies and brutal rule had produced nothing but misery in that beleaguered country.