Christopher Hitchens wishes stricter orders had been given and enforced to the Libyan rebels that Muammar Qaddafi was not to be killed.
Among other things, this tacit agreement persuades me that no general instruction was ever issued to the forces closing in on Qaddafi in his hometown of Sirte. Nothing to the effect of: Kill him if you absolutely must, but try and put him under arrest and have him (and others named, whether family or otherwise) transferred to the Netherlands. At any rate, it seems certain that even if any such order was promulgated, it was not very forcefully.
This gives far too much credit to the ability of Libyan leaders to command and control their forces. This was not a standard, Western-style uniformed army that follows orders given by a lawful chain of command. These forces were at the end of the day a ragtag group of armed civilians organized as a militia with a singular purpose: to defeat Qaddafi. That mission did not require his death, but his death was welcomed nonetheless.
Regardless, Hitchens makes the case for why Qaddafi’s remaining son Saif should be brought in alive.
It will be quite a disgrace if he is also killed out of hand, or if at the very least the NTC and the international community do not remind their fighters that he needs to be taken into lawful custody.
This is not to display any undue sympathy for Seif, or others on the wanted list. But he in particular is the repository of an enormous amount of potentially useful information, about the nature of the dead regime and perhaps even of the whereabouts of strategic material—to say nothing of vast illegal holdings of money that are the rightful property of the Libyan people. In more senses than one, it would be a crime to be party to this destruction of evidence.