December 20, 2003


From Silvio Berlusconi’s interview with The Spectator, in September:

I cannot say which country he was from, but someone telephoned me the other day and said, ‘I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.’

That “someone” was Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi, and he really meant what he said. Arab News columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed is with the program, too:

America, for this brief moment at least… is a liberator and not an occupier. I can't help being smug, since what I saw gave me back some confidence in the possibility of justice in this world. I had almost lost hope. It took George Bush to give me that back. I don't agree with him on many things, and while many Americans share my stand, I'll give the man his due. He will go down in Arab history as the liberator of Baghdad, even if the whole mission in Iraq comes to nothing more than this.

… The reality we have to face is the fact that it took Americans to relieve Baghdad of its dictator. Arab impotence recorded a new low. I might sound naive but I would like to ask where the 'freedom fighters,' 'the resistance,' 'the strugglers for the freedom of Iraq' were when that man ran amok. Having delivered Saddam, the Americans will have to deliver Iraq. Shouldn't we now be wise enough to give them at least a chance, if not a real helping hand?

Posted by Tim Blair at December 20, 2003 01:00 PM

You know, it's so obvious to me that a tough response is the only thing that people like Gaddafi and Hussein understand. I just don't see why the Left doesn't get this. If moral suasion worked, Carter would have talked them into submission 25 years ago.

And will the Left learn from Gaddafi's example? Not bloody likely.

Posted by: Alice at December 20, 2003 at 01:04 PM

Some of the Left gets it, but most of the Left thinks that the USA is an evil empire & lacks the moral authority even to swat a fly. The Left wants US brawn harnessed to EU brains—as if US brawn were not a reflection of US brains, & EU brawnlessness a reflection of EU brainlessness. The left tried to make Iraq into a wedge issue to do that. Some of the Left is unworried about the terrorists because it is too unimaginative to realize that the terrorists hate the USA for different reasons than the Left does. Some of the Left is unworred about the terrorists because it knows that the USA & its allies will defend against them & the Left, far from feeling gratitude, is mechanically seeking opportunistic political profit by hampering the efforts of the USA & allies.

Posted by: ForNow at December 20, 2003 at 02:32 PM

Pretty momentous stuff happening. Sure Gaddafi has been negotiating for a while but why are we hearing so much less about Saddam’s briefcase than about George’s turkey? Methinks that was a billion-dollar briefcase. No, it was worth more than that.

Posted by: ForNow at December 20, 2003 at 04:13 PM

>The Left wants US brawn harnessed to EU brains—as if US brawn were not a reflection of US brains, & EU brawnlessness a reflection of EU brainlessness.

That was very well put!

Posted by: John Nowak at December 20, 2003 at 04:21 PM

Thank you! I seem to have gotten away with leaving out a key “not” between “brawnlessness” & “a” & would have put it in had I thought of it.

Posted by: ForNow at December 20, 2003 at 04:39 PM

In a way this good news could really be credited to the (almost) universal lefty European press. For two-plus years they've been describing President Bush as some crazy, belligerent cowboy. Someone who's as likely to bomb you as he is to look at you. Mohamar was just responding to those scary news reports he kept reading. As the current phrase goes, "it's all good".

Posted by: David Crawford at December 20, 2003 at 04:57 PM

Reagan had the same curious advantage from the press’s hysterics about his supposed war-mania.

I’ve read the Washington Post article on the Lybian announcement. It says that this has been in the works for nine months, since the time of the Iraq invasion. Doesn’t mention any role of Saddam’s documents. Maybe the documents provided us with some further verification. Anyway, it’s good news. We have so many fish to fry.

Posted by: ForNow at December 20, 2003 at 05:15 PM

Re Gaddafi,

For a laugh, ask yourself what happened 9 months ago that might have started those negotiations.

Hint -

Wednesday, March 19 (Washington)

In an address to the nation from the Oval Office, President Bush announces
orders have been given to begin Operation of Iraqi Freedom, and acknowledges
the launch of missile attacks against "selected targets of military
significance" in Iraq.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at December 20, 2003 at 05:16 PM

So Bush’s press-made rep as a war-maniac may have given him some extra edge, but the timing & Tim’s Berlusconi quote suggest that the decisive & incredibly effective invasion really made the difference for Gaddafy. Likewise, Reagan was painted as a war-maniac from the start, but it was his punishment bombing of Libya that made the difference back then for Gaddafy. These dictators are a lot more impressed by actions than by words, anybody’s words.

On the other hand, Reagan’s distorted reputation may have affected Kremlin perceptions.

Posted by: ForNow at December 20, 2003 at 05:20 PM

Poor old one legged Gaddafi. He has completely gone off that "line of death" which was the best joke until Saddam came up with the "mother of all battles" phrase a few years later. He must have looked over and saw that Bush had a big ol can of whoop ass with his name on it and it was nearing its due date. Does this week get any better?

Posted by: Rob at December 20, 2003 at 05:34 PM

ForNow, I was reading an article about Jimmy Carter that suggested Iran released the hostages when he left office mostly because they were afraid of Reagan and what he'd do to them.

Posted by: RC at December 21, 2003 at 02:46 AM

That, & they hated Carter & felt they had contributed to his loss of the election. They had to release the hostages some time, why put it off & have to deal with Reagan? And they weren’t wrong to fear Reagan, though if they thought he was ready to nuke or carpet-bomb Iranian cities, their fears were exaggerated. They timed the release with such precision in order to turn it into a jab at Carter.

George Schultz said that what really impressed leaders around the world & scared some of them, was that Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. Apparently most leaders don’t like to mess around with the air traffic controllers, who aren’t easily replaced if they go on strike, (&, besides, who knows what they’ll do while you’re in the plane). If Reagan stood up to them, he would stand up to anybody!

Posted by: ForNow at December 21, 2003 at 02:05 PM

RC - I think you'll find that they released the hostages because they'd done a deal with Reagan to do so.

Posted by: Mork at December 22, 2003 at 04:39 PM

Mork, you're a meathead.

Posted by: Doc at December 23, 2003 at 01:54 AM

Mork, you're a meathead.

Posted by: Doc at December 23, 2003 at 01:55 AM