December 22, 2003


Thanks to the successful war in Iraq, inspiring Libya’s instant fright-attack, so many seething terrorists can soon expect to be toast:

Libya has provided intelligence on hundreds of al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants, and renounced attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, in an effort to end its pariah nation status.

What was that about the war on terror “uniting Middle East opinion against the US”?

UPDATE. David Aaronovitch writes:

Libya is good news. It is the consequence of a long and patient diplomacy which belies the accusation that the Yanks are just phallic missilophiles and Blair is their jerk-off buddy. It does show, as the PM said, that things can be achieved 'through more than purely military means'.

For the Iraqodox this was not supposed to happen. Following the April invasion attitudes in the region were going to harden dangerously, and agreements would be more difficult to make. Here again the Prime Minister, while probably wrong on extant Iraqi WMD, was probably right on the political consequences of removing the Saddamite dictatorship.

UPDATE II. The good news just keeps getting gooder:

Several hundred people had been detained in Iraq in a sweep against insurgents using intelligence obtained following the capture of Saddam Hussein, General Richard Myers, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 22, 2003 01:11 AM

Yes but Bush had a plastic Turkey.

Posted by: Ross at December 22, 2003 at 01:38 AM

And what about the unripe dates?

Personally, I think sanctions against Libya should have been given another 20-30 years to work before we took the extreme step of deposing Saddam and thus scaring poor Muammar out of his leopard-print briefs.

Posted by: Mike G at December 22, 2003 at 01:43 AM

But, but, what about that Arab street we hear so much about?

Posted by: Kashei at December 22, 2003 at 01:49 AM

I hear they're enraged. And humiliated. Oh wait -- that's the anti-Bush contingent.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 22, 2003 at 01:54 AM

Heh. I keep reading about how we "humiliated" Saddam. Such a horrible thing, the moonbats say.

Yesterday I heard a news report on how Iraqis feel about it. They agree it was humiliating, and they're pretty damn happy about how humiliating it was to poor ol' Sammy.

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 22, 2003 at 02:20 AM

Aah, the moral clarity of an administration that wants to bring democracy to the middle east. Yet a dictator is free to re-enter the global community if he makes a gesture following two years of attempts to get back in the US's good graces.

I guess the Libyan people are just going to have to wait for liberation.

Posted by: Randolph at December 22, 2003 at 03:41 AM

Aah, the moral confusion of the left. They want dictators dealt with peacefully, and when they are, they complain about it.

Posted by: tim at December 22, 2003 at 04:16 AM

Yeah, Tim, it reminds me of Lileks on point, as usual, comment from awhile back:

"The same people who accuse America of coddling dictators are sputtering with bilious fury because we actually deposed one."

Posted by: CGeib at December 22, 2003 at 05:08 AM

Gaddafi's a nasty nutball but, give him this: he responds well to incentives, and he learns lessons. Like the 1986 bombing of Tripoli. That dog's been in the cage since (Lockerbie aside, but can you imagine Kim II handing over anyone, even an underling scapegoat, for a terrorist act?)

"a sweep against insurgents using intelligence obtained following the capture of Saddam Hussein..."

Now this has me intrigued. The wording is coy, but it seems to suggest only 2 alternatives:

(1) Saddam had a big (and not-in-code) Rolodex on him, which the Americans are now poring through; and/or

(2) Saddam is singing like a canary. Heartening, although the downside may be that he ends his days like Pinochet/ Idi instead of like Eichmann, if there's been a bargain struck.

Posted by: Noami Kleimpsky at December 22, 2003 at 06:58 AM

Word is he had a lot of documents with him that were quickly perused by the intel types and led to quick raids all over the place. He may also be singing, but I doubt it will buy him a cozy retirement, or even a warm cell like Manuel Noriega has. Bush will, sooner or later, hand him over to the Iraqis for trial and punishment.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at December 22, 2003 at 08:44 AM

Meanwhile, France and friends are saying the Libya outcome is proof that peaceful negotiation 'works'.

However, don't expect France and friends to admit that 'peaceful negotiation' with rogues works only when there's an iron fist inside the velvet glove.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 22, 2003 at 10:15 AM


Earlier this year, they discussed Lockerbie, now it's WMDs, who knows? Maybe next year democratic reforms.

Posted by: Andjam at December 22, 2003 at 10:25 AM

May be time for a new domino theory. Despots falling into line (or falling) like dominos.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 22, 2003 at 11:22 AM

Putting the bell on the dictator might become a trend. Will we be stuck with a troop of benign Dictatorships in the ME? We already have Mubarrak, and Qadaffy. I think of Egypt as the worst case senario. A propaganda mill paid for with american money. We have been down this road before.

Posted by: Papertiger at December 22, 2003 at 02:38 PM

Mubarrak at 75 looks wobbly. May be a transition opportunity fairly soon. Yes, the U.S. pays Egypt to act like a democracy and they put up a pretty good act.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 22, 2003 at 02:54 PM

>I guess the Libyan people are just going to have
>to wait for liberation.

The cardinal rules of the Childish Carping Leftist:

1) Everything must be absolutely perfect.
2) It must be absolutely perfect RIGHT NOW.
3) Absolute perfection now will not in any way ameliorate past imperfection.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 22, 2003 at 03:02 PM

4) I have to have the last word. Even if I'm wrong. But I'm not. I never am. But if I were, that's not what I said in the first place. Plus I've changed the subject. So there.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 22, 2003 at 03:43 PM

6) If President Bush is responsible for it, it must be bad. (I am sorry but I believe this should be number 1)

Posted by: Jon Black at December 22, 2003 at 07:26 PM

I guess Colonel Gadaffi can now finally promote himself to the rank of General.

Posted by: Alex Robson at December 22, 2003 at 10:47 PM

Does anyone mind if I sit here and have a quiet gloat.
Must suck being a lefty right now, all you hold dear is dissolving before your eyes with more to follow.

Posted by: Osamas Psychotic Proctologist at December 22, 2003 at 11:55 PM

Oh the lefty backpeddling.

US should have worked to towards a diplomatic solution with Saddam! (Now they've done it w/ Colonel G., or is it Q. How dare they.)

But, the US goal is to bring democracy to the middle east. Hypocrits. (Therfore one must work to depose every dictator simultaneously? Or, god forbid you encourage them w/ "soft" diplomace to reform. And, god forbid you get them to give up their WMD and give you lots of intelligence on A.Q. in the process.) Oh the multilateralism of it!

Posted by: peter at December 23, 2003 at 12:37 AM

This just proves that the UN could have done the same thing in Libya if it had been given 12 years of sanctions followed by a massive US buildup on Libya's border.

Seriously, it must be very, very hard to be a Bush-basher now. You never know what idiot thing you say today is going to blow up in your goddamn face three, six, or twelve months hence.

Posted by: Bovious at December 23, 2003 at 01:32 AM

Approximate timeline of the Libya thing...

1) Military action starts in Iraq...Libya starts negotiating

2) Saddam is found...Libya agrees to get rid of WMD

Score one for diplomacy.

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 23, 2003 at 05:59 AM

Yet another home run for the Bush/Blair/Howard team. Congratulations to all involved - and keep up the good work!

Posted by: Sean O'Callaghan at December 23, 2003 at 09:26 AM

A quick read of some comments from the left shows how desperate they've become. I think they've actually convinced themselves that Libya's sudden change of heart has nothing to do with Iraq. It's all just an amazing and unfortunate coincidence that the news comes out now, and Bush and Blair should be condemned for stealing credit from the UN and other real diplomats for an achievment that's so clearly beyond their own crude, unilateral bullying tactics. This success is a sure sign that things will only get worse as the US and it's allies veer further into unilateral isolationist democratic expansionism and arrogant cowboy diplomacy.

In fact, Libya would have undoubtedly rejoined the Community of Nations(tm) even sooner had US aggression not forced them to preserve their secret WMD programs for self defense, thereby thwarting the UN's own vital efforts and prolonging the unjust sanctions against an already ravaged country. Fortunately for the world we still have brave and kind leaders like Col. Gadaffi to show our facist unelected "President" and his craven toady Blair the true, nonviolent path to peaceful coexistence. If only the world can forgive us.

Oh, and have you heard about that idiot and his Thanksgiving turkey? It was made of plastic!

Posted by: Bryan C at December 23, 2003 at 12:00 PM

Bryan, it's even more than that. Someone (didn't hear who, turned on the radio just a bit late) is claiming credit on behalf of the Clinton administration.

But of couldn't possibly have anything to do with Reagan bombing Libya, or crushing Saddam's regime. It was all Clinton, who did...nothing.

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 24, 2003 at 01:01 AM