Moral Low Ground


Wikileaks: Conservative U.S. Senators McCain, Lieberman Graham & Collins Met with “Important Ally” Gaddafi in ’09; Promised to Help him Get U.S. Arms

As the United States began waging war against Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi this spring, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) appeared on national television and declared that the dictator had “American blood on his hands.” He was right. Gaddafi’s Libya is responsible for, among other acts of terrorism, a deadly bomb attack on a German disco frequented by U.S. troops and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, an attack that killed 270 people.

But what a difference two short years makes.

Wikileaks has revealed that when a group of prominent conservative U.S. senators traveled to Libya to meet with Gaddafi in 2009, they promised to help the man with American blood on his hands obtain U.S. weaponry. This high-level delegation included McCain, Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Senator McCain  said U.S.-Libyan relations were “excellent.” Senator Lieberman called Libya “an important ally in the war on terrorism” and opined that “common enemies sometimes make better friends.”

“The Senators recognized Libya’s cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger,” the leaked cable says.

The U.S. delegation then promised to help Gaddafi acquire “non-lethal” weaponry, including helicopters. In exchange, Gaddafi, who had opened the door to better relations with Washington during the Bush administration when he announced he was abandoning Libyan efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, agreed to send his country’s highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for disposal.

According to The Raw Story, the deal fell apart in a most bizarre fashion after U.S. business tycoon Donald Trump reneged on a property deal that allowed the dictator to pitch his bedouin tent on Trump property during a United Nations summit. But public outrage led Trump, who boasted about how he’d “screwed” Gaddafi, to evict the tyrant, enraging and humiliating him.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervened and arranged an $800,000 payment for the uranium to be transported to Russia.

But back to McCain. After the senatorial delegation to Libya, he tweeted that he had an “interesting meeting with an interesting man,” referring, of course, to Gaddafi. Good thing McCain’s not running for president next year!

Check out this video of McCain and the other senators shaking hands with Gaddafi during that 2009 meeting. The audio is in Arabic, but you’ll get the picture:

The scene reminds one of the 1983 meeting between the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and U.S. envoy Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Here it is, in case you’ve never seen it:

In Iraq, U.S. conservatives pressed palms with a mass murderer far more brutal than Gaddafi, but the overall theme was the same: the United States of America is perfectly okay with embracing tyrants as long as they serve American interests. In the case of 1980s Iraq, those interests involved defeating the mullahs in Iran, and the U.S. checked its principles at the door as it provided massive amounts of arms– including chemical weapons materials– to Hussein that he would not only ruthlessly unleash against Iran, but also against his own people.

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