A Clownish Killer

October 21st, 2011 at 4:43 pm | 43 Comments |

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It is perhaps a shame that no one will have a chance to interrogate Gaddafi and find out the details of his regime’s involvement in crimes like the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103, ed the equally appalling but less cited bringing down of UTA Flight 772 in 1989, online the bombing of the Berlin discothèque that led to Ronald Reagan’s air-strike on Tripoli, or his support for various terrorist groups.

On the other hand, it is far from sure that had he been tried in a court of law that Gaddafi would have given his enemies the satisfaction of hearing the truth. It is not clear that the trial of Saddam Hussein really did much psychological or political good or that it would not have been better for Iraq if he too had been dispatched near his hiding place.

As one looked at the photographs and videos of Gaddafi’s capture that went so quickly around the world, it was hard to feel quite as overjoyed as his captors evidently were. For any civilized person the images of the former dictator wounded, beaten, bloodied and begging for his life were disturbing. I had to remind myself of the thousands of terrified, bloodied people stripped of their dignity, who must have begged for their lives in his dreadfuls prisons before they were murdered. (Apparently Gaddafi liked to broadcast videos of victims of his show trials urinating on themselves in fear before they were tortured or executed.)

Then there were the mass executions, the purges that followed the many attempted coups and revolts against him, the wars he fostered in Chad and elsewhere, the bloody but little-reported anti-African campaigns conducted by his Islamic Legion mercenaries.

Gaddafi was a genuine monster and mass murderer, of foreigners as well as of his own people. Unfortunately some of the aspects of his personality and dictatorial style that helped him retain power for all those decades also served to obscure just how vicious he was.

The clownishness and the comic-opera costumes in particular made it harder to see him as a tyrant every bit as savage and cruel as more conventional third world dictators. We Westerners from countries with genuine elections tend to put too much faith in appearances. (It is why so many people wrongly assume that Syria’s Assads are not as cruel or dangerous as dictators sporting military fatigues and sunglasses, or wearing an animal pelt across their shoulders.) Gaddafi was indeed a clown but he was of the evil, John Wayne Gacy kind that inhabit nightmares.

It is worth examining further why Gaddafi seemed less horrible than he really was, and how he managed to gull informed foreigners who should have known better. Partly this was because he may have been a clown but was far from a fool. But it was also a function of the way greedy, cynical or bigoted foreigners chose to see and present him.

One thinks especially of LSE director Howard Davies, and his staff who only decided that it was wrong to take Gaddafi’s money after the killing of protesters this February; the thousands who had already been killed or tortured in the Abu Salim prison were beneath their notice. Or Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, who was seduced by Gaddafi and his slick international socialite son Saif al-Islam (apparently still alive and at large) into heralding a “Tripoli Spring” when the regime was actually happily murdering dissidents like Fathi Eljahmi.

Presumably Whitson’s head was too stuffed with Zionist and American crimes, real or imagined, for her to see what was really going on in Tripoli, though it would be a mistake to underestimate the charm that Gaddafi could deploy when necessary. In recent years his efforts to maintain an image as a Ladies man – including the female bodyguard corps and his troop of East European nurses – seemed sad and ridiculous. He began his rule as a handsome, dashing young officer and soon found that he had a genuine knack for seducing earnest foreign women. Indeed, one of the reasons why the coverage of Ronald Reagan’s bombing of Tripoli tended to be so hostile and so credulous of Gaddafi’s claims about civilian casualties was because a key BBC correspondent on the ground fell under his romantic spell.

It my also be that Western leaders and their publics generally misunderstand and underestimate third world dictators. If a dictator rules a notoriously underdeveloped country or, like Gaddafi, dresses like Michael Jackson, takes a tent to foreign capitals, and pursues strange, egotistical hobbies like novel-writing, then foreign interlocutors assume that he (in the modern era it is always a he) is a kind of joke figure, brittle and easy to overthrow given a modicum of effort.

The truth is that anyone who can hold onto violently seized power for more than a year or two is probably a person of impressive unpleasant abilities, especially if they are ruling over a compulsively conspiratorial society accustomed to political violence. Tyranny is not easy. To do what Gaddafi did and remain in power for four decades required remarkable cunning, psychological acuity, political skill, emotional intelligence and cleverly applied ruthlessness. (It is why dictators like him sometimes find it laughably easy to manipulate or outmaneuver the heads of state of more powerful democratic countries: our elected politicians have not been schooled in an academy where failure means the firing squad or the gallows. )

Arguably Gaddafi was even cleverer than that murderous survivor Saddam Hussein: unlike the Iraqi he usually knew when to stop supporting terrorists, working on weapons of mass destruction and irritating American presidents into taking military action.

Of course in the end, both he and Saddam made fatal errors, and in the end it was Western military force that brought about their downfall and death. Moreover it is almost certain that Gaddafi would never have met his end near a storm drain in Sirte if Saddam had not first been overthrown by the US-led coalition. When I was at the Oslo Freedom Forum in May, I was told in no uncertain terms by several of the young leaders of the “Arab Spring” that the toppling of the Iraqi dictator had changed their mental landscape: the overthrow of their longtime overlords no longer seemed impossible.

Whether something or someone better will replace him is impossible to tell at this early juncture. It is just possible that when Gaddafi’s henchmen claimed to skeptical foreign journalists that the army was battling “al Qaeda” fighters, that they were not always lying. And it is all too likely that (as was the case in Iraq) the tyrant long ago killed, crippled or drove into exile every person or party capable of forming a liberal, decent, moderate, efficient government, and that almost everyone who remained has literally been brutalized by the experience of living under his tyranny. Hence the brutality of his own end.

Recent Posts by Jonathan Foreman

43 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    All you say is true

    (Apart from this “Moreover it is almost certain that Gaddafi would never have met his end near a storm drain in Sirte if Saddam had not first been overthrown by the US-led coalition).

    Which makes the Bush administrations courting of him all the more reprehensible. Why after Lockerbie did Bush do this? Anyone know.

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      You’re right, of course, that it’s condescending, insulting nonsense to suggest that Libyans didn’t know they hated Gaddafi’s brutal dictatorship until Sahib Bush dropped the scales from their eyes.

      As to why Bush tried to warm relations with him, well, to repeat what I’d said on an earlier thread…

      Gaddafi was still an oppressive autocrat, but he had mellowed in his approach to int’l affairs. It started before Pres. Bush came into office, because being under multilateral sanctions for a few decades is really not very fun at all. See this article from May/June 2001, “The Rogue Who Came In From The Cold”: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/57032/ray-takeyh/the-rogue-who-came-in-from-the-cold

      I think that the Bush administration did roughly nothing good ever, but I don’t fault them for looking to improve relations with Libya. (John McCain’s eagerness to sell them arms, I’m a little less sold on). Gaddafi was always a hated, brutal autocrat, but he was the leader of the country. We can’t just bowl over every bad leader in the world by saying mean things about them. (And I think the Obama administration handled the Libya crisis quite well– when we have the support of the world in preventing a massacre of protesters, we should do it).

      • Graychin

        I’m surprised that McCain has the brass to speak in public about Gadaffi. It wasn’t so long ago that Mr. Sunday Morning was trying to sell him arms.

        • nwahs

          It was even a shorter time ago he was suggesting arming the rebels, but good spin needs to omit that.

        • Elvis Elvisberg

          Oh, I disagree. I think mentioning McCain’s eagerness to sell arms to the rebels just a few short years after pushing to sell arms to Gaddafi gives a more accurate picture of McCain’s deep unseriousness about international affairs. It’s just that this discussion was initially just about Bush-era US policy toward Libya, which was quite a bit better considered than McCain’s typical flightiness.

    • nuser

      What comes out of some the videos I have seen ,is the picture of a man ,being ripped apart
      by a frenzied crowd. Will that now lend an abstract form of dignity to him? On another note , I urge you to look and publish Mitt Romney’s, October 7th.comment on president Obama,
      not having America interest at heart. The man is a slimy little rat. Please, please , at the very least , look into it

    • Fart Carbuncle

      But of course. It was all Bush’s fault.

      Every world problem is Bush’s fault. I forgot!

      Silly me.

  • Oldskool

    it is almost certain that Gaddafi would never have met his end near a storm drain in Sirte if Saddam had not first been overthrown by the US-led coalition.

    What a stupid thing to say. It’s just as likely that if we had any other president besides Cheney and his hand-puppet Shrub, Saddam would not have survived our no-fly zones.

    • Rick123

      Moreover, all the Cheney-ites were criticizing the administration for their approach to Libya. So, its equally likely, if they were in charge, they would have launched a massive ground invasion of Libya that would take us 10 years to get out of.

  • Watusie

    Moreover it is almost certain that Gaddafi would never have met his end near a storm drain in Sirte if Saddam had not first been overthrown by the US-led coalition. When I was at the Oslo Freedom Forum in May, I was told in no uncertain terms by several of the young leaders of the “Arab Spring” that the toppling of the Iraqi dictator had changed their mental landscape: the overthrow of their longtime overlords no longer seemed impossible.

    Can I just say total bullshit to the sentence, and suspected bullshit to the second? I’ve read your report from the Oslo Freedom Forum and no where in its 2,000 words did you mention even the presence of any of the Arab Spring leaders at the event, much less talking to any of them, much less any of them confiding such a spectacular piece of information to you.

    • nuser

      Made a mistake and addressed my post to 98. You don’t suppose , he will listen ?

    • Jonathan

      @ Watusi, my 2000 word piece about the OFF is about the 2010 conference; the Arab Spring delegates came to this year’s OFF, which I attended but have not written about. You can hear what they said on the Oslo Freedom Forum website or Youtube.

      • Watusie

        My apologies. The leaders of the Arab Spring who you met in private conversation at this year’s conference – what countries were they from? What about them qualified them as “leaders”? Why on earth DIDN’T you report their astonishing revelation at the time? And to make my time trolling through YouTube worthwhile, please identify by name the speakers who credited the Iraq War as one of their motivations so I can watch the video where they say it.

        • Jonathan

          Hi Watusie. (Had problems logging in or would have replied earlier). For some of the Arab Spring activists at the conference see: http://www.oslofreedomforum.com/speakers/dawn_of_a_new_arab_world.html
          (they are bloggers and activists who inspired, coordinated and led what became the Arab spring which then inspired “the teenagers with machine guns on pickup trucks..”
          The idea that the fall of Saddam led some of them that Arab tyrants were not after all invulnerable or immortal came up during conversations, rather than in their formal speeches. [This was understandable because a) they had more important and topical things to talk about, b) no one, including me, thought it an "astonishing revelation", or evidence of pro-American, (still-less pro-Bush) sentiment, or a fact that justified the Iraq war's vast cost in blood and treasure, and c) a more public expression of such a thought would only get them into trouble both at home and with foreigners too politically simplistic to consider that even a bad policy by a bad leader might have unintended good consequences down the line.....]
          Perhaps one has to have to have spent serious time in the MidEast and especially in its absolute dictatorships and monarchies to appreciate just how all-powerful and permanent those regimes always felt to people in those countries – and therefore how shocking it was to see a fixture like Saddam being brought down.

        • Watusie

          “The idea that the fall of Saddam led some of them that Arab tyrants were not after all invulnerable or immortal came up during conversations, rather than in their formal speeches.”

          I take this as your admission that these videos are in fact a red herring and they aren’t going do anything to support your claim that the Iraq War was a necessary precursor to the Libyan Revolution. Correct?

          “they are bloggers and activists who inspired, coordinated and led what became the Arab spring which then inspired “the teenagers with machine guns on pickup trucks..”

          I take this as your admission that you were grossly exaggerating when you claimed your intelligence came directly from “several of the young leaders of the Arab Spring”. Correct?

          “Perhaps one has to have to have spent serious time in the MidEast and especially in its absolute dictatorships and monarchies to appreciate just how all-powerful and permanent those regimes always felt to people in those countries – and therefore how shocking it was to see a fixture like Saddam being brought down.”

          Are you saying that everyone there has forgotten that the Iranian people themselves overthrew the Shah? Are we to believe that the Persian vs. Arab divide is so great that this example of people power was meaningless, but yet somehow seeing the American army topple an Arab dictator = confirmation that people power can be effective against a different Arab dictator…one who is allied with that same American government?

          It simply makes no sense.

  • JohnMcC

    Possibly not precisely on-topic but I’ve looked about here & there on the google and cannot find that Saddam Hussein ever did anything to compare with the bombing of airliners, discos or having his diplomatic staff shoot down protesters from inside their embassy. In fact, as far as I can find (and can recall – but I’m old enough to not trust my memory) he was not particularly on the radar screen of even really rabid NeoConservatives until the invasion of Kuwait. After that, he was the only thing they could see when they looked through their sights.

    During those years Qadaffi was not only REALLY pursuing nuclear weapons and other WMD, he was conducting an offensive international terrorism campaign. But GWBush and John McCain found it easy to forgive and forget.

    Seems like any attempt to paint the Libyan uprising with the tint of the NeoConservative project takes an amazing mental contorsionist. But Mr Frum (who after all coined the phrase ‘Axis of Evil’) seems to have found such a person.

    • Primrose

      While from an American perspective you are completely correct, to their respective populations there was no difference.

      • baw1064

        I think it makes a huge amount of difference in whether we Americans have a valid national interest in getting involved in an attempt to remove him from power.

        Starting wars against every dictator out there who mistreats his own people is pretty much insane. But starting wars against state sponsors of terrorism directed against Americans is not only appropriate, but in some sense obligatory.

        I’ve argued in other threads on this topic that Pan Am 103 was in itself adequate justification for going after Qaddafi.

  • dittbub

    The arab spring did not start in iraq, it started in tunisia, with a kid who set himself on fire and died. everyone seems to forget this.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    a perfectly good article ruined by one truly ignorant sentence, which everyone else has already vilified as ignorant. On Dec. 17 Mohamed Bouazizi, a poor Tunisian street vendor, who was so tired of the injustice in his life set himself on fire, this provoked street protests in Sidi Bouzid his hometown, which led to uprisings throughout the country. From there it spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, etc. The idea that this happened because the Iraqi invasion happened 8 years earlier is simply nuts.

    Ben Ali was an old man, the economy in Tunisia was in the toilet with high inflation and unemployment (I suppose Bush can get credit for cratering the world economy, which caused the mess in the Tunisian economy), the revolt caught him off guard.

    And while it is entirely possible that some Arab people told Foreman what he wanted to hear, all he has to do is read what the Tunisians wrote themselves about their revolution and no where do they credit the overthrow of Saddam as being the spark. In fact, I defy Foreman to show me one single Tunisian article that does just that.

    And it is not like other despots have not been overthrown before in indigenous revolutions, the Shah fell due to demonstrations, the entire continent had seen the fall of the Soviet empire, the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan had driven out the Soviets, I could go on and on, but to say “Hey George Bush invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam, therefore lets have a revolution because somehow we are the equivalent of the US military.” Again, it is simply nuts. I simply don’t see this republican desire for whenever anything happens good in the world it is precisely because of something they did.

    If you notice nowhere do I say the revolution in Tunisia is because of Obama, deft diplomacy saw to it that it was successful but it is entirely possible that Bush would not have screwed that up as well, though I doubt it (he might have given arms to Ben Ali to prop him up and then turned a blind eye to massacres that followed but that is supposition on my part). The Tunisians won their freedom, it wasn’t a few priviledged Arabs who lived abroad that braved the police barricades. Shame on Foreman for trying to claim credit where none is due.

    • nuser

      Oh, my friend , all is lost!

    • Jonathan

      @Frumpelstilstiltskin – if you were really following events in Tunisia you would know that its people have not yet “won their freedom”. Ben Ali may have gone but the regime is still in place and has been crushing the opposition now that the foreign journalists have stopped paying attention. See eg this speech by Lina Ben Mhenni, the brave young Tunisian blogger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukgonauZ_Dw

  • Jonathan

    The article does not claim anywhere that Libyans didn’t hate Gaddafi before the overthrow of Saddam or that the Arab Spring began in Iraq. It does repeat what various Arab spring activists said to me about the psychological impact of seeing Saddam statues pulled down etc. That is not to say that the invasion was a good idea or justified or anything of the sort. The fact was as Frumpelstiltskin should admit, that Saddam’s was the first ARAB tyranny to be overthrown since the ’50s. (I am sorry if this upsets fanatical Bush-haters but it it is what these young Arab leaders said – and their saying so does not mean that they supported the war or loved Bush.)

    Moreover Gaddafi may well have been weakened at home when he fearfully abandoned his wmd program and started sucking up to the West in the wake of Saddam’s fall.

    • Watusie

      Doubling and tripling down on the claim that leaders of the Arab Spring cite America’s fiasco in Iraq as their motivation. I don’t suppose you could offer me something other than your assertion to back it up? You do understand why I am skeptical, don’t you? No, it isn’t because of fanatical Bush hatred…it is because the claim is highly implausible. America spending a trillion dollars to topple Saddam, with half a million dead Iraqis and 4,000 dead Americans despite their weaponry and body armor is hardly going to plant the thought in the mind of a Libyan teenager six years later that if he can just weld a machine gun on top of a pick-up truck then he and his mates will be able to finish off Gaddafi.

    • Oldskool

      “Almost certainly” and then “may well have weakened” is the kind of hedging us commenters are allowed to do because we don’t get paid to type stuff.

    • Gypsum Fantastic

      You didn’t just repeat what you were told by the activists, you clearly implied direct causation, saying it’s “almost certain” Gaddafi would still be in power without the Iraq war. I’m not even saying that’s necessarily wrong, just that it’s a hell of an assertion, one that would require an essay or possibly a book to back up. Instead, you just throw it out there as an aside towards the end of your piece. Weak stuff, really.

      I also don’t think you appreciate how this afterthought drills holes in the side of your main argument:

      “Moreover Gaddafi may well have been weakened at home when he fearfully abandoned his wmd program and started sucking up to the West in the wake of Saddam’s fall.”

      In other words, the Libyan opposition is so pro-Western they regard the invasion of Iraq as an inspiration, while being so anti-Western that they’d have preferred their own dictator to acquire WMDs and isolate himself.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      while I appreciate your response (and as I mentioned it was a perfectly good article except for this one point) I simply don’t buy it. And I am not sure how WMD’s would have helped Gadhafi. Perhaps Gadhafi was slower on the crushing of the rebellion than he would have otherwise have been due to his not wanting to piss off the west, I will concede that, and that directly ties back to Gadhafi and Bush both wanting something from each other (Bush floundering in Iraq wanted to point to some success, Gadhafi wanted…well, who is to say with him, maybe it was Saif al Islam who pushed for it). But the way the rebellion played out, the suddeness of it and how quickly Benghazi fell I just don’t see what Gadhafi could have done differently even if he had not opened up to the west.

      Oh, and Tunisia is having elections this weekend. Give them credit for that.

  • gwad12345

    Good piece can’t help but think of Idi Amin when I read this.

  • HT

    Generally, I think that it’s a good idea for revolutions to treat the tyrants they depose humanely. Usually, a revolutionary regime that treats the former monarch/dictator with some degree of humanity and due process is more likely to govern humanely. By allowing the summary execution of Quaddafi (a vicious thug if there ever was one), the revolutionary government has sent the message to Libyans that it’s okay to bloodily and extralegally settle scores with others who have oppressed you.
    This is one of the reasons I admire the anticommunist revolutions of 1989–the people who took power that year did not form vigilante gangs and murder the vicious tyrants who had ruled their countries–although Ceausescu [sp?] was executed by revolutionary security forces in Romania. President Nelson Mandela of South Africa cemented his place in the history books as a hero by refusing to sanction vengeance against apartheid-era bureaucrats who had oppressed blacks.

    Too, the willingness of the French revolutionaries and of the Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries to murder the royal families of their respective countries was indicative of a certain kind of bloodthirstiness. The deaths of the royal families perhaps foretold the cruelty of the guillotine and gulag.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Maybe John McCain could have asked Gaddafi for the real story when he was hanging out with the “interesting man” at his ranch four years ago?

    It’s a shame if the only folks getting any guff for putting their heads in the sand and pretending Gaddafi had changed is some London School of Economics bureaucrat or some Human Rights Watch functionary. Our elected politicians in the West put their heads in the sand when it came to Gaddafi’s crimes and they executed a Gaddafi-friendly foreign policy IN OUR NAMES over the previous 5-6 years up until the Arab spring and we should be ashamed of that and not let any of our leaders off the hook for it. We should take a cold, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves if our shift in foreign policy after 9/11 came about because Gaddafi changed, or because us, and our values, did.

  • Douglas Anthony Cooper

    Um: “the BBC’s young blonde correspondent Kate Adie apparently fell under his romantic spell.” Are you suggesting… well, you are suggesting, but are you saying that Kate Adie was romantically involved with Gaddafi? (You might want to think about investing in a flak jacket. One of those expensive Kevlar models.)

  • Steve D

    Predictably enough, the “human rights activists” who ignored Ghadaffi’s atrocities for decades are now condemning his killing as a “war crime.” Because demanding human rights is so much easier if you target people who might actually accept accountability. That’s why we hear Israel bashing but not a peep about the systematic way the surrounding Arab states have refused to admit Palestinians, or the rampant corruption and brutality of the Palestinian organizations.

  • ottovbvs

    “Moreover it is almost certain that Gaddafi would never have met his end near a storm drain in Sirte if Saddam had not first been overthrown by the US-led coalition.”

    What’s the connection? There isn’t one. They are two totally different events separated by a period of eight years during which Bush cosied up to Gadaffi, sent Rice on diplomatic visits and removed him from the international terrorist list!!! I suppose Bin Laden would never have been dealt with had not Saddam been overthrown. Again no connection. The only matter of interest in the comparison between Hussein and Gadaffi is the relative cost of removing them

    Saddam Hussein: $1.5 trillion…US Casualties: Dead 4400 Wounded 30,000

    Gadaffi: $250 million (roughly) ….US Casualties: Dead none Wounded none

  • Traveler

    I thought it was a billion or so. Same difference. Comes to about a day in Afghanistan, or around a couple of week’s profit at Goldman.

    Getting back to main controversy, this supposed rebellion “trickle down” assertion from Iraq needs to be verified. I fail to see how any revolutionary gets the idea that they can pull off a rebellion based on what Shock and Awe was able to do. Like they must have figured that they would have NATO running interference? Totally different military capabilities. I call that as BS. Jonathan still never answered Watusie at 8:16 yesterday. You would think he would post a link to the youtube interview, but the silence is deafening.

  • Dex

    The following questions are addressed to the author, Jonathan Foreman.

    You claim that “it is almost certain” that the Iraq War and the removal of Saddam Hussein were the necessary precursor to the Libyan Revolt. Your sole support for this amazing assertion is that you attended the Oslo Freedom Forum in May, and met in person with “several of the young leaders of the Arab Spring”, and they told you “in no uncertain terms” that “the toppling of the Iraqi dictator had changed their mental landscape”.

    1) who were these people you met with? in what countries do they reside?
    2) what qualifies them to be considered “leaders of the Arab Spring”?
    3) given the pace of events and the high levels of tension in their respective countries, how on earth did they find the means and opportunity to travel to Oslo, and what was their motivation for doing so?
    4) why didn’t you report the amazing thing you learned in these conversations at the time?
    5) were you the only journalist they spoke to? If not, and if they also imparted this amazing revelation to others, did they report it? Can you supply links to their reports?

    In case you are not grapsing the thrust of my questioning, let me sum it up for you:

    Given everything that was swirling around in May, I simply don’t believe that someone who could be accurately termed a leader in the Arab Spring would have traveled to Oslo for a minor conference. Therefore, the idea that “several” young leaders did it is even more implausible.

    Now, if one or more of them did make this astonishing/inexplicable journey, then I don’t think they would have contented themselves with confiding in a single free-lance journalist.

    If they had, that free-lance journalist would have had a nice little scoop that he surely would have published.

    If they had done the sensible thing and talked to every journalist who they could get a hold of, someone would have reported it.

    So…where are those reports?

  • icarusr

    I stopped reading when I hit this part: “One thinks especially of LSE director Howard Davies.”

    Actually, one does not think especially of the President of a second-rate university in London. One does think of the Tweedledum and Tweedledummer of American politics, Johnny Mac and the Lindsay, as then genuflected before the butcher of Tripoli; or the Clown Berlusconi, the buddy of American neo-cons, and his audience with His Jamahiriya Excellency. One then thinks of Rumsfeld in Baghdad. One thinks of the Bush family relations with the Saudis, no less enamoured of gold-rimmed capes and no less savage than Ghaddafi.

    Yes, people of analytical consequence think, at times like this, of people of consequence. People who wish to score a silly debating point against perceived left-wing institutions think of the President of the LSE or Human Rights Watch.

    Really sad – pathetic really, to take a somewhat sombre moment, one that requires reflection on our values and value systems, to turn it into a point-scoring exercise.

    You know, when Hitchens sounds more balanced on this stuff than you do, you really do need to check whether you are in the right line of work.

  • ottovbvs

    “one does not think especially of the President of a second-rate university in London.”

    One doesn’t think of a leading British academic period. As far as I know this guy didn’t actually take Gadaffi off the terrorist list …Bush did. However, the LSE isn’t a second rate university

    “On May 15, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the United States was removing Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and would soon resume normal diplomatic relations with the one-time pariah.”

    • icarusr

      Ott, I respect your posts, let’s agree to disagree on the LSE as it now is ;) . I’m sure at the time of the Fabians it was fabulous.

      • ottovbvs

        You may be right about the LSE now, my view really dates from the 60′s/70′s/80′s when it contained such luminaries as Ralf Dahrendorf.

  • ggore

    It’s just freaking amazing. According to Republicans, getting rid of this loon was the worst thing the U.S. could ever have done, and another example of how utterly clueless and horrible Obama is…..blah blah blah….while getting rid of another loon that was just as dangerous, Saddam Hussein, was the smartest thing that has ever been done, namely by a Republican administration of course.

    Hypocrisy, anyone?

    Of course spending trillions of dollars on a war while doing absolutely nothing to pay for it is just fine & dandy with these Republicans, while spending money on infrastructure in the U.S. and thereby creating jobs, which allows people to spend money (and pay taxes/revenue to the government), which causes other businesses to hire employees which would then have money to spend (and revenue to the government), causing demand, which would cause MORE people to be hired (and paying more revenue to the government), etc etc would be the DEPTH of depravity because we are broke and can’t afford to do this spending and we are NOT going to do anything to pay for it.

    More hypocrisy, anyone?

    I have never seen a group of people so against “promoting the general welfare” of their own country in my entire life.

  • Anonymous

    [...] Gaddafi was a genuine monster and mass murderer, of foreigners as well as of his own people. link Reply With [...]

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