Gaddifi has ruled with an iron fist for over four decades and has kept his country closed to most foreigners. Obviously, he did want his people to taste freedom, but the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt stirred the long suffering people of Libya.
Sadly for the first nine days of this conflict, there was nothing but silence from President Obama. Yesterday, he finally made his first statement on the conflict, but it was an incredibly weak response. While he condemned the violence, he did not refer to Gaddifi by name and did not call for the removal of the dictator from office.
In contrast, Obama was much more forceful in condemning Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. While Mubarak was an autocrat who did not allow real freedoms in his country, he was at least a friend to the United States and our ally, Israel. During the Egyptian revolution, Mubarak was denounced by Obama. As the U.S. President withdrew support, Mubarak’s support faded and the revolution eventually succeeded. At least, Mubarak did not order the Egyptian military to bomb the protesters, whereas Gaddifi has no problems killing thousands of his own people.
Though a dictator, Mubarak did not order the destruction of an American jetliner, killing 270 innocent people. It is now clear that Gaddifi ordered the 1988 terrorist bombing, according to the former Libyan Justice Minister who resigned to protest the dictator’s crackdown on protesters. In an interview with a Swedish newspaper, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil claimed that he had proof that Gaddafi authorized the bombing of the Pan Am airplane, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Instead of being charged with this heinous crime and brought to justice, Gaddafi was allowed to continue his reign of terror and fund other terrorist activities and organizations. In August of 2009, Scotland released Gaddafi’s lieutenant, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who was the only Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie bombing case. The Libyan criminal was supposedly suffering from prostate cancer and was released on humanitarian grounds; however, eighteen months later, he is still living. Al-Magrahi was greeted as a hero by Gaddafi, who was happy to conceal his own role in the terrorist attack..
Now that world knows with certainty that Gaddafi is a terrorist, he should be captured by American forces and brought before the International Court at The Hague. He should be charged with mass murder and executed if found guilty.
Instead of aggressive action, Obama is doing nothing. He obviously feels that Gaddifi is not a terrorist and should retain power. In return, the Libyan dictator has expressed a close feeling of kinship toward Obama. In an interview released today by a London newspaper, Gaddifi calls Obama a “friend.” He said that Obama “is a black man from our continent, an African from Arab descent, from Muslim descent, and this is something we never imagined – that from Reagan we would get to Barack Obama."
On this note, I agree with Gaddafi. It is amazing that our country has gone from Reagan, who ordered American fighters to bomb Libya, to a president who refuses to lift a finger to help repressed citizens in that country. His inaction is helping Gaddafi continue the repression of the people. Gaddifi has the blood of 270 Pan Am passengers and thousands of Libyans on his hands. He belongs in prison, not in charge of Libya.
Whether it is the dictator Gaddafi, the murderous pirates in Somalia or the fanatics in Iran, President Obama is doing nothing. His reserved his outrage for the Egyptian leader, an ally of the United States. However, compared to Gaddafi and the dictator of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mubarak was a choir boy.
Obama’s response to these challenges is quite disturbing and is very telling. He will criticize our allies, refuse to back them in a crisis, apologize for our nation and bow to dictators. In fact, right now, instead of helping to overthrow Gaddifi, he is in effect, bowing to him, which is not a good position to exert leadership.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].