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Gharib begins: "For all the braying by the Senate's top three hawks about how the US wasn't doing enough to oust Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi from power, one might be surprised to learn that exactly two years ago, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were in Tripoli meeting with the erratic leader and giving him assurances that relations between the nations were on the mend."

On a trip to eastern Libya, Sen. John McCain speaks in front of a pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag, 04/23/11. (photo: Nasser Nasser/AP)
On a trip to eastern Libya, Sen. John McCain speaks in front of a pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag, 04/23/11. (photo: Nasser Nasser/AP)



McCain Pledged to Help Qaddafi Secure US Military Hardware

By Ali Gharib, ThinkProgress

24 August 11

 

View the full text of the leaked cable here: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/08/09TRIPOLI677.html. -- JPS/RSN

 

or all the braying by the Senate's top three hawks about how the US wasn't doing enough to oust Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi from power, one might be surprised to learn that exactly two years ago, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were in Tripoli meeting with the erratic leader and giving him assurances that relations between the nations were on the mend.

According to a leaked August 2009 US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks recounting the Senators' junket, the neoconservative Connecticut Senator captured the dynamic of aligning with a brutal dictator:

Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends.

Qaddafi's history as a top enemy of the US stretched back decades, but his change of heart came quickly after the US invaded Iraq under the pretense of Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction. Hawks seized on Libya's détente with the West as a sign that Bush's tough actions in Iraq were having a ripple effect, though patently not, as Iraq War boosters had predicted, with regard to democratic reforms. "We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qaddafi," said Lieberman, according to the leaked cable.

The three Senate hawks discussed in detail the Qaddafi regime's security needs with Libyas National Security Adviser, Qaddafi's son Muatassim. According to the cable:

5.(C) Senator McCain assured Muatassim that the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs for its [a Libyan security program]. He stated that he understood Libya's requests regarding the rehabilitation of its eight C130s [a transport plane] and pledged to see what he could do to move things forward in Congress. He encouraged Muatassim to keep in mind the long-term perspective of bilateral security engagement and to remember that small obstacles will emerge from time to time that can be overcome.

At another point, McCain and Graham reiterated pledges to push to fulfill the Qaddafi regime requests at the Pentagon and on the Hill:

Senators McCain and Graham conveyed the US interest in continuing the progress of the bilateral relationship and pledged to try to resolve the C130 issue with Congress and Defense Secretary Gates.

But 18 months later, Qaddafi reacted to mass protests by mobilizing his military, bringing down international condemnation and, in just a few short weeks, a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force. The US and it's allies in NATO and elsewhere rained down bombs to hold Qaddafi's forces at bay as rebels organized a coherent opposition council. As the rebels went on the offensive, Western and allied bombers lent them air support with surveillance and tactical bombings.

When suddenly - as if Qaddafi's repression had emerged from out of the blue - McCain and his clique returned to their perches as the staunchest advocates of US military action in Liyba, taking to the airwaves to lament the US's mere three-week delay to build international consensus and calling for arming the Libyan rebels.

Just as the political winds around Qaddafi seemed to determine the senators' stand - for him when it was convenient as a win for the Bush administration, and against him when the uprising began and in the month it took to rally the Security Council - McCain and Graham took a curious political shot at Obama just as Qaddafi's regime crumbled. In a statement, they thanked everyone but the US. Starting with the Libyans themselves, they went on to

also commend our British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE, for their leadership in this conflict. Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.

One wonders if August 2009 was too soon to press Qaddafi on the well-being of his people: there's no hint of democratic reforms, or indeed the Libyan people, in the WikiLeaks cable.

 

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+66 # Kayjay 2011-08-24 11:18
This is not very surprising at all. The U.S. has befriended brutal dictators for decades. They may be bastards, but they are "known" bastards and easily bribed, semi-controlled etc. If you remember, we were great pals with Sadaam during the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. We are friends with this lot only when it benefits our interests. World peace? This won't happen until we stop this practice.
 
 
+49 # allie 2011-08-24 13:01
Quoting Kayjay:
This is not very surprising at all. The U.S. has befriended brutal dictators for decades. They may be bastards, but they are "known" bastards and easily bribed, semi-controlled etc. If you remember, we were great pals with Sadaam during the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. We are friends with this lot only when it benefits our interests. World peace? This won't happen until we stop this practice.


So true. But yet again the network and cable news stations will not air that Gramps McCain, Lowly Lieberman and the worst liar and manipulator of the Republican Party, Graham, were over there supporting the dictator Qaddafi.
 
 
+35 # GeeRob 2011-08-24 13:02
This practice won't stop until we fund and implement alternative energy sources. Our country helped the Taliban gain enormous power because Unocal wanted to run their pipeline through Afghanistan.
 
 
+10 # pres68y 2011-08-24 14:27
It will be interesting to see if the new government will do for the people what Qaddafi did. e.g. $1000/mo stipend, free medical, and free schooling for most all.
More likely it will become another "austerity" program - where all that money goes into the oil corporations pockets instead of the peoples.
Qaddafis real mistake was selling oil directly to China and other countries using their money instead of US petrodollars. Can't have that "freedom"!
 
 
+4 # Marcia 2011-08-24 19:29
Sounds juSt like the USA. The rich have gotten progressively richer and the middle class is rapidly disappearing and the poor are as poor as ever and growing by leaps and bounds.
 
 
+6 # Byronator 2011-08-24 17:34
Well, we know who the "bastards" in OUR dictatorship are.
 
 
+43 # Garfield 2011-08-24 11:56
Have you heard a Republican give President Obama credit for anything good? I haven't. The Republican motto is "If he's for it, I'm against it." Not a good way to govern a country.
 
 
+12 # photonracer 2011-08-24 13:25
Quoting Garfield:
Have you heard a Republican give President Obama credit for anything good? I haven't. The Republican motto is "If he's for it, I'm against it." Not a good way to govern a country.

You are right on the money about repubnicans being absolutely against anything Obama says or wants. However I very much disagree with your statement "Not a good way to govern a country." It is NOT their job to govern the country. That is our job, we the citizens, empowered by the U.S. Constitution "of the People, for the People, by the People". It is the job of Congress to represent the people not to govern. The President is to administrate and enforce the laws. SCOTUS is supposed to interpret the laws not create new citizens or make law by decree.
We the citizens have an obligation to each other to hold these tenets as fact not theory. Don't give up your rights to govern yourself.
 
 
0 # giraffee2012 2011-08-28 21:32
And the USA is now suffering from these BIGOT PIGS trying to BushWHACK the W.H. again.
We will never recover from the Bush/Cheney/Rum my/Rove antics of 8 years -- they gave our Democracy to the $$$ with the help of their appointed Supremes (SCALIA/THOMAS are evil -- person hood to $$ to buy our government is UNCONSTITUTIONA L)
 
 
+10 # HarryP 2011-08-24 12:25
That can't be true. They were there for the Libya's world famous kuskus pilavi and hummus.
 
 
+30 # bobbygoode 2011-08-24 12:31
Under what auspices was this meeting held? Shades of Rumsfeld, famously embracing Hussein in 1981, then raining hellfire on him 20 years later, with nothing much changed in the interim. But in this case, not only did McCain turn hawk on a dime, but needed to add the additional twist of downgrading Obama's leadership role. We DO know Qaddafi was behind the Lockerbie bombing. Why were we dancing with him, even given we do support despicable tyrants for strategic (military and/or oil) gains.
 
 
+29 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2011-08-24 12:42
QUOTE: "Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends."

The inability of Lieberman to apply his own logic is baffling — if the enemy of the Libyan people is Qaddafi, and the US becomes friends with Qaddafi, that would make us the enemy of the Libyan people.

Of course the reason Lieberman did't realize this inconsistency is because he doesn't give a flying flip about the Libyan people.

What a couple of stooges. Is this the best leadership America has to offer? About the only good thing that came out of the stolen election of 2000 was that Lieberman didn't become Vice President.
 
 
+27 # angelfish 2011-08-24 12:51
These egregious Alimentary Termini sold themselves to the Dark Side LONG AGO and have "Cojones" to preach at the President about ANYTHING! Graham and Liebermann SHOULD have known better and McCain is, and has been, suffering from PTSD aggravated by his frustration at having his running mate chosen for him by HARD Right-Wing Nut Jobs! It's THESE kinds of Politicians who ARM our enemies and enable them to turn around and use those weapons on US. They are FOOLS who aren't qualified and don't deserve to be re-elected! Remember in 2012!
 
 
+4 # lotuslover 2011-08-24 15:43
Quoting angelfish:
These egregious Alimentary Termini sold themselves to the Dark Side LONG AGO and have "Cojones" to preach at the President about ANYTHING! Graham and Liebermann SHOULD have known better and McCain is, and has been, suffering from PTSD aggravated by his frustration at having his running mate chosen for him by HARD Right-Wing Nut Jobs! It's THESE kinds of Politicians who ARM our enemies and enable them to turn around and use those weapons on US. They are FOOLS who aren't qualified and don't deserve to be re-elected! Remember in 2012!


No, No! McCain wanted Lieberman for his running-mate. It was when Limbaugh and others in the whacko caucus let McCain know his goose would have been cooked that McCain, at the last minute and somewhat in desperatio, chose Palin. And the rest, as they say, is History!
 
 
+39 # propsguy 2011-08-24 13:06
more proof, as if we needed it, that wikileaks is essential
 
 
+10 # noitall 2011-08-24 13:07
We're just the worst kind of dog aren't we.
 
 
+8 # SundownLF 2011-08-24 17:24
Quoting noitall:
We're just the worst kind of dog aren't we.

Please don't denigrate dogs that way! They are so vastly more straightforward in 'who they are' than ANY of these manipulating, back-pedaling, talking points spouting so-called 'politicians.' When did you ever see a dog pretend to be something it wasn't in order to get your 'vote'? (Or at least that of a vote-buying lobbyist, dicator wanting guns, etc.)
 
 
+3 # DurangoKid 2011-08-24 13:19
And this is news?
 
 
+14 # Barbara Harvey 2011-08-24 13:26
This is so pathetic, it makes me sick to my stomach . . . And these legislators claim to be on OUR side??? Thanks be to God that McCain/Palin didn't win in 2008, or i can only imagine what kind of havoc they would have wreaked upon the world . . .
 
 
+8 # Pickwicky 2011-08-24 14:29
Beware Barbara--I greatly fear we're not free of Palin yet.
 
 
+17 # shesap 2011-08-24 13:29
Between idiocy, hypocrisy and just plain ol lying, the GOP are ALL on the dark side now in pleasant submission to those racist Christians known as, the Tea Party.
 
 
+12 # Pickwicky 2011-08-24 13:30
Can someone enlighten me, please? Who sent these Senators to Libya? Did they simply decide to go there and went without any legal or protocol restraints? Are Senators or Congressmen able to 'speak' for the USA? Can they say anything they want to leaders of other countries? Who or what governs such trips and what can be promised?
 
 
+12 # Regina 2011-08-24 13:32
McCain, Lieberman, and Graham are the just three of the "best" politicians money can buy. They sell not only themselves, they sell the country down any drain that will pour money their way.
 
 
+15 # minniemouse 2011-08-24 13:37
McCain has taken so many different positions on such a variety of topics that he can always fall back to a "I told you so!" Prostitutes say different things to satisfy their wealthy employers.
 
 
+16 # ruthee 2011-08-24 13:43
Yes, wikileaks IS essential! Espec. when the USA is being managed by Cerberuses like the 3 old fools named in this article! Americans, wake up and vote these pitiful, lying lames OUT of Wash DC. Write them and tell them who they are! Call!
No wonder our pres. is turning grey! Face it, these guys have "served" too long!
 
 
+15 # Merschrod 2011-08-24 13:47
Only one thing to add - remember these three guys are arms merchants and they could have caredless what the bandit was like. They saw a chance to sell for their supporters.
 
 
+20 # rtrues54 2011-08-24 13:47
Lieberman has been BRIBED by MILITARY CONTRACTORS FOR HIS ENTIRE PUBLIC CAREER!!!!
 
 
+16 # C. Price 2011-08-24 14:00
Who authorized the three stooges to negotiate arms for the U.S. Government? It had to be George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
 
 
+8 # Pickwicky 2011-08-24 14:26
C.Price--but the meeting was 2 years ago--I think Obama was in offfice. True, the meeting could have been set up before Obama took office. The exact dates would be good to know. I want to know how the Three Stooges wound up in Libya speaking for ME!
 
 
0 # ericlipps 2011-11-22 09:14
Quoting Pickwicky:
C.Price--but the meeting was 2 years ago--I think Obama was in offfice. True, the meeting could have been set up before Obama took office. The exact dates would be good to know. I want to know how the Three Stooges wound up in Libya speaking for ME!

Senators can go on such "junkets," as they're sometimes called, on their own initiative, at the behest of Senate leadership or as representatives of the administration. If, however, McCain et al. went to Libya to assure Qaddafi they could "fix" policy to help an adversaey of the U.S., and especially if they went without presidential approval (as seems to have been true in this case), it smells.
 
 
+13 # harbormon 2011-08-24 14:02
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the most egregious of all political miscalculations made by misguided and lying NeoCons--none other than the Reagan Administration, Pentagon and our Congress' arming of one lowly Saudi "freedom fighter" with the most sophisticated weaponry and advanced intelligence available in our arsenal at the time: Usama Bin Laden.

And ironically, it was the very same minions who created him that were on "Watch" when he attacked the USA.

Karma is a Bastard best served cold! Just ask Rumsfeld and Cheny!!!
 
 
+7 # jon 2011-08-24 14:25
Based on this, is it safe to assume that if McCain had been elected, and the middle east uprisings had taken place under his watch, we would have helped the various dictators squash the protestors like bugs?
 
 
+6 # abdullahiedward 2011-08-24 15:16
These three, like so many of their colleagues in the Senate and The House, are all working two jobs|:- one as a Senator and the other as a member of the "oldest profession in the world". Like Jack Cafferty said:- anybody who's running for re-election shouldn't be voted for because they're part of or cause of the mess we're in today.
 
 
+3 # ez4u 2011-08-24 18:10
Well, I won't go that far, but America is in short supply of grassroots democracy. While the Toilet Party is playing like they're that movement, in reality they are nothing more than a handful of right wing malcontents, centering their anger at the wrong people and issues.
 
 
+6 # Roger Green 2011-08-24 15:33
Is this surprising from these three guys?
 
 
+7 # giraffee2012 2011-08-24 16:21
Bigots without the white hoods.
 
 
+5 # in deo veritas 2011-08-24 19:13
Typical Repukes- they love dictatorship and fascism and are working to see it here.
 
 
+4 # zepcat 2011-08-25 05:21
Can you imagine what would of happened if this old, sad, Presidential wantabe had been elected President? Our foreign policy has been in shambles ever since Bush-Cheney and the idiots he appointed got us into Wars that have looted not only the national treasury, but social security as well. Just another reason conservatives would like to see entitlements go away to keep the real truth from reaching public attention. The real reasons we have a gigantic Federal Debt.
 
 
+1 # grannym 2011-08-25 07:10
I wonder how much secret support, in the form of Blackwater-type mercenaries, the United States has supplies to the Strian dictator. And I wonder if, when the truth is known about the three senators' perfidies, they will, like Cheney/Bush/Rum my et all, simply smirk, walk away, and continue their anti-American, anti- (DULY ELECTED
 
 
+2 # foxtrottango 2011-08-25 07:18
And to see that this mad fool ran for president of the USA once upon a time.

Yes, indeed, most countries have their fools, but not many place them in high positions. But than again, they don't have a Republican Party, do they?
 
 
+3 # boudreaux 2011-08-25 07:54
McCain is a warmonger...tha t is all that he is about, when you put people like him in power all he is going to do is keep more war going....can you imagine how it would be if he had won the election in 2008 and wanted 100 more years of war???
 
 
+3 # Pickwicky 2011-08-25 10:34
The fact that is near crazy-making is that within about 8 years, Lieberman was on the Democratic ticket for Vice President and nearly on the Republican ticket for Vice President. What the hell? Who's the puppet master? And what's the point?

Some think Gore should substitute for Obama in 2012; Gore's choice of Lieberman for his Veep in 2000 ought disqualify him. Something awfully fishy about Lieberman and his hold on both parties.
 

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