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March 23, 2011 – House Speaker John Boehner today added his name to a growing list of Republicans who claim no consultation with congress took place before President Obama’s decision to join the coalition against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. That may or may not be true, but one thing that is certain this is another mess left unresolved by the previous administration.
The criticism by Republicans over the intervention in Libya has added a grim chapter to a story that none of them is eager to recount, and that is the Bush-Gaddafi connection. It was, after all, George W. Bush who became the first sitting U.S. President to chat on the phone with the dictator, giving Gaddafi renewed status on the world stage after being sanctioned by the international community for sponsoring terrorism.
So, how was it that a terrorist who boasted about backing bombings over Scotland and at a German disco somehow managed to get back in the good graces of the last Republican administration, effectively becoming their shining example of a foreign policy that supposedly worked? He paid off the families of the victims of his terror plots, renounced a nuclear program that did not exist, and perhaps most importantly, opened up his oil fields to foreign interests. Gaddafi essentially bought his way back to the table.
Warming up to Gaddafi provided good cover for the flawed decision to invade Iraq. It gave Bush a foreign policy “victory” at a time when most of the world reviled the administration for its forays into Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a cynical, self-serving move by Bush, who had to know Gaddafi would never change his radical ways. Bush simply looked the other way, along with many of the members of his party, as The Colonel continued to repress the people of Libya.
The rehabilitation of Gaddafi, which was always a lie, is on par with the search for WMD’s in Iraq. Gaddafi even silenced forever the sole evidence in Bush’s claim that Al-Qaeda was behind 9/11 by allowing the lone informant, who admitted he fabricated the story a result of being tortured, to die in a Libyan jail.
It is not surprising many Republicans are now blaming President Obama for taking action in Libya. They are hoping no one remembers a Republican administration kept the oil money flowing into Gaddafi’s hands, allowing him to continue financing his tyranny.