We were for Gaddafi just before we were against him

Thank you, Wikileaks:

Following a meeting in Tripoli between Libyan leader Colonel Qaddafi, his son Muatassim and a United States Congressional delegation led by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman on 14 August 2009, the American embassy classified diplomatic cable to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton highlighted the close working relationship both nations enjoy to combat the Global War on Terrorism.

The American embassy classified cable, released by WikiLeaks, quotes Senator Lieberman, the Chairman of the US Senate’s highly important Homeland Security Committee as calling Libya “an important ally in the war on terrorism.”

Lieberman in his discussion with the Libyan leader and his son further noted 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. They encouraged Libya to sign the Highly Enriched Uranium transfer agreement by August 15 in order to fulfill its obligation to transfer its nuclear spent fuel to Russia for treatment and disposal.”

The embassy in a foot note to the diplomatic cable noted: “The Libyan Government subsequently informed us of its intent to sign the agreement on August 17 and has begun taking good-faith steps to do so.”

The American embassy cable to Secretary Clinton further noted Senator McCain, a leading Republican and former presidential candidate in the November 2008 election, encouraging the Libyan Leader Colonel Qaddafi’s son 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.”

The diplomatic cable said McCain described the bilateral military relationship as strong and pointed to Libyan officer training at U.S. Command, Staff, and War colleges as some of the best programs for Libyan military participation.

Whatever happened to best friends forever?

It turns out one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks describes in detail the friendly meeting between McCain and Gadhafi. It was also attended by fellow hawks Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham as well as Gadhafi’s son, Muatassim. (See video of the meeting here.)

Senator McCain assured Muatassim that the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs…

There is certainly a robust debate over the so-called morality of the US-led bombing campaign against Libya but Seamus Milne in the Guardian says there’s nothing moral about it:

The point isn’t just that western intervention in Libya is grossly hypocritical. It’s that such double standards are an integral part of a mechanism of global power and domination that stifles hopes of any credible international system of human rights protection.

A la carte humanitarian intervention, such as in Libya, is certainly not based on feasibility or the degree of suffering or repression, but on whether the regime carrying it out is a reliable ally or not. That’s why the claim that Arab despots will be less keen to follow Gaddafi’s repressive example as a result of the Nato intervention is entirely unfounded. States such as Saudi Arabia know very well they’re not at the slightest risk of being targeted unless they’re in danger of collapse.

There’s also every chance that, as in Kosovo in 1999, the attack on Libya could actually increase repression and killing, while failing to resolve the underlying conflict.