Just a couple of days ago I seem to recall Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) & Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) opining about how President Obama “acted too slowly” in launching airstrikes on Libya, arguing that they are “happy with the result, commend the job the U.S. Military has done but regret the slow response time exhibited by the President”.
Now this little doozy.
Not even two full years ago, those three blind mice were promising to further arm the Qaddafi regime with U.S. military hardware since they were “one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror”.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) indeed seems to have promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware, as one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror,” according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
The meeting, which took place just over two years ago on Aug. 14, 2009, included other influential Americans, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Susan Collins (R-SC) and Senate Armed Services Committee staffer Richard Fontaine, the document explains.
McCain opened the meeting by characterizing Libya’s relationship with the U.S. as “excellent,” to which Liebermann added: “We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qaddafi.”
“Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends,” the cable continues. “The Senators recognized Libya’s cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger.”
Part and parcel to that relationship: military hardware, including helicopters and non-lethal weaponry, meant to ensure the security of Tripoli.
In exchange for this and assisting the nation in rehabilitating its image with other lawmakers, Qaddafi pledged to send Libya’s highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for proper disposal.
The cable does not mention anything about the senators pressing Qaddafi for democratic reforms.
In a twist of fate, Qaddafi temporarily abandoned that agreement in dramatic form last November, leaving a large quantity of uranium in a poorly sealed container strewn on the side of an airport runway for weeks.
The incident nearly caused massive quantities of nuclear radiation to leak into the atmosphere — a nuclear disaster, by all accounts.
And it all stemmed from a spat Qaddafi had with U.S. billionaire Donald Trump.
Trump even bragged about the incident in a recent appearance on Fox News, telling the conservative television station he “screwed” the Libyan dictator out of a land deal.
Qaddafi had paid Trump to pitch a tent on his property in New York ahead of a United Nations summit. Once the media began zeroing in on the bizarre structure erected on Trump’s property, the billionaire revoked his permission and sent Qaddafi packing.
Qaddafi is quoted in other U.S. diplomatic cables as saying he felt “humiliated” by his treatment, inspiring him to back out of the deal.
A rapid response was made by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, who had aides describe in detail what exactly a nuclear disaster in Libya would look like. After nearly a week of talks, Libyan officials finally allowed the uranium to be transported to Russia, with the U.S. paying $800,000 to transport it.
Sen. McCain, who provided the impetus for the whole strange affair, later wrote on microblogging site Twitter that he’d shared an “interesting meeting with an interesting man” (Qaddafi) — a comment that has haunted the Arizona Senator since the former dictator began slaughtering his own people.
Since that time, McCain has also come out in favor of arming Libya’s rebels, saying: “I think we could do the same thing that we did in the Afghan struggle against the Russians. There are ways to get weapons in without direct U.S. supplying.”