The Importance of Choosing Your Allies Wisely– Et Tu Mu’ammar?

The United States has a lengthy and unfortunate foreign policy track record of choosing unstable allies throughout the developing world– perhaps driven by successive incumbent Presidents’ shifting short term tactical objectives as opposed to a consistent, multi-administration approach to exercising responsible leadership in the global community. I have no issue with the fact that Libya has become less of a current problem than it was, but it is hard to stomach this type of realpolitik with a known rogue such as Qaddafi.  It’s also hard for me to imagine that any type of stable institutional infrastructure underlies such a dictator.

Below is a transcript of a recent interview with Mu’ammar Qaddafi that was aired on Libyan television and Al Jazeera.  He clearly has a "different" perspective on civil defense, and a few other things, than most of our other allies. With friends like this…..

[The translation of the interview below comes from the Middle East Media Research Institute]

If Every Libyan, Every Car, Every House, and Every Road is Booby-Trapped – "The Enemy Will Not Be Able to Survive"

Mu’ammar Qaddafi:

"As for the defense budget… – The current circumstances – which, Allah willing, will persist – are circumstances of peace, and not of war. One may ask how this can be, while there is a gigantic power that threatens and occupies the world, and has weapons of mass destruction. All this is true, but we don’t need all these costs in order to fight it."

"We don’t need missiles, airplanes, tanks, or cannon in order to fight in Palestine or Iraq. If you offer the Iraqi people a tank, they will refuse it. They will say: ‘Give me a Kalashnikov.’ The Palestinians don’t ask you for Kalashnikovs or a tank. They say: ‘Give us money.’ The Palestinian fedayeen use home-made explosives belts. "

"In our current circumstances, we don’t need to buy tanks, airplanes, missiles, or other huge things like this. If the enemy is a superpower like NATO, America, Russia or China, which occupies Libya, I will not fight it with tanks, missiles or cannons. I will fight it with explosives belts, car bombs and Kalashnikovs."

"If every Libyan is booby-trapped, every car is booby-trapped, every house is booby-trapped and every road is booby-trapped – the enemy will not be able to survive. The enemy will be unable to use their nuclear bombs, their airplane carriers or their inter-continental missiles. They will not be able to use them against people who booby-trap themselves, and fight the enemy."

"An armed nation is invincible. The Iraqi people can continue fighting until Judgment Day. It is invincible, while the American army can be defeated, because it is a regular army. In the past, regular armies have been defeated throughout the world. The peoples, on the other hand…"

"Napoleon, who vanquished the entire world, was defeated by the people’s war in Spain. The huge armies led by Napoleon were defeated, while the Spanish people were not defeated. The Spanish people won because it was the people who were fighting."

"Great Britain’s army was defeated on a small island like Cyprus by the armed gangs of the patriotic EOKA organization – Grivas and Mouskos Makarios. "

"Vietnam won. It won because of its fighting, armed people. It was not a regular army. They did not have tanks, cannons, missiles, or planes. The same happened in Somalia, and so on… "


"I Have Nothing Against America – Except for the Fact that it Opposes the Palestinian People and is Destroying Iraq"

"We befriend whoever befriends us, and we are hostile to those hostile to us. If America comes to Libya, it will encounter men and women who will fight it to the end. If it befriends us, we will extend our hand in friendship. Right now, I have nothing against America, except for the fact that it opposes the Palestinian people, and is destroying Iraq. Apart from this, America and I agree on everything."

"Unfortunately… Look how strange this is. In the past I was against the oppressive, religious, theocratic regimes, while America supported them. We had disagreements with America on this. It was an ally of these regimes, while I fought them. Now America is saying that the oppressive, theocratic regimes that exploit religion are terrorist regimes. It has stopped supporting these regimes in order to topple them."

"So America and I agree these theocratic regimes must be fought. America used to support dictatorships, while I was against them, and I called to confront them. Now America says: I am against dictatorships. Great! ‘Opposing dictatorship’ is the slogan of the Libyan revolution. We oppose all types of terrorism. When I say ‘all types,’ I’m referring to terrorism of fleets, of WMDs, and terrorism by individuals."

"America is now talking about fighting ‘all types’ of terrorism. So that’s it. We agree. America is talking about liberalism now. Fine, I’m a liberal too. Liberalism means freedom. It means popular capitalism, rule by the people, people’s committees, and leadership by the people. That’s liberalism! That’s liberalism! Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom… No oppression, no persecution, no exploitation. America is saying these things. So that’s it, we agree.

"What’s left for me to disagree with America? I was against the USSR myself, and so was America. We had no disagreement. America has said it is against WMDs. I cancelled the WMD program, and I demand that America cancel its own WMD program, and that Israelis be disarmed of their WMDs, instead of the [American] silence in their case."

"We agree about all this. Great. America talks about liberties, human rights, and women’s lib – This is what I always call for, while America was against it."

"Apart from Iraq, I have no problem with America. Why should there be a problem? If America is hostile to me, I will be hostile to it. If it wants to occupy my country – welcome! When it attacked me, I shot down its planes, and didn’t even care. I said to Reagan tuzz [go to hell] a million times, when I could see his fleet with my own eyes. I wasn’t afraid of him."

Can somebody make sure Qaddafi stays in his seat and watches Al Pacino’s version of Scarface through to the end of the film?

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