Monday, February 21, 2011

Blast from the Past: George Bush Bragged About Diplomatic Success With Blood-Stained Libyan Despot Muammar Gaddafi

I think you really have to give the right some credit for sheer Chutzpah. Just 7 short years after George W. Bush normalized relations with the Libyan regime, over the strong opposition of Barack Obama, some conservatives actually have the nerve to revise that very recent history and claim the reverse to be true (causing even Debbie Schussel, of all people, to cry 'foul').

Anyway, I dug this bit out of Bush's 2004 State of the Union speech:
Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better. Last month, the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle all of his regime's weapons of mass destruction programs, including a uranium enrichment project for nuclear weapons. Colonel Qadhafi correctly judged that his country would be better off, and far more secure, without weapons of mass murder. Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible -- and no one can now doubt the word of America.
Yup, diplomacy was great with the eminently-reasonable colonel Gaddafi, but didn't result in Saddam Hussein handing over the weapons that he had destroyed a decade earlier.

And ever since that time, "no one can doubt the word of America."

Details from the State Department's background notes -- and you might note that all of this happened prior to January of 2009:
The U.S. terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and President Bush signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls remain in place. 
U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. The establishment in 2005 of an American School in Tripoli demonstrates the increased presence of Americans in Libya, and the continuing normalization of bilateral relations. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006.

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