Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter from the Colonel

The Times International Page ran a small story about Qaddafi writing a second personal note to Obama “urging him to stop NATO’s airstrikes” (“Qaddafi Writes to Obama, Urging End to Airstrikes,” NYT, 4/7/11). Times reporters David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim don’t specify whether the letter was an e- or s-mail, but they do describe the Libyan leader as resorting to outright flattery to get what he wants. “You will always remain our son whatever happened,” Qaddafi wrote. “We Endeavor and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne.” As if Barack Obama were so weak willed and needy that he would buy this obvious bullshit! Addressing Obama as “Mr. Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu Oumama,” Qaddafi resorts to a bit of noblesse oblige, conferring a title on his newly appointed vassal. And then he goes the Polonius route, only it’s not “neither a borrower nor a lender be,” but “As you know too well democracy and building of civil society cannot be achieved by means of missiles and aircraft, or by backing armed members of Al-Qaeda in Benghazi.” When you think about it, it’s kind of sweet of Qaddafi to buddy up to Obama and treat him like the Libyan version of a good ole boy, but Qaddafi’s point about the fireworks is debatable. Firstly, Qaddafi forgets the words of H. Rap Brown, who prophetically said, “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” Secondly, since Qaddafi himself has extensive experience as a tyrant, he should know that missiles and aircraft are not mutually exclusive of civil society. The missiles and aircraft are like the appetizer at a state dinner. First you have your shrimp cocktail (the missiles and aircraft), then you get your steak, pheasant or whatever main dish is tantamount to the building of civil society.      

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