Rice Visits Qaddafi: Roses for a Rogue


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has accomplished something no other chief diplomat has. Last week, she became the first top-ranking U.S. official in 50 years to visit the Libyan capital of Tripoli in what she called a “historic visit” that was supposed to prove that Washington has no “permanent enemies.” Rice’s warm greeting of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, including her nausea-inducing photo-op with him, crossed the line. Qaddafi is a known supporter of terrorism whose regime has been blamed for the 1988 downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in Lockerbee, Scotland, and for the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin disco, which killed three, including a U.S. serviceman.

Qaddafi’s horrific government managed to get off the hook when a Libyan agent was convicted by a Scottish court of the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, in which more than 270 people, many of them American college students, were murdered.


The very idea that a Libyan “agent” could act without the specific instructions and orders of Qaddafi’s regime is absurd. Still, Libya and the U.S. also reached agreement on establishing a fund to pay billions of dollars in compensation for the victims of the Lockerbee flight.

Many of the families of the victims expressed outrage at the idea that dollars could “compensate” them for their loss, but the deal went through.

Qaddafi preemptively surrendered to United Nations nuclear inspectors after the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition, apparently fearing that his dictatorship could become a future target for “regime change.” The Libyan dictator and longtime supporter of state-sponsored terrorism invited the U.N. inspectors to inspect his facilities, and made a point of giving up his nuclear weapons development program.

According to a story about Rice’s trip by Heba Saleh in last weekend’s Financial Times, “Ms Rice was expected to use her visit to press Libya to deposit money in the compensation fund and to smooth the ground for U.S. business to return to the oil-producing North African country.”

In addition, Rice was “also expected to discuss with Col. Qaddafi ways to deepen anti-terrorism cooperation between the two countries,” and that “officials also said that regional issues such as the conflict in Sudan were on the agenda.”

Many who have opposed military action in Iraq and Iran carried placards stating, “No Blood for Oil!”

Taking Libyan money — in the hopes of renewed access to Libyan oil –from one of history’s most notorious sponsors of terrorism, one who remains implacably opposed to peace with Israel and who has never formally admitted responsibility for his many past crimes, is a paradigm example of “Blood for Oil!”

It’s one thing to acknowledge that Libya voluntarily gave up its nuclear program, even if it did so out of fear. It’s another thing to pretend that the “deal” on the compensation fund truly makes amends for the murder of the innocent passengers.

And it is truly beyond the pale that Rice, an intelligent and capable official, would stoop so low as to bestow a bouquet of diplomatic roses on the rogue of rogues among leaders of rogue states.