John McCain wants you to know that yes, he met with the crazy dictator, but he didn't promise him assistance in obtaining weapons from the U.S., despite what the leaked documents say
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) denied that he promised to help Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi buy U.S. weapons in a late-night tent meeting between the two statesmen in 2009, as a WikiLeaked diplomatic cable implied.
"It's just outrageous," McCain told The Cable in an exclusive interview. McCain said that he never indicated to Qaddafi that he would help him get weapons in any way. "Of course not, that would have been ridiculous," he said. [...]
"[Qaddafi] asked me, 'Well, we'd like to get our C-130 upgrades.' I said, 'Well, that's what you want,' but I was noncommittal," McCain said. "I said, 'I understand that's your need,' but I never said anything and I never did a single thing to follow up."
According to McCain, the U.S. Embassy wanted to make nice with Gaddafi, not the McCain-Lieberman team. But the memo was quite detailed about the meeting: It seems rather difficult to reconcile the two accounts.
McCain also wants you to know that he never called Gaddafi "interesting." Well he did, but that word doesn't mean what you think it means:
McCain also wanted to explain to The Cable his now infamous Aug. 15, 2009, tweet, in which he wrote, "Late evening with Col. Qadhafi at his 'ranch' in Libya - interesting meeting with an interesting man."
"I thought it was interesting because I thought it was bizarre," McCain explained.
Well of course. I call vicious nutcase dictators "interesting" all the time, on Twitter, when I really mean "bizarre." After all, bizarre people are pretty darn interesting!
This is yet another one of these stories that makes me despise politicians with a passion. Gaddafi was a brutal thug and a supporter of terrorism. The U.S. and Britain, though, decided last decade that they wanted to "reform" the relationship—coincidentally right at the time private companies started looking in earnest for a piece of Libya's oil reserves. All of a sudden, Gaddafi wasn't so bad. He had turned over a new leaf, we were told: He wasn't like the old Gaddafi. He had "mellowed." Like Saddam Hussein, he might have been a bastard, but we were trying to make him our bastard.
Now that it looks like his rule is over, the same politicians who went to Libya to make nice with him now suddenly remember he was a brutal, tyrannical bastard again. What a coincidence.