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The War Nerd April 5, 2004
Qadafi: Buckles, Size XXXL
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

There are parts of the world that should be declared Zones of Total Bullshit. Take Libya. It seems like everybody who even tries to talk about the place starts lying. The latest lie is that "Libya has renounced terrorism and WMDs" because Qadafi, the little colonel who runs the place, saw what happened to Saddam and surrendered to the forces of good. Here's a typical headline I picked up off the net: "Qadafi Buckles after Eyeing Saddam in His Spider Hole."

Saying that Qadafi "buckled" just now is like saying that a sixty-year-old prostitute just lost her virginity. Qadafi's done more buckles than the Bangladeshi sweatshops that make my XL belts. Qadafi has specialized in giving in to any pressure for more than 30 years -- then taking revenge, backstabbing-style. Muamar Qadafi

And saying Qadafi's "renounced weapons of mass destruction" is more crap. Officially, what he did was announce that he's giving up any plans for missiles with a range of more than 186km and weapons with a payload of more than 1,000 lb. Sounds nice, but it means absolutely nothing. Qadafi's history shows two things: first, he'll say anything, sign anything, to save his skin; second, he'll find a sneaky, bushwhacker's way to get even. Not with missiles or air-dropped bombs, but by funneling oil money to somebody who's already got a grudge against whoever's bothering him. Getting him to renounce WMDs is like getting the Mafia to sign a pledge that they won't conduct air raids. That's not how they do things in the first place, so they'll be happy to sign. Then they'll take revenge with a knife, or a silenced .22, or a car bomb.

Qadafi's army and air force never were worth a damn. The only Libyan organization that ever worked efficiently was the secret police, and they do their business mafia-style, in the dark, on the sly. If you want to see how Qadafi works, take a look at two classic cases: the US air raids in '86, and the Chad civil war.

If anybody deserves credit for scaring Libya straight, it's those F-111s that Reagan sent hunting for Qadafi's presidential tents so they could leave him a few 1000-lb calling cards. Bush and Cheney taking credit for it now is ridiculous. Next they'll be claiming they led the charge up San Juan Hill.

For you kids who're too young to remember the raids, here's a little background. First thing to realize is that Reagan was a closet peacenik, a real disappointment to guys like me who thought he'd release the dogs of war that Carter'd been keeping penned up. Most of the reason people voted for Reagan in 1980 was they thought he'd stop appeasing every anti-American terrorist bum. I remember drooling thinking about the way our fighter-bombers were going to level Tehran once Reagan got in.

But Reagan seemed afraid to hit anyplace bigger than Rhode Island. Instead of vaporizing Khomeini's hometown, he thanked the Iranians all nice when they handed back the hostages. I couldn't believe it. He wouldn't even send Stingers to the Afghan mujadedeen till the Mi-24 had practically wiped them out. And the only countries he attacked were basket cases you needed an electron microscope to find. Anybody remember the heroic invasion of Grenada? Reagan's PR flacks were strutting because our invasion force managed to overwhelm a brigade of Cuban construction workers "after a fierce firefight." It was a hard time to be an American war fan. Like Johnny Cash says, "I hung my head."

Then Reagan found an enemy that was just his style: a drama queen named Muamar Qadafi who was all talk and no guts. Qadafi took power in Libya way back in 1969 -- it was your classic coup by "idealistic young officers" -- and ever since he's used Libya as a private video shoot, where he imitates whatever's  cool in Third-World attitudes at the time. Back in the seventies, naturally, he was a "Socialist" and a "Pan-Arabist." Qadafi had himself named "Head of the Revolution Command Council" and the only legal political party, which he naturally called the "Arab Socialist Union." He took over Libyan TV for speeches so long and boring they made Castro look like the 5-Minute manager. He pranced around in nomadic robes, got himself an all- girl bodyguard unit, and wrote one of those all-knowing little books that dictators like to put on their resumes. Mao had the "little red book," so Qadafi came out with his little "green book," and made it a felony for anybody not to be carrying one around at all times.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.
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