Jan 5, 2004
George Bush announced on December 19 that Libya agreed to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. Bush claimed this was a victory for his war on terrorism – a result of his willingness to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
In fact, it won’t be difficult for Libya to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction since it has none. The only chemical weapons it has are a few tons of mustard gas of the type used in World War I. It has no biological weapons. And it has no nuclear weapons. It has only a few centrifuges that could be used to enrich uranium, but even that hasn’t been done. It doesn’t have the scientists that could develop a nuclear weapon, much less the facilities in which to do it.
The December 19 announcement followed nine months of secret negotiations after Muammar Qaddafi’s government took the initiative to start talks. Qaddafi had been trying to reestablish relations with the U.S. and Britain for years, and the build up of the U.S. for the attack on Iraq gave him the chance he was looking for. With the U.S.’s “war on terror” in full force, he could promise to renounce weapons of mass destruction – which would cost him nothing, since they amount to nothing, but which would let Bush claim a paper victory. The real deal, however, linked the end of sanctions against Libya and the resumption of U.S. corporations’ investment in Libya’s oil fields.
ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Occidental Petroleum were all pushing this deal. They were forced to leave Libya in 1986 when President Reagan ordered them out of the country. But the Bush Administration has allowed them to talk to the Libyan government for months despite U.S. sanctions. After all, their concessions will expire next year and Libya has threatened to turn the fields over to European oil companies when they do.
Bush at his press conference was already referring respectfully to Colonel Qaddafi, having junked all previous references to him as a dictator and a terrorist. It seems that the threat of Libya’s oil going to Europe turned him into a peace-loving upholder of human rights!