Spare Us The Pieties
To the British government: Spare us your embarrassment over the Libyan government’s public embrace of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Pan Am 103 bomber. Did you learn nothing from Israel’s release of Samir Kuntar – the scum who smashed a child’s head with a rifle butt and killed her father, but who went home to jubilant crowds and a wedding ceremony that rivaled Queen Elizabeth’s coronation? Ideological murderers are heroes to their ideological patrons. Did you think they wouldn’t love and venerate Megrahi as they did Kuntar?
To the British government: Spare us your embarrassment over the Libyan government’s public embrace of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Pan Am 103 bomber. Did you learn nothing from Israel’s release of Samir Kuntar – the scum who smashed a child’s head with a rifle butt and killed her father, but who went home to jubilant crowds and a wedding ceremony that rivaled Queen Elizabeth’s coronation? Ideological murderers are heroes to their ideological patrons. Did you think they wouldn’t love and venerate Megrahi as they did Kuntar? Did you think there was a difference because you’re not Israel? And do you think they care that YOU thought they should low-key it? Why should they? They won. YOU lost. They’re happy; they’re entitled.
And for what? Seif al Islam, the son of Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi, said in a television interview, “In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table. All British interests were linked to the release of Abdelbaset al Megrahi.”
Not that he’s a great source, but British Business Secretary Lord Mandelson doth protest entirely too much. “It’s not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion it’s also quite offensive. The issue of the prisoner’s release was entirely a matter for the Scottish Justice Minister.” The Guardian UK notes that the Libyan-British Business Council, which includes BP, Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline and British American Tobacco – is a veritable who’s who of companies that will profit handsomely, embarrassed or not.
That was the financial bet. On the other hand…
To President Obama: The White House characterized the welcome of Maghrabi as “outrageous and disgusting” and “incredibly offensive to Americans.” Spare us your disgust. Why are you more exercised over a party at the airport than by the Iranian government beating, maiming and torturing its own citizens? Is it worse than the Basiji thugs who roamed Iranian crowds in civilian clothes and attacked demonstrators from inside? Worse than the murder of Neda Soltan and hundreds of others? Worse than the Iranian government hiding prisoners, and releasing some bodies only after making the families sign sworn statements that they will not disclose the battered condition of their loved ones? Why “disgust” with Libya and the continued caution on Iran?
The administration appears to have made a decision that an open hand to the Iranian government was worth turning a blind eye to the fraud of an election and the subsequent murder of people who first wanted their votes to count and now wish to express disgust for their government. The President couched the decision in the belief that Iran can be talked out of its 30+-year quest for nuclear capability and talked out of its ideological affinity for terrorism as a mechanism for the spread of messianic Shi’ism.
Missing is the recognition that ideological murderers are heroes to their ideological patrons (see above). Iran is no different than Libya in its revolutionary veneration of blood – its own and that of its victims.
President Obama said, “How the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days will be very significant in the way the world views Libya’s re-entry into the civilized community of nations.” But the one time that revolutionary Libya made a civilized decision – to turn over the elements of its nuclear program to the United States and Great Britain – was the one time it felt threatened, not coddled by the United States. Why would Iran make a different decision?
The British government may have been making a calculated financial bet. The United States clearly is making a calculated political bet. In both cases, members of the small club of democracies are betting that already bloody, already violent and repressive revolutionary governments will now behave in a civilized way because we want them to see their future the same way we see their future.
Why should they and what happens if they don’t?