Older Senators Suffering from Libyamnesia

02.28.11 Bucky Turco

The most puzzling thing about the flurry of criticism Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have levied on President Obama over Libya is their recent history with the country and the regime. Sunday, in a taped interview on CNN, they both said that military action should be considered and that Obama isn’t being forceful enough or something. Does that mean he should snarl more?

It’s a marked difference from the tone they took in 2009, during a 24-hour Congressional delegation to meet with what a WikiLieaks released diplomatic cable described as a slightly disheveled Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatassim. McCain later immortalized the encounter via Twitter, writing: “Late evening with Col. Qadhafi at his “ranch” in Libya – interesting meeting with an interesting man.”

During the short trip, they discussed the Lockerbie bomber, peacemaking in Africa, and despite acknowledging Gaddafi’s oppressive regime, McCain specifically advocated for the sale of “non lethal defense equipment” to the government. Those are just the kind of items that could come in handy in the event of say… a revolution.

According to a Department of Defense catalog (PDF doc), “non lethal defense equipment” could include stuff like 12-gauge shotguns, rubber rounds, riot shields, stun grenades, and canisters of tear gas, just like the ones that were rolling down the streets of Cairo when pro-Mubarak forces were firing them on protesters. Perhaps these guys aren’t quite the foreign policy experts they claim to be or even scarier: The Libyan leader has turned the senators into double agents using the same psyops methods the Pentagon allegedly targeted them with.

Here’s video of their meeting in which Gaddafi was wearing wrinkled pants and looked like he just woke up with “rumpled hair and puffy eyes” according to diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, making the two senators critiques of Obama that more delusional: