At a meeting with the families of the victims of the Pam Am 103 bombing last week, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns indicated that there would be no more meetings with Libyan officials—there have been several since early last year—and that the United Nations sanctions related to Pam Am flight 103 could be dropped in a matter of weeks. A State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, made clear that this process was going to happen regardless of what the families want.
Gadhafi’s rehabilitation is almost complete. Late last week, the Libyan ambassador to London, who represented his government in the series of talks, told the Associated Press that Libya would accept "responsibility" for the bombing—though it is not at all clear what that means. Burns told the families that the Libyan statement would remain sealed until it goes before the UN Security Council, which is no doubt State's ploy to shield itself from criticism in the interim.
Normalizing Gadhafi will allow a smooth transfer of the throne to his son—who will also take possession of weapons of mass destruction. Burns acknowledged to the families that Gadhafi still has WMDs, which State considers a matter of "concern." What Burns didn't tell the families, though, is that Gadhafi still funds terrorists, including paying "ransoms" to al Qaeda affiliates.
Though Libya is not a country that would easily embrace democracy, State's actions to re-legitimize Gadhafi will make freedom there a nearly impossible goal. And if State acts in a similar manner in Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations, State's predictions that democracy won't take root in the region will indeed become a reality.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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