Former national security adviser: Bush was right on Libya
March 6th, 2011
05:27 PM ET
11 years ago

Former national security adviser: Bush was right on Libya

Washington (CNN)-A former national security adviser to George W. Bush, Stephen Hadley, and a former Libyan minister agree that leader Moammar Gadhafi is willing to do anything to stay in power, including killing his own people.

But when pressed on the reason that the Bush administration opened relations with Libya knowing that its leader had an oppressive history, Hadley defended the decision, telling CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that it was "difficult."

In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," Hadley said, "What we got for being willing to resume relations with Libya was that he gave up his weapons of mass destruction, his nuclear program, his chemical weapon program. That's all – all that hardware is now in the United States."

"He also provided compensation to the victims of terror. He got out of the terror business," Hadley continued. "It was a difficult decision.

And Ali Errishi, who resigned as Libyan minister of immigration and expatriates two weeks ago, said of Gadhafi, "This is a man who has shown that there's only one choice for Libyan people. Either I rule or I kill you." But he rejected the notion that he worked for Gadhafi, asserting instead that he "worked for the Libyan people."

"We wanted to open our country to the world," he said. "Had we not opened the country a bit, our young people would have had no access to the Internet, to Twitter, to satellite TV."

The influence of technology has been largely credited with inspiring protests against oppressive leaders in the Middle East, including Tunisia and Egypt.

"We sort of put our finger on the pulse of our people, and there was a need for reform," Errishi continued.

He also referred to the United States as a "friend" during the interview, saying "You know, the president or the secretary of state talk about the Libyan people as friends … I mean to have friends, and we're not too proud to ask them for help in times of need."

And Hadley urged the inclusion of Libyans themselves in the transition process saying, "I think one of the things that the Libyan people, like any other people who are in process of freeing themselves, they want to do it themselves."

"People actually want and need to fight and win their own freedom," he said. "But that doesn't mean that we cannot help."

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Bush opened relations with Libya, and I am sure W's oil cronies benefitted.

    March 6, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. bobster26

    It'sall about the oil and the suez cannal, keep a tyrant in office so as to control the populous in his country. george w. bush allowed moawmar gadhafi to stay in power so as to keep the oil spick-it running and make money, win, win situation for everyone in the oil cartel!

    March 6, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Oy Vey Az

    Finally ... being right is a big deal. Let's hope it doesn't go to his head and encourage him to get back into politics.

    March 6, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Jamie

    Killing its own people? You mean like at Kent State, Ohio, USA?

    March 6, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. B

    We have a long history of backing – corrupt regimes – that provide us with what we want, be it resources or geopolitical ground.

    Afghanistan now, or before in Iran, or Egypt.

    March 6, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Steve in Denver

    Why are any former bushies talking? Do they have no shame? They were WRONG on the biggest wrong this country has ever been involved in, the invasion of Iraq. And, as if there would be any other considerations, let us also remember: (1) they let bin laden escape Tora Bora in 2001. (2) They ignored a presidential daily brief on August 6, 2001 saying bin laden intends to hijack airplains in the US and fly them into buildings. (3) They tortured people, and lied about it. (4) They locked people, including American citizens, up in Gitmo without access to courts.

    Why are these people still talking? The same reason Newt is running for President after having impeached one president for activities he was also engaging in?

    Where is any honor amongst neocons?

    March 6, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Roscoe

    The only thing Bush knew about Libya was that they have oil there and he was named after the country.....DWya

    March 6, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Seattle Sue

    Bush never did anything that was right.

    March 6, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. diridi

    Don't you worry about Libya...just worry of America, idiots, and thugs of GOP............

    March 6, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. Robin Hood come to America.

    Mr. Hadley you can't catch fish on both hands.

    March 6, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. lila

    the bush adminstration knew about giddafi bloody history , bush is a hypocrite, if Laybia goes into civil war america will have blood in its handl

    March 6, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    We're in too many wars now - I predicted that Afghanistan would bankrupt us just like it did the Russians and all others, and sorrowfully, I was correct. We can't afford any more wars.

    March 6, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |