Jamie Kirchick, who is as brilliant as
he is prolific, chides
those who would compare the overthrow of Libya's dictator with
that of Saddam Hussein:
likening American involvement in Libya to its overthrow of Saddam
Hussein in Iraq is worse than comparing apples and oranges. It's akin
to equating the arrest of a mugger to an FBI sting of a nationwide
As brutal a leader
as he was, Moammar Khadafy did not pose a strategic threat to the
United States as did Hussein's Iraq. In 2004, Khadafy gave up his
weapons of mass destruction program and in 2006 the United States
removed Libya from its list of state-sponsors of terrorism (Khadafy
undertook these moves in response to the overthrow of Saddam, a
positive outcome of the war which the President's supporters have
neglected to include in their estimations). Were Libya still in
possession of such capabilities, it's far from certain that NATO
would have intervened.
Moreover, Iraq is
at the geographical and political heart of the Arab world - a
regional power bordered by other key states like Saudi Arabia, Iran
and Turkey. Libya, in all senses, is on the periphery. Simply put,
what happens there is not nearly as important to American strategic
interests as what occurs in Mesopotamia.
To segue from the serious to the frivolous, the most interesting
thing to me about the Libyan dictator was, of course, the fact that
there seemed to be an infinite number of ways of spelling his name.
an article from earlier this year on this all-important topic:
Associated Press, CNN, and MSNBC spell it "Moammar Gadhafi."
The New York Times spells it "Muammar el-Qaddafi." At the
Los Angeles Times, it's "Moammar Kadafi." Reuters, the
Guardian, and the BBC go with "Muammar Gaddafi." The Irish
Times goes with "Muammar Gadafy." ABC News – which spells
it "Moammar Gaddafi" – has posted a list of 112
variations on the English spelling of the Libyan strongman's name.
The Christian Science Monitor, we go with "Muammar Qaddafi,"
a spelling that is no more or less defensible than anyone else's.
this would just be a matter of idle curiosity if it weren't for the
Web. Go to Google News and type in “Gadhafi.” Now try “Qaddafi.”
And now try “Gaddafi.” Notice how it returns three completely
different lists of stories? How you choose to spell it determines
what news you get.
the ABC list mentioned above. Enjoy!