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Libya discontinued its nuclear program a number of years ago, apparently to avoid a bearable lashing from "the stick" and take advantage of outstretched carrots.

Saddam Hussain found out that not having weapons of mass destruction was hazardous to his health (for all I know, we knew he didn't have them and that's why we were comfortable in invading - my personal theory of the abrupt end of the first Iraq War was his threat to let Pandora out of the box if we didn't stop).

On the other hand, North Korea (and others such as Pakistan) now have the ability to hide under their possession of nuclear weapons.

Whether Iran is working on nuclear energy to build power plants or for weapons (or for both), a prudent country would notice the difference in negotiating strength between those countries with these showstoppers and those without.

The world is also not so naive as to listen to our rhetoric about Gaddafi shooting civilians as our reason for our actions (and eventual occupation by advisors from the nations involved). If that were the case, we would also be assisting rebels in Saudi Arabia (oops - forgot - those are Al Qaida), Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and other countries where demonstrators are traditionally mowed down with live ammo (OK, traditionally is somewhat of an exaggeration in the case of Bahrain - sorry fellas bundled you with the rest:-)

Gaddafi had a couple of faults that the others either don't have or are being ignored:

1) He had blown up airplanes with British and American citizens, and while we bombed his tents afterwards, we didn't yet feel the payback was sufficient

2) His oil was largely controlled by one country - Italy - whose prime minister didn't have enough juice to protect him (I will avoid the obvious joke regarding young consorts) and Gadaffi was threatening to go to "the dark side" (China)

3) Libya had no particular geographic importance being primarily a coastal sandbox with oil

4) He had a weak military and a wide open terrain

5) The time was opportune with a "people's" revolt

6) He had no nuclear (or other WMD) weapons with which to hurt us.

So what was his crime? Well, he hasn't been very nice to his citizens over the years and has stolen (earned?) a lot of money. That puts him in a club of roughly most of the world's leaders including many, if not most, of our allies. He used his military against an armed insurrection (keeping relatively careful to use his air force against military targets, rather than civilian). Etc., etc.

Do I like the guy? Nope. Do I think he was worth the effort to "take out"? Maybe - we'll see how this thing pans out. Would we have risked it if he could have demonstrated even a 5% chance of getting a nuclear device as far as southern Europe at a time and place of his choosing (let alone one previously planted in the US)? I don't think so.

So as we watch international reality TV, it is important to realize that others are as well and they are absorbing the obvious lessons.

Jeff
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