reality check

Joshua Marshall pokes a major hole in the Saddam-was-captured-by-Kurds theory (which Tacitus seems to be endorsing).

And Brian Ulrich teams up with Marshall to shoot down the Libya-was-scared-by-Bush theory as well.

I note that Steven puts great emphasis on Libya's cooperation as validation for the Bush policy, but frankly any analysis that assumes Libya's willingness to cooperate is actually a newfound one, is flawed. If you can make an argument for how Saddam's capture speeded up things, then do so, but you can't pretend that Libya's attitude has remained constant since Lockerbie.

Note that Gadhafi seems to acknowledge that the Iraq war had an influence on his decision about his WMD, but not in the way that most of the warbloggers realized:

Asked about his decision, Gadhafi acknowledged that the Iraq war may have influenced him, but he insisted he wanted to focus on the "positive."

He said the world is a changed place in which his country can feel safe without weapons of mass destruction.

UPDATE: Juan Cole also has thoughts on this. More credit is likely due to economic sanctions rather than our recent military prowess:

Qadhafi's regime had been brought to the brink of possible extinction by the sanctions and by Soviet style economic sclerosis. The stars had suddenly aligned him with the US in a desperate struggle against radical Islamism and his old foe Anas al-Libi. Qadhafi apologized for Lockerbie and reportedly offered the victims $1.7 billion in compensation.

The one thing standing between Qadhafi and a return to stability for his dictatorial regime (and efflorescence for his potentially rich economy) was Washington's new campaign against weapons of mass destruction. Libya didn't have much of that sort of thing, though it had dabbled, and it wasn't important to Qadhafi any more. The conflict in Chad (in which Libya is accused of using chemical weapons) had died down. Washington was making it a quid pro quo that Tripoli give these lackluster and small programs up in order for Libya to reenter the world economic system on a favorable footing. It was an easy decision.
The sanctions on Libya were very different from those on Iraq, and peace thinkers need to study why the former worked but the latter didn't. One thing is clear; the Iraq war has hindered, not helped, US-Arab relations, and it is not the reason for which Qadhafi has made up with the West, a process that began some time ago.

And as Cole notes, Libya remains a dictatorship - what was that about Saddam's evil rule being more important than his WMD "programs", again?

UPDATE - ah, now it makes sense. Libya wants to host the World Cup! motivation solved.

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