News outlets are reporting that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the convicted bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 who was released on compassionate grounds, may be in better health than was previously thought. Between the anger at his release, New Jersey’s resistance to a visit by Col. Qaddafi, and the continuing calls from the bereaved of Flight 103 to keep Libya isolated, I’m left confused.
We won. Libya stopped supporting terrorist organizations years ago. They’ve ended their weapons programs. The government that once ordered and paid for attacks against civilians is working in U.S. courts to settle cases brought by their victims. No one is attributing this to a change of heart; Col. Qaddafi just saw the direction the world is heading and made the smart play. I’m sure he once thought of retaining power and prosperity indefinitely with Soviet patronage, but that dream is long dead. So with the new millennium he began changing the way his country does things. He wants to come in from the cold, stay out of the news, and sell some oil. This is, by any measure, a triumph of modern capitalism and patient diplomacy. Qaddafi’s willingness to renounce violence and terrorism shouldn’t be met with shouts and sanctions. He is doing exactly what we want every other autocrat in the world to do, and that should be rewarded.