And now the Republicans tell us that President Obama has been too slow in reacting to the need to get rid of Muammar al-Gadhafi. Did I miss the previous US Administration noticing that Gadhafi was in any way totally unacceptable post 2004.

I wonder if world leaders ever admit to themselves they were wrong. UK Prime minister Tony Blair did after all tell us in 2004 that it was time to welcome back into the international fold, the previously mad and bad Gadhafi, long term dictator of Libya (since the 1969 Libyan Coup d’état), previously the avowed enemy of the West, radical Islamic ideologue and suspected sponsor of the 1988 Lockerbie air bombing. Well (ahem) yes, it was true that he may have at one time supported the IRA….. and come to think of it, there was that matter of a Libyan Embassy official killing a London constable, but honestly anyone could change for the better. It was now clear (well in 2004 it was) that the previous pariah Gadhafi was prepared to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and was now much wiser and moderate or at least so we were told.

Oh yes, and did Tony Blair also happen to mention that as a mark of Gadhafi’s new status the Anglo-Dutch Royal Shell Company could gain a $550 million contract for oil and gas exploration off the Libyan coast. And goodness me, this same Gadhafi was also prepared to please the US as well and lock up any rivals who were obviously clearly enemies of the West and were only incidentally enemies of the rightful supreme leader of Libya.

No longer pathological, cruel and bordering on psychotic, post 2004 Gadhafi was now apparently mildly eccentric, but nevertheless a friend worth cultivating. Well Mr Blair and Mr Bush, the irrational dictator appears to have returned. Gadhafi who has been insisting what should happen to the dogs who oppose him and following it up by having the protestors machine gunned in the street (but only he says because it is all bin Laden’s fault) now appears to be hell bent on drawing his country into a violent civil war. But here is the twist to the tale.  I am also convinced it was not only Tony Blair or George W Bush who believed they saw a change for the better in Gadhafi. So for the rest of us a question. If it is now clear that the mad version of Gadhafi had never really gone away, surely it was not greed that made us overlook the dangers of supping with the devil?

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