Would you—if you were a politician—be thrilled to get a thank you letter from Osama bin Laden?
Well, according to the New York Times, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has sent exactly such a letter to members of Congress.
The three-page letter thanks members of Congress for criticizing President Obama last week over his involvement in the NATO-led military campaign in Libya:
“I want to express my sincere gratitude for your thoughtful discussion of the issues,” Colonel Qaddafi wrote in the letter, a copy of which was supplied to The New York Times by a person seeking to defend the administration’s policy. “We are confident that history will see the wisdom of your country in debating these issues.”
Although Qaddafi “did not refer specifically to a House that rebuked the administration for maintaining an American role in the campaign without the consent of Congress…he expressed hope that the lawmakers would continue to pressure the administration.” Another part of the letter said: “We are counting on the United States Congress to its continued investigation of military activities of NATO and its allies to confirm what we believe is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1973…,”
Apparently, Qadafi has been maintaining a “vigorous one-way correspondence with President Obama,” too, writing him several letters appealing to his sense of justice and fairness.
In a letter in April, shortly after the NATO bombing campaign began, he addressed the president as “our son” and pleaded with him to stop the military operation. “Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened,” he wrote.
Talk about a mass murderer tugging at your heartstrings.
The Washington Post has some additional information: Both Republicans and Democrats received the letter “purportedly written by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.” (Emphasis mine)
The letter’s authenticity has not been confirmed.
The letter comes as the Libyan conflict is on its 83rd day and amid an investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council as to whether the Gaddafi regime has committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. Separately, the International Criminal Court has launched an probe into whether Gaddafi and other Libyan officials ordered mass rapes.
The letter, which comes one week after the House passed a resolution expressing disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the American intervention in Libya and calling for answers to lawmakers’ questions on the extent of U.S. involvement, also makes an attempt to seize on congressional discontent.
According to the Post, “Boehner’s office argued that the letter bolsters the argument that the Libyan leader must step aside and furthers the case of those who have criticized the administration’s handling of the conflict thus far.”
A spokesman for Reid dismissed the letter: “We have received a letter but, we’re not spending much time trying to confirm authenticity because we don’t much care what he has to say unless it includes a resignation,” Reid communications director Jon Summers said.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.