I freely admit that I have a strong cynical streak, so when it first was announced that al-Megrahi was being released for "compassionate" reasons my first reaction was, "no, really?"
However, it doesn't take a cynic to look at the hero's welcome al-Megrahi received on return to Libya and think, "we,ve been had."
Moe Lane at Red States writes in Sometimes, I Miss Tony Blair :
Say what you like about the man - and there is quite a lot to say about him - but he and his government had precisely zero interest in letting the Lockerbie bomber walk free under the open sky. Even if doing so might have meant holding up an important oil deal:
During Blair’s 2007 visit, BP signed its exploration deal with Libya’s
National Oil Corporation. “This is a welcome return to the country and
represents a significant opportunity for both BP and Libya to deliver our
long-term growth aspirations,” said Tony Hayward, BP group chief executive, who
signed the contract with Blair looking on.
The prisoner transfer agreement — and specifically the fate of Megrahi — were inextricably linked with the BPdeal. Six months after Blair’s trip, and with Gordon Brown in No 10, the Libyans were frustrated that the prisoner transfer agreement had not even been drafted. The BP contract was also waiting to be ratified.
The key reason for the delay in the prisoner transfer agreement was Megrahi. Lord Falconer, who was Blair’s justice secretary, had told the Scottish government in a letter on June 22, 2007 that “any prisoner transfer agreement with Libya could not cover al-Megrahi”.
Now that the leadership has changed, both in Great Britain and the United States, we no longer enjoy the relationship that we once had. Further, as Lane points out:
Gadaffi cared a great deal about what George W. Bush thought about things.
This new guy in the Oval Office? Eh. not so much.
We are rapidly losing our prestige throughout the world. Did "the world" like George W. Bush? Obviously not. But our allies and enemies alike knew that President Bush would defend the United States first and worry about opinion last, if at all. Those days are gone and it won't keep America safe to have a leader that is liked but not respected.
More at Memeorandum
Writing at The Corner, Mark Steyn writes:
Well, now we know what Her Majesty's Government considers the lives of 279 terrorism victims to be worth:
The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the
United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie
bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.
Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya
and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties.
These were resolved soon afterwards.
The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to
Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised
for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.
The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in
a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in
London for British national interests.
Lord Mandelson expressed outrage that anyone would suggest that al-Megrahi was released for anything other than compaionate reasons, saying of the allegations, "...it’s not only wrong, it’s completely implausible and actually quite offensive.” To which Steyn replies,
I'm sure. Fortunately, Lord Mandelson's well-connected friends will do his best to help him get over that.