Giving Obama Credit: Gadhafi’s Death, Pan Am Flight 103 and terror

As we’ve listened to reports of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s death, perhaps no community has felt the impact of his state-sponsored terror more than the local families who lost relatives on that flight that also killed students from Syracuse University. We are reminded of this annually as the University and the broader Syracuse community reflects on the lives of those taken away, victims of a senseless terrorist act.

In December 1988 Gadhafi’s intelligence Service was strongly linked to the Pan Am flight 103, which killed 269 people – at the time, the worst terror attack on Americans (since then only been dwarfed by the attacks of September 11, 2001). There was an investigation, a trial, a conviction followed by a prison sentence for one man. Eventually the Libyan government agreed to pay some money and everyone was pleased. Well, not everyone.

I always wondered why we accepted a “payment-in-lieu-of-facts” instead of removing the leader then. But since our allies guzzle their oil it was quite convenient to wink and look the other way as we allowed our principles as a nation to be trumped by another ally’s oil needs.

I don’t know if our flavor-of-the-day media will truly reflect on what Gaddafi did to us Central New Yorkers, our friends, relatives and colleagues. I don’t know any of the terror victims’ families, but I do know that we allowed Mr. Gadhafi to “slide” for decades, until he became unpopular with his own people. In recent years he’s seen as our new “friend.”

I can’t imagine how I’d feel if a loved one or family member were killed by the Libyan leaders’ orders.

One family member is quoted as saying, “I hope he suffered;” another published report indicates there are those who popped Champaign. Whatever happened, this is another foreign policy win for President Obama.

Now, I’m just wondering out loud: how can a man who was seen as a foreign policy lightweight capture more high-level terrorists than the Bush Administration did during its entire eight-year reign?

Pan-Am flight 103 happened 23 years ago under President Ronald Reagan, and he’s now revered as a great American leader. Obama has done what he promised during the presidential campaign; his to-do-list could read like this: Health Care, check; Capture Osama Bin laden, check; Repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” check. These are just a few things that he’s delivered on.

Check your past presidential campaigns and then compare the list of what was promised to what was actually accomplished.

President Obama deserves some credit for making great strides towards his accomplishments – and that is not happening, I’m just askin’.

October 21, 2011