Gaddafi Rains Bombshells on the UN General Assembly

The Libyan leader's speech touched on Suez, the Kennedy assassination, and something called the "fish flu"

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We already knew that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi caused trouble with his sleeping arrangement. Turns out he's worse when awake. Gaddafi delivered an unhinged, two-hour tirade to the United Nations General Assembly today that hit 10 on the blogospheric Richter Scale. Gaddafi likened the Security Council to al Qaeda; declared that swine flu may have been cooked up in a laboratory as part of a sinister government plot; and generally brought the crazy like nobody's business. (Maybe he didn't get a good night's sleep?)

You had to see it to believe it, and you can do so in the video below:

Online reaction ranged from outrage to amusement, and eclipsed discussion of President Obama's speech, which came earlier. A sampling:

  • The Lowest Point in UN History, declared Daily Beast columnist Geoffrey Robertson, for whom Gaddafi a hypocrite of mythic proportion: "The world’s worst international terrorist and mass murderer urging the United Nations to investigate all the atrocities with which he is not connected."
  • He's His Own Worst Enemy, said Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy: "He's like that unpopular kid in your high-school math class who makes everyone laugh by saying outrageous things, but still doesn't have any friends." Hounshell says Gaddafi's performance will hurt his efforts at rapprochement with the West. 
  • He's to Blame for Glenn Beck!  Robert Quigley claimed at Mediate, in a fascinating bit of media-geopolitical history. When Ronald Reagan bombed Gaddafi's Tripoli palace two decades ago, Beck, then an obscure radio shockjock, spun a spoof song called "Qaddafi Sucks" in endless rotation and in the process became a star. The rest is history. "Conspiracy alert! As unlikely as it sounds, Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader whose controversial address to the UN is likely to dominate the news cycle for some time to come, inadvertently helped launch Glenn Beck's career as a political commentator," he writes.
  • Worthy of Monty Python, mocked the National Review's Rachel Abrams. Abrams said she couldn't understand the interpreter but that Gaddafi's performance alone was enough to make "heads explode all around."
  • Gave Ahmadinejad a Run for His Money, declared Ben Smith at Politico. Gaddafi, Smith wrote, seems to be vying for the title of "cheif villain."
  • He Made Some Good Points, countered Choire at The Awl. "Such as that the five permanent member nations of the Security Council and that council's veto power is not really in keeping with the spirit of the U.N. To which I say: yeah, oh well, we will have to accept the frightening dictatorial power of France for some years longer," Choire wrote.
  • He Made Numerous Valid Points, one-ups Greg Laden of Scienceblogs--but Laden failed to list the ones he considers valid.

Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating has compiled a list of the best lines from Gaddafi's speech here:

Qaddafi reargued the Suez Canal crisis 

He repeatedly referred to Obama as "our son"

Called the Iraq war the "mother of all evils"

Questioned the official record on the Kennedy assassination.

And played doctor: "Perhaps tomorrow we will have a fish flu."

A longer version of his speech is available on CNN. You can find more responses to Gaddafi and his address to the General Assembly brewing on the twitterverse.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.