Qaddafi's Most Bizarre Moments in a Bizarre Speech

A review of the discursive, unhinged ramblings of Libya's dictator

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Col. Muammar Qaddafi's defiant, discursive speech today has left international observers dumbfounded. As the broadcast aired across the globe, professional translators at CNN and Al Jazeera stumbled and stuttered as the Libyan dictator jumped from subject to subject. The most important takeaway is that he's not leaving and will use deadly force against Libyans who foment dissent. But a quick summary like that doesn't do justice to the bizarre one-liners he delivered in his hour-plus-long diatribe. Here are some of our favorite moments (dutifully transcribed by NPR's Andy Carvin).

Qaddafi on Drug Use  On a number of occasions, Qaddafi depicted opposition groups as youthful drug addicts who could be controlled if only they stopped abusing illicit substances:

They are a group that are sick, taking hallucinatory drugs... They were given drugs, like in Tunisia, are just imitating... We won't lose victory from these greasy rats and cats.... They should be given a lesson and stop taking drugs. They're not good for you, for your heart. Don't destroy the country... Shame on you, you gangsters. Surrender, give up all weapons, or they'll have massacres, drugged kids with machine guns... tonight and tomorrow, youth, all of you, not those who are rats on drugs--form committees for security.

Qaddafi on China  The Libyan leader seemed to defend China's actions during the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

When Tiananmen Square happened, tanks were sent in to deal with them. It's not a joke. Do whatever it takes to stay united... People in front of tanks were crushed. The unity of China is more important than those people in Tiananmen Square.

Qaddafi on Waco  Yep, he also referenced the 1993 Waco siege of the Branch Davidians by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:

Armed rebellion is another matter... We won't allow it. Unarmed incidents in Waco were dealt with by force... The Davidian cults in Waco were dealt with by armed vehicles.

Qaddafi on the Libyan Constitution  The leader said that "anyone who undermines the constitution shall be put to death" but as political analyst Ibrahim Jibreel politely noted "The interesting thing is that Libya has no constitution but he has threatened the death penalty for people who fail to follow the constitution."

Qaddafi on Qaddafi  Speaking in third person, Qaddafi seemed to deny the fact that he had any real power in the Libyan government.

Qaddafi has no rule if he's not the president, he's leader of a revolution, he has nothing to lose... We left the regime to the Libyan people. We don't have any authority.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.