D'oh! Maddow Guest Richard Engel Tweaks Her Libya Revisionism

NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel is my favorite frequent guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- who knows what he might say. Certainly not Maddow.

Engel didn't disappoint in his last appearance on her program Oct. 20, subtly calling Maddow out for a conspicuous omission in her recounting of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi renouncing his weapons of mass destruction. (video after page break)

Before Maddow spoke with Engel about Gaddafi's death earlier that day, she said this --

The process that resulted in Gaddafi finally being allowed to come to New York and pitch both the idea of Isratine (a joint Israeli-Palestinian state) and a tent up at Trump's place (for Gaddafi's speech at the UN in September 2009) , that process started actually right after 9/11. Gaddafi was one of the first Arab leaders to denounce the 9/11 attacks. He shared intelligence with the US about al Qaeda. And then he made an agreement with the Bush administration to give up his weapons of mass destruction program.

In return, what the US traded for all of that, was bringing Gaddafi essentially in from the cold. We pretended like Gaddafi wasn't a murderous rogue dictator and narcissistic freak show in exchange for a sort of alliance, a pretend relationship, a facade of an effort to treat Libya like a country, like a normal country with a normal president.

At the end of her subsequent interview with Engel, he specifically asked to mention this "factoid" --

ENGEL (pointing finger at her):  Can I throw one thing in, a little factoid?

MADDOW: Please.

ENGEL: I think you'll like it. You talked about Iraq, and, uh, you talked about how, uh, Gaddafi wanted to come in from out of the cold.

Actually, Maddow hadn't said anything about Iraq -- not a single word. (You can see the segment in its entirety here). Notice how Engel sounds tentative followed by Maddow looking puzzled, as if she's wondering, where is he going with this? Engel goes where Maddow wouldn't --

ENGEL: Well, the reason he decided to re-engage the United States was when he saw Saddam Hussein in that hole being pulled out by the Americans. That was his epiphany moment, when he decided, you know what, I better get rid of my weapons, I better get rid of this Lockerbie situation, and it re-engaged the West. Yet today, he was pulled out of a drainage pipe by rebels who then smacked him around, pulled his hair and then ultimately put a bullet in his forehead.

MADDOW: NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. Richard, thank you, appreciate it, my friend.

By all means, please appear again on my show and point out my omissions.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts