Since Libya has been in the news quite a bit this week, I thought it was interesting to run across this Nightline broadcast from November 1981 where the question was asked "Is The U.S. Running A War In Libya?". Since one of the points of concern being made the past few days about this conflict in the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi regard the presence of mercenaries, acting on behalf of the Gaddafi regime who are actively engaged in sniping and gunning down civilians. Seems the tradition of mercenaries working in Libya has been going on for some time, as was evidenced by this broadcast from thirty years ago. Edwin Wilson, a former CIA agent turned arms dealer who still had dealings with the CIA in the 1980's, was actively recruiting, training mercenaries and shipping weapons and ammunition to the Libyan government during the Libyan invasion of Chad. Somewhere along the line, Wilson ran afoul of the agency and, even though details are murky and few, Wilson was convicted of various charges and sentenced to 52 years in prison for conspiracy in attempting various murder-for-hire schemes as well as selling a huge amount of armaments to the Libyans. During the time these revelations surfaced, there was no end to speculative reporting and charges and counter-charges being tossed around.
We often wonder just how entangled our relationships are with various regimes and governments. Regimes supposedly regarded as our enemies have often benefited from our military equipment and personnel. Afghanistan is another one that rings a bell, as did Iraq for a while.
We have that funny habit. That funny habit has a habit of biting us eventually.