Rachel Maddow: America has ‘a creepy level of comfort with dictators’

August 24, 2011

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow wants to change that silence.

On Tuesday’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” Maddow called out what she sees as America’s “creepy level of comfort with dictators all over the world.”

“When [Hosni] Mubarak got toppled in Egypt, the American government had to turn from our dear but slightly creepy ally who we criticize but only sotto voce to, ‘We’re so glad he’s gone!’ ” Maddow said of America’s relationship with the former Egyptian leader. Mubarak is currently on trial for the violent crackdown on protestors.

As for Libya’s Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are unknown, Maddow said the U.S. once considered him “public enemy No. 1” after the Lockerbie bombing but later tried to reform him into a respectable leader She pointed to video of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shaking hands with and bowing slightly to the dictator in 2009. On her own show, Maddow used McCain’s two-year-old tweet calling Gaddafi an “interesting man” to point out the change in rhetoric, Mediaite reported.

Indeed, some argue that the United States is too friendly with many oppressive and controversial leaders around the world. Salon’s Justin Elliott noted that the U.S. has allied itself with countries with poor human rights records, including Jordan, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has also been criticized by anti-government protestors in Bahrain, who feel that the country has not done enough to prevent the deadly crackdown by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, NPR reported,

Watch Maddow’s full interview here.and the relevant clip here.

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