So, Western imperialist powers (especially the US and UK) spend years trying to undermine, attack and destabilise Gaddafi... presumably because his regime engaged in some nationalisation and brought some economic independence, not to mention his support for various "anti-imperialist" groups. The West indulges in occasional homicidal bombing raids that achieve nothing but the slaughter of innocents (including Gaddafi's own baby daughter).
(Don't get me wrong, by the way - I'm no fan of the evil old bastard... though, if we're doing body counts, he's probably less blood stained than most leaders of the "free world".)
Then Gaddafi starts making grovelling offers to deactivate his own WMD programme... which the Western powers repeatedly ignore until they can paint it as a victory for the Bush/Blair moral crusade...
As part of his new chumminess with Blair & Co., Gaddafi opens Libya up to foreign banks, foreign corporations and the IMF. As per the usual script, along comes structural adjustment, i.e. privatisation, austerity, etc. Gaddafi is announced as a reformed character now that his regime is becoming integrated into neoliberal globalisation.
Then the Middle East ignites. The people of Tunisia and Egypt rise up and topple their dictators. The Libyans follow suit and launch a revolution that staggers in its bravery and bloody costliness. But, of course, it's only a more dramatic and intense demonstration of the cruelty and brutality of the regime that the West now considers an ally.
So what is the response of the political/ideological system that has been snuggling up to Gaddafi for several years? Why, use the Libyan people's revolution as an excuse to dig up the rotting corpse of "humanitarian intervention" (a corpse that I hoped these new revolutions might bury forever) as a way of crowbarring US imperial influence into a process that needs it like mice need cats.
So... we bomb the Libyan people when we don't like Gaddafi (because he's an evil terrorist, etc.), sell him weapons when we like him again (because he's gonna let the IMF in), and then start talking about bombing the Libyan people (again) when they rise up to topple Gaddafi after we've cuddled him to our bosoms.
Irony overload. And bloody typical. And absolutely fucking outrageous.