Yea but after the invastion of Iraq, things started to get really messy, and as with Saddam, 1 day they are big friends, the other the big enemy with our media doing anything to influence our opinion.
So now it's also as you said mainly about resources & power, nothing new yes.. even supporting rebels which are no good guys, even close, but they are of good use.
Not saying Gadaffi is a good guy, there just ain't a good side, as with Saddam a dog keeper, without the dogs are on the loose.
Even so you right, with time, everything can be solved.. I hope it's worth it in the end.
pictures from Gadaffi and western leaders:http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/02/libyan-leader-gaddafi-during