My position on Libya

March 23, 2011 at 1:36pm

It is deeply troubling that there is so much confusion, lack of foresight, and little resolve coming from the President and his administration about what our mission and goals must be in the Libya engagement.

On March 3rd, President Obama said publicly that “it’s time for Gaddafi to go.”

Prior to this statement, there were options to be indirect and subtle to achieve this result without United States military forces. I made this point on The Today Show this morning, saying “I would not have intervened…there were a lot of other ways to affect Gaddafi…I would not have used American and European forces.”

The president, however, took those options off the table with his public statement.  From the moment of the president’s declaration, he put the prestige and authority of the United States on the line.  After March 3, anything short of a successful, public campaign for regime change would have been seen as a defeat for the United States.

That’s why during a March 7th Greta van Susteren interview, I asserted that the president should establish a no-fly zone "this evening.”  After March 3rd, the President should have moved immediately to consult with Congress to implement a no-fly zone, while also making it clear the US would welcome involvement from other nations.

Instead, he did the opposite.  The President wasted weeks trying to get approval from the United Nations instead of Congress, the result of which was a weak mandate from the UN that changed the mission to one of humanitarian intervention.

Yet, by that standard we should also be using US forces in the Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Yemen and more countries.

Given the President's public statements and the multitude of other humanitarian crises throughout the world, the only rational purpose for an intervention with US forces in Libya is to replace Gadaffi.

Now that we have US forces engaged, any result less than the removal of Gadaffi from power will be considered a defeat. 

For that reason, I believe we must support the mission and see it through.