Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) “defended U.S. involvement in Libya as a mission with a ‘clear purpose,’ but said it is up to the Libyan people to remove their leader Moammar Gadhafi,” CNN reports.
The Michigan Democrat on Sunday said support from the international community is vital to the success of the mission that began when the United Nations Security Council voted March 17 to authorize a no-fly zone over the African country and to “take all necessary measure” – without using an occupation force – to protect the civilians under attack in Libya.
“We’re part of an international coalition, which has been supported now by U.N. resolution with the support of Arab countries to prevent the slaughter of civilians in Libya,” Levin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And to make sure that continues with a no fly zone, which would be maintained over Libya to prevent Gadhafi from reasserting control of the air.”
Although economic sanctions have weakened Gadhafi, Levin said, “It’s going to take the people of Libya to remove their dictator with the help of economic sanctions that the world has put in place.”
Levin went on to say that there is a “Democratic movement afoot in the Arab world and we should be on the side of that Democratic movement.”
The “recent action take[n] by the United States should not be mirrored in other countries laden with a dictator, Levin said.”
“Not unless the international community has said to us come help us remove this dictator,” Levin said. “We should use other means in terms of limiting the power of dictators… but we cannot use military means to remove every dictator.”