Category Archives: Libya

Graham Supports Taking Qadhafi Out

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “said Sunday he supports taking out Muammar Qadhafi,” POLITICO reports.

Following reports Saturday that one of Qadhafi’s sons and three grandsons may have been been killed in NATO attacks, Graham said the allies should be doing more to take out the Libyan leader.

"Wherever Qadhafi goes, he is a legitimate military target," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "He’s the command and control source. He’s not the legitimate leader of Libya and [the] way to get this to end is to go after the people around him and his support system."

Asked whether such a move would be illegal — international law prohibits the assassination of national leaders — Graham said plainly and clearly he believed Qadhafi has forfeited that title and therefore, that immunity.

"In my view, he’s not a foreign leader, he’s a murderer," Graham said.

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McCain Fears Stalemate in Libya

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) “said the U.S. should increase its role in North Atlantic Treaty Organization air attacks against Libya and rebels there need more direct assistance in the fight against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces,” Bloomberg reports.

“I really fear a stalemate,” McCain said of the conflict, speaking on CNN television’s “State of the Union” program after he traveled Libya. Rebel fighters are “badly outgunned in armor, equipment and training” against Qaddafi loyalists, the Arizona Republican said.

McCain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the U.S. should increase air attacks “but troops on the ground is out of the question” and would be counterproductive.

Removing Qaddafi’s television broadcast capabilities would be helpful because “when the Libyan people see Qaddafi on television it scares them,” McCain said.

McCain is Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Graham Wants Military Action on Gadhafi Assets in Tripoli

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “has a recommendation to NATO and the Obama administration when it comes to their involvement in Libya: bomb Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle and remove him from power,” CNN reports.

"Go to Tripoli, start bombing Gadhafi’s inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters in Tripoli," Graham said Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union." "I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That’s the quickest way to end this."

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was an early proponent of a no-fly zone in Libya and has consistently said troops should attack Gadhafi while arming anti-Gadhafi rebels.

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Although the United Nations resolution that authorized force in the African country did not sanction removing Gadhafi from power, and instead called for coalition forces to protect the Libyan people, Graham said the only way to make the operation successful is to "put pressure on Tripoli."

"I would not let the U.N. mandate stop what is the right thing to do," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "You cannot protect the Libyan people if Gadhafi stays. You cannot protect our vital national security interests if Gadhafi stays."

National Journal has Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) reaction:

But when asked about Graham’s calls to bomb Tripoli, McCain hesitated. “We have tried those things in the past with other dictators and it’s a little harder than you think it is. Qaddafi is a great survivor, we don’t know exactly where he is, we do have to worry about civilian causalities that could turn the Libyan people against us,” he said. “I certainly think we ought to make Qaddafi aware that his very life is in danger, but I think we just have to be a little careful how we do that.”

While he praised Graham, McCain made it clear he had different ideas about how to approach the situation in Libya. “We can’t count on taking Qaddafi out. What we can count on is a trained, equipped, well-supported liberation forces which can either force Qaddafi out or obtain victory and send him to an international court,” he said. “My emphasis is on winning the battle on the ground, not taking the chance on taking him out with a lucky airstrike.”

And Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT):

But when asked about Graham’s idea to bomb Tripoli, Lieberman waffled. “As John McCain said earlier, it’s not easy to do that,” he said. But just minutes later, Lieberman reversed himself. “NATO has got to start thinking about whether they want to more directly start targeting Qaddafi and his family,” he said.

McCain is Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Lieberman is a senior member of the committee.

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On Libya, Collins Says President Should Have Obtained Congressional Approval

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Friday “joined the growing chorus of members of Congress who have condemned President Obama’s decision to enter the conflict in Libya without first seeking congressional approval,” The Hill reports.

"I feel so strongly that the president did not follow the War Powers Act and that he should have come to Congress for approval first," Collins said on "In the Arena" [which is] a program on WCSH 6, a local NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine. "In my mind there is just know doubt about it."

Collins and other members of Congress from both parties contend that the unrest in Libya did not meet the criteria laid out in the War Powers Resolution Act of 1973 that allows the president to go to war without approval of the Congress. That act was a joint congressional resolution that empowers the president to send armed forces into action abroad only with authorization of Congress or if the United States or its interests are under attack.

"If there had been in imminent threat to the United States then the president would have been justified in deploying troops and using force but that was not the situation that we faced," said Collins.

Collins is Ranking Member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and also serves on the Armed Services Committee.

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McCain Wants International Recognition for Libya Rebels

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) “on Friday urged the international community to arm and recognize the rebel Transitional National Council as the ‘legitimate voice’ of the Libyan people,” the AFP reports.

"I would encourage every nation, especially the United States, to recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate voice of the Libyan people. They have earned this right," McCain said at a news conference in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya.

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"I have met these great fighters and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary, they are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it," he said.

McCain called for “arming rebels battling Moamer Kadhafi’s forces, saying that capable countries should assist them with more weapons and training to help them oust the Libyan strongman.”

"Responsible nations need to provide the military forces of the TNC with every possible means of assistance to enable them to create conditions on the ground that increase pressure on Kadhafi to leave power," he said.

Notably, Talking Points Memo reports that the State Department “signed off on and supports” McCain’s trip to Libya.

"We were aware that Sen. McCain would be making the trip and State supported the codel," White House spokesman Jay Carney told TPM in an e-mail Friday afternoon.

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McCain Arrives in Libya

Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) “arrived Friday in the Libyan opposition stronghold of Benghazi,” the AP reports.

“They are my heroes,” McCain said of the rebels as he walked out of a local hotel in Benghazi. He was traveling in an armored Mercedes jeep and had a security detail. A few Libyans waved American flags as his vehicle drove past.

He said he planned to meet with the rebel National Transition Council, the de-facto government in the eastern half of the country, and members of the rebel military.

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Rockefeller Wants U.S. to Leave Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) believes “the United States should get out of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as soon as possible,” the Charleston Gazette reports.

During a visit to the Gazette on Tuesday, Rockefeller also criticized the way military appropriations are often approved as part of "supplementary" budget legislation, hiding them from the public.

"The military budget needs to come under new scrutiny. When I voted for the Iraq War, it was one of the worst votes in my life," Rockefeller said.

"Today, I have grave misgivings about being in Iraq for another week. We should be out of Iraq this year altogether," he said. "We are not going to win. It is not in the cards. Many Asian countries have a totally tribal culture.

"It is the same thing in Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen," Rockefeller said.

"I didn’t object to four days of bombing in Libya. But now the CIA is on the ground. That makes me nervous. I don’t have any patience with the Libyan endeavor," Rockefeller said.

"Libya makes no sense to me. I don’t think we should be there at all. We should get out of there and we should get out of Afghanistan. We can’t win there. We can’t change the country….

"Do you want three failed wars in a row? I don’t want to be in those places. And it has a great deal to do with the [federal] budget."

Rockefeller is a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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