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May 2, 2011

War in Libya & a Powerless Senator

Poor Rob Portman. He is just a Senator. War in Libya? He is impotent. Specifically . . .

The U.N. does the authorizing for him. Perhaps he and his colleagues don’t want to be burdened with the tough decisions. And . . .

The Senator “awaits” rather than “demands” the day the President report backs on HIS (the President’s) personal goals. For this, two points can be made:

  1. Where in the Constitution is the President authorized to unilaterally take America to war in the furtherance of his own political goals? Sounds more like a monarchy to me.
  2. Don’t hold your breath Rob.

Am I being unfair to the Senator from Ohio? You decide. Here’s Mr. Portman’s actual letter to me . . .

Thank you for contacting me in regard to the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.  I appreciate your concerns about American military intervention, particularly given our commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is good to hear from you. 

As you know, the successful ouster of Tunisia’s autocratic president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was followed by the ouster of Egypt’s long-time autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak. Popular protests demanding political freedom and human rights also have erupted in Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria and Libya.  Many in the Arab world are rising up and demanding liberty.  Regimes would be wise to peacefully adapt to this new reality if they wish to survive. The violence and resentment is not just facing outward in the form of terrorist attacks on the West, it is facing inward toward repressive leaders.

In Libya, the uprising has turned into a full-fledged violent conflict.  A U.N. Security Council resolution which passed on March 17, 2011 set the stage for airstrikes, a no-fly zone and other military involvement short of a ground invasion. 

The situation in Libya, with a dictator turning a nation’s military against its own people, is tragic.  I remain very concerned, however, that at a time when we still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama has yet to clearly define the scope of our mission, the metrics for success, and our ultimate goal in Libya.  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to the Administration briefing the Congress on the national security rationale which should underpin any U.S. military involvement.

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Rob Portman
U.S. Senator

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