March 21, 2011
Contact: Dave Johnson
Phone: (804) 451-5985
Radtke Opposes Libya Intervention, Calls on Congress to Hold Authorization Vote
“A U.N. vote does not supersede a Congressional vote”
President Obama’s decision to commit America to a third concurrent war has two serious flaws. First, the president has committed American troops to battle without the authorization of Congress. And second, Libya does not present a security threat to the United States, and we have no business being a part of this military intervention.
It is the United States Congress, not the United Nations Security Council, which should determine if we commit the American military to war. A United Nations vote does not supersede a Congressional vote.
I am disturbed that the President seemed more concerned about a U.N. vote than Congressional authorization. The United States Congress must hold an immediate vote on a declaration of war on Libya.
I support the war in Afghanistan, which was in response to the terrorist attack on U.S. soil that killed thousands of Americans, and the war in Iraq, which was intended to stop a WMD program that we and nearly all other nations believed that Saddam Hussein was undertaking. While I would have preferred declarations of war, Congress did at least pass resolutions for the use of military force in both wars.
In Libya, however, the United States is facing no imminent national security threat, yet we are doing most of the heavy lifting, and we have no Congressional authorization for the use of military force.
What’s worse, this military intervention does not have clear goals or objectives. Are we intending to drive Qaddafi from power? If so, air power alone will not suffice. Do we intend simply to level the playing field? What if Qaddafi still gains the upper-hand? Do we escalate? Will American forces be subordinated to the Europeans or the UN? Who will be in charge of allied forces, and thus take ultimate responsibility for victory or for defeat? How will victory even be defined? Will a two-state Libya be an acceptable outcome?
And if humanitarian reasons are our chief reason for intervention, as Obama has stated it is, what of the many other civil wars and slaughter of civilians that are occurring around the world every day? Why Libya and not the Ivory Coast or Sudan or Congo?
None of these questions have been answered by President Obama, or even raised by him. One wonders if he has even thought of them, in spite of the fact that these were the very questions that Obama himself raised in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By his own criterion, Obama is setting up America for failure.
The Arab League, Europe and Africa are in the best position to provide accountability to their Libyan neighbor. President Obama’s decision is reckless and ill-advised. Congress must find the courage to reassert its Constitutional prerogative for any use of force involving the American military.
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