National Republicans all over the map when it comes to Libya

Meanwhile, as several high-profile Republicans went to the airwaves Sunday morning, their opinions were hardly uniform about their thoughts on the U.S.' involvement in the air war.

On Fox News Sunday, Minnesota Congresswoman (and potential presidential candidate) Michele Bachmann maintained an extremely skeptical tone about what it's all about, saying:

BACHMANN:What in the world are we doing in Libya if we don't know what our military goal is? And if we still aren't sure about who the opposition forces are? What possible benefits—

WALLACE: When you say the opposition, you mean the rebels?

BACHMANN: The rebels. What possible benefit could there be for the United States if in fact we could potentially be benefiting Al Qaida of North Africa or Hezbollah, which is a very strong likelihood?

This would be a terrible mistake for this reason, because if we give Al Qaida of North Africa access to sustained revenues from oil, they could continue to fund global terrorism. How is that going to help anyone? This is a disaster in the making.

That's why President Obama's policy of leading from behind is an outrage. And people should be outraged at the foolishness of the president's decision. He said he wanted to go in for humanitarian purposes, and overnight we are hearing that potentially 10,000 to 30,000 people could have been killed in the strike. Those are some of the reports.

WALLACE: In the NATO strikes, 10,000 to 30,000 people?

BACHMANN: There is a report that came out from an ambassador from Tripoli that said we won't know until we're able to go in.

WALLACE: But did the NATO strikes killed 10,000 to 30,000 people?
ACHMANN: A report that came out last night from the Tripoli ambassador said that potentially there could be 10,000 to 30,000 —

WALLACE: When you said the Tripoli ambassador, you mean the Libyans?


WALLACE: So you're believing the Qaddafi regime?

BACHMANN: We don't know. We don't know. All I'm saying is that —

WALLACE: Do you think Muammar Qaddafi is a reliable person?

BACHMANN: I don't think anyone thinks that. When President Obama went in, his doctrine was to enter into Libya for humanitarian purposes.

The point of what I'm saying is that we are seeing many, many lives lost including innocent civilians' lives. What will be the ultimate objective and gain? I don't see it. I think it was a foolish decision to have gotten involved.

But later on the same program, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham applauded NATO getting more aggressive in going after Gaddafi.

GRAHAM: The fact is that I support what NATO did. I thought this was a good use of the mandate. This is the way to end this. Thousands of people are subject to dying the longer this takes. No one in the world is going to regret Qaddafi being replaced, however you do it.

So, I want to thank NATO for expanding the scope of the operations and I wished we act earlier. But we're on the right track of supporting the rebels and going after the inner circle. Everything around him needs to be subject to attack.

On NBC's Meet The Press, Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was among the bipartisan group of Senators leading the chorus for the U.S. to get involved in Libya in early March. He told host David Gregory that the mission is all about removing "The Mad Dog" of the Middle East, as he used to be referred to, from power, by whatever means necessary.

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I hope the Libyan people will push him from power. I think the United States and NATO and the international community have a role to play in that. And he must be removed from power. For Saddam Hussein—I'm sorry—for Moammar Gadhafi to hold on to power in Libya would be the worst possible scenario I can imagine. He would be emboldened to act against our interests. He would create a blueprint for others in the region to act just like Gadhafi has.

MR. GREGORY: Should the U.S. target him specifically?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, he hides behind civilians. Yeah, he hides in areas and he tries to shield himself. I think if he's involved, unfortunately, if he's involved in military operations in military installations and command centers, you know, he's going to find himself in the line of fire. I think the best thing that Gadhafi can do is leave Libya.

The U.N. resolution that authorized the military campaign against the Gaddafi government does not specifically permit strikes intended to kill the Libyan leader or members of his inner circle.

A NATO airstrike in which a son and grandson of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi were killed is being criticized by Libya and Russia as a disproportionate use of force. The attack comes as the alliance has been equally criticized by many others as being insufficient in its mission so far, which began on March 19, over six weeks ago.

The Associated Press reports that a Russian lawmaker influential in foreign policy says the West needs to make clear exactly what is the mission of NATO — because to him it now appears to be about killing Gaddafi.

“More and more facts indicate that the aim of the anti-Libyan coalition is the physical destruction of Gaddafi,” Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, was quoted as saying.

Kosachyov called on Western leaders to make their position on the airstrikes clear.

“I am totally perplexed by the total silence from the presidents of the United States, France, the leaders of other Western countries,” Kosachyov said in an interview, according to the Interfax news agency. “We have the right to expect their immediate, comprehensive and objective assessment of the coalition’s actions


Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]