Last night was a big victory for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and other action in Libya (with several notable abstentions, including Germany, China and Russia).
Immediately after the vote, U.S. Senators John Kerry, John McCain and Joe Lieberman, who have all been hawkish in calling for weeks in calling for a no-fly zone, applauded the Security Council and the Obama administration to protect those under attack from Libya leader Muammar Qaddafi's forces.
We haven't received anything from Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio yet - will we?
As we reported on yesterday, Rubio got all in the face of Under Secretary of State William Burns in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Libya. Rubio was brash, questioning what the administration planned to do in the face of Qaddafi's forces seemingly getting the better of the rebels, after his 41-year rule appeared vulnerable weeks ago.
Rubio called the administration's lack of action "puzzling," and almost belittled Burns when he said (accurately, as it turned out) that the U.S. thought it could get a resolution passed in the U.N. to start committing to some action to help the rebels out.
For his efforts, Rubio has been applauded in some quarters for taking it to an Obama administration official (William Krystol blogged that it was the most aggressive any Republican has been with the White House since Paul Ryan challenged Obama himself a year ago).
But for others, it now sounds like Rubio is all up for getting the U.S. into a third war with a Muslim country (You can read for yourself this thread of comments on a Ron Paul Forum website).
On my weekly talk show on WMNF radio late yesterday, one caller questioned Rubio's sincerity, asking why has he been relatively silent up until now, as opposed to Senators Kerry, McCain and Lieberman? He believed it had only become more popular in the last week to bash Obama for his seeming inaction, whereas those other Senators were calling out the administration early on in this latest uprising in the Middle East.
A look at Rubio's website does not appear to include any press releases or statements on the Libya situation prior to yesterday's confrontation with Under Secretary Burns.
In any event, what happens now in terms of possible U.S. military action after last night's vote?
On Time.com, military reporter Mark Thompson writes that U.S. action might not be imminent, and that other NATO warplanes might strike first, perhaps aides by U.S. cruise missile attacks. He also ends his blog post with this ominous comment:
So it was left to outsiders to say publicly what many in uniform can only whisper. Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security, an Army veteran of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, voiced some of that unease. "It really does seem like we are going to go to war with another country in the Arabic-speaking world. Incredible," he wrote on his blog Thursday night. "I should be thankful for the broad international coalition we have put together, and for the fact that a large ground invasion is unlikely, but I mainly just have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach."