Obama Defends US Involvement in Libya Conflict

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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President Obama has defended U.S. involvement in Libya, saying a lot of the “fuss” U.S. lawmakers have made about the mission is political.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mr. Obama repeated his administration's view that his decision to intervene in Libya did not violate the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The law gives U.S. presidents 60 days to secure congressional authorization to engage in hostilities abroad, and an additional 30 days to withdraw forces if no authorization is granted. The Libya mission crossed the 90-day threshold earlier this month.

President Obama has said U.S. participation in the NATO-led campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi does not constitute “hostilities” and therefore, does not require congressional approval. He said Wednesday that the operation is limited in time and scope, and said there have been no U.S. causalities and no risk of additional escalation.

Mr. Obama said the international operation in Libya has protected thousands of people in the North African country, and said “the noose is tightening” around Mr. Gadhafi. He reiterated his stance that the Libyan leader needs to step down to ensure the safety of Libyans.

On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution authorizing limited U.S. participation in the NATO-led military campaign over Libya for one year.

The measure, introduced by Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain, prevents the use of American ground troops in the conflict and also specifies that the U.S. will not invest in reconstruction.

The House of Representatives rejected the measure last week.