Members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation are all over the map as to their positions on President Obama’s decision on the country’s role in military action against Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya—a divergence of opinion not previously seen with this group of federal lawmakers.
US Rep. John Larson was first out of the box, clearly agitated that President Obama didn’t consult Congress before taking the lead on missile strikes on Gadhafi loyalists’ strongholds. Larson, the highest-ranking House member to call for consultation with Congress, organized a conference call among liberal House Democrats. “With the rapid pace of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and now Libya, the members wanted a chance to hear from their colleagues who had talked to the White House as soon as possible, and there was a wide range of questions addressed,” Larson spokesman Ellis Brachman told the Washington Post of the Saturday afternoon call.
The Post also quoted Larson as saying, “Given our current fiscal constraints, and our military’s current responsibilities, this truly deserves a robust debate before we commit our young men and women in uniform…If that means calling members of Congress back from the District work period for a joint session, then that’s what we should do. It is imperative that Members of Congress, as the direct representatives of our constituents, have the opportunity to weigh in before decisions are made.”
The lawmakers who participated in the conference didn’t have their credibility bolstered by the prominent participation of Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) who has called for the impeachment of then-President George H.W. Bush, then-President George W. Bush, then-Vice President Dick Cheney and now says President Obama is skirting the Constitution. “This is a nightmare,” he told Fox News.
The Hartford Courant’s Rick Green has a rundown of other Connecticut members of Congress’ take on the situation:
Sen. Joe Lieberman: “We applaud tonight’s action by the UN Security Council authorizing ‘all necessary measures’ to impose a no-fly zone in Libya and protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack. The Administration deserves credit for getting this Resolution passed with such strong support. This was an important step on behalf of the people of Libya, but it will only be as effective as its implementation.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal: “President Obama has outlined prudent, decisive action – with limited scope and duration – that we are undertaking along with our NATO allies. Muammar Qaddafi has lost all legitimate claim to power through the brutal use of force on his own people, and I am confident that this intervention, which, importantly, was requested by the Arab League and supported strongly by the UN, will bring an end to the violence in Libya.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro: “I support the President’s actions in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution passed last week to take limited military action in Libya in concert with European and Arab allies as part of an international effort to end the unnecessary bloodshed being committed by Muammar Qaddafi against his own people.”
Rep. and senate candidate Chris Murphy: “Muammar Qaddafi has clearly lost the legitimate mandate to govern. I support U.S. engagement to avert human disaster, but we need to be careful about engaging in a protracted struggle that forces us to pick sides in an emerging civil war … simple notification of Congress doesn’t suffice. Ultimately, the President has an obligation to bring Congress a detailed plan with specific goals and cost estimates if he is going to do more than provide support to a limited international mission.”
Rep. Joe Courtney: “The limited goals and scope of operations in Libya outlined by the President last week are worthy of support. I am very concerned, however, that the operation has acquired ‘mission creep’ almost overnight with mobilization of National Guard units and the expenditure of well over $100 million in just one day … any intervention should not include U.S. ground troops and should be limited to supporting European allies whose close proximity to Libya heightens their own national security concerns.”
Would-be congressional member, US Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz: “I am supportive of the President’s action to help prevent atrocities in Libya but this remains a civil war and the United States’ engagement must be short-term without the use of any US ground troops. We must not engage in another long-term US military commitment in the Middle East. We cannot let Libya become another Iraq or Afghanistan and we must remove US troops from those countries as soon as is safely possible.”
No statement at all from Rep. Jim Himes