Foreign Policy Experts Urge House Republicans to Support U.S. Operations in Libya

June 20, 2011

- Download a copy of this letter in PDF format

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Forty-one former U.S. government officials and foreign policy experts expressed concern today about news reports that Congress may consider cutting funds for U.S. military involvement in the NATO-led operation against Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime.

In a letter officially released this morning, the group wrote: "The United States should be leading in this effort, not trailing behind our allies. We should be doing more to help the Libyan opposition, which deserves our support. We should not be allowing ourselves to be held hostage to U.N. Security Council resolutions and irresolute allies."

The group called on the United States to "see this effort in Libya through to its conclusion,” adding: "The problem is not that the President has done too much, however, but that he has done too little to achieve the goal of removing Qaddafi from power." They urged Members of Congress to fully support U.S. military involvement in Libya and exhibit "moral leadership despite political pressures to do otherwise."

Signatories of the letter include Elliott Abrams, Liz Cheney, Eric Edelman, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Karl Rove, Dan Senor, Paul Wolfowitz, and R. James Woolsey. The full text of the letter and list of signatories are below. For additional information, please contact Robert Zarate at rzarate@foreignpolicyi.org or (202) 296-3322.


An Open Letter to House Republicans

We thank you for your leadership as Congress exercises its Constitutional responsibilities on the issue of America's military actions in Libya.  We are gravely concerned, however, by news reports that Congress may consider reducing or cutting funding for U.S. involvement in the NATO-led military operations against the oppressive regime of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.  Such a decision would be an abdication of our responsibilities as an ally and as the leader of the Western alliance.  It would result in the perpetuation in power of a ruthless dictator who has ordered terrorist attacks on the United States in the past, has pursued nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and who can be expected to return to these activities should he survive.  To cut off funding for current efforts would, in short, be profoundly contrary to American interests.

We share the concerns of many in Congress about the way in which the Obama administration has conducted and justified this operation.  The problem is not that the President has done too much, however, but that he has done too little to achieve the goal of removing Qaddafi from power.  The United States should be leading in this effort, not trailing behind our allies.  We should be doing more to help the Libyan opposition, which deserves our support.  We should not be allowing ourselves to be held hostage to U.N. Security Council resolutions and irresolute allies.

What would be even worse, however, would be for the United States to become one of those irresolute allies.  The United States must see this effort in Libya through to its conclusion.  Success is profoundly in our interests and in keeping with our principles as a nation.  The success of NATO’s operations will influence how other Middle Eastern regimes respond to the demands of their people for more political rights and freedoms.  For the United States and NATO to be defeated by Muammar al-Qaddafi would suggest that American leadership and resolution were now gravely in doubt—a conclusion that would undermine American influence and embolden our nation’s enemies.

In Speaker Boehner’s June 14, 2011, letter to President Obama, he wrote that he believes “in the moral leadership our country can and should exhibit, especially during such a transformational time in the Middle East.”  We share that belief, and feel that now is the time for Congress to exhibit that moral leadership despite political pressures to do otherwise.

Sincerely,


Elliott Abrams Bruce Pitcairn Jackson John Podhoretz

Gary Bauer Ash Jain Stephen G. Rademaker

Max Boot Frederick Kagan Karl Rove

Ellen Bork Robert Kagan Randy Scheunemann

Scott Carpenter Lawrence Kaplan Gary Schmitt

Liz Cheney William Kristol Dan Senor

Seth Cropsey Robert Lieber Michael Singh

Thomas Donnelly Tod Lindberg Henry D. Sokolski

Colin Dueck Michael Makovsky Marc Thiessen

Eric Edelman Ann Marlowe Kurt Volker

Jamie Fly Clifford D. May Kenneth Weinstein

Reuel Marc Gerecht Joshua Muravchik Paul Wolfowitz

John Hannah Martin Peretz R. James Woolsey

William Inboden Danielle Pletka

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