Key GOP Senators Oppose Idea to Arm Opposition in Libya
February 28th, 2011
08:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Key GOP Senators Oppose Idea to Arm Opposition in Libya

(CNN) - Three key Republican senators said Monday they oppose a proposal by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, to arm rebels in Libya fighting Moammar Gadhafi. They had mixed thoughts on whether the United States should be involved in imposing a no-fly zone in that country to protect protestors from attacks by Libyan war planes.

“I would not suggest either of those courses for the moment,” said Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee who indicated U.S. involvement could lead to war.

“Depending upon the method of delivery and what we decide to do we could decide to have a war in Libya to join the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said she would be “leery” of providing arms at this point but said she supports a no-fly zone.

“I do believe our allies may be able to join together with us to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to help protect the people from Gadhafi,” she said. “Any actions that we take I believe should be in concert with our allies.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, who is also on the Armed Services Committee, credited the diplomatic efforts underway by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and suggested the U.S. work with the United Nations to stiffen and enforce sanctions against Libya.

“Providing arms, I’m not sure that helps us,” Graham said. “I don’t know if you could control right now who would get the arms.”

“What I would suggest is that we really keep implementing U.N. sanctions on the economic side, on the travel side, go after assets,” Graham added. “And a no fly zone would make a lot of sense to me.”

The three senators spoke in a Capitol hallway after a vote on the Senate floor.

Earlier Monday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he would withhold judgment on the idea from Lieberman, who made his comments Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” McConnell said he has asked Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, to brief Senate Republicans at their weekly policy lunch in the Capitol Tuesday about his trip to Egypt over the weekend.

Lieberman traveled to Egypt with McCain, and they appeared together on CNN Sunday. McCain supported the idea of a no-fly zone but did not say if he supports providing arms to Libyans fighting Gadhafi.

Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Richard Lugar • Susan Collins
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    Maybe since Europe gets oil from Libya and we don't, we should let them do whatever NEEDS to be done.

    February 28, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. B

    For once, lets try to stay focused on our own deteriorating situation right here in THIS country and Stop being the Cops of the world!

    We are broke or hasn’t that been made clear yet?

    February 28, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. Clwyd

    I'm surprised that there are that manyrepublicans (3) that oppose the use of US troops. After all these years I figured the military would have brainwashed them all!

    February 28, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  4. MartiM

    Didn't John McCain also support these ideas? I wonder why they are only calling out Joe Lieberman?

    February 28, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. pat crowley

    Hmm, let's see. The GOP, so far, has not created one job; now an economist is saying that their budget cutting axe will cost us 700,000 jobs. Yep, it's time to bring out their three G's – gays, god, and guns. So predictable.

    February 28, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Pete

    Hey why not ! We armed a country that was fighting the Russians not to long ago,look what is shooting at our boys now!Ha!Train them too ,why not...A package deal for OIL,Riight!! Heard that on ,uh,Fox News that's right.Send Cheney and Bush over to give them shooting lessons,good deal!

    February 28, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Pretzel Logic

    Getting into a third armed conflict in a predominantly Muslim country has got to be the worst idea I've heard since nominating Sarah Palin as Vice President. IN all seriousness, this is galactically stupid.

    February 28, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    Maybe we don't have to provide a lot of arms. One good bomb should do a lot of damage to his tent.
    Just be sure that he and his camels are home at the time.
    Have you ever heard a Stealth Bomber fly over you?

    February 28, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  9. Tommy Mack

    A good chess player outmaneuvers his opponent or let's his opponent lose on their own. He does NOT slam his fists onto the board causing all the pieces to fall and upsetting other players around him. These GOP senators know that what Obama is doing is correct: let the Middle East do what the Soviet Union did which is collapse on it's own.

    February 28, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Sgt Schultz

    Why not let the U.N. Security Council take emergency actions? Arbitrarily handing-out weapons to rogue bands of rebels is not the brightest ideas. What if the arms fall into the hands of looters or thugs? LIeberman has no business trying to get into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. Let the Arab League or U.N. decide with consensus of our allies....that includes our Arab allies your numb-skull neo-con's.

    February 28, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. william

    Probably becuase he does so much laundry he is always fresh and clean. Always do laundry, and keep your receipts.

    February 28, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. John

    Maybe they realize it would be a violation of international law to arm an opposition group. Sort of like why Great Britain ended up paying $25 million in damages to the United States in the "Alabama Claims" for allowing Scotish shipbuilders to send military vessels to the treasonous rebels in the southern region of the US in the 1860s.......

    February 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. jules sand-perkins

    Silly me: I had the notion that Republicans supported a strong military presence relative to our importance in the world.
    Could it be Obama's willingness to use "all options" that inspires strong Republican opposition in the Libyan matter? Just because it's Obama?

    February 28, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. ED FL

    What a Blessing for America JOE LIE_BERMAN is leaving the Senate, Now he can go to Israel and live like a King on the funds that he helped procure. The State of Connecticut should breathe easier now when they get a Senator whose main mission will be the people of Connecticut.

    February 28, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. duke

    No,we shouldn't arm anybody!
    This is just a remake of a 70's bad flick,
    We should support the people,but arming them would make things a whole lot worse,
    We witnessed the civil rights move on peacefully(at least on our part),and we've just witnessed egyptians win with peace signs in the air,so arms is not the answer to all questions ie(Afghanistan).
    What we should be focusing on is the political "get back" that the republicans are playing at the expense of thee people??
    Its just sad that americans are distracted while some terrible things are happening to this country,
    The people screaming at these town hall meetings are payed republican operative and not just average angry citizens who are hurting no worse than you and I!

    February 28, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. lindi

    Oh, the republicans put down the President for not doing enough,but they don,t want anything to do with the mess? Tipical response, that all right repugs, Secretary Clinton and the President have 'Made it clear. Just keep your mouths quite,it will be handled. Can you do that?

    February 28, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. Oregon Native

    Are you kidding me? This will lead to the USA being involved in yet another unwinnable war. And what will pay for that? Let Libya go the course it will. We will be totally bankrupt if we get involved. Let Lieberman and those who may support this ridiculous idea, pay for it.

    February 28, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. meiguoren11

    Noooo!!!!! Don't send weapons to Libya! When will these politicians learn?! How many times have we sent weapons to factions in different countries and it turned around and bit us in the tail?

    No. Enough is enough.

    And can anyone blame politicians (especially Republicans) for being gun shy? C'mon...for the past 5 decades war has been equivalent to political suicide. It has never ended well. We either get behind them when they act or expect them to sit on the sidelines. We can't encourage them to run to the rescue and then massacre them for it.

    February 28, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Former GOPer

    Hey Joe, how about getting us of the two Hell Holes we are fighting in before we invade another country!

    February 28, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People


    Republicans against starting a war in the name of "christianity" or "democracy"?

    Now, THAT is breaking news!

    February 28, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. Larry L

    The day has come when I agree with a few Republicans! Joe Lieberman is so biased toward the well being of Israel and the Jewish people he can't make decisions regarding the well being of the American people. President Obama can provide the mature and measured response required in this situation without advice from old "Warrior Joe". Exactly where did Joe get his war-fighting expertise?

    February 28, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. w l jones

    Those two should have stayed in Washington working on finding job for American instead wasting tax payer money. We have enough problem here and leery is the word and more for those two. Said enough.

    February 28, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. GOP - the dumbing of America

    Wait I thought Obama was supposed to start another war. What are these mixed signals from the right?

    February 28, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. This is becoming comical !

    Leiberman is on his way out ! Have you noticed lately he is trying to cause as much mischief as he can ? Somebody please sit this senile idiot down and make him shut up !

    February 28, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  25. Lisa Mitchell

    Wait...wait....wait.....What would Sarah do? Don't we need her foreign relations expertise before a decision is made on how to "fix" Lybia?

    February 28, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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