Lugar questions U.S. involvement in Libya
March 20th, 2011
04:19 PM ET
12 years ago

Lugar questions U.S. involvement in Libya

Washington (CNN) - Senator Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, on Sunday questioned the decision by the United States to pursue military action in Libya without clearly defined objectives, and expressed concern over the role of the U.S. in Libya's future.

Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "Where does our involvement stop? This is why, before it begins, we ought to have a plan and we ought to have outcomes defined as to why American forces, American money are going to be at stake."

Though he acknowledged the humanitarian crisis in Libya, Lugar raised the issue of continuing unrest throughout the Middle East region - and if, with two wars already underway in the region, the repercussions of the decision by the U.S. to participate in the institution of a no-fly zone in Libya had been thoroughly examined.

"Once again, we in the United States have not defined what we believe the outcome should be." Lugar said. "The president said Gadhafi should go because he's a monster and so forth, but is our objective that Gadhafi must go, in the way that Saddam Hussein must go, eight years ago for example? Precisely what outcome do we anticipate with the rest of the Libyans that are left? We don't know of an alternative government. But we know that many of the Libyans in the eastern part of the country went to Iraq to fight with Iraqis against American forces."

Lugar also said the U.S. cannot afford another war, and cited the current congressional budget fight over spending cuts.

"The fact is we cannot afford more wars now, and we're going to have to find in fact some curtailment of our military budget in addition to the so-called spending that we do, the 30 percent that we've been dealing with. There's another 70 percent out there and defense is a big part of it. In the midst of that, we have to be thinking carefully what our obligations are, how long they might continue."

Filed under: Libya • Richard Lugar
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Little Tin God

    Wait! What? A Republican questioning going to war without clearly defined objectives? Where was he in 2003?

    March 20, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. bob in florida

    Has anybody ever cared what Lugar thinks?

    March 20, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Grand Oil Party

    Where was this guy's criticism when we invaded Iraq? Does he know that Britain and France are taking the lead on this one? Very different than when GWB had to practicly invent countries to make it look like a coalition.

    March 20, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Debby

    Well I guess this will be branded the Obama war like Iraq was Bush's.

    March 20, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. LouAZ

    Where was this reasoning before we invaded Iraq, Lugar ? Where has it been since we invaded Iraq, Lugar ? Just what is the Republican/TPer limit of expenses for "Freedom" ? Or should we lower taxes even further now that we are involved with Libya ? Where are you going to get the replacements for those 100+ cruise missiles ? Just whose taxes is going to pay for them ? Don't know ? Ask John McCain.

    March 20, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Sgt Schultz

    We obviously have France and the U.K. doing a lot of the heavy lifting to share the financial and logistical costs. The tomahak missles are expensive but many billion x cheaper than what King W Bush spent in Iraq for no reason.

    March 20, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Dan

    Luger should talk about this with his republican counterparts, they need to get on the same page, seems like the only thing they can say on a united front is"no"

    March 20, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Lugar and the rest of the GOP never asked Bush, where does the involvement stop. President Obama has a plan that's why unlike Bush he didn't go it along without the International Community and if he had Lugar and the rest of the GOP would be totally against him.

    March 20, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. bobden

    Has this person ever said anything that made sense? "That we can't afford another war" is close, but...
    We can't afford any war. So lets close the other two wars.
    What we really can't afford is republicans and their lies.

    March 20, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. aNTHONY

    It appears to me that Obama's versions of Iraq and Afghan are actually thought out and quite manageable due to calm rational preparation and decision making. Something tells me no matter what Obama does throughtout this campaign, he will be more under fire from the Right, then Ghadafi forces.

    March 20, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Peter

    Obama apparently played it pretty smart of behalf of the USA by huddling with France and Britain and making sure that they launched the opening attacks, then joining in. This way the rap won't be "the devil USA" was the first to attack.

    March 20, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Still torn...I am not a pro war person but, it really is not just us this time. I do appreciate Senator Lugar on his stance of nuclear proliferation. As you can see from my log-in name...we have this in common. I will at least give him the chance to speak. He was one that I would have liked as Secetary of Defense.

    March 20, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    We should all be concerned about this action.

    The Arab League wanted the no-fly zone.........they should have been the ones to impose it.......not western countries. Why are we selling all of the arms to them, we sell, if they aren't going to use them, to maintain peace in the region, themselves????

    It is time for the US to stop trying to be the world's policeman!

    March 20, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Jackalope

    Republicans will criticize Obama no matter what he does because they hate him. Some will say he acted too slow, some will say he acted too fast. Some will say he didn't go far enough, others will say he went too far. Personally, I think Obama is handling the Libya situation perfectly.

    March 20, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Lost in Texas FOREVER


    The GOP is so mixed up they not only can't seem to create jobs but now they can't get together on how to be critical of the POTUS on this issue. The only sure bet is no matter WHAT he does it won't be right in their eyes. I think though more Americans are starting to see through this GOP smoke least the ones that stop listening to right wing hate radio and FoxNews.

    March 20, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Had it with both parties

    Enough is enough. Let's call this war what it is. It's about the oil not civillians. It's time we get serious about becoming energy sself sufficient. Sorry liberals car pooling and algae won't do it!

    March 20, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. vic nashville tn

    8 years back same questions NO they didn’t want to go after republican president

    March 20, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Mad in MA

    Wait so.. Republicans 'blasted' him for not acting sooner, not carrying a 'big stick',... and now after the UN and other countries are backing the No Fly Zone they feel he needs to better explain his actions? I'm confused.. no seriously, I am confused.

    March 20, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. Brandon

    Yet McCain said Obama waited too long to attack. The Repubes are just as confused as the Dems..Hypocrites

    March 20, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Karen

    This was france's problem in the same way that Iraq was ours. They sold weapons to Gaddafi and helped them in the 60's only to be turned on, plus they have interest since Libya was their colony. My question is, why now? Why not when they bombed a french passenger plane and killed 170 french? Why not when there was other proof of state-funded terrorism? Why is it the US's problem at all? The French were completely unsupportive with Iraq, issueing an "I told you so" in 2003...but whatever, let's throw up 63 million dollars just in missiles to help them...?

    March 20, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Raul

    This buffoon never questioned W's entry into Iraq with no plan or defined outcomes, did he?!

    March 20, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Silence Dogood

    Good grief. Rs complain that we haven't gotten involved, then they complain when they do. Whine whine whine.

    Here's a thought: We're still fighting in Afghanistan, a war executed by a R POTUS and Congress. We are still involved in Iraq, see before. Rs thought we could effect change by just going in there, knocking over the leadership, and democracy would bloom in the desert. Yet we're still there.

    Then like dominos on Obama's term a slue of countries all start falling to democracy. Rs want credit. Rs want us to push more. Rs can't believe that change is happening WITHOUT US. I say, good for them, let them take credit for forming their own country.

    In the United States civil war, the North did not want the British or French to help out the rebel South. This was our fight. So where do most of these Rs come from who think foreign powers need to be involved? Of course, the traitorous South.

    March 20, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. David Sr.

    Rick, you are correct. Let the Arab League police they're own neighborhood, hell they got all the money that we send over.
    But I guess Obama's masters are the same as Bush's. The big bankers and military industrial complex just can't get enough. And our so-called leaders just drool at the thought of serving the special interests. It does'nt matter which political party is in power, they will always serve the few over the needs of the many.

    March 20, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Just Sayin'

    Damned if he (Obama) does and damned if he doesn't.

    Lugar should have talked to McCain and Graham before spouting off. Or perhaps McCain and Graham should have talked to Lugar. Disgusting display by the Rethugs once again.

    March 20, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    WOW when you have a REPUBLICAN member of Congress questioning why the president decided to use military action and at what cost, that only proves more to me that the GOP has no plan but to go against Obama NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES! They've been doing this since he took office and it's really gotten past pathetic. Heck the Dems NEVER were this critcal of Bush for 8 years.

    March 20, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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