McCain: Obama waited too long in Libya
March 20th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
12 years ago

McCain: Obama waited too long in Libya

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona was critical of the president’s timetable for action in Libya, but said he is confident the American military will succeed.

“He (President Obama) waited too long, there is no doubt in my mind about it. But now, it is what it is,” McCain said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” taped Friday. “We need now to support him and the efforts that our military are going to make. And I regret that it didn’t – we didn’t act much more quickly, and we could have.”

The ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said if the United States had acted a couple weeks ago, before the United Nations issued a cease-fire, a no-fly zone “would probably have been enough” to prevent the situation in the African country from deteriorating.

However, since the United Nations vote, McCain added “time is not on Gadhafi’s side.”

“If he (Gadhafi) doesn’t succeed in a relatively short period of time, he’ll be driven back and, over time, I believe, defeated,” McCain said. “I have great confidence in our capabilities that the most mightiest nation in the world is now matched up against a third-rate or fourth-rate power.”

American, French and British military forces launched an operation on Gadhafi’s military Saturday, convinced the Libyan leader was not adhering to the U.N.-mandated cease-fire. The attacks on Libyan military positions with missiles and airstrikes are part of an operation that will include enforcement of a no-fly zone.

Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said “we can’t afford to let him (Gadhafi) stay in office.”

“If Gadhafi survives, the Arab spring maybe comes to too soon an end, at least it doesn’t move beyond Tunisian and Egypt,” Lieberman told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “It’s late, but it’s not too late, if we act quickly together.”

“Now, how quickly we can move back and get him (Gadhafi) out? I think it’s going to be a matter of time,” McCain said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Joe Lieberman • John McCain • Libya • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. ddt

    Macsbame and radicals in this country rushed to take on Saddam Hussen, 10 yrs later,we are still there. Thanks for work our president Baraka Obama has done to take his time organize International communities to support the effort

    March 20, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. kcl

    We need to support our president BUT....
    That's not support McCain, that's sour grapes. Get over your loss, you sound like a child.

    March 20, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Ken in NC

    The article is titled McCain at odds with Obama. So what else is new. McCain has at times been at odds with McCain. One day he supports one way only to flip to the opposition the next day. McCain doesn't know if he is coming, going or been there. At his last speech when he was introduced he looked around for himself. LOL

    March 20, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Mark

    Are all these people saying we should go into Libya ready for their taxes to go up to pay for it? It's a disgrace we are in two wars and not one dime has been asked for by the American public to pay for it. All the sacrifice has been made by the soldiers and their families. United We Stand...what a joke.

    March 20, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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