POLITICS

Snowe criticizes Obama on Libya action

AP | AP
Posted March 22, 2011, at 12:32 p.m.
Last modified March 22, 2011, at 1:15 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe took President Barack Obama to task Tuesday for not involving Congress more deeply in the decision to commit U.S. forces in Libya.

“Given our extensive involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we’re already stretched thin, now to be drawn into another international conflict,” the Maine Republican said.

Snowe said Obama has failed to provide Congress with the full picture of mission objectives and an exit strategy for Libya.

“He should be consulting with Congress,” Snowe said bluntly. “It raises concerns overall.”

Snowe said, given the United States’ current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, European nations and the Arab League should have taken more of a lead in Libya.

That said, Snowe added that “we know Gadhafi is a brutal dictator. He always has been.”

Meanwhile, Snowe’s colleague, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CBS television that the military strikes against Libya were necessary because there would have been “a horrible bloodbath” under besieged strongman Moammar Gadhafi without international intervention.

The 2008 presidential candidate said that the no-fly zone the U.S. and its NATO allies implemented is working and it’s time for “a no-drive zone.”

McCain says the message the world needs to send to Gadhafi’s army is, “Don’t leave your barracks” and kill Libyan civilians or there will be consequences. McCain called Gadhafi a man “with American blood on his hands,” saying he was responsible for the terrorist attack on a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. He said the U.S. and its allies must turn momentum in the Libyan strife over to the rebel side.

BDN staff writer Matt Wickenheiser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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