Washington, D.C. (March 25, 2011) — In an op-ed published in the Washington Post this morning, Chairman McKeon argues that President Obama needs to outline clear strategic objectives for the American involvement in Libya. Congress, the American people, and the men and women serving in Operation Odyssey Dawn deserve to have a clear understanding of what our objective is and how we achieve it.
The President’s own statements have led us to question his policy. The political objective seems to be the removal of Gaddafi from power, but the military activities of the United States and its allies are aligned to protecting the Libyan people from pro-Gaddafi forces. As Chairman McKeon wrote:
“Such a mismatch is a strategy for stalemate. I am skeptical of a military-led humanitarian mission that appears to be open-ended, generous with American resources, and could at some point be placed under a knotted international chain of command.”
Despite news reports that NATO will soon take over command of enforcing the no fly zone over Libya, unanswered questions remain. Now that the Libyan citizens in Benghazi have been protected, what is our next step? How long will American forces remain engaged in North Africa? When will the purported transfer of command occur and who will assume the burden of command for Operation Odyssey Dawn?
That is why the House Armed Services Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday, March 31. This hearing is designed to allow the Administration to explain Commander-in-Chief’s decision to use military force and to clarify the military mission while our fighting men and women are in harm’s way. Chairman McKeon and his colleagues expect an explanation of the nature of this threat and how American interests will be advanced through the force of arms in Libya.