Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the President’s speech this evening on the international effort to prevent an international crisis in Libya:
“Tonight, the President clearly articulated his rationale for leading an international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Libya. As Colonel Gadhafi moved forward with his campaign of violence and intimidation against the Libya people, the Administration rallied the international community to intervene. Today, it is clear that our subsequent military action prevented the slaughter of thousands of civilians.
“Building on this speech, the Administration will send a number of key officials to Congress this week to continue to communicate what the goal is in Libya. While initially I had some concerns with the level of communication between the Administration, Congress and the American people, I applaud the Administration for its recent efforts. The President and his leadership team have clearly stated to the American people and Congress what the goal is in Libya. This must continue.
“The President has also said that he does not intend to use military force to remove Gadhafi from power, but he will pursue diplomatic and economic measures to help pressure Gadhafi to step down. This is the right approach. While it is important that Gadhafi leave power, I believe the combination of diplomatic and economic pressure, coupled with the no fly zone, is the best way to make this happen.
“I applaud the President for stating a clear case as to why we intervened in Libya and as policy makers it is important that we make it clear what the criteria are for interventions of this kind moving forward.
“It is also important to note that many who urged the Administration to act, are now criticizing the Administration for its actions. While the Administration could have done a better job of working with Congress in the days prior to taking action, it is clear that U.S. leadership prevented this humanitarian crisis from getting worse and saved thousands of lives. As a nation, that is something we should be proud of.”