Lugar Wonders When Kerry Plans To Hold Hearings On Libyan War

It seems like a reasonable question to ask. The President of the United States has effectively declared war on Libya and authorized military strikes against the country without so much as consulting Congress, let alone getting some form of advanced authorization for the military action. Sen. Richard Lugar has written to Sen John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking that he conduct hearings on the Libyan War. In a "Dear John" letter, Lugar writes:

I write to request Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the U.S. government’s ongoing intervention in the Libyan civil war and the innumerable policy considerations that flow from that intervention. I noted a newspaper story today that cited one of your spokesmen as saying that there are no plans for hearings on Libya. That statement may not accurately reflect your own intent. But I wanted to make clear that I believe prompt hearings on Libya in our Committee are essential.

Any U.S. military intervention in a foreign country would require oversight hearings by the Foreign Relations Committee. In my judgment, hearings on Libya are especially vital because the Obama Administration did not consult meaningfully with Congress before initiating military operations. Members have not yet had an opportunity to question the Administration on its policy goals or its diplomatic and military strategy. The Administration has not defined the U.S. strategic interest in Libya or adequately articulated how the conflict ends. Questions remain about how the coalition will function going forward and what role the U.S. will play among our allies. Administration ambiguity on these points is impacting our military activities, the cohesion of the coalition, and public attitudes towards the war.

We also know little about the Libyan opposition or the Administration’s plans for paying for the war. It is not clear that the Obama Administration has thought through the consequences of this action for regional stability, the fight against terrorism, the impact on oil markets, and other factors.

I believe hearings not only would provide some important answers to Senators and to the American people, they would induce the Obama Administration to conduct in-depth contingency planning that does not seem to have occurred. Is the Administration planning for the range of potential outcomes, including a prolonged stalemate in which Col. Qadhafi remains in power in Tripoli? All scenarios in Libya will have significant budget implications at a time when Congress is focused on achieving budget savings. We need to discuss this now, so the American people know what may be asked of them . . .
It is remarkable that the Obama administration has done nothing to reach out to members of Congress either of the President's own party or Republican members like Lugar who have shown a willingness to offer bipartisan support for Obama's foreign policy initiatives, such as the START Treaty with Russia, even if those initiatives were ill-advised in my opinion.

Even more troubling is the growing disarray among our allies. Germany has already pulled out of the coalition, while the Brits are calling for the assassination of Quadafi. We are offering support to rebels which some news reports suggest are backed by al Qaeda. To think Barack Hussein Obama was issued the Nobel Peace Prize before he ever demonstrated to the world he was deserving of the great honor. His actions are totally unconstitutional and placing our country at great peril at a time it is already reeling from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It's as if he is deliberately promoting the destabilization of the entire Middle East and causing oil prices to skyrocket, which is only pinching the wallets of struggling Americans further. It also disappointing that Republicans can't seem to speak with a unified voice in opposition to this military action. I've been very critical of Sen. Lugar on a number of issues, but he seems to be one of the few adults in the room when it comes to this issue.