“I don’t believe we should be engaged in the Libyan civil war,” the Indiana Republican said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I believe the Libyans are going to have to work that out. The fact is that we don’t have particular ties with anybody in the Libyan picture, and we will have to at least adjust to whatever that outcome may be. As far as we’re concerned, Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates has said it’s not of vital interest to the United States, American interests are not at stake, and we ... already have done much more than our part with regard to the no-fly zone, with regard to European friends.”
He also warned about the drain on the United States’ resources, considering “the huge economic problems we have.”
“Estimates are that about $1 billion has already been spent on an undeclared war in Libya; some would say only hundreds of millions and that that will diminish in the days ahead,” Lugar said. “But who knows how long this goes on? And furthermore, who has really budgeted for Libya at all?”
Gates made the Sunday news show rounds with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” ABC’s “This Week” and “Meet the Press.” (Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” noted on his program that the administration declined to send Gates and Clinton to his show, despite requests.)
Clinton was asked on “This Week” to reconcile the Libya mission with past statements that she and President Barack Obama made as Senators about the need for Congressional approval of military attacks in situations that do not involve stopping actual or imminent threats to the United States.
Speaking about the hypothetical use of force against Iran in 2007, then-Sen. Clinton said, “If the administration believed that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority.”
On Sunday, the secretary of State said the Obama White House welcomes Congressional support.
“But I don’t think that this kind of internationally authorized intervention, where we are one of a number of countries participating to enforce a humanitarian mission, is the kind of unilateral action that either I or President Obama were speaking of several years ago,” Clinton said. “I think that this had a limited time frame, a very clearly defined mission, which we are in the process of fulfilling.”
She referenced a “constant flow of information both to Members and staff” during her appearance on “Meet the Press.”
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin expressed support for the U.S. role in Libya during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Michigan Democrat’s committee plans to hold hearings Tuesday with the NATO commander about Libya.