Veterans Withhold Support of Military Operations in Libya
PUBLISHED: March 21, 2011
Vets say too many unanswered questions,
no Congressional approval are major problems
Washington, DC - VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans group in America, is releasing a statement that lays out why the group cannot support military operations in Libya launched by the Obama administration over the weekend. The group's chair said that there were far too many unanswered questions, and raised concern that operations took place without Congressional approval.
In a statement, Ashwin Madia, Iraq War Veteran and Interim Chairman of VoteVets.org said:
"We cannot support the military action taken in Libya by the Obama administration. Though the actions in Libya are morally justified, and we are extremely interested and eager to see the Libyan people live under freedom, there are far too many unanswered questions for us to support this new US adventure in the Middle East.
First and foremost among our questions is: What is our mission, and is that mission open to change? Indications from the administration are that the sole mission in Libya is enforcement of a no-fly zone. What if Qaddafi forces continue to advance on the opposition, and indiscriminately kill them? Will the mission expand? If it does, and necessitates ground troops, will the US change its stance that no US ground troops will be sent to Libya? These questions must be answered satisfactorily for our support.
Secondly, should the regime fall in Libya, what then? If there is civil or sectarian strife, will our mission expand to maintain stability within Libya's borders? Will we take on yet another nation-building project that we simply cannot afford? Or will we allow Libya to devolve into mass chaos? Neither is an optimal situation, but the administration must tell us now what it will do. Making plans up on the fly, or withholding plans from the American people, is not acceptable.
Third, who is paying for these operations? Even if the US reduces its role, will we continue to lend financial support or weapons that we pay for? At a time when our budget is already broken, how is all of this being paid for?
Finally, we firmly believe that without a clear and present danger to US security, this military operation should not have taken place without the approval of Congress. We stand with many Republicans and Democrats who have made this point. It is Congress' job to ask the administration the tough questions above, and approve military action only after those questions have been fully and honestly answered. Though Congress largely abdicated that role in the lead up to the war in Iraq, we hope that Congress learned its lesson, and will be much more vigilant when it comes to military action in Libya.
To be clear, it is not too late for the administration to answer our questions, be open and honest with the American people, and consult with Congress. But, until it does, we must withhold our support."
Founded in 2006, and backed by over 100,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives. VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America. While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.