The Blog

Marco Rubio Warns Against Disengagement from Libya

Leading from the front.

6:02 PM, Jun 28, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In a strong speech on the Senate floor, Marco Rubio warned against disengagement from Libya. “Here is what withdrawal will mean in real terms,” Rubio said:

1. The coalition would quickly unravel. Gadhafi would emerge victorious, even more dangerous and determined to seek his revenge through terrorism against the countries in NATO and the Arab League that tried and failed to overthrow him.

2. We would see a bloodbath inside Libya. This killer Gadhafi will unleash unspeakable horrors against the Libyan people. And the ripple effects will be felt across the Middle East. For example, the Pro-democracy movements in place like Iran to Syria would conclude that they too might be abandoned. And the dictators they oppose would be emboldened.

3. Our disengagement would irreparably harm damage the NATO alliance.

Rubio, also, criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the Libyan engagement: “First, for the life of me, I do not understand why this administration did not bring this issue to the Congress from the outset.” But, ultimately, Rubio argued that it’s more important that the general policy in Libya be right than the politics of whether President Obama handled the situation properly. 

Here's video of Rubio's speech:

Here's the full text:

Over the last two weeks, we have seen a deepening divide between the White House and Congress over Libya. It is a clash that was both completely avoidable but also counterproductive.

First, for the life of me, I do not understand why this administration did not bring this issue to the Congress from the outset. In the early days of the Libyan rebellion, the President should have come to the Congress, informed us that an armed rebellion had arisen against Libyas’s anti-American, criminal dictator. That the rebels were asking for our assistance in establishing a no-fly zone over Libyan air space so they could take care of the dictator themselves. And that with our support, he intended to work with our allies to establish such a no-fly zone.

If this President had done this, I believe he would have found support here and Qadafi would have been gone a long time ago.

But instead, this administration waited. While it did, Qadafi reestablished momentum, and began to carry out a new level of atrocities unprecedented even by his murderous standards. And then, only with the Qadafi mercenaries on the outskirts of Benghazi threaten to massacre thousands of innocent civilians, did the U.S. finally agree to participate.

But even that was botched. First, we ceded most of the operation over to our NATO allies. God bless them for trying, but they do not have the military capability to finish the job.

Second, the President never consulted Congress, again ignoring a co-equal branch of government unnecessarily.

And then, when finally he was pressed under the War Powers Act, he claims the United States is not involved in “hostilities” in Libya.

Why we have reached this point is something history will have to explain. Suffice it to say, it didn’t have to be this way. And the reason why it is, is 100% the result of the Presidents failure to lead.

Now, all that being said, we need to decide what to do next. This is not about Hawks versus Doves. Or Interventionists versus Isolationists. Or any of the other labels being used to describe this debate.

And this cannot be about how upset any of us are at the President for botching the handling of this matter.

What we do next should be decided based on what is in the best interest of our country.

And here is the reality, whether you agree with it or nor, the United States is now engaged in a fight. And it is a fight that only has two possible endings.

It can end with the fall of a brutal, criminal, anti-American dictator.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers