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Marco Rubio Warns Against Disengagement from Libya

Leading from the front.

6:02 PM, Jun 28, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Or it could end in that dictator’s victory over our allies and us.

I would suggest, that given these two choices, the best choice for America is the first one, the fall of the anti-American dictator.

Going forward, how do we do this?

First, we should officially recognize the Transitional National Council.

Second, we should provide additional resources to support the council, including access to Libyan funds frozen here in the United States. And by the way, we should also make sure that we the frozen funds are also used to reimburse us for the cost of this operation.

Third, we should intensify strike operations to target the Gadhafi regime and get rid of this guy once and for all, and as soon as possible.

Then, fourth, we should go home and allow the Libyan people to build a new nation and a new future for themselves.

I understand that rightfully so, many here in the Congress and across America are weary of more war and more overseas engagement during a time of severe budget constraints here at home.

But the fact remains that whether you agree with it or not, we are already involved. We are already involved in Libya. We have already spent a considerable amount of money there. Are we going to let all that go to waste? Are we prepared to walk away and get stuck with a lose-lose proposition? We spent all this money on Libya, and Qadafi is still around?

It is in on national interest to get this over with already.

This afternoon, the Foreign Relations Committee will meet to consider a resolution on this matter. I am concerned that rather than push the President to do what is necessary to bring this conflict to a successful conclusion, some are pushing to restrict our military campaign.

No matter how you may feel about the original decision. We must now deal with the situation as it now stands. And the bottom line here is that if we withdraw from our air war over Libya, it will lengthen the conflict, increase its cost to American taxpayers, and raise doubts about U.S. leadership among friends and foes alike.

Here is what withdrawal will mean in real terms:

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.

I fully understand the frustration at the way the President has handled this situation. But the answer to any problem is not to make it worse.

Some may think that what we do here this afternoon on the resolution is largely symbolic. Simply intended to "send a message" to the White House.

Yes, it will send a message to the President, but it will also send a message to Gadhafi and those around him.

And here is the message that I fear we may send, that the coalition is breaking and the Qadafi regime might yet win. I know that is not anyone’s intention. But that is the very real risk we run.

There is a better, more pragmatic way forward.

Lets pass a resolution backing these activities.

For those of frustrated with the Presidents failure to adequately make the case for our involvement, our job in Congress is to push the administration to do a better job explaining our effort in Libya.

Here is the good news. The tide in Libya appears to be turning against Gadhafi. The opposition in Benghazi has succeeded in expanding the territory under its control, breaking the siege laid by regime forces on Misrata, the country's third largest city.

At the same time, the Gadhafi regime has been shaken by further defections and collapsing international support.

Libya is at a critical juncture. And for the United States, there is only one acceptable outcome, the removal of the Gadhafi regime and, with it, the opportunity for the Libyan people to build a free and democratic society.

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