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Senate Resolution 146-- Expressing the Sense of the Senate That it is Not in the Vital Interest of the United States to Intervene Militarily in Libya

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. ENSIGN (for himself, Mrs. Hutchison, and Mr. Manchin) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 146

Whereas, on March 28, 2011, President Barack Obama, in an address to the Nation, said ``..... at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime's attacks from the air and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people'';

Whereas, in that same address to the Nation, President Obama said he ordered military action to prevent ``..... a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world'';

Whereas, on March 19, 2011, following passage of United Nations Resolution 1973, the United States began conducting air and sea strikes against Libya in what was labeled Operation Odyssey Dawn;

Whereas President Obama has not sought from Congress authorization for the use of military force against Libya;

Whereas passage of a non-binding, simple resolution by the Senate is not equivalent to an authorization for the use of military force, passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the President;

Whereas Senate Resolution 85 (112th Congress) should not be interpreted as an expression of congressional consent for United States military intervention in Libya;

Whereas, on March 31, 2011, the United States Armed Forces transferred command of air operations over Libya to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) under Operation Unified Protector;

Whereas, at the time of the transfer to NATO, the United States had conducted 1,206 sorties and launched 216 Tomahawk missiles, while other NATO forces had conducted 784 sorties and launched 7 Tomahawk missiles;

Whereas the United States Armed Forces have performed and continue to perform their assigned missions brilliantly and have once again demonstrated that they are the best in the world;

Whereas, prior to the United States transferring command to NATO, President Obama stated, ``Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Qaddafi's remaining forces.'';

Whereas, President Obama also stated that the United States would ``play a supporting role'' following transition to NATO, and that because of this transition, the risk and cost of this operation would be reduced significantly;

Whereas, after April 2, 2011, no United States combat aircraft were to fly strike missions over Libya unless specifically requested by NATO;

Whereas, after April 2, 2011, NATO immediately requested and was granted approval for a 48-hour extension of United States strike aircraft for participation in operations over Libya;

Whereas United States combat aircraft are currently scheduled to remain on standby in the region, in the event NATO commanders request additional assistance;

Whereas, Abdel Fattah Younes, head of the rebel forces, stated on April 5, 2011 that NATO has been ``disappointing'' and ``slow'' in calling in airstrikes, which have allowed Moammar Qaddafi's military to gain momentum and push back rebel forces;

Whereas, of the 21 members in the Arab League, only 2 countries have contributed any military resources to support United Nations Resolutions 1970 and 1973; and

Whereas it is in the interest of Arab nations to work with coalition forces to work to end violence, attacks, and abuses of civilians in Libya: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--

(1) United States military intervention in Libya, as explained by the President, is not in the vital interests of the United States;

(2) the President should have consulted with members of Congress prior to committing the United States Armed Forces either independently or as a major part of NATO operations;

(3) the President should obtain authorization from Congress before providing further military and financial support to operations in Libya and should not assume that such an authorization would equate to the United States Armed Forces leading any future strike or support operations;

(4) Prior to further involvement of United States military personnel or equipment, fellow NATO members and other nations that have a vital interest in the region should agree to provide a substantial portion of the military and financial burdens associated with Operation Unified Protector; and

(5) members of the Arab League should ensure that all of their military resources are available to enforce United Nations Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011).

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