Lipinski Votes to Allow American Non-Combat Activities in Libya

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) issued the following statement regarding his vote for H.R. 2278 to allow limited participation by the United States in the NATO-led operation in Libya. The permitted participation includes non-combat activities such as intelligence, search and rescue, refueling, and surveillance.

“From the beginning, America’s goals, strategy, and endgame in Libya have been murky,” Congressman Lipinski said. “After a decade of warfare in the Middle East, I believe it is critical that we exercise caution and consideration before becoming too involved in another potentially costly and protracted conflict. In casting this vote, I sought to convey to the President the message that Congress and the American people are uneasy with our involvement in Libya and do not feel they have been adequately consulted or informed. I do not believe anyone has a strong sense of what our exit plan is, nor what our ultimate strategic objectives are in this conflict. It is always much more easy to get involved in military action in a foreign country than it is to leave.

“Previously, I voted to require the President to provide Congress with detailed information on our role in the conflict and the justification for his refusal to seek Congressional authorization. Unfortunately, the response that we received was less than adequate or persuasive. At the same time, I do not believe that we should precipitously withdraw from supporting NATO’s operations in Libya. To do so could embolden Qaddafi and other dictators around the world. To abandon our allies completely could undermine our ability to secure their cooperation in the future, damaging our interests and alliances at a time when our own military has been stretched thin and resources are limited. I do not expect that this bill will pass the Senate, but I voted for it because it is an important signal to the President that he must consult more closely with Congress and do more to keep the public informed regarding U.S. policy on Libya going forward.”

(June 24, 2011)