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House Speaker questions Obama's policy on Libya

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Seeking clarification from US President Barack Obama on the purpose of Libyan mission, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner has sent him a letter strongly questioning his Administration's policy on Libya.

"I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that US military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner said in a strongly worded letter addressed to the US President.

"In fact, the limited, sometimes contradictory, case made to the American people by members of your Administration has left some fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered. At the same time, by contrast, it appears your Administration has consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the UN and the Arab League," he said.

"You have said that the support of the international community was critical to your decision to strike Libya. But, like many Americans, it appears many of our coalition partners are themselves unclear on the policy goals of this mission.

If the coalition dissolves or partners continue to disengage, will the American military take on an increased role?  Will we disengage?" he asked.

Boehner wanted to know, if the strife in Libya becomes a protracted conflict, what are your Administration's objectives for engaging with opposition forces, and what standards must a new regime meet to be recognized by our government?

Boehner who noted that Obama had called for Libyan leader Gaddafi to leave power said, "UN Security Council resolution does not substitute for a US political and military strategy. You have stated that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must go, consistent with US policy goals.

But the UN resolution that the US helped develop and signed onto makes clear that regime change is not part of this mission. In light of this contradiction, is it an acceptable outcome for Gaddafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya? If not, how will he be removed from power? Why would the US commit American resources to enforcing a UN resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests?" he asked.

The two-page missive, marked Boehner's most extensive reaction to the launch of US military operations on Saturday; 'The Hill' reported.

Boehner also asked several other questions regarding the US mission, including about the planned transfer of authority to an international coalition and how the US would respond if the coalition broke apart.

He also asked how long Obama anticipated the military operations to last and what impact they would have on the federal budget.

First Published: Thu, March 24 2011. 08:51 IST