Rep. Earl Blumenauer Statement on House Votes Regarding NATO Missions in Libya

June 3, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a member of the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, released the following statement after voting NO on both H.Res. 292 and H.Con.Res. 51:

“Too often the greatest powers, including the United States, have failed to act when they could have intervened in a responsible way to stop the slaughter of innocents.  In Libya, it was clear that there was a crisis developing and America, with our NATO allies, the Arab League and the UN Security Council, appropriately provided limited support to rebel forces. That assistance included a no-fly zone that has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives.

“It would have been an unfortunate precedent and undermined key global institutions if we failed to act with such a clear, unified call for intervention. Inaction would have endangered the recent display of democratic aspirations by so many in the region. Our failure to act would have emboldened the despots of Syria, Iran, Yemen and others, suggesting there were no consequences for murdering peaceful protesters.

“The Kucinich resolution was ill-advised, requiring U.S. forces to cease all operational support for the NATO mission in Libya within 15 days. I believe that we must not turn our backs on our allies and more importantly, the innocent civilians in Libya who want the right to choose their own government. Speaker Boehner’s resolution, while not calling for an end to U.S. involvement in Libya, was factually inaccurate and attempted to rewrite history.

“I do not support an open-ended commitment in Libya, nor do I support a ground mission there. I will welcome thoughtful legislation acknowledging that the U.S. has chosen to answer the cries of the innocent Libyan people, but which also makes clear that our commitment to their aspirations of self governance is not open-ended, and which clearly defines our goals and limits.