Sen. Conrad: Arm Libyan Rebels to Overthrow Gadhafi

Wednesday, 02 Mar 2011 04:11 PM

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The United States should provide arms to those fighting to topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, says Sen. Kent Conrad. The North Dakota Democrat’s comments during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” put him at odds with the go-slow approach of the Obama administration but in line with a small but growing group calling for decisive leadership.

Kent Conrad, Gadhafi, rebels, arms
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
Conrad, who lived in Libya for several years in the mid-1960s while a student at the Wheelus American High School at Wheelus AFB in Tripoli, said the United States must do three things in Libya. The first is to make it clear that it is in the interest of the people of Libya and the world community that “Gadhafi has got to go.”

“Number two, I think we’ve got to make arms available to those who are trying to topple this regime,” the Senate Budget Committee chairman said. “They can’t be outgunned by the remnants of the Libyan military still loyal to Gadhafi and more importantly probably the armed and hired mercenaries that Gadhafi has brought in, really thugs, from other countries to kill his own people. Number three, we’ve got to organize the world community to put tough sanctions on this Libyan regime, cut off their sources of money. That is the thing that will bring them down faster than anything.”

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental affairs, said the United States has to “recognize the opposition provisional government as the legitimate government of Libya and that we ought to give that government certainly humanitarian assistance and military arms, not to go in on the ground ourselves, but give them the wherewithal to fight on behalf of the people of Libya against a really cruel dictator."

Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also criticized the Obama administration for not having “spoken out much more clearly and early against the Gadhafi regime.”

And Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said during an appearance Wednesday on the “ Castner and Carty” radio show in New Orleans that Gadhafi is fighting his own people, and “his people need to fight him and win, and we need to do what we can to support them in a strong diplomatic fashion and potentially, give them weapons and ammunition to fight their battles."

British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a similar call to arm Libyan rebels, according to London’s Financial Times.


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