WASHINGTON – One of the Senate’s leading foreign policy specialists, Sen. Richard Lugar, says he has serious concerns about the costs of what he believes is a poorly defined and badly handled military mission in Libya.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press," Lugar said the U.S. has no vital national security interest in Libya, and that the huge involvement in enforcing a no-fly zone over the country will dangerously increase the nation's exploding budget deficit.
“I think there should have been a plan for what our objectives were, a debate as to why this was in our vital interest before we committed military forces to Libya,” said Lugar, R-Indiana, who stressed he doesn’t support the incursion. He also quoted Defense Sec. Robert Gates, who appeared on the show before him, that the U.S. has no vital security interests in Libya.
“There has to be objectives and a plan and an agreement that we're prepared to devote the military forces but also the money,” Lugar said. “It makes no sense, sort of in the front room, where in Congress we are debating seemingly every day the deficits, the debt ceiling situation coming up, the huge economic problems we have; but in the back room we are spending money on a military situation in Libya. Estimates are that about $1 billion has already been spent on an undeclared war in Libya.”
Lugar also raised the issue of U.S. failure in the mission to topple Gadhafi – a costly move that would leave a despot overseeing a much more dangerous, fractured, lawless country.
“In large part, since we have taken the position that Moammar Gadhafi is an especially evil, bad dictator, and we have now indicated, the president said that he must go, he lacks legitimacy and so forth,” Lugar said. “Others have made the same statement. But if, in fact, he stays, is successful with his forces in subduing the rebels, then we are going to have to deal with Gadhafi and whatever we have there.”
Editor's Note: See our exclusive interview with Sen. Richard Lugar: "Lugar Warns No-Fly Zone in Libya an Act of War"
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