Schumer: Libyans Themselves Should Oust Gadhafi

Friday, 25 Mar 2011 09:42 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says he is satisfied that the mission in Libya is correct, and the United States should not be leading the fight against the forces of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The No. 3 leader in the Senate also said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that it is important Gadhafi be ousted — preferably by his own people.

“The bottom line is: The original goals of the mission — humanitarian, disrupt command-and-control supply lines of Gadhafi — are reasonable,” Schumer said. “The hard part about this is the right part, which is that the United States should not be in the lead here, and trying to create a multilateral force that will take over.

“Because after all, the European and Arab nations have a greater geopolitical interest in Libya than we do,” Schumer said. “It’s hard, but important, and they seem to be making progress in that regard. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be part of it, but it does mean that they will be in the lead — and that will be the first time.”

Asked whether it is important that Gadhafi no longer remain Libyan leader, Schumer replied: “Well, I think that it’s important he be ousted from power and I think it would be a lot better if his own people ousted him. And of course the goal here, is that after the no-fly zone is in effect for several days, his command-and-control and supply line are disrupted, that the rebels will gain strength, and they can do the ousting.”

Schumer said he has heard from the administration on the Libyan intervention, but it is important that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are going to Capitol Hill next week for a classified briefing.

“There are some who say that the minute the president does anything, Congress has to approve it,” Schumer added. “That’s really not how the law is; it says up until 60 days you have to act. And up until that point, if it’s a limited action, that requires some immediacy, I don’t believe Congress has to act.

“The catch word is: Caution — this is not an action that is all over the place, it’s limited, it’s focused,” he said. “And that’s Congress’ role — to keep an eye that it stays that way.”

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