Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown
says it is up to President Barack Obama to label U.S. Libyan intervention a war, adding he needs to explain his position to Congress – and more importantly to the American people. Brown also said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if attacks on Libya continue, anxiety and concern will spread, including throughout the Arab world.
“I think it’s up to the president to define it. It’s troubling: We’re now, in some sense in four Arab countries, if you count the drones going into Pakistan,” said Brown, who has called for U.S. Libyan involvement to be short term and limited.
“I think this begs the question about what we need to do in Afghanistan, do we need to stay on the July timetable and begin the withdrawal of troops there,” he said. “Because we are overextended as a nation, and I don’t know if that sends a very good message to the Arab world.”
Brown commended the president for moving cautiously, and said it was important that he brought other countries together in the Libyan effort, but added: “I think he needs to face the nation and tell the nation, and tell Congress, what the end game is and how this going to play out.”
The Ohio Democrat was asked whether he had spoken to Obama, or whether anyone from the White House had approached him on the intervention. Brown said no one had spoken with him.
“No, they didn’t to me. I think sometimes you have to move quickly . . . but I think that is why he needs to explain to the country what the goals [are] here, why he did this,” he said. “Congress is important in this, but the country particularly, addressing the nation about this.”
When asked how much longer the U.S. military can sustain all its worldwide activities, Brown said it was not just a question of the armed forces’ ability.
“It’s the fact that we’re, you know, in four Arab countries now,” he said. “I hope the president has thought this through better than previous presidents on dealing with the Middle East and the Arab world, and that’s why it is important that he address the nation.”
Brown noted that questions posed by House Speaker John Boehner about the Libyan mission in a letter to Obama where legitimate – and should be answered.
“I think it’s what the people are asking,” he said.
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