Congressional approval needed for Libya attacks

March 22, 2011

I applaud the United Nation's Security Council resolution that authorizes force to stop the atrocities of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, yet I have serious misgivings about this nation's role in the intervention ("An unstated mission," March 22). While the United Nation's resolution provides a "legal" mandate for action, American military intervention should have had congressional approval as is spelled out in our Constitution.

As so often the case, America is expected to do the heavy lifting while others merely show the flag. Other nations are involved, but once again the majority of firepower will be from the United States. Will Libya be a replay of NATO's adventure in the former Yugoslavia? The bombardment of Belgrade by so-called NATO bombers was a misnomer, since the overwhelming majority of the aircraft were U.S. Air Force, taking off from the Midwest and refueled over the Atlantic.

I also question why both the Egyptian and Saudi air forces are not part of the U.N. action. American taxpayers have spent billions of dollars training fighter pilots from those nations, yet when things get hot, they're nowhere to be found.

And as any military professional will relate (and I'm no professional) it takes "boots on the ground" to bring a conflict to conclusion. My hunch is Americans will be called for this task. And no doubt the National Guard will be the grunts doing the job.

Congress should be asked to do its job, namely authorize this new American war in the Middle East. The president must spell out realistic goals, something more than "Mr. Gadhafi has to go." And the American people should start paying attention to our major growth industry, namely the Pentagon!

Rosalind Nester Ellis, Baltimore

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