March 26th, 2011 2:00 pm | by NATHAN GILLES News | Posted In: Politics

Blumenauer Approves of Obama's Libyan Decision

Earl BlumenauerU.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer
 U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) isn't among the growing number of lawmakers opposing-or seriously questioning-President Obama’s decision to commit U.S. forces to the international offensive against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. 

“I think it was appropriate for the United States to be part of an international response to stop Gadhafi from slaughtering his people and reestablishing a position where he might do further damage in this wildly changing scene in North Africa and the Middle East.”Blumenauer said in a phone conversation with WW.

Obama is set to deliver a primetime address Monday on Libya. And Blumenauer's support for Obama's decision contrasts with pointed concerns raised about that decision by two fellow Oregon Democrats in Congress-Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Jeff Merkley. Oregon's only Republican congressman, Rep. Greg Walden, has also questioned Obama's rationale for the U.S. mission in Libya.

Blumenauer—an opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—would not speculate on how long he thought the Libyan offensive would last. He said he hoped U.S. forces would participate, “no longer than absolutely necessary” and added, “having a protracted land war in Libya isn’t in anybody’s interests.”

Is the anti-war Blumenauer turning hawkish? Hardly. The congressman says he wants to see more diplomatic and economic tools—such as limiting Gadhafi’s access to capital—used in order to put further pressure on the dictator.

Blumenauer, however, doesn't believe, as DeFazio does, that the president has overstepped his authority by not first asking for congressional approval to involve U.S. troops in the offensive. But Blumenauer did say, “I do think at some point clarification under the War Powers Act would be useful.”

Commenting on the legacy left on the region by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Blumenauer said Obama was “negotiating a minefield of incredible complexity.”And the congressman called the U.S. decision to engage in a multilateral action with NATO, the UN, and the Arab League “extraordinary.” Referring to the no-fly zone as a “shared responsibility,” he said, “It would have been a terrible message for all concerned if the United States stayed out of it.”

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