Webb: Involvement in Libya not administration’s prerogative

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell today that there are “legitimate questions” about the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s move to involve the United States in the UN intervention in Libya.

“What we have seen in Libya is different than a lot of the other examples that people have been talking about. Traditionally, the president can take unilateral action if you have a direct attack, an imminent attack, or in order to rescue Americans, as President Reagan did in the Grenada operation, or in retaliation for an attack on Americans around the world, as we did against Libya when I was in the Pentagon in 1986. This is a situation that is either an uprising or a civil war in which Americans were not involved,” said Webb, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees and a former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration in the 1980s.

Webb said the next step is to “figure out the dynamic on the ground” in Libya amid reports from military officials that dictator Muammar Qaddafi is not considered to be close to giving up control of the country that he has led for more than 30 years.

“There is either going to be a stalemate or Qaddafi is going to fall. Either of those cases presents very serious challenges for us in terms of what we are going to do here in the next month or two,” said Webb, calling for the administration to be more forthcoming to Congress on Libya in the coming days and weeks.

“We need to understand clearly what it is that we are going to attempt to do if there is a stalemate or if the regime is overthrown. There is more than likely going to have to be some sort of a multi-national force in Libya, unless this remains a volatile combat situation for quite some time. Even then, what are we going to do? There are calls for arming the rebels. There are calls for other countries to come in and become militarily involved. This is not simply the prerogative of the executive branch of the government when you reach the situation that we are in right now,” Webb said.

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