Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rumsfeld on why Obama didn't seek congressional authorization on Libya

Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, told the Politico on Wednesday that the the U.S. mission in Libya has become muddled because the White House has been unable to define the mission and is letting coalition partners in Europe determine "what the mission is."

“I’ve always believed that the mission should determine the coalition,” said Rumsfeld. “You decide what it is you want to do and then you get other countries to assist you in doing that. And, in this case, it looks like just the opposite was done, that the coalition is trying to determine the mission and it’s confused. … If peoples’ lives are at risk and you’re using military forces, you need to have a rather clear understanding as to who’s in charge and who’s making the decisions.”

Rumsfeld stated that the reason President Obama did not seek authorization from Congress before ordering military strikes on Libya is because he didn't have a clearly defined goal of what it was he wanted to accomplish.

“When people criticized [the President] for not going to Congress, criticizing the administration for not going to Congress, going to the United Nations and the Arab League instead, I kind of could understand why he didn’t,” he said. “If you went to Congress and asked for authorization to do something, you’d have to know what it was you wanted to do and you had to have decided before the fact with some precision and some clarity, as to what the mission would be.”

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