State delegation supports U.S. role in Libya

By Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s congressional delegation, all Republicans, offered generally supportive comments on American participation in air attacks on Libya, and each offered advice about how to proceed toward humanitarian goals and against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, the nation’s 40-year dictator.
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker was forceful in his opinion about toppling Gadhafi.
“Removal of Gadhafi must be our ultimate goal,” Wicker said. “Despite American-led airstrikes and significant progress by Libyan rebel forces, I am troubled this international terrorist shows no sign of stopping his campaign of lethal retribution against the Libyan people. Now is not the time for America to cede its leadership role. We must rally our NATO allies and continue our military operations to stop the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Libya.”
Wicker said inaction would lead to a “destabilized region” that could be exploited by al-Qaeda and other radicals.
Sen. Thad Cochran offered support, with a caveat.
“I think the cautious approach to this conflict is in our best interest. We should not get involved in a ground war in Libya unless we are directly threatened. The action we have taken to destroy air defense assets in Libya was appropriate in my opinion,” Cochran said.
Cochran, elected in 1978, is a U.S. Navy veteran, and Wicker, elected to complete former Sen. Trent Lott’s term in 2008, is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Wicker is a member of Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees.
Cochran is ranking member (vice chairman) of the Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, elected to the 1st District House seat in November, said, “President Obama should continue to be forthcoming with the American people and Congress on the military action taking place in Libya. As our military forces complete their objectives … we should begin to exit from this stage by handing over the lead to our NATO allies …”
Nunnelee, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he hopes the Obama administration uses a briefing for members of Congress today to shed more light and answer questions to more clearly define U.S. goals.
Contact Joe Rutherford at (662) 678-1597 or joe.rutheford@journalinc.com.