WASHINGTON – As the House GOP prepares to throw a wrench into President Barack Obama’s military operation in Libya, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) accused Republicans of attacking his former 2008 rival for partisan gain.
“Is this the time for Congress to turn against this policy? Is this the time time to ride to the rescue of a failing tyrant when the writing is on the wall that he will collapse?” McCain said Tuesday morning on the Senate floor. “These are the questions every member of Congress needs to think about long and hard, but especially my Republican colleagues.”
McCain said the situation was similar to when Democrats “savaged President Bush” on the Iraq war. “We were right to condemn this behavior then, and we would be wrong to practice it now ourselves simply because the leader of the opposite part occupies the White House,” he said.
Obama has come under fire from some Republicans and Democrats for failing to obtain the approval of Congress in continuing U.S. military involvement in Libya. Critics have decreed the move a violation of the War Powers Resolution, which says congressional approval is required for military operation involving hostilities that last longer than 60 days. (Obama officials argue the operation does not entail “hostilities.”) The campaign, aimed at toppling the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, crosses its 90th day this week.
Although Democratic leaders have sided with Obama, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (OH) has questioned the president’s moves and demanded further explanation.
“The White House says there are no hostilities taking place, yet we’ve got drone attacks underway, we’re spending $10 million a day as part of an effort to drop bombs on Gaddafi’s compounds,” Boehner said recently. “It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test in my view that we’re not in the midst of hostilities.”
McCain wasn’t pleased with his House colleagues.
“If my Republican colleagues are indifferent about how their actions would affect this president, I would urge them to think seriously about how a vote to cut off funding for this military could come back to haunt a future president when the shoe is on the other foot,” he said Tuesday.
“We are all entitled to our opinions about Libya policy, but here are the facts: Gaddafi is going to fall. It’s just a matter of time.”