Today’s Questions for the President

by Peter Kirsanow

While introducing a Joint Resolution on Libya in the Senate last week, Sen. Jim Webb stated that you “followed no clear historical standard when [you] decided to use force in Libya” and that the Libya operation has continued beyond the “days, not weeks” time frame you set at the outset of the “kinetic military action.”

Regarding your decision to use U.S. military force in Libya, Senator Webb asks, ” Was our country under attack, or under the threat of imminent attack? Was a clearly vital national interest at stake? Were we invoking the inherent right of self-defense as outlined in the United Nations charter? Were we called upon by treaty commitments to come to the aid of an ally? Were we responding in kind to an attack on our forces elsewhere, as we did in the 1986 raid on Libya after American soldiers had been killed in a disco in Berlin? Were we rescuing Americans in distress, as we did in Grenada in 1983?”

In addition to Senator Webb’s questions, what precisely was your standard for using U.S. military force in Libya? Does that standard apply to Syria and Iran? What determines when we will cease our involvement in Libya?

Who are the Libyan rebels?