The Corner

Lugar on the Libya No-Fly Zone

Senator Lugar (R., Ind.) says if the Arab League wants one, they should pay for it. And if America is to be involved, Congress must declare war first. Here’s the full statement:

 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement:

On Saturday, March 12, in a consensus decision, the Arab League endorsed a no-fly zone over Libya imposed by Western nations.  What was not included in the Arab League’s decision was any commitment to provide resources for the costs of a no-fly zone.  Any effective no-fly zone likely would require American participation and military assets.  Such an operation could cost American taxpayers millions of dollars, or more, depending on the length of time it was imposed and the depth of American commitment.  The United States already incurs billions of dollars in defense costs each year stemming from security requirements in the Persian Gulf region.

Given the costs of a no-fly zone, the risks that our involvement would escalate, the uncertain reception in the Arab street of any American intervention in an Arab country, the potential for civilian deaths, the unpredictability of the endgame, the strains on our military, and other factors, it is doubtful that U.S. interests would be served by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.   If the Obama Administration is contemplating this step, however, it should begin by seeking a declaration of war against Libya that would allow for a full Congressional debate on the issue.  In addition, it should ask Arab League governments and other governments advocating for a no-fly zone to pledge resources necessary to pay for such an operation.

This is not unprecedented.  More than $50 billion in foreign contributions were received to offset U.S. costs in association with the first Gulf War in 1991.  Much of this came from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Finally, given continuing upheaval in the Middle East, we should understand that the situation in Libya may not be the last to generate calls for American military operations.   We need a broader public discussion about the goals and limits of the U.S. role in the Middle East, especially as it pertains to potential military intervention.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

U.S.

Political Theatrics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including all you whippersnappers under the age of 50), I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic. At least I hope that’s ... Read More
World

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More