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At Hearing, Senator Rubio Questions President Obama’s “Puzzling Inaction” Over Libya

Apr 4, 2011 | Blog

Washington, D.C. – Today, at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio questioned William Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the State Department, about the Obama administration’s “puzzling inaction” as Qaddafi executes a brutal crackdown on opposition forces in Libya.

Transcript And Video From Today’s Hearing:

Senator Rubio: “I guess I’ll start kind of with a question couched in a statement, and I want to be frank about it because this is really troubling. From everything I’ve read, from folks we’ve been talking to, from all the accounts that are out there, the United States quite frankly looks weak in this endeavor. It looks unwilling or maybe even unable to act in this capacity. Even worse, I think really calling attention to it—Britain, France, the Arab League are all out there, calling not just attention to this but specifying specific actions they’d like to see taken. We’ve seen criticism from the Libyan resistance and Libyan opposition as to our position, puzzlement as to where the United States is in this new phase.

“I would ask you basically to comment, not just on the Libyan situation but on the impact that our inaction and quite frankly our puzzling inaction to most people around the world, what impact that’s having on the image of the United States in the region and around the world with regards to future potential conflicts? Is the message that we’re sending that when future conflicts arise, the United States’ actions are difficult to predict? There may be none? That basically that the way to repress and bring down resistance like this is to be brutal? What are we going to do if there’s a bloodbath after this?

“The President of the United States has specifically said Qaddafi must go, but has done nothing since saying that except having internal debates about it for a week and a half or two. Congressional leadership in both parties have strongly called for a no-fly zone and other actions, and nothing has happened. All of this is a toxic brew that is really undermining the perception of the United States and our ability to influence events, not just in this area of the world, but all over the world. Has there been any analysis done on the impact this is having on the perception of the United States in the region and around the world, the damage that this inaction is doing?”