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Kucinich on NATO Role in Libya: War on Discount is Still a Bad Deal
WASHINGTON - March 25 - Congressman Dennis (D-OH) today wrote to fellow members of Congress that NATO’s role in the war in Libya would not shield Americans from the costs of the war. Kucinich’s letter responded to the announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that NATO would take over command of the no-fly zone in Libya. In his letter, Kucinich pointed to United States’ dominant role in the funding of NATO and called for Members to support his amendment which would eliminate U.S. funds for the military intervention in Libya.
The full text of the letter follows:
Libyan War on Deep Discount is Still not a Good Deal;
Under NATO, United States will Bear the Costs of War
Last night, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton announced that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has agreed to take over responsibility for the military intervention taking place in Libya. The announcement does little to change the realities of the situation.
- According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States funds approximately 25% of NATO’s budget. The U.S., France and Britain collectively account for about 43% of NATO’s budget collectively. These three nations have large influence over the actions that NATO takes. Handing control of the no-fly zone to NATO is only a cost-sharing plan to pay for the war, but we will still be paying for it. Even at a discount, another war in another Muslim nation, with no end in sight, is simply not a good deal for the American people.
- NATO has agreed to take over nothing more than the command of the established no-fly zone. If further military action is required, such as attacks on Qadaffi’s ground forces or other targets, that responsibility will likely fall to the United States. Already we have seen the rebels in Libya fail to take advantage of the American enacted no-fly zone. Qadaffi forces continue their attacks.
- Even with NATO’s support, the war in Libya has the potential to become a quagmire, in part because we entered into this conflict without clear goals. Already, military action has brought the eastern and western parts of Libya to a standoff. Is the goal to divide Libya? Is the goal to remove Muammar Qadaffi? Will we install a friendly regime? What if the country is destabilized to the point that extremist groups such as al-Qaeda are allowed to take root? How does this war end? When will this war end? How much will it cost American taxpayers? What is the impact on our already overstretched military?
- The President committed the U.S. to military invention without consulting Congress, in clear subversion of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives only Congress the power to declare war. Congress must act to protect its Constitutional authority to decide whether our nation will go to war.
The war in Libya was a strategic and moral blunder. Please join me in cosponsoring an amendment to the next Continuing Resolution that would prevent any U.S. funds from being used for the war in Libya or NATO’s role in Libya.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress