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Mission Impossible to Define
Posted By James Carafano On March 24, 2011 @ 10:00 am In American Leadership | 4 Comments
The Daily Caller  reports: “Some Democratic advocates are already touting President Barack Obama’s Libyan intervention as a success, but others, including Democratic foreign-policy gurus, worry that a continued stand-off will damage the president’s polls and wreck efforts to boost the role of transnational organizations, such as the United Nations.”
It is not surprising, liberals are all over the map, or for that matter conservatives have very different views of what the White House is up to. That’s because the President has finally succeeded in bringing Washington together—all sides are confused over what exactly the mission in Libya is. Most media outlets agree. We are currently seeing headlines like: “NATO Struggles to Define Libya Role “, “Navy chief: We don’t know what happens next in Libya war “, and “No ‘timeline’ for end of Libya operation ”
An ill-defined mission can spell disaster for a military operation. A clear declaration of purpose is vital to avoid “mission creep” – an expansion of commitments beyond the original goal of the operation. First and foremost, the President must clearly articulate the mission of U.S. operations in Libya and clarify U.S. interests. Neither stating that the U.S. is helping “protect civilians” nor declaring that American ground troops will not be applied is sufficient. Stating that the U.S. is not pursuing “regime change” is a declaration of what the mission is not, not what it is.
I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission. But I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission. In fact, the limited, sometimes contradictory, case made to the American people by members of your Administration has left some fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered. At the same time, by contrast, it appears your Administration has consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.
It is my hope that you will provide the American people and Congress a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objective, and purpose of our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved. Here are some of the questions I believe must be answered:
You can read the full letter  here.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/24/mission-impossible-to-define/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/libya-obama.jpg
 The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/24/on-libya-democrats-debate-whether-it-is-mission-accomplished/#ixzz1HWHnxFuM
 NATO Struggles to Define Libya Role: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-23/nato-members-fail-to-agree-on-libya-role-as-france-seeks-arab-involvement.html
 Navy chief: We don’t know what happens next in Libya war: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/23/navy_chief_we_don_t_know_what_happens_next_in_libya_war
 No ‘timeline’ for end of Libya operation: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110323/pl_afp/libyaconflictusmilitarygates
 a more prudent course: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/03/Washingtons-To-Do-List-for-Libya-Next-Steps-Must-Be-Measured
 a letter: http://www.speaker.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=230469
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