Sen. Bob Corker, an outspoken critic of the handling of the U.S. intervention in Libya, didn’t have much to say following Thursday’s capture and killing of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
“I hope the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime will lead to greater freedom and opportunity for the Libyan people,” Corker said in a news release.
And that was all-Corker’s office declined to answer any follow-up questions.
Chuck Harper, a spokesman for Corker, said it was possible the senator would have more to say at a later time.
Corker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has repeatedly called on the Obama administration to clarify and justify the U.S. role in the joint-campaign against forces loyal to Gadhafi.
The outcry from the senator began on March 28-barely a week after the first American warplanes began carrying out attacks.
“While I believe Col. Gadhafi has engaged in a reprehensible campaign against his own people, I have yet to hear the clearly defined U.S. national interest in what appears to be a developing civil war,” Corker said. “I hope the administration will soon present to Congress a detailed accounting of the cost of operations to date.”
But Corker never had his requests met.
Frustrated, the senator wrote a letter on April 6 to Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking him to hold a series of hearings examining the constitutionality of the employment of U.S. forces in Libya. He penned another letter on April 15, this time to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, citing a “disconnect” between congress and the Obama administration on the nature of the U.S. role in Libya.
But as operations in Libya continued, Corker’s questions remained unanswered. So two months later on June 8, Corker, along with Sen. Jim Webb, D.-Va., introduced a joint resolution demanding the administration provide a “compelling rationale” for the intervention.
“It has now been 80 days since the United States first launched military action in Libya in what was supposed to be only a very limited operation, but neither the Congress nor the American people have any clearer view of the administration’s stated mission or end game for our military involvement in Libya,” Corker said.
By June 18, Corker was calling the president’s actions in Libya “Nothing short of bizarre.”
Eventually, the Senate would consider a resolution authorizing the use of U.S. Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya, but only after Corker voted against the resolution in committee.
The most recent statement from the senator’s office regarding the intervention in Libya came on September 14, when Corker again decried the handling and transparency of U.S. operations.
“We were told that the mission would be limited to protecting civilians and would last a matter of days, not weeks,” Corker said. “Now, five months later, the Libyan opposition has removed the Gadhafi regime from power, and it’s time to wind down the operation as soon as possible.”
Updated at 1:22 p.m. to correct Corker’s statement on Libya.