Five senators push Obama to do more in Libya

While President Obama predicts US forces could disengage from Libya within the week, Senate hawks who pressed for military intervention watch closely to see that the mission's goals are fulfilled. Critics, including conservatives, say they are leading the nation into endless, costly wars. Here’s how the hawks respond – and what they say should happen next.

Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts

Amr Nabil / AP
Senator John Kerry displays a T-shirt symbolizing the January 25th Egyptian uprising during his visit to Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising, on March 20.

A leading critic of the Vietnam War, Senator Kerry now chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Kerry, who has remained personally engaged in Middle East politics, describes the events unfolding in the Middle East as a “new Arab awakening” and a “huge blow to extremism.”

As with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the challenge to US foreign policy is to usher these nations into a new world, he says. “So how we respond today – right now – will, in my judgment, shape our strategic position in the entire Middle East, and how Muslims around the world see us going forward, probably for decades to come,” he told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on March 16.

In the past, the US addiction to oil and its fight against terrorism overshadowed the values of democracy and human rights, Kerry said, but now, the US must encourage governments to respond to the hopes and needs of their people.

The goal of the mission in Libya is limited to saving lives, not necessarily getting rid of a tyrant, he said.

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