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“One of the things I know our military were very concerned about was that there could be mission creep,” Mr. Levin added.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sens. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, aired their concerns that the Obama administration may have waited too long to respond to the dictator’s bloody crackdown against outgunned anti-regime forces.

“He waited too long, I have no doubt about it,” Mr. McCain said, but added, “I believe it’s not too late” to have an effective operation.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he has serious reservations about the U.S. getting more deeply involved in Libya. Mr. Lugar noted that the military effort will add to the nation’s fiscal woes and that “we really have not discovered who it is in Libya that we are trying to support.”

Mr. Lugar also repeated his belief that Congress should vote for a declaration of war before the U.S. shoulders a larger military role in the region.

“Before we go to war, there always ought to be a plan for what is going to proceed — that is, for us at least as well as for others — and what the outcome is, what we anticipate is going to occur,” he said.

Many Democrats, including Reps. John B. Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio have shared similar concerns, arguing that the president should obtain congressional approval before giving the green light to military action.

“A commitment of U.S. forces should not occur under these circumstances,” Mr. Kucinich said Friday in a letter to Mr. Boehner.

“As then-Sen. Obama wrote, in 2007, ‘The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’ I agree.”