- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2011

Republicans from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill slammed President Obama’s foreign policy decisions Sunday, criticizing the administration’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and the White House’s handling of the rebellion in Libya.

GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann said the world was better off without Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but she stood by earlier comments that the U.S. should never have gotten involved in the conflict.

“We don’t know who the next leaders will be,” the Minnesota congresswoman said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Who will the real leadership be that takes over and runs Libya? It could be a radical element. It could be the Muslim Brotherhood. It could be elements affiliated with al Qaeda,” she said. “This is a very bad decision, and it’s created more instability in that region, not less.”

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. John McCain reiterated his view that the Obama administration should have moved more quickly to help the Libyan rebellion.

“If we had imposed a no-fly zone, if we had used the full weight of American airpower, this conflict would’ve not been prolonged as long. But that’s over,” the Arizona Republican said. “By the way, no British or French person died, either, and they led. We followed.”

On Fox, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, called Mr. Obama’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq a mistake. “He’s made some very poor, dangerous foreign policy decisions at the strategic level,” Mr. Graham said.

“He’s put in question our success in Afghanistan, and he ended Iraq poorly. He fumbled the ball inside of the 10. I hope I’m wrong about what happens in Iraq, but they’re dancing in the streets in Tehran.”

He also criticized the administration’s handling of Libya. “If you go to war, go to win, don’t lead from behind,” Mr. Graham said.

Not all Republicans have been as reluctant to credit the Obama administration in the wake of the death of Gadhafi at the hands of the NATO-backed rebels. Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who accompanied Mr. McCain on a fact-finding mission to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi last month, issued a statement Thursday praising the White House.

“Today marks the end of [Gadhafi‘s] reign and a new opportunity for freedom, prosperity and a voice in the global community for Libyans,” he said. “The administration, especially Secretary Clinton, deserves our congratulations.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the rounds of several of the Sunday talk shows to defend the administration’s handling of Libya and the decision to pull out of Iraq.

Mrs. Clinton said she supports the idea of a U.N. investigation into the death of Gadhafi.

“I would strongly support both a U.N. investigation that has been called for and the investigation that the Transitional National Council said they will conduct,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I think it’s important that this new government, this effort to have a democratic Libya, start with accountability,” she said.

The administration authorized U.S. military action in Libya without congressional approval last spring. In June, the Republican-controlled House passed a resolution criticizing the White House Libya policy, saying the president had failed to explain the national security interests at stake.



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