Punting on Libya
Unlike the White House, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is suggesting a strong U.S. response to the Libyan regime's mass murder of its citizens:
"The Libyan regime's widespread attacks on the Libyan people are deplorable, and all responsible for these attacks must be held to account.
Neither the protests sweeping Libya nor the regime's brutal crackdown should come as a surprise. This is a regime which has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 42 years, and was for years designated as a state-sponsor of terrorism. The regime has no regard for the Libyan people or any people. It has the blood of Libyans, Americans, and other innocent people around the world on its hands.
The United States and all responsible nations should show in both word and deed that we condemn the Libyan regime's actions and that we will not tolerate such blatant disregard for human life and basic freedoms.
As a first step, the United States and other free democratic nations should impose economic sanctions, including freezing assets of the regime and imposing a ban on travel for all senior regime officials and their families.
The UN must also finally end the disgrace of Libya's inclusion as a member of the Human Rights Council, and send a clear signal that Qadhafi and his cadre will be held accountable for their serial human rights violations."
But for now the administration remains inert. Meanwhile, the situation in Libya is deteriorating, as The Post reports:
Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi on Tuesday defiantly rejected opposition demands that he give up power, vowing that he would never leave the North African nation he has ruled for more than four decades and would die a "martyr."
He spoke after leaders of a popular revolt seized control in some areas of Libya and top officials resigned to protest attacks by security forces that have killed more than 230 civilians.
All that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could offer was some finger-wagging:
"This bloodshed is completely unacceptable," the top U.S. diplomat told reporters at the State Department, following reports that hundreds of people have been killed in days of unrest gripping the North African nation.
"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that violence must stop and that the government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of all of its citizens and to support the exercise of those rights."
She said the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for four decades and insisted he would die as a martyr in his homeland, "bears responsibility for what is occurring and must take actions to end the violence."
Washington was working hard to ensure "the safety and well-being of Americans," several of whom remain in Tripoli, including U.S. Embassy staff, she continued.
But what are we going to do? "Once more is known, 'we will take appropriate steps in line with our policies, our values and our laws, but we're going to have to work in concert with the international community,' she said." This is pathetic, even for this crew.
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