U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) appeared on a trio of cable news programs in recent days to commend progress made by Libyan rebels in their fight against leader Muammar Qaddafi.
“The news last night was a great win for democracy and I am encouraged that the conflict in Libya may be coming to an end,” Ellison said in a statement Monday. “What’s needed now is an end to the violence and the beginning of political consolidation. As the country heals and transitions to democracy all Libyans should know that they have a partner in the United States.”
Ellison said Libya needs to continue to be an international effort.
“President Obama’s next move is to indicate to the Libyan people that America, as a 200-year-plus Democracy is at the ready to try to assist in anyway, there are going to be refugees, people are going to need food, water, clothing,” Ellison said on the Ed Show. “It makes sense to do it through the international community, but the United States has to play a role.”
Pres. Barack Obama drew criticism from Republicans by again circumventing congressional approval for the Libyan military operation.
“Reasonable minds can differ on the wars power act and I respect both sides of the debate,” Ellison told Keith Olbermann Monday. But Ellison told Tavis Smiley in March that he thought Obama should have taken the issue to Congress: “I think the real problem is that so many presidents have just ignored the Constitution War Powers Act…So they just dive in whenever they want. And you know what, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Democratic or Republican president.”
Ellison supported the Libyan intervention when funding was threatened by congressional Republicans in June. He told MPR at the time that the Libyan conflict was different than Iraq and Afghanistan, where he opposed intervention, because it “did not unilaterally declare war against another country,” and because the action was sanctioned by international bodies like the Arab League the United Nations.
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