With Libya’s National Transitional Council in control in Tripoli and former dictator Muammar Qaddafi now dead, it seems that President Obama’s so-called “leading from behind” strategy worked out pretty well. Conservatives mocked the president for letting NATO allies be the face of the Libya campaign and claimed it wouldn’t work. But now, the best attack his right-wing critics can come up with is claiming the war could’ve ended sooner if Obama had committed more American resources.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) picked up on this theme on Fox News today but took it a bit further, refusing to give the United States any credit in NATO’s efforts in Libya:
RUBIO: I’m not here to point fingers. I’m glad it worked out. Ultimately it’s about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people but let’s give credit where credit is due, it’s the French and the British that led on this fight. And probably even led on the strike that led to Qaddafi’s capture or to his death.
Watch the clip:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who also criticizes Obama for not winning the war sooner, praised the British and French on CNN today too, but at least gave the president some credit. “The administration deserves credit but I especially appreciate the leadership of the British and French in carrying out this success,” he said.
But the reality is the U.S. military played a very large role in the conflict, initially leading the air campaign before handing over to NATO, then mainly providing refueling tankers and surveillance aircraft. But since then, U.S. planes participated in approximately one quarter of the NATO missions, flying, as of late August, more than 5,000 of the nearly 20,000 NATO sorties in the Libya war (which was actually more than the British).
But Rubio apparently doesn’t want to “give credit where credit is due” to the United States military.