Politics

Sens. McCain, Graham: More US airpower would have routed Gaddafi sooner

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina praised the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year reign in Libya Sunday night, but criticized America’s limited use of airpower in the fight to overthrow him.

“Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat [Gaddafi], but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower,” the two senators said in a joint statement, after praising the Libyan rebels who drove Gaddafi from power, as well as the British, French, Arab and other allied forces who aided them. (RELATED: Rebels enter Tripoli, Gaddafi nowhere to be found)

Graham and McCain also called on the U.S. to “lead the international community to provide the support that our Libyan friends need” in the post-Gaddafi era. Graham and McCain said what will determine whether U.S. involvement in Libya is a “success or failure” will be how fair the government that replaces Gaddafi’s regime turns out to be, not the mere fact that Gaddafi was removed from power.

“We must remain engaged with the Transitional National Council and move expeditiously to release the assets of the [Gaddafi] regime so they can be used for the benefit of the Libyan people and the reconstruction of the country,” they said. “The community of democratic nations must also provide technical advice and assistance, as requested by the Transitional National Council, to help Libya organize free and fair nationwide elections and to begin the process of drafting a new democratic constitution that protects the rights of all Libyans.”