Saturday, June 25, 2011

US House rejects Libya war mandate

Source: Press TV

The House of Representatives in a scathing rebuke to President Barack Obama has rejected a resolution authorizing US military action in Libya for one year.

War-fatigued American lawmakers defeated the measure on Friday with 295 votes against and only 123 votes in its favor, AFP reported.

The congressional action was a swipe at Obama over growing discontent among US lawmakers after a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that has cost more than a trillion dollars and has helped fuel a USD 1.4 trillion budget deficit.

"We don't have enough wars going on? The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, we need one more war?" Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich said during Friday's vote.

“This war is a distraction. Our flailing economy demands the full attention of Congress and the president," he noted.

The White House, meanwhile, said it was disappointed by the House of Representatives vote.

"We are disappointed by that vote. We think that now is not the time to send the kind of mixed message that it sends," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

The United States has conducted hundreds of strike sorties since NATO took over the Libya operation on March 31.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has vowed to intensify the bombing missions in Libya despite Italy's call for an immediate ceasefire to the ongoing fighting.

“NATO will continue this mission because if we stop, countless more civilians could lose their lives,” the Western military alliance's chief said in a video statement on the NATO website on Wednesday.

Earlier, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called for “an immediate humanitarian suspension of hostilities” in Libya.

Embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has accused NATO of murder, vowing to retaliate for the killing of civilians during air raids by the Western military alliance.

“You said, 'we hit our targets with precision', you murderers,” Gaddafi said in the message broadcast on Libyan television late Wednesday, Reuters reported.

"One day we will respond to you likewise, and your homes will be legitimate targets," he commented.

The Libyan ruler vowed to continue the battle until the West is "wiped out."

He said no agreement can be reached over the crisis in Libya after their children and grandchildren were killed in air attacks.

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