U.S. Ends Combat Role in Libya: Obama Criticized

The Pentagon is about to pull its attack planes out of the international air campaign in Libya, in the hopes that NATO can handle the rest.

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President Barack Obama (Getty Images)

Robert Burns of the Associated Press is reporting that the Pentagon is about to pull its attack planes out of the international air campaign in Libya, hoping NATO partners can take up the slack. The announcement Thursday drew sharp reactions from some in Congress, who wondered aloud why the Obama administration would bow out of a key element of the strategy for protecting Libyan civilians and crippling Muammar Qaddafi's army.

"Odd," "troubling" and "unnerving" were among critical comments by senators pressing for an explanation of the announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that American combat missions will end Saturday.

"Your timing is exquisite," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said sarcastically, alluding to Qaddafi's military advances this week.

Gates and Mullen also stated that the U.S. should not arm rebel forces because there are plenty of other countries that can do that. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said he saw no contradiction between Gates' remarks and President Barack Obama's statement that "he has not ruled it in or out." As yet, none of Obama's top advisers have publicly advocated a significant expansion of the U.S. role aiding the opposition. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested that the pullback might jeopardize congressional support for the Libya mission.

What was the point of the speech on Libya earlier this week if we were pulling out? Why get involved in the crisis in the first place and then pull out so quickly? Many people, including Americans, are wondering if there was a strategy at all. Perhaps it is the cost of being in Libya that caused the president to pull the plug. This recent move definitely leaves more questions than answers.

Read more at Yahoo News.

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