Obama ally warns of US Congress 'anger' on Libya

'I hope the president has thought this through'

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the US Congress may respond with "anxiety, perhaps anger" if strikes on Libya stretch three weeks or more, a senator warned Thursday.
"If the attacks in Libya on the government forces there continue for three weeks or a month, there will be way more than just concern. There will be anxiety, perhaps anger," said Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
Brown told MSNBC television in an interview that Obama "needs to face the nation and tell the nation and tell Congress what the end game is and how this is going to play out."
But the lawmaker, who represents the vote-rich state of Ohio, urged critics to consider "the humanitarian disaster that we averted because of this" and generally praised Obama's handling of the crisis.
"I think the president moved cautiously. I think he brought other countries together, which was important. I think his commitment of no ground troops and short-term is -- those commitments are also very, very important," he said.
But Brown said US forces were "overextended," citing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, operations in Libya, and counter-terrorism efforts including drone strikes in Pakistan, and that lawmakers were "all concerned."
He noted he had voted in late 2002 against authorizing the use of force against Iraq and said that as a result of that conflict "we lost our focus on Afghanistan."
"So I hope the president has thought this through better than previous presidents on dealing with the Middle East and the Arab world, and that's why I think it's important he address the nation," said Brown.
The senator also praised Republican House Speaker John Boehner for sending Obama a letter seeking a detailed explanation of US policy, strategy and benchmarks for success in the Libya operation.
"They were legitimate questions. I think they were generally the right questions. I think it's what people are asking, analysts are asking, the public's asking, Congress is asking," said Brown.
"I expect the president to answer them in some detail, perhaps not as much as Speaker Boehner will ask, but that's what he needs to do," he said.