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As America gets more involved in Libya, many Americans are split on whether U.S. military forces should be there at all. KSMU’s Adam Hammons talked with several Springfield residents about their opinions on this, and also heard from both of Missouri’s Senators.
As part of an international effort against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, American forces are involved in air strikes and enforcing a no-fly zone against the Libyan military.
Some Springfield residents are frustrated with the decision to help the rebels. Daniel Zender, a freelance designer, says American involvement is creating unnecessary violence that he compares to Iraq.
“I voted for Obama with the idea that there’s going to be hope and change for America, and I don’t see how this is different than what Bush did.”
Other Springfield residents, like Gail Pignon, who works at Positronic Industries in Springfield, are okay with U.S. involvement.
“I think it’s right. I think we need to defend them. I don’t want to send my troops in there but I don’t mind air support. I think the rebels needed some help.”
Springfield resident Rick White is neutral on the issue.
“I think we’ve got problems here that we need to take care of. Financially we’re facing difficulty here, and I know being the most powerful nation in the world we have an obligation to help others out.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she’s very concerned about the situation in Libya. The Democrat said she is going to hold President Barack Obama to his word that the United States’ role in Libya will not involve ground troops.“My sense is that there is a great deal of commitment, not just on the part of the Commander and Chief, but also on the secretary of state and our military, that this must be limited in scope and it must be this limited effort as part of an international effort.”
This week, rebels have reported a setback—they retreated from the key oil port of Ras Lanouf along the coastal road leading to the capital of Tripoli. This is after the rebels came under heavy shelling from ground forces loyal to Gadhafi.In a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, Republican Senator Roy Blunt said he would support the US arming the rebels in Libya.
I would be supportive of that. I’m eager as a member of the intelligence committee to know more about the rebels than we know right now, but I think if you put planes in the air you have to spend 500 million dollars to keep those planes in the air. To level the playing field it doesn’t hurt to give some advantage to the playing field on the side you’re trying to help, and I would be supportive of that.”
Blunt added that he wished the president would be more forthcoming about the end goal of the mission in Libya.
NATO has taken the lead in the international effort, and is performing near daily air strikes to weaken the Gadhafi regime's superior military power against the poorly trained and equipped ragtag rebel army.For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.