Two U.S. Senators, Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller (both D-W.Va), issued statements yesterday regarding the death of former ruler of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi.
“The death of Moammar Gadhafi marks the end of one of the most cruel and violent tyrants of the last half-century,” Rockefeller said. “The revolution that led to Gadhafi’s overthrow in the past 8 months is a triumph for the Libyan people, who will now be able to proceed with the challenges of building a government of their own choosing, strengthening their country’s economy, and fostering a new national identity.”
Rockefeller said that he commended President Barack Obama for compelling Libya’s regional neighbors to help in the effort to save civilians from “Gadhafi’s brutality” and for “supporting the Libyan people in assuming responsibility for conducting the mission.”
“In doing this,” Rockefeller said, “the United States helped to prevent an impending massacre of the Libyan people, and helped to stop the violence in Libya from rippling across the region.”
Manchin also congratulated the people of Libya for freeing themselves from 42 years of rule under Gadhafi.
“Today is a historic moment for the Libyan people,” Manchin said, “and now is the moment for the people of Libya to take control of their own destiny and embrace a new peaceful future as a democratic state.”
Afterwards though, he noted the amount of money U.S. taxpayers had sent over to support their cause.
“I have always been concerned about the costs of the United States getting involved in foreign conflicts,” Manchin said, “especially spending taxpayer money and sending our troops abroad. Libya is no exception.”
Manchin said that he urges President Obama, and Congress, to remember “that at this critical time, we need to spend our money on rebuilding America, not any other nation” and that he urges “Libya’s Transitional National Council to repay the $1 billion our taxpayers have spent.”
It is estimated that Libya’s Transitional National Council has $170 billion in assets now and that their “vast oil industry,” once restarted, would be worth $50 billion a year at today’s prices, Manchin said.
However, despite Gadhafi’s death and Libya’s seemingly successful revolution, Rockefeller said, “there are still tough times ahead in Libya,” but that “(Gadhafi’s death) is an enormous step for Libyans to achieve their aspirations with dignity.”
Rockefeller also said it would allow Libyans to “close a very dark chapter in their country’s history.”