Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., one of the sharpest critics of President Obama’s Libya policy, quickly joined other politicians Monday in praising the dramatic progress made by rebel units against Moammar Kadafi’s regime.
FOR THE RECORD: The headline on an earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Moammar Kadafi's regime has been defeated. Kadafi has not given up power.
Huntsman, in a statement, called the Libyan dictator’s “impending fall” one “chapter in the developing story of a nation in turmoil. Kadafi has been a longtime opponent of freedom, and I am hopeful — as the whole world should be — that his defeat is a step toward openness, democracy and human rights for a people who greatly deserve it."
The upbeat reaction by Huntsman, a former Obama administration diplomat, was in sharp contrast to his earlier, repeated attacks on the president’s Libya policy.
Huntsman, whose foreign policy experience sets him apart from his GOP rivals, has said he would not have intervened in Libya in the first place because the mission was not an important national security interest for the U.S.
Huntsman also described the military and humanitarian operation to oust Kadafi as too expensive at a time of financial pressure in the U.S.