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On Libya, Rick Santorum says Obama 'had little to do with this triumph'

August 22, 2011|By Paul West
(Jim Cole/Associated Press )

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, one of the first GOP contenders to criticize President Obama’s Libya policy, hailed Kadafi’s possible ouster as “a good thing” but said Obama “had little to do with this triumph.”

Santorum also cast sharp doubts on prospects for a post-Kadafi Libya, hinting at a dark future for that country.

“As we have seen in Egypt, the euphoria of toppling a dictator does not always result in more security for us and our allies in the region,” the former Pennsylvania senator said in a statement.

Over the past few months, Santorum has had a somewhat mixed record in predicting the course of events in Libya. Last spring, he dismissed Obama’s Libya policy as a failure, calling the situation in the North African country “a morass” and a “no-win situation.”

“Decisive action against Kadafi would have been the end of him, but that is not what we did,” Santorum said in an April 28 National Press Club speech. Instead, the “seemingly feckless approach” that Obama took meant that “we’re going to be at a standoff for a long, long time.”

Like other Republican presidential candidates, including Rep. Ron Paul and former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Santorum was critical of Obama’s initial decision to intervene.

Santorum said the humanitarian mission outlined by the president was “not sufficient reason” to engage U.S. military forces because U.S. national security interests were not at stake.

paul.west@latimes.com

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