Answering one of the questions that House Speaker John Boehner posed in a letter to President Obama on March 23, almost nine-out-of-ten Republican Members of Congress surveyed said it wasn't and nearly two-thirds of the Democratic Members agreed with them.
"Now that we are in it, it should be done right, but subject to Congressional approval," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. Endorsing reports that the president has authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to aid Libyan rebels, another Democratic Member of Congress said, "We should have taken the SOB out years ago. Bring in the covert-ops team."
But some Democrats remained skeptical of the military action. "What act of war did Libya precipitate that warrants such acts of force by western forces?" asked a Democratic Congressional Insider. "The shelling of Libya will likely deepen animosity against the West in the Arab world as another example of 'selective Western intervention' for oil, and strategic control of geography."
There was much less reluctance among Republican Congressional Insiders for the U.S. to topple Qaddafi, but there were doubts about Obama's willingness to accomplish that goal. "Not sure to what lengths this Administration is prepared to go now to knock off Qaddafi," said one Republican Member of Congress. "The current military engagement will not serve that purpose if it is executed as proposed," said another.
Now that the U.S. military has been deployed against Qaddafi, Republicans believe the job should be finished. As one GOP Congressional Insider put it, "When you shoot at the king, and Obama did, you better do more than wing him."
The National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll is a regular survey of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress.