Robert Gates: Congressional moves on Libya “dangerous”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, May 6, 2011.

From Mike Allen, POLITICOGeoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, issued a statement saying: “Secretary Gates believes that for the United States, once committed to a NATO operation, to unilaterally abandon that mission would have enormous and dangerous long-term consequences. . . .”

“Once military forces are committed, such actions by the Congress can have significant consequences,” Morrell said. “It sends an unhelpful message of disunity and uncertainty to our troops, our allies and, most importantly, the Qadhafi regime.”

Morrell said Gates is “[p]articularly concerned about the impact such a move could have on our alliance relationship.” He said NATO nations “have asked us to provide support, just like we have asked them over the years to support difficult operations in Afghanistan.”

Gates understands “the concern expressed by some in the Congress, but I hope we can continue to have this important and legitimate policy debate without needlessly undermining our allies and our military operations,” Morrell said.  (photo: AP)

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