To get a sense of the relatively muted Republican response to Obama on Libya, here are a few statements by leading Republicans on Kosovo under Clinton.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott: “The genocide has been taking place. The damage has been done. Now and only now they prepare to take serious action. I think that is curious.”
“I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning…I didn’t think we had done enough in the diplomatic area.”
House Majority Leader Dick Armey: The Kosovo deployment is “poorly considered and unlikely to achieve our desired ends.”
Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles: “Once the bombing commenced, I think then Milosevic unleashed his forces, and then that’s when the slaughtering and the massive ethnic cleansing really started.”
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay: “Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly.”
“The administration has no plan to do anything but go to Kosovo, hold hands with the two sides and hope they behave when we leave. But of course they won’t. The killing and the mayhem will continue as soon as NATO pulls out.”
Sen. Rick Santorum: “President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation’s armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.”
Sen. Richard Lugar: “This is President Clinton’s war, and when he falls flat on his face, that’s his problem.”
Now, a number of Republicans — including former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and Sen. John McCain — supported Clinton. But none of the above Republicans were exactly back-benchers.