Despite the two leaders’ singular vision on Qaddafi, Cameron was unsuccessful in convincing Obama to commit more and different US resources to the NATO campaign. The British and the French are reportedly planning to add attack helicopters to the mission arsenal.
Obama said the US would continue to deploy resources that are unique to the US military, such as the Predator drones that are assisting NATO bombing raids. But he cautioned against buying into the idea that the US is holding back some magic bullet that could end the campaign quickly.
“I think there may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets in a warehouse somewhere that can just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya,” he said. “That’s not the case.”
The president’s suggestion that the Libya campaign – and US participation in it – are likely to go on for a while may not be well received in Washington.
Republicans in both houses of Congress have introduced resolutions declaring the Obama administration in violation of the War Powers Act, 1973 legislation that calls on the president to seek congressional approval in the first 60 days of a military engagement. Obama finally did write a letter to congressional leaders last Friday, asking for congressional support for continued military engagement in Libya, but in the meantime US military participation continues in the absence of congressional approval.
Criticism of Obama’s use of force in Libya is not limited to the Republican side of Congress. Sen. Jim Webb (D) of Virginia said in an interview with Politico Wednesday that “Congress has basically been frozen out” of the US effort in Libya.