Senator Scott Brown said this morning he supports the unfolding wave of U.S. air strikes on Libya, saying they are necessary to stop the killing of innocent civilians.
The Massachusetts Republican, confronting the first military action launched since he took office a year ago, said, "I support the administration's involvement at this point. Obviously, it gets to a point where you have to draw a line in the sand, and when innocent civilians are being killed, it's important for the world community to step forward, and we're doing it in a coalition manner, and I'm supportive of that."
Brown, who also is a JAG officer in the Massachusetts National Guard, refused to say if he would support the additional use of ground troops. President Obama has repeatedly said the action will be limited to air support in the form of an opening wave of cruise missiles attacks, as well as an overnight B-2 bombing run and the possibility of combat air patrols to enforce a UN-backed no-fly zone.
"That's a hypothetical I'm not really ready to comment on," Brown told a pair of reporters as he arrived at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day breakfast and political roast.
"But I think that we're going to follow the lead and work together with other countries to determine what the obstacles are and where it goes from here," he added. "I think it's a mission in progress and we'll know more in a day or two."
Brown also refused to say if he would support strikes on Yemen and Bahrain, two other Middle Eastern countries where pro-democracy forces have clashed with authoritarian regimes.
"You're starting to get into hypotheticals, but in this instance, it's clear that (Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy) was using his own forces to kill innocent civilians, and that's where I draw the line," Brown said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.