The 12-member Massachusetts congressional delegation, all Democrats except for Republican Senator Scott Brown, offered an array of positions today in reaction to the launch of US air strikes on Libya over the weekend.
Here are the comments they or their spokesperson made to the Globe or, in Kerry's case, as well as on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Senator John Kerry, Democrat:
"Well, the goal of this mission ... is not to get rid of (Libyan leader Moammar) Khadafy, and that's not what the United Nations licensed. And I would not call it going to war. This is a very limited operation that is geared to save lives, and it was specifically targeted on a humanitarian basis. It is not geared to try to get rid of Khadafy. He has not been targeted. That is not what is happening here. So, in my judgment, we have to see where we go from here."
In an interview with the Globe, Kerry added: "I believe very, very deeply that America's strategic interests and our values require us to support people's aspirations. ...I think you have to have some faith in what the possibilities of diversity and pluralism can produce."
Senator Scott Brown, Republican:
"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."
Representative John Olver, Democrat, 1st District:
A spokeswoman said "he supports the steps the president, the UN, our European allies, and the Arab League are taking."
Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat, 2nd District:
"I welcome the passage this week of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 implementing a no-fly zone over parts of Libya. I also support the establishment of an international coalition, working together with the Arab League, to prevent further atrocities from happening in flashpoints like Benghazi. It is clear that Colonel Khadafy and his regime were not going to stop the campaign of terror and violence against their own people. For the safety of innocent civilians, and to encourage the pro-democracy movements across the Middle East, I support the actions of the international coalition."
Representative James McGovern, Democrat, 3rd District:
"I just have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. . . None of us know who is really calling the shots in terms of the opposition. It's very dicey and very dangerous. I am hoping and praying for success. I am deeply worried."
Representative Barney Frank, Democrat, 4th District:
"If our role is limited to Tomahawk missiles from the ships, and the airplanes are French and British, I will support it. ...Our opposition is for America picking up the entire tab. The fact that you have such a multinational, multicultural support for this, I hope it is a new paradigm. "
Representative Niki Tsongas, Democrat, 5th District:
"I am concerned that our military action in Libya lacks a clear objective. It is critically important that our commitment there not extend beyond the scope of UN Resolution 1973 and under no circumstances should American ground troops be inserted into that country."
Representative John Tierney, Democrat, 6th District:
"These are the lingering questions: Why Libya? Why now? There are certainly other dictators acting badly toward the own citizens. And who is the opposition? If you're picking sides in a civil war you better know who you're siding with."
Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat, 7th District:
“The current government of Libya has lost all legitimacy. Left unchecked, Khadafy will commit unspeakable brutalities against his own people. ...The more nations involved in this multilateral effort, the more the people of Libya will know that the movement for democracy that is spreading throughout the Middle East has global support. We are watching a watershed moment not only in Libya but throughout the Middle East. History is on the side of these 21st century young, educated people who are calling for the end to this 20th century oil-fueled dictatorship. Seventy percent of Libya is young people, but they represent 100 percent of the future of the country. The message to Colonel Khadafy is clear: the entire world community is united in protecting the Libyan people. Libyans must be able to chart their own future, free from violence and intimidation.”
Representative Michael Capuano, Democrat, 8th District:
"So far, the only stated goal is to protect civilians, the civilian population, which is a laudable goal, but if that's the new measure of when military power's going to be put in play, well then I suspect we'll be going to the Congo and Sudan, Ivory Coast, Yemen, maybe Bahrain, very very soon, if that's the measure."
Representative Stephen Lynch, Democrat, 9th District:
"I was very troubled by the decision to use US forces and to do so without consulting with Congress. I don't believe that Libya presents a direct threat to the United States. Lacking those circumstances, I think it was incumbent upon the president to talk to Congress. We have got two wars going on right now. We are tremendously over-extended."
Representative William Keating, Democrat, 10th District:
"Since the humanitarian issues surrounding the non-engaged Libyan civilians have not been fully vetted to Congress, I'm forced to view this on a step-by-step basis. I feel strongly, however, that our involvement should not expand beyond that purpose."
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.