Libyan forces captured and killed Colonel Moammar Gadhafi today in the former dictator's hometown of Sirte. Representative Bruce Braley (D, IA-01) welcomed news of the "victory for freedom-loving people" but added that "With Gadhafi out of the picture, it's time for US involvement in Libya to end." Braley has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration's open-ended intervention in Libya. He has voted against authorizing military action there and repeatedly demanded a cost accounting of our mission.
Representative Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02) reacted to today's news with a statement calling on "international organizations to step forward and help the Libyan people" so that the U.S. can "focus on creating jobs here at home." Loebsack sits on the House Armed Services Committee but has generally avoided commenting on the U.S. mission in Libya. In June, he voted against authorizing the intervention but also against defunding it.
The full statements from Braley and Loebsack are after the jump. I will update this post if other members of Iowa's Congressional delegation comment on today's events. UPDATE: Added reaction from Leonard Boswell (D, IA-03) and Steve King (R, IA-05). King and Boswell supported authorizing the Libya intervention. King was one of only five House members to vote against barring federal funding for U.S. ground troops in Libya.
SECOND UPDATE: Comments from Tom Latham (R, IA-04) and Senator Chuck Grassley are below.
Statement from Representative Bruce Braley, October 20:
"The death of Moammar Gadhafi is a victory for freedom-loving people. Gadhafi was an unstable dictator who oppressed his country with fear and an iron fist. He terrorized the world with his violent acts, including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 189 Americans and 81 more innocent civilians. At long last, justice has been served.
"With Gadhafi out of the picture, it's time for US involvement in Libya to end."
Statement from Representative Dave Loebsack, October 20:
"If reports of Moammar Gaddafi's death are true, then the world is rid of a brutal dictator with a long history of supporting terrorism, including the killing of innocent American civilians and U.S. servicemembers. But, we must focus on creating jobs here at home. It is time for international organizations to step forward and help the Libyan people establish a representative government, ensure stability and security in Libya and the region, and secure loose weapons."
Statement from Representative Leonard Boswell, October 20:
"The report of the death of the Libyan dictator comes as welcomed news especially for the people of Libya. Their decades of suffering under his ruthless regime have come to an end. We all hope the incoming government continues to lift the country out of isolation as they transition to their democracy."
Statement from Representative Steve King, October 20:
"Moammar Gadhafi was a brutal tyrant with American blood on his hands who will not be missed and whose death should not be mourned," said King. "Gadhafi's crimes against Americans are numerous, and they include the 1986 bombing of a nightclub in Germany which killed an American serviceman, and the 1988 terror bombing of a Pan Am flight in the skies above Lockerbie, Scotland which killed 189 Americans and 270 people in all. For over 40 years, Americans and Libyans alike have suffered at Gadhafi's hands, and I hope that his death brings comfort and peace to all those who bear the emotional and physical scars of his dictatorial rule."
Statement from Representative Tom Latham, October 20:
"Moammar Gadhafi was a brutal tyrant who oppressed his own people for decades, using terrorism and violence as a tool to maintain his grip on power. It's my hope that the Libyan people will turn the page on decades of brutal repression and forge ahead with a peaceful transition to democracy."
Senator Chuck Grassley's comments to the Des Moines Register on October 20:
"If [Libya] does become an Islamic republic, that would be bad news. But right now we don't think so," Grassley said in an interview with the Des Moines Register. "Economically it is going to be good because the world is so dependent upon oil from that part of the world, even though it only produces maybe 1.5 to 2 million barrels a day and probably 90 percent of it goes to Europe. But since it is an international commodity, to have that oil start flowing again is going to help us and the United States indirectly."
Grassley also said he feels good about the so-called "Arab spring" that has seen public uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa in support of democracy and freedom, particularly for women. "But it is too early to say whether that is really going to happen," he added.
Asked whether the U.S. policy in Libya of "leading from behind," which had few, if any, U.S. troops on the ground, a reliance on air power and dependence upon allies, serves as a blueprint for future conflicts, Grassley said he doesn't think it will set a precedent. He said he doesn't think the U.S. should have sent troops to Libya, but he is concerned that such an approach would give the perception that the U.S. is weak militarily.