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Kind wary of U.S. Libya involvement

March 21, 2011
In The News

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Steve Schultze

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind warned Monday the U.S. military involvement in Libya could pose serious risks.

"Personally, I'm not clear on the objective," Kind said during a session with Journal Sentinel editors and reporters. "What are we trying to accomplish?" He said he feared "mission creep."

The U.S. is already stretched thin with its military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kind said.

"I'm troubled by what's going on there," Kind said. "I can't see how Libya ends" he said.

Libya poses no direct national security threat to the United States, Kind said.

President Obama said Monday from Chile that American involvement in Libya was limited to addressing "the humanitarian threat posed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi's people." The United States supported a United Nations resolution last week to use military action to enforce a no-fly zone in northern Libya, where Libyan leader Gadhafi has been battling rebels for control.

Kind said he feared the conflict in Libya could widen.

In other remarks, Kind said Gov. Scott Walker's push to repeal most public employee collective bargaining had stired animosities that would leave "lingering resentment for years to come."

The Legislature passed the union restrictions as part of a budget-repair bill, without any Democratic votes. Walker signed the bill, but two lawsuits have challenged the process used to approve the measure.

Kind said the better strategy for Walker would have been to accept union concessions on higher benefit costs and give up his insistence on curbing collective bargaining.

The bargaining issue has spawned 16 recall efforts against Republican and Democratic senators, efforts drawing involvement of independent groups that could pour huge sums of money into the recalls, Kind said.

Kind declined to say whether he'd run in a potential recall attempt against Walker, which couldn't happen until next January, after he's served a year of his four-year term. Kind considered a Democratic bid for governor last year, but decided against it.

"I've got my hands full right now" in Congress, Kind said. "It's too speculative right now."

Walker, a Republican, defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in last fall's governor election.