U.S. must be careful and stick with international coalition in Libya or any Arab nation, Yarmuth says

03/21/2011 06:15 PM

As the United States joined other forces in air strikes on Libya, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville said President Barack Obama needs to tread lightly.

Even the appearance of waging war on an Arab country is problematic, Yarmuth said late Friday in an interview that aired on Monday’s edition of_ Pure Politics_.

“I’m wary of anything that creates the perception that the United States is making war on an Arab nation,” said Yarmuth. “I think that’s dangerous. We’re in a very delicate situation.”

U.S. warplanes targeted Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s headquarters over the weekend after Obama said Gaddafi had “lost the legitimacy to lead.”

The Arab League asked the international community last week to impose a no-fly zone to protect Libyan rebels from forces under Gaddafi’s command.

Yarmuth said it’s important for the United States to be part of an international coalition.

“I’m glad that we have partners that are actually going to lead this effort, the British and the French,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth, in that interview segment, also talked about the need for Congress to come together on an annual budget.

Right now, the federal government is operating on its third continuing budget resolution of the year. This one expires April 8.

And he said he opposes a proposal to convert the state-federal health care program, Medicaid, into a block grant system. That proposal was floated by Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green during a March 1 interview on Pure Politics.

“It cuts people off of services,” Yarmuth said. “It allows the states to have flexibility to change the rules to throw people off the rolls.”

Medicaid covers health care for more than 800,000 poor and disabled Kentuckians.

“The issue is what happens to them?” Yarmuth said.

- Ryan Alessi

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