Joining rising unrest on both sides of the congressional aisle, Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama today asking for clarity on the U.S. military mission in Libya.
"I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission," Boehner wrote. "But I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving the mission."
Boehner said he ultimately wanted "a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objective, and purpose of our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved."
The speaker included numerous questions that he asked the president to respond to completely. They range from whether the mission can end if Qaddafi is still in power; to how much longer the United States will lead the international coalition's military action; to how much the mission would realistically cost. Boehner also wanted to know how long U.S. military forces would stay a part of the mission - especially if Qaddafi stays in power.
"It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces," Boehner wrote.
Boehner and a small group of committee chairmen and top Democrats were briefed by the president, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other administration officials, last Friday. GOP Congressional aides have said, however, that the briefing was essentially telling members of Congress what would happen in Libya, not asking for any Congressional input.
One GOP leadership aide said that he expects numerous members of Congress to put more pressure on the White House to consult with Congress when they return from recess next week.