The death of Libyan dictator Moammar Khaddafy comes just a few weeks after Sen. Mark Kirk returned from a tour of Libya, where he met with the National Transitional Council, the rebels who overthrew Gadhafi’s 42-year regime.
Kirk visited the African nation with fellow senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.). He's a strong supporter of American intervention in Libya, and the trip with two Senate veterans and one fellow freshman helped build Kirk’s reputation as a leading Republican hawk.
When they returned from Libya, the senators published an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “The Promise of a Pro-American Libya.” They were hopeful that a post-Khaddafy Libya would be an American ally in the Middle East:
[T]he Libyans we met want to build a secure, prosperous and democratic nation that rejects violent extremism, allies itself with America and our allies, and promotes the peaceful ideals of the Arab Spring. It is in our national interest for Libya to consolidate the gains of its revolution, and in the critical months ahead we must deepen our support for the Libyan people.
Americans have had their disagreements over the U.S. intervention in Libya, but the sources of those disagreements are now fading into history. What remains is an enormous opportunity for the U.S. to build a partnership with a democratic and pro-American Libya that contributes to the expansion of security, prosperity and freedom across a pivotal region at a time of revolutionary change. This is a worthy goal that should unite Democrats and Republicans, Congress and the president, America and our allies. Libyans will build their own nation. But they desire and deserve our support. And it is in our interest to help them succeed.
This morning, Kirk released a statement on Khaddafy’s death:
Today marks the end of Qadhafi’s reign and a new opportunity for freedom, prosperity and a voice in the global community for Libyans. The Administration, especially Secretary Clinton, deserve our congratulations.