March 18, 2011 -- After meeting with President Obama at the White House, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told ABC News that using the U.S. military to enforce a no-fly zone is "absolutely the right thing to do," but he warned it could be a long, drawn-out operation.
"It's an incredibly important thing that we show the support not only for our European allies but the Arab league countries who have stepped up in an unprecedented way," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-MI, told ABC News. "This is truly an international effort, and absolutely we should play a supporting role here."
Rogers wouldn't speculate on when military action could begin, but he said Gadhafi doesn't have long to meet the demands laid out by the UN Security Council and President Obama.
"He won't have a lot of time to make up his mind," Rogers said. "It's all in Gadhafi's hands."
Rogers spoke after meeting, along with several other congressional leaders, with the president in the White House Situation Room.
Although Rogers echoed Obama in saying any military action against Libya would be done by a broad international coalition, he expects U.S. military personnel will play an integral part in the operation.
"I'm sure some sorties will be flown by US. There are other things we can do to participate, to make sure those planes are safe, and can conduct a no-fly zone without risk of being shot down by Ghadafi's forces," Rogers said.
He warned this could be a long-term military commitment.
"This is not going to be a short-term, two-day operation," Rogers said. "Even if Ghadafi throws up his hands and gives up, I think it's going to be a long-term event."
Even so, Rogers said he does not believe President Obama needs congressional authorization to use the U.S. military to help enforce a no-fly zone.
"I don't think he needs it," he said. "He was smart to bring up members of Congress -- both parties -- put us in the Situation Room, and talk about what he's planning to do, to try to build congressional support. I think that was the right decision. We do have to be in this together. There's a lot going on in the world; the United States is in a lot of places right now. We need to do this together if we're going to do it at all."
In an echo of the arguments made before the Iraq war, Rogers said one of the reasons for taking action is that Gadhafi's possesses stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
"There are weapons of mass destruction there," Rogers said. "They have a very large stockpile of chemical weapons and it is believed they may still have stockpiles of some biological weapons."