Kyl added that President Obama's message about U.S. goals in Libya is "a little muddled."

"The president set out a mission that is to protect the citizens in Libya with the no-fly zone," he said. "The no-fly zone doesn't really accomplish that, however, because the Gadhafi forces on the ground have the capability of terrorizing and, frankly, slaughtering the people in Libya, and so the question is, how's he going to stop that from occurring? You can't stop all of that just with air power."

Obama must also set out a clear goal for the U.S. in Libya and must describe how the U.S. will achieve that goal, Kyl said.

"Nobody knows now whether we're going to be involved in getting Gadhafi out of there," Kyl said. "The president says Gadhafi has to go but that our mission is only humanitarian."

Fears of a more prolonged engagement have already prompted several members of Congress to argue that Obama should have sought congressional approval before taking any action in Libya. A Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), has said he would try to pass an amendment barring military funding for activities in Libya.

Kyl, who is retiring after his current term, said immigration control and deficit reduction are two key issues he wants to pursue before his term expires at the end of 2012. He also said he has no plans to run for office or serve in anyone's cabinet, but he did hold open the possibility of one position.

"I said if somebody wanted to tap me as their vice presidential nominee, I'd love to be able to do that, but that's not going to happen, so you don't need to pursue that story," he said.