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Obama: US Interests, Values at Stake in Libya

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TEHRAN, March 30 (ICANA) – U.S. President Barack Obama Monday told Americans his actions had stopped a "massacre" in Libya, but warned a military campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi could repeat the bloodshed and misery of Iraq.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:34:04 PM
Obama: US Interests, Values at Stake in Libya

Obama mounted a firm defense of his decision to launch air strikes and launch a no-fly zone as part of an international coalition to protect civilians after the teetering Arab strongman threatened his own people with a bloodbath.

He justified the operation as vital to honoring U.S. "interests and values," rejected claims he had been too slow to act, and made clear to war-weary Americans that the future U.S. role would be limited. Raw Story

Speaking from Fort McNair, President Barack Obama sought to champion the "historic" U.S. war in Libya to the American public. One day after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates informed Americans that the war was not a "vital interest," President Obama was insisting that it also wasn't in America's interest to not attack Libya. Antiwar


"In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly Zone with our allies and partners," Obama said in a televised speech. Raw Story

The U.S. leader said he had no choice but to act with international partners after Gaddafi rejected an offer to stop his "campaign of killing" and his forces surged towards the key city of Benghazi. Raw Story

"Qaddafi declared that he would show 'no mercy' to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment," Obama said. "I refused to let that happen." Raw Story

Obama admitted that there was "no question" that Libya and the world would be better off if Gaddafi went, and vowed to pursue his ouster in a manner that stopped short of a military bid to eject him from power. Raw Story

More important, perhaps, was what wasn't addressed: the possibility of the war ending. With officials now openly talking the mission up as lasting months, President Obama never suggested anything resembling a timetable, insisting that there would be a "transition to the future" and that the international community would impose a strong government after the Gaddafi regime was ousted. Antiwar

U.S. President Barack Obama defended the U.S. military actions against Libya on March 21, saying the U.S. military actions are in accordance with the UN resolution adopted to solve the Libya crisis. Xinhua

"Our military actions are supported by the United Nations Security Council, which approved a humanitarian mission in that country," Obama said, adding that Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi "must leave" power. Xinhua

As a candidate in 2007, then-Sen. Obama said a president could not unilaterally authorize military action without Congress' consent. That's just what he's now doing in Libya. slate.com

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday (March 23) sharpened his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of military operations in Libya, pressing Obama over the mission's cost, leadership and exit strategy. Reuters

Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House speaker and potential presidential candidate accused Obama of going to war without having a real consultation with Congress. Mcclatchydc.com

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates warned Congress earlier in March that even a more modest effort to establish a no-flight zone over Libya would have to begin with an attack on the country's air defenses and would require "a big operation in a big country." NY Times

"This is not a question of whether we or our allies can do this. We can do it," Gates told reporters aboard his plane after a visit to Bahrain. "The question is whether it's a wise thing to do and that's the discussion that's going on at a political level," he said. Times of India

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